CSS-PreviMedica Wellness Program

All Things Watermelon

Freshly picked selection:


For many, a juicy slice of ripe watermelon is the definition of summertime and backyard BBQ’s.   Watermelons come in many colors and sizes and their flesh can range from red, pink, ivory, orange or yellow.  They can be as small as a cantaloupe and weigh as much as 260 lbs, as cited by the Guinness Book of World Records.  Watermelons originate from Africa and have an extremely high water content with sweet, juicy, yet crisp flesh.  Their peak season is from mid June to late August although you can typically find watermelon outside of those times, they just may not be as sweet.

What do I look for?

The outside of a watermelon should be cylindrical in shape without any flat spots.  The rind should not be punctured, bruised, or soft.  When cut, the flesh should be vibrant in color without any dry looking patches and to the eye should not be grainy in texture.  Seedless watermelons typically will still have some seeds, but they are soft in texture and edible.

Ways to Eat:

A ripe watermelon is delicious when freshly sliced.  They can also be enjoyed in juices, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sorbets, salads, desserts or even quickly seared or grilled for a savory approach.  In many parts of the world, every part of the watermelon is used – even the rind.  Pickling the rind is very popular in southern cuisine and in other cultures.  In Asian cuisine, the seeds are often enjoyed roasted.


Put a twist on your favorite Caprese salad by adding watermelon; it’s a light and refreshing appetizer for those hot summer days!

This Grilled Watermelon Salad adds contrast to the sweetness of watermelon by giving it a quick sear on the grill.

This Summer Shrimp Salad combines all of the fresh flavors of lime, watermelon, cilantro, and avocado into a refreshingly light salad topped with shrimp.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Watermelon.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31.

Why Gluten Free Doesn’t Always Equal Healthy

Many people are under the assumption that leading a gluten free lifestyle is a healthy choice. While this is certainly true for some, leading a gluten free lifestyle takes a lot of research and understanding into what exactly makes any food healthy. The answer isn’t always what you think. Read on to find out why!

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A common misconception many people have is that gluten free equals healthy, but this is very far from the truth.  Think about it in terms of a side dish – which is more nutritious; a side of whole grain wheat berries or a side of white rice?  The wheat berries are of course; they are less processed and are a whole grain food that is high in fiber, protein and B vitamins.  The white rice is extremely processed and full of empty, starchy calories because it has had its husk, bran and germ removed to extend its storage life, minimize cooking times and help prevent spoilage.  Unfortunately, many gluten free products available contain white rice as their primary ingredient.  Rice flour is light and starchy, and combined with other heavier gluten free flours the blend creates a texture in baked goods similar to wheat flour.  Not to mention rice is cheap for manufacturers to get and there is no shortage of it!

So what to do?  If you follow a gluten free way of eating, try to limit eating processed foods as much as you can.  This is beneficial not only because you are eliminating empty calories, but you are also eliminating added sugar since packaged foods typically contain it.  If you do want to have some crackers, pretzels, or baked goods here and there, ALWAYS read the ingredient label!  Try to stay away from items that list white rice flour as the first ingredient.  Instead, opt for the primary ingredients to be whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, sorghum, or millet.  There are also a whole host of foods that contain almond flour, coconut flour, and other grain free flours.

On the flip side, just because a product contains whole grain or grain free flours it does not mean processed foods are appropriate.  These foods are still highly processed and many of their nutrients are lost in the process.  Eating homemade whole grains is always best, but if you find yourself in a bind and you need to consume convenience foods, pay close attention to the labels and opt for the products made from whole grains with no added sugars.  Read about how to recognize sugars and the different forms they come in here.

If you take a walk through the grocery store you will see many products that are labeled, “Now, Gluten Free!”.  Of course, many of these products are newly developed and the labels are correct.  But if you look closer, these types of statements are typically marketing ploys to attract your attention.  Items such as orange juice and bacon are just a few examples. Bacon has never contained gluten and orange juice most certainly hasn’t either.  The best thing you can do is educate yourself so you don’t fall for these claims.  Manufacturers are hoping that you will buy their product because they are “Now, Gluten Free!” when in reality they always have been.

Remember, gluten free does not equal healthy.  The next time you’re at the store pulling a box of crackers off the shelf, read the ingredient label to know what you are purchasing and putting into your body.  You may find yourself making a decision to put it back on the shelf – so congratulations on being an informed consumer!



Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

How to Purchase & Prepare Fish With Health In Mind

Here fishy fishy…

fresh fish

Every day we hear more and more about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the health benefits they provide. While taking a fish oil supplement is a great way to make sure your body is getting the omega-3 it needs, it’s also beneficial to go straight to the source and consume some tasty seafood. That said, when you tell people to eat more seafood you get a host of reactions ranging from “ew it tastes fishy”, to “I don’t know how to cook it”, or probably the most common these days, “ I don’t’ want to get mercury poisoning”.  In this post we are going to debunk some common misconceptions about fish, talk about the best fish for you and how to make sure you are purchasing them sustainably, and give you some pointers for cooking fish.

First off, let’s talk about the health benefits of these scaly sea creatures. Fish are jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids which help support heart health, cholesterol triglyceride levels, and brain function, as well as decrease inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has also been linked to promoting eye health, decreasing depression and anxiety, and reducing symptoms of ADHD in children. But not all fish are created equal. Some fish contain higher levels of omega-3 than others. If you want to get the most omega-3 for your fish, your best bet is to stick to mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and/or cod.

Now that we know why we should be eating more seafood, let’s talk about the common myths and misconceptions that prevent people from adding more fish into their eating pattern.

Myth: Fresh fish is better than frozen fish.

Truth: Frozen fish has the same nutritional value as fresh fish.  Freezing methods have vastly improved in recent years which now makes it easy and safe for us to enjoy fish from anywhere in the world without compromising quality. Frozen fish tends to be less expensive as well.

Myth: Farmed fish is just as good as wild caught

Truth: The fish farming industry has gotten a lot of slack in recent years and that’s not without good reason. Some of the positives of fish farms are that they are regulated and held to an industry standard to produce a good quality fish. However, in most cases fish that are farmed are fed a pellet diet consisting of mostly corn and soy (most of, if not all, is genetically modified) and due to their poor diet can contain up to 50% less omega-3 fatty acids.  Some farmed fish, such as salmon, are synthetically colored to have that bright pink hue. Fish farms may also breed disease, so there is sometimes the need for antibiotics to treat the fish. For these reasons, it is best to purchase wild caught seafood whenever possible. And if this isn’t possible, do some research to find providers with high standards for their seafood, such as Whole Foods, who make sure their farm-raised products are free of GMO feed, antibiotics, and artificial colors as well as sourced from farms that do not harm the environment. Research is key and recommendations will continue to evolve where this issue is concerned.

Myth: You should limit fish because it contains mercury.

Truth: All fish have trace amounts of mercury. Keep in mind that mercury is a natural element found in the air, water and all living things. There has been recent concern when it comes to fish consumption and mercury poisoning since it is unsafe to consume large amounts of mercury. Unfortunately, that has scared most people away from eating fish even though it is generally safe and does not contain enough mercury per serving to give someone mercury poisoning. That said, some fish are much higher in mercury than others. For example, sharks, swordfish, mackerel and large tuna (canned tuna is made from skipjack tuna which has much less mercury) are higher in mercury compared to other fish. If you’re concerned you may want to avoid those particular fish.  One caveat to all of this: there are strict dietary guidelines for women who are pregnant or nursing and for young children that should be followed in regards to fish consumption as it pertains to mercury content.

Myth: Fish has a strong smell and tastes fishy.

Truth: Fish should not have a strong smell if it is fresh or was freshly frozen and stored properly.  If fish is stinky, it is usually a sign that it is old. That rings true for how it smells as well as how it tastes. That said, there are fish that are a tad fishier in taste due to their oil content. Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are fishier tasting compared to tilapia, cod, and halibut which are less oily fish. Consider too that cooking the fish with the skin on and the blood line left in can also produce a smellier and fishier tasting fish, so it is best to remove those.

Some general considerations:

Since we recommend consuming wild caught fish, it is very important to make decisions on fish consumption based off of the sustainability of that fish species.  Rest assured that a careful eye is kept on the world’s seafood population in hopes of preventing the over-fishing and the eventual extinction of certain species, but we can do our part too. When you buy and consume seafood make sure it is sustainable. This means multiple things: 1) that the seafood was caught and/or farmed in a way that did not harm other marine life or the environment, and (2) that the particular species of fish is not currently being over-fished. If you go to Seafoodwatch.org you can pick your state and it will give you an updated list on the best fish to purchase based off of sustainability in your region.

Lastly, we acknowledge that a big hurdle for people consuming fish is that they simply don’t know how to prepare it.  Fish is a lot easier to cook than most people think.  Below are a few easy recipes to start with. Both of these recipes are baked but fish is also delicious on the grill or even cooked on the stovetop in a sauté pan.

Lemon Ginger Halibut (can use swordfish, cod, or salmon as well)


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 (5oz) fish fillets
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush fish fillets with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle fillets with lemon juice, black pepper, and ginger. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Squeeze extra lemon juice over fillets if desired and serve with your favorite vegetables.


Baked Salmon in Dill Sauce


  • 2 lb.salmon fillet
  • 3 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dill weed


  1. Mix yogurt, lemon juice and dill together in a small bowl.
  2. Place fish in a glass baking dish, skin side down.
  3. Top fish with yogurt sauce and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Can be served hot or cold.











For more recipes and helpful cooking tips, make sure to visit our Facebook page. And for personalized nutrition guidance from our experts, set up your PreviMedica membership by contacting us at 855-773-8463 or by email at hello@previmedica.com.



Behind The Scenes With Previ Culinary: Creating a Menu

The kick-off for the CSS wellness program was a day full of hustle and bustle. From the Previ Culinary side, it was a welcomed outlet to let our creativity shine through, and such fun to have a live audience to cook for.  What made it even more fun was making some unique dishes that most people wouldn’t think about making on a daily basis.  

When planning a menu for our friends at CSS, we thought about foods that people love, but also about foods that can be intimidating to prepare.  We wanted to create a well-balanced menu, while also breaking down some common misconceptions about cooking dairy and gluten free (for those who might be dealing with food sensitivities). When you are changing the foods in your life that give you comfort, it can feel like you’re giving up a lot.  Finding a healthy substitution that gives you that same comfort, well that’s just amazing! These are the types of things we kept in mind when creating a menu for the CSS participants, and also what we aim to offer all of our clients. The menu we selected was:

Massaged Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette (click for recipe)

Cashew Cream Gluten Free Mac N’ Cheese (click for recipe)

Avocado Chocolate Mousse (click for recipe)


We really wanted to make a kale salad, as we hear time and time again that people don’t eat it because it’s too tough or bitter. A tip: By massaging the kale, you release the water inside of it creating a softer, more palatable, and less bitter green. The salad dressing was the perfect complement, and we enjoyed showing everyone that making your own dressing at home isn’t as hard as they think!


The Cashew Cream Mac N’ Cheese had a few people worried. When eating dairy free, it is thought that a beloved favorite such as Mac N’ Cheese is off the menu forever.  This recipe recreates the cheese sauce using cashews as a base along with some other spices that comes pretty close to tasting like a cheese sauce.  It is also a great vegan alternative.  Add it to gluten free pasta and you have a wonderful combination that will make you forget about the boxed stuff.

dairy_free_chocolate_mousseThe avocado chocolate mousse was a huge hit.  Using pureed avocado as a base and adding in honey, cocoa powder, and dairy free milk created a creamy and light dessert that you can feel good about eating. This was definitely the crowd favorite, and who can blame them? Everyone loves chocolate!

Creating a menu that contained plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats was our mission.  The second mission was to make it all taste delicious.  We had such a good time cooking for everyone and would venture to say that our food was a hit!  

We are so excited to continue sharing our culinary adventures with you all. Look forward to recipe posts, cooking videos, and so much more. If you are interested in learning how to cook or about specific cooking concepts or techniques, we would love to help! Schedule a video appointment with a PreviMedica Culinary Advisor by calling 855.773.8463 or emailing hello@previmedica.com.

Previ Culinary: Cashew Cream Gluten Free Mac N’ Cheese

GF DF mac-n-cheese

  • 1 package gluten free pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups plain non dairy milk, unsweetened
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; preheat oven to 375 if baking.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except the pasta.
  3. When pasta is almost tender, fully drain (do not rinse). Mix pasta with sauce and pour into a sauce pan OR lightly oiled 8 x 12 baking dish.  Stir in the peas, spinach, and cherry tomatoes.
  4. If baking, cover with foil and bake 17-18 minutes. If cooking on the stovetop, cook until sauce thickens and is bubbly.  Do not overbake the sauce or it will get too thick.
  5. Makes one 9 x 12 pan.

(Recipe adapted from Alternative Medicine Magazine, Issue 17.)

Previ Culinary: Massaged Kale Salad With Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 head of kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ red onion, fine julienne
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sliced almonds

Salad Dressing Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra light olive oil


  1. Gently rub together the kale leaves in your hand, massaging them until they turn a brilliant green color and soften.
  2. Combine with carrots, chickpeas, onion, and tomatoes.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt until well combined. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking) until well combined.
  4. Add the dressing to the salad, starting with 1/4 cup of dressing. Add more, if desired. Remaining dressing can be stored and kept in the fridge for up to a week.
  5. Garnish salad with sliced almonds and enjoy!

CSS/PreviMedica Launch In-House Wellness Competition

PreviMedica is excited to announce our in-house wellness competition for Cell Science Systems! In this initiative, we are combining efforts to provide our employees with a comprehensive wellness program that includes:

  • 16 weeks of individualized guidance from our PreviMedica team of health experts- nutritionists, exercise specialists and culinary advisors
  • Daily text and email support from an assigned navigator
  • Customized meal planning tools, recipes, and menus
  • Access to comprehensive library of educational resources through our online portal
  • Bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) to measure body fat, celullar integrity, and overall health
  • Optional lab testing provided by Cell Science Systems: Alcat test, Adrenal Stress Profile, GHP, Advanced Methyl Detox, and many more

To kick off the competition, PreviMedica hosted a luncheon and cooking demo for the participants. The cooking demo and delicious lunch were provided by our talented culinary advisors, who gave our participants tips on the best way to prepare their own salad dressing, how to massage kale (yes, we massage our kale around here), a unique recipe for cashew cream mac and cheese, and how to make the most amazing chocolate mousse with, wait for it…. avocado! Future blog posts by our culinary team will delve into the details of these recipes and many more.

The kick-off luncheon was well received, and everyone is excited to get started! Our Human Resources Assistant, Antoinette Sklar said of the event, “I am really excited and looking forward to working with you all in helping me reach my goal and keeping it off. Can’t wait for some new recipes!”

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PreviMedica Culinary Advisors, Stefanie Cromwell and Megan Huard

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CSS employees sampling the offerings from the cooking demo

Follow along as our team reaches their health goals with the guidance and support of PreviMedica nutrition, exercise, and culinary experts! Since this is a healthy competition, we are focusing on more than just the number on the scale. The most improved participant will be the one who shows the biggest change in body fat percentage and the most improvement with phase angle and intra/extracellular water (more on this in a future post). We will be sharing individual participant journeys, a behind-the-scenes look at our experts, and many tips and tricks to help keep you on the right track during your own health journey. Stay tuned!

Whether you need guidance with weight management, blood glucose, decreasing inflammation, healing a leaky gut, increasing energy and focus, or just maintaining optimal health, PreviMedica can help you too! If you are interested in learning more about PreviMedica, please visit our homepage www.previmedica.com or call us at 855.773.8463.

Cell Science Systems Corp. is a specialty clinical laboratory that develops and performs laboratory testing in immunology and cell biology supporting the personalized treatment and prevention of chronic disease. The Alcat Food and Chemical Sensitivity Test has helped over half a million people change their health by identifying foods and other substances that trigger chronic inflammation.

PreviMedica, a sister company of Cell Science Systems, is a digital health membership that connects individuals to nutrition and lifestyle health practitioners through one-to-one video sessions and daily personal support. We are dedicated to helping you promote optimal health.