Happy In My Own Skin – Discovering what Makes YOUR Body Tick

August 9, 2011 |  by  |  Healthy Eating, Success Stories

“I wish I were your size!” I tell my size 2 girlfriend with a smirk, most of the time thinking the exact opposite. I love to eat and don’t ever wish to be small.

I love to spoil my tummy with delicious whole and organic foods, which actually makes bikini size an attainable goal (with a good amount of preparation!). But with an Italian mother and Afro-American father, the gene pool was quite generous to me with what feel like ginormous thighs, butt, and biceps. God must’ve been thinking of Zenobia of Palmyra or Greek Athena when he mixed my parents genes. Growing up in NYC smelling the best creamy curries, Chinese pork, and pasta sauces definitely didn’t help either. Luckily I have a passion for eating AND exercise!

I remember in my third year of engineering school, I called my mother to announce that I wanted to be a nutritionist. She kindly replied, “Think again”. Even though I’m thankful for a lifetime of amazing civil engineering projects, I use my nutrition outlet by searching for the best food combinations. I was a vegetarian for 13-years and battled with low energy and struggled with my weight. It just didn’t make sense at the time – how could whole grains and vegetables cause this reaction? So I performed an experiment on myself – what if the blood type diet is really true, what if genetic factors are directly related to absorption and digestion? Reluctantly I began eating small amounts of meat (which eventually turned into large amounts, but that’s another story), and reduced my wheat intake. I eliminated my morning cereals, lunch wraps and steamed potatoes at dinner. To my surprise my energy level became consistent, my muscles became leaner and responded quicker to exercise and finally felt… balanced.

Apparently, type-O fare best on intense physical exercise, animal proteins and vegetables, and less well on dairy products, and wheat, beans and grain. What a break-through!

Intense exercise, nutrition and martial arts have always been my passion. And helping people discover what uniquely works is also my priority. Try different things and see what makes YOU feel and look the best.

Bikini season is here, so I pull out my secret weapon and ditch complex carbohydrates till mid afternoon, and fill up on fruit shakes in the morning and salads for dinner. In between meals I eat nuts, real proteins like steamed eggs and tofu with spinach, and then more fruit. I tend to forget fruit is an essential carb and don’t necessarily need brown rice to fuel my work-outs. In fact as a type-O, brown rice is not ideal for the bikini plan, so I stick with quinoa. What a fantastic gift from nature, along with agave nectar and flax seeds.

Americans have a basic recipe for how we should diet and exercise, and it unfortunately rings to the tune of “quick and easy”.

Find what sustains, and if it fuels you with energy. It’s like a continuous circle, and each aspect of health has to complement each other in order to be effective. If you are moody because of a diet, you will cut your exercise time, causing more disappointment, enabling overeating, etc. Think of looking AND feeling fantastic when you’re 40, 50, 60, and 70!


Nicole Drouot Saunders is a New York based engineer and Martial Artist. She has been health conscious for the past 16-yrs, vegetarian for 13 of those years, became a personal trainer/fitness instructor, trained with an Olympic running coach, obtained two black belts in Hapkido and Jujitsu, and is currently training under a Shaolin monk.

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About the author

Alumni Wellness is dedicated to maximizing health, fun and happiness for the long term. We experiment cooking with whole foods, discover exciting heart pumping activities, and play with cool gym and kitchen gadgets. You know… Fun stuff!



1 Comment


  1. Thanks Nicole! This gave me some things to consider about how I’m eating.

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