Good nutrition and exercise are the best tools for rejuvenation.
By Irene Sanchez
Oz Garcia has a very clear notion of the importance of diet and physical exercise when he asks: “Why does a tennis player choose the best coach? Because he/she wants to continue to be number 1 and for that he needs the best training." That is how he sums up his success as a coach for models and movie stars such as Hillary Swank, Gwyneth Paltrow or Naomi Campbell, all known for their perfect physique. Ordinary mortals wonder why these beautiful women seek advice and guidance from Garcia, dubbed "the nutritionist of celebrities". The Cuban-born guru responds bluntly: "Even though they are at the top of their careers, they still need to follow the best nutrition program".
Garcia has been a nutritionist since the 1970s. "I have been doing this for more than 30 years, hence my success". From Cuba he moved to Miami and after his adolescence, he relocated in New York City, where he discovered his interest in fitness through his favorite hobby: running. New York was quite different then. "Our parents and grandparents smoked not knowing that it was bad, and diet and exercise were secondary.” Oz witnessed firsthand the fitness revolution in our society. "People were gradually becoming aware of their health, they wanted to know which foods were healthy and which not and, in addition they discovered the benefits of jogging.”
Oz Garcia was one of the first from his generation to take interest in this new way of life. He bought a juice extractor in 1974, became a frequent shopper at first fresh food stores and developed his own routine to improve his health and overall well being. "I wondered if I could enhance my performance by changing my diet.” This realization put him on a path to become the "anti-aging guru".
He studied nutrition in response to the demands of his time, but today the United States faces an even worse problem: people don’t know how to eat properly. Statistics show that 70 percent of the American population is overweight. The problem is even worse in suburban and rural areas. "Outside cities like Miami, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, it is estimated that by the year 2020 the overweight problem will affect 20 per cent of the population," says the nutritionist.
"People don't really understand the way in which food can change their bodies. Poor nutrition not only alters your metabolism, but also your state of mind. It can make you age quicker, feel depressed, without energy and exhausted since morning... or the opposite. If you eat healthy you can rejuvenate, your brain works better, you look more attractive... People are 100 by 100 what they eat", summarizes Garcia.
His comprehensive program is not just limited to diet: it covers all bad habits. "If you smoke, we will recommend a therapist to help you quit. We also recommend not watching TV before sleeping; we teach you how to sleep, how to exercise, how to relax and even how to enjoy a spa". Oz Garcia´s program is based on its own experience. He goes to a massage therapist every 5 to 7 days, to acupuncture twice a month, he gets regular steam baths and saunas and devotes one day a week to drink only juices. The so-called juice day consists of drinking all kinds of liquids until nighttime, when he eats a light dinner: fish and vegetables, for example.
Oz lives in New York. He gets up every morning at 7 AM, exercises, takes care of his customers, teaches a couple of days a week, and enjoys the rest of the time with his friends, his family and his dog.
"I am not obsessed with food, but I make sure to purchase my groceries at local markets where they sell fresh products". Thanks to his latest project —a collaboration as nutritionist in the spa of the Hotel James Royal Palm in Miami Beach—he will travel every 4-6 weeks to the city where he grew up and where, in addition, his mother lives.
"The opportunity to collaborate with the James Hotel and Spa is a dream, especially because I love my job. Never would I have thought of a better coincidence, it is too good to be true". ■
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