For the ninth interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Dena Mangiamele owner of Dena’s Fuel for Fitness.
I actually “met” Dena’s products before I met her. I was at a Whole Foods store in San Diego and I am always looking for new products to try for myself and also review. I came across her vegan/raw products and really liked what I saw. I took down the website from the package and looked it up when I got home. I sent Dena an email and told her I am interested in tasting and reviewing the products. I was planning to go to The Natural Product Expo in Anaheim, CA (in early March) soon after the initial contact and planned to meet her and try all she has to offer. I met Dena and both she and her products are wonderful! I will be doing a video review shortly of all the products and a live interview with Dena. I will have a link when it is posted. In the meantime, check out what Dena has to say below as she answers the questions I sent her, so you can get to know more about the “person” behind the products.
Question #1: Tell me briefly about yourself and why you decided to get involved in the “health” industry?
Fitness and athletic competition has always been a part of my life. I have been a competitive swimmer since I was young and now swim Master’s. I ran track in college with a school record in the 10K, I compete as a triathlete, consistently strength train, and recently discovered Pilates! I soon learned that my athletic performance was greatly influenced by what I ate and began referring to my meals as filling the tank with “fuel.” As I got older, nutrition played an even greater part in my life to help me sustain a high level of intensity with my workouts, maintain an athletic physique, and stay alert and creative in my career and personal life.
I was fortunate to grow up in an Italian family where food and meals were an integral part of my life. My mother was a fabulous cook and baker who served well balanced meals and unknowing to me at the time, always practiced reasonable portion control. I have never been on a diet in my life (my mother would never allow it!) and as a result I have her to thank for my well balanced metabolism. Science supports a diet leaning toward vegetarianism. I used my scientific background (my first career was as a veterinarian) to analyze the results and agree with the findings and have settled in a bit ahead of the curve as a vegan/raw athlete and fit woman.
Dena’s Fuel for Fitness was born when my friends and fellow athletic enthusiasts encouraged me to commercially produce the food I was making after they watched me train and saw the results, noticed my high energy level, and asked me what my secret was. They couldn’t believe that I was vegan and ate about 90% raw as well.
My nutrition and fitness formula is 60% diet, 30% workout regimen, and 10% genetics. You can work out 8 hours a day if you choose, but if you don’t “fuel” your body correctly you will never attain your fitness potential.
I am not on a quest to make everyone vegan. I just want people to understand how easy it is to live a healthier life by paying closer attention to the nutrition:fitness connection. You can adopt some vegan/raw food habits without being a vegan and still make tremendous progress in your overall level of fitness for life.
Question #2: What one message do you want to share with the people of this world that is crucial for their ultimate well-being and longevity?
Remove processed foods and foods containing added sugar. Once you allow your taste buds to reawaken, your cravings become focused on whole foods and without realizing it, those foods will become your “comfort” foods. Your body now does not have to expend its resources to work over-time to digest processed foods, to filter out the toxic preservatives and additives and those same resources can concentrate on fighting disease, environmental toxins, and other exposures we encounter daily or on a chronic basis at full capacity.
Question #3: Tell me more about your business/company and/or products you offer to the public to help them achieve optimal health and well-being?
All of our products are vegan/raw, gluten-free, preservative-free, and do not contain any added sugar. We developed different product varieties for different uses and purposes. We are known for our unique flavor combinations like Mango Raspberry with Basil Crackers or Beet Apple Crackers with Orange and Dill. In addition to the balance of whole foods used in our products we have added Superfoods to boost the overall nutritional profile like adding chlorella to our Green Crackers or maca, acai, and lucuma powder in our Granola Grub. Our fruit based crackers are soft and chewy with the intention that all ages can enjoy our no added sugar snacks not only because their flavor is the “bomb” but the soft texture is helpful for people who may have restrictions with hard, crunchy crackers including very young children (ages 3-5 years), middle school-aged kids that may be wearing braces on their teeth, and older adults who may be Type II diabetics and/or have sensitive teeth. Our Green Crackers for example serve not only as a Superfood cracker but also as a post-workout cracker with 4g of protein per serving.
Question #4: What are your hopes/aspirations/dreams for the future health of the people and the planet?
As people move away from processed foods and sugars and concentrate on a diet based on whole foods, mostly fruits and vegetables we will see a simultaneous enhancement of focus and energy towards work, school, creativity, fitness, and family. No artificial highs and lows from consumption of artificial foods and I believe a clearer, more calm, and productive society.
Question #5: Is there anything else you would like to share with the public?
Knowing you are doing the most you can do to care for and protect your body through careful consideration of every bite and every meal you consume is an experience that can only be described as pure bliss. Something so simple can be so satisfying and so beneficial.
Question #6: I know that there are variables as to how much food/calories each person consumes when eating raw vegan food (based on many lifestyle factors, etc), but is there a basic guideline you would recommend for everyone?
My guideline is I don’t count calories – instead I stay aware of balancing nutrients each meal and daily.
Dena told me that she offers the following discount if you are interested in purchasing by the case:
We offer a discounted price if customers want to purchase a case of product (12 bags or more) and we can mix and match products in the case. If customers want to take advantage of this they will have to email: firstname.lastname@example.org to place the order rather than go on the web site because we will be customizing the case to whatever products they choose. All the products are amazing. Even if you have never tried them, you will not be disappointed. Also, you can email dena and ask her what she recommends. She will not steer you wrong because she created the products!
To find out more about this “super” lady and her fabulous products, go to: http://www.denasfuelforfitness.com