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By Jennifer Stahl
When Shayla-Vie Jenkins steps on stage, she stops you cold. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company star has a strong presence that never fades or tapers off. How does she fuel herself to maintain that level of energy? Dance Magazine followed her through a typical rehearsal day to get the inside scoop on everything she eats. She may be a big fan of quinoa and kale, but she never says no to a burger when the craving hits.
Wake-up with: Hot tea with turmeric powder, fresh ginger, cardamom, lemon and agave.
Breakfast before class: Irish steel-cut oatmeal made with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, plus frozen blueberries, a spoonful of peanut butter, prunes, apples
and agave, topped off with two spoonfuls of FAGE Greek yogurt. A glass of water.
After-class snack at noon: Smoothie (pre-made at home) with aloe vera juice, pomegranate juice, almond milk, blueberries, prunes, banana, kale and Green Vibrance powder containing spirulina.
Lunch at 2:15 pm: Small bowl of homemade red quinoa cooked in vegetable broth with a five-spice powder, plus carrots and lacinato kale with ginger and shallots stir-fried in toasted sesame oil, seasoned with Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce. A glass of water.
5 pm break: One apple.
Dinner: Other half of the quinoa and kale dish, plus stir-fried firm tofu on top. A bottle of kombucha.
“At meditation retreats, I’ve learned to chew my food until it’s very fine, almost a liquid. That way you eat until you feel full, but not lethargic.”
“Your stomach is about the size of your two hands together, so I try to not eat more than what I could fit in my palms.”
“I’m not a vegetarian, but I only eat meat about twice a week. Usually beef pho at my favorite place in Chinatown. Or a really yummy, organic grass-fed burger.”
“My stomach is sometimes too sensitive to digest cold food in the morning. Growing up in New Jersey, my father always made us hot cereal like oatmeal in the winter. Now, I sometimes make bean soups with vegetables for breakfast. By having a savory meal in the morning, you don’t get the up-and-down energy crash from sugar.”
“I love espresso, shortbread cookies and licorice—the Panda Licorice brand, either the original or the raspberry flavor. And I have them whenever I want it. I just try not to eat the whole box.”
What’s inside Jenkins’ ingredients?
Turmeric: Used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory
Ginger: Has been shown to reduce muscle soreness
Agave: This natural sweetener won’t raise your blood glucose as much as white sugar. Plus, it contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
Blueberries: Offer more antioxidants per serving than any other fruit
Peanut butter: The mix of fiber (2 grams per serving) and protein (8 grams per serving) fills you up and helps you stay that way.
Greek yogurt: With 18 grams of protein and 20 percent of your daily calcium, a 7-ounce serving of FAGE helps strengthen both muscles and bones.
Kale: Although it’s mostly known for regulating digestion, kale is also good brain food, since it’s packed with vitamins C and A, folate and calcium (for only 33 calories a cup).
Spirulina: Some studies suggest it might boost the immune system.
Red quinoa: A complete protein, quinoa is also a good source of manganese, which is essential for healing injuries and building bones.
Kombucha: If brewed correctly, this drink contains live bacteria, which might aid digestion and support the immune system.