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By Gina Cousineau and Samantha Blankenburg

Gina Cousineau, a culinary nutritionist, and Samantha Blankenburg, a fitness expert, are new columnists for San Clemente Times with their column, “Get Fit San Clemente.” Photo: Courtesy

Hi, readers, Mama G here, your culinary nutritionist, along with Samantha B, your fitness expert, combining our more than 40 years of experience with the goal of helping you move toward a healthier lifestyle by incorporating wholesome food and calculated movement. Due to the convenience of highly processed foods paired with the fast pace of life, desire for instantaneous gratification, and lack of movement, we sit in an obesity pandemic worldwide. Lifestyle diseases including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer are driving this health crisis. Add in the plethora of information on the internet that claims to have your best interests in mind, it is no wonder we are confused with what healthy actually means. Understanding the how and why in your quest to get healthy, and get over the get-skinny mentality, is how we can reduce our risk of the very lifestyle diseases that are predicted to shorten the lives our of children. If that doesn’t motivate you to make change, nothing will.

Samantha Blankenburg is originally from the beautiful state of Maine. Samm, pregnant with her second daughter, resides in Rancho Mission Viejo along with her husband and toddler.  An athlete from the age of 3, Samantha B pursued her undergraduate studies in Sports Medicine with a focus in athletic training. Her education and experiences have allowed her to develop versatile training skills not only for strength training and performance, but for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Raising four student-athletes in San Clemente with my husband of 35 years, it was important to us to role model the very behaviors we hoped to instill in our kids. As a trained chef and fitness professional with my undergrad degree in dietetics, and now in my final semester of my Master’s program in integrative and functional nutrition, I have dedicated my life to wellness. Helping merge nutritious and delicious food, with the concept of bringing the family back around the kitchen table, is paramount to my approach.

In this monthly column, we intend to educate and empower you with information based on science and evidence. We encourage you to submit your questions regarding the latest fads, trends, pills, and potions, or topics of interest with regard to improving your health.

Baby steps toward a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Nutrition: consume more fruits and vegetables, less packaged/processed foods.
  2. Physical activity: Provide opportunities daily for the entire family to move. Walk the dog, take a hike, play at the beach, or explore a new park.
  3. Sleep: Get into a good sleep routine that works for your family, such as bath, brush, book, bed.
  4. Screen time: Put phones away for meal time; use this time to share your day. Avoid using electronics an hour before bedtime; set screen time limits for the entire family.
  5. Role modeling these healthy behaviors on a daily basis will also help the entire family reduce stress. Practice the very behaviors you would like to see in your children, regardless of their age.

Gina Cousineau runs Mama G’s Lifestyle and can be reached at Samantha Blankenburg runs Everyday Athlete LLC and
can be reached at Both businesses are based in San Clemente. The duo also have a new podcast, “Calling Their Bull,”   with information about the two of them found on their joint website. Your comments and questions are welcomed.


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About The Author Staff

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