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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Tossing Wellness In A Bowl

A year ago, Brian Keala Benz was faced with health challenges that caused him to evaluate his life – specifically his happiness, health and decreasing his stress. Brian is the CEO of Team Clean and has led the locally owned professional cleaning company since 2006. He decided that major changes were in order.

First, Benz joined the Wellness Program at Castle Medical Center, and was partnered with a wellness team that included medical specialists who helped him to make lifestyle changes through healthy diet and exercise.

Through this program he lost more than 100 pounds and rid himself of health issues that included diabetes and high blood pressure. With the help of nutritionists and classes, Benz made healthier food choices. He stopped eating foods high in saturated fat. He stopped drinking sodas and drinks with high sugar content. He increased the number of times he ate per day. Plus, he significantly decreased the amount of food he ate.

According to Benz, these changes would not have been possible without the support of his ohana, the “wonder twins” Tia and Uelani, for exercising with him every single day, and the medical team at the Castle Wellness Center Wellness Program led by Dr. Fowler. Benz is equally thankful to his colleagues at Team Clean, who supported him without fail.

Today, Benz is running Team Clean with a newfound sense of overall well-being. He’s proud that Team Clean is the only company in the state of Hawaii to be Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and CIMS-Green Building certified. Benz also shared that it is fortunate to be a service provider to the Aulani, a Disney Resort. He also is proud of its partnership with the Oahu Worklinks and McKinley School for Adults, where they teach individuals transferable skills to successfully enter the work force.

Benz was happy to share a newly discovered salad recipe from the Food Network. According to him, “Life is much like a good and healthy salad – you put a variety of flavorful healthy things together and they marinate with each other. Not only is it great together, it works to improve your well-being!”

APPLE, PEAR AND WALNUT SALAD

* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 2 1/2 tablespoonsorange juice
* zest of 1 orange
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 4 apples, preferably use two or three different kinds
* 2 pears, preferably red and green
* 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, orange juice, zest and raisins. Core and cube apples and pears. Add fruit and walnuts to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Makes six servings.

*Recipe from Sunny Anderson of the Food Network

Diana Helfand is the author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking.” heartychef@hotmail.com.

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