Cultura Ambassador – UNAS United Interview Tips


We are delighted to present this great video from three of our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors, Arlene Mendoza, Claudia Hernandez and Janeth Larios Medina, founders of UNAS United. We love the way they took an instructional video and provided great tips while making it entertaining and humorous. Thanks for putting this together for our “Chicas” who are looking to make a move!

Share your thoughts on these tips with us!

Best. Christmas. Ever


This Christmas season there are an endless number of options when it comes to gifts for children. Trinkets and toys and video games galore practically jump off the shelves at eager parents who want to give their kids a Christmas morning to remember. Memorable moments, after all, are what the holidays are all about! Keeping that in mind, think back to when you were a child and some of the most memorable gifts your parents gave to you. For many people a bright, shiny bicycle is the very first thing that comes to mind.

Kids today are not so different. Yes they all have iPhones and somehow know how to use them better than us adults, but the thrill of a bicycle ride is still universal. Riding a two-wheeler for the first time is still a right of passage. In the day and age of less recess and more TV it is necessary to give children gifts that stimulate them mentally and challenge them physically to keep them healthy and active as they grow into teens and adults. Biking is like candy- flavored broccoli: it’s so deliciously fun that kids of all ages won’t even notice how good it is for them! Consider this…

  • Girls who walk or bike to school perform better on tests.1
  • Physically fit elementary and middle school students have better math and reading scores than their less- 
active peers.2
  • Overweight adolescents who participate in biking 3 to 4 days per week are 85% more likely to become 
healthy-weight adults.3 
A gift of a bicycle is a promise of exciting activity that gives back for a lifetime. Spanish cyclist Alejandro “El Imbatido” Valverde (nicknamed for his 50-victory winning streak between the age of 11 to 14 and currently ranked #1 in the world) received his first bicycle at the tender age of six from his father. Your little ones may not grow up to be world champions – or maybe they will – but they’ll certainly benefit from the freedom and physical activity that they get with their new set of wheels. For a guide to choosing the right bike for your child’s stage of development download the Silicon Valley Bikes app and visit the “Families” section. Happy trails.

My City Bikes is the national public health campaign for beginner cyclists to benefit communities across the United States by providing a simple mobile resource to inspire and facilitate cycling. Whether for fun, fitness or transportation, My City Bikes is a definitive guide to cycling opportunities in communities nation-wide. My City Bikes along with its network of beginner- friendly bike shops and local municipal governments are bringing beginner biking resources to home towns across the United States to empower individuals to improve their health by simply pedaling a bike. Visit



1 Martinez-Gomez, D., et al., 2010 – Active commuting to school and positive cognitive performance in adolescents: The AVENA study, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

2 New York City Department of Health, 2009 – in “Study shows obese children perform poorer than fit children in school,” Y. Gonan, New York Post, July 14, 2009

3 Menschik, D., et al., 2008 – Adolescent physical activities as predictors of young adult weight, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162, 23-28

My City Bikes | | | 888-665-5055 ext. 237



Biking Cuts Down Holiday Weight Gain, Keeps Family Time by My City Bikes


During the holiday craze its important to stay connected with friends and family in meaningful ways. Going for a bike ride lets you unplug and spend quality time together while being active.

Studies show that on average Americans gain between one and five pounds over the holidays. Cycling at a leisurely pace of 10 to 12 mph burns about 40 calories per mile. Its easy on the joints and can be done almost anywhere. Biking is a family friendly activity that just about anyone can do which helps counteract the negative effects of the season’s indulgent meals. Consider skipping one holiday feast this year and going for a family bike ride instead. Check the Silicon Valley Bikes app to find local beginner-friendly trails in the “Recreation and Touring” section, and go for a ride.

My City Bikes is a public health project to benefit communities across the United States by providing a simple mobile resource to inspire and facilitate cycling. Whether for fun, fitness or transportation, My City Bikes is a definitive guide to cycling opportunities in communities nation-wide. My City Bikes along with its network of beginner-friendly bike shops and local municipal governments are bringing beginner biking resources to home towns across the United States to empower individuals to improve their health by simply pedaling a bike. Visit


Tell us how you spend quality time being active with your family.  Happy Holidays!

Do you want to feel better and be more in control of your life in 2014?

Most of us are very busy with work, family, friends and more…leaving little time for ourselves or anything else.

However, let’s face it; without your health, you cannot be the best mother/father, best brother/sister, best friend, and the best boss/manager/employee you can be.

In focusing on your health for the New Year – many people think that it is the time to start dieting.   However, dieting is not the way to go.  Our bodies do not respond well to cycles of extreme dieting, missing meals, binge over-eating and restricting.  Those practices are the fastest ways to hurt and damage your metabolism.

Hold on tight and keep reading to learn simple, practical and sustainable lifestyle practices to boost your wellness, lose weight, manage weight loss, and to help you prevent and control diseases.


  • Write down what you eat in a notepad, a diary, or keep track in a phone application. Examples of popular phone apps are: “MyFitnessPal,” “Lose It!,” and “FatSecret.” Research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and from Kaiser Permanente show that people who track what they eat or keep a food diary are more successful at losing weight and even tend to lose twice as much weight as those who do not. 
  • Cook twice as much for dinner so you have lunch for tomorrow or dinner for another day.  Also, take an hour or two on Sundays to plan and prepare meals for the week.  This tip is a definite game changer in making eating healthy the easy choice for you!
  • Cut fruits and vegetables the night before to have them ready for you to enjoy when you are looking for a snack.
  • It is okay to have a slip-up.  Slips are normal in any kind of lifestyle change.  Do not let a slip up make you say, “I messed up so the whole day is ruined. I can eat whatever I want now.”  Keep trying, be patient and do not be hard on yourself.  Lifestyle changes take time.  In order to make these changes permanent, it is important that you do not let one slip up bring you down.
  • If you are going out for dinner – check the menu ahead of time and go in with a plan – or – share an entrée with someone and each order an individual garden salad or vegetable broth soup on the side.
  • When serving yourself at home, at a work potluck or at a family party – start by serving half of your plate with a garden salad or green, non-starchy vegetables (ie. broccoli, asparagus & green beans).  Next, serve your plate with lean protein (ie. skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey breast, lean pork loin, lean cuts of beef and fish).  Lastly, fill in the rest of your plate with smaller portions of other sides.  Do not deprive yourself; just have less/smaller portions of high sugary and highly processed foods and have them in moderation.
  • Practice mindful eating.  Chew slowly, eat slowly, put your fork down once in a while and enjoy every bite.  Most people are used to eating so fast that when people gulp down their food, they can eat very fast and not feel full.  As you regularly practice mindful eating, you will realize that you do not need as much food and it will also help you have a better relationship with food.
  • Learn to manage stress.  Stress is the perception that we do not have power.  In fact, you do have power.  The power is in how you respond to your stress.  Step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “Am I really in danger?”  Then evaluate ways to problem solve and find ways that help you relax (ie. take deep breaths, go for a walk, go to the gym, take a yoga class, go on a hike, read a novel, de-clutter your home/room, etc.).
  • Get regular physical activity.  This is one of the keys to losing weight, having more energy, maintaining weight loss and in helping you to prevent disease.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, activity that gets your heart rate up to better your health and to help prevent or control diseases; such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and cancer. 

Latinos tend to have a higher prevalence of and are at a high risk of the above listed diseases.

Stay active – every step counts!

  • Get a good night’s sleep.  Getting a good night’s sleep affects every aspect of your health.  Not sleeping enough hours can affect weight management, can weaken your immune system and can disrupt your hormones, which regulate stress and hunger.
  • Slow down.  Slowing down can do wonders for you.  Consider declining to attend a holiday party or two if you feel overcommitted.  It is okay to say no to a social event – having time to yourself is very important; it will help you de-stress and recharge.

Try adopting one, a few, or even all of these lifestyle practices – what do you have to lose?  Nothing.

You now have the knowledge and the power to help improve your health, feel better, have more energy and be more in-control of your life.

Remember…living a healthy, disease-free life is NOT a diet; it is a lifestyle.

Monica Mireles
Diabetes Prevention Program Supervisor
Trained Health Educator
Trained Life Coach
Multi-disciplinary degree in Public Health, Nutrition and Medical Anthropology

Set your fitness goals and enjoy the season!

By Alex Zuniga

As we enter the holiday season, many of us stress out about gaining excess weight. With all of the delicious meals and family gatherings filled with baked goods, how could one not be tempted? So why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year? Sure, you can always come up with an excuse not to exercise. But slacking off on your fitness program during the holidays will only leave you with more pounds — and more stress — come the New Year. However, there are many ways to beat the battle of the bulge and even improve your fitness level before the New Year rolls around. Fitness experts recognize that this time of year is difficult for many people trying to stick to an exercise program. c35

I know you are probably thinking- “yeah, yeah, here we go…another fitness article, ‘how to stay in shape during holiday season’.” You’re busy, you’re stressed, and it’s cold out. Well, I guarantee you that if you follow at least half of the following simple tips, you won’t gain any weight during this coming holiday season, and more importantly, if you follow all of the tips, you will lose at least one pound a week.

Drink Plenty Of Water: Many times we will overeat because we are dehydrated and thirsty. Therefore, make sure that your water intake is adequate. Besides, water also gives you a sense of fullness so if properly hydrated you will be consuming less food.

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: you are better off eating an extra cookie than consuming numerous cocktails. Excess alcohol just contributes too much to fat gain.

Don’t Keep “Danger” Foods Around: We all have some food that will trigger a binge, so try to keep these foods out of the house

When Short On Time, Emphasize The Weights Training Portion Of Your Workouts: Muscle aids in burning fat, and will help to fight off the extras that you normally don’t eat. If you are going to cut the workout short for the day, I would suggest hitting the weights first (always lift as heavy as you can), even at the expense of cardio. If this is the case, you can use supersets and giant sets to make your weight training workouts more aerobic in nature.

g21 Use kettlebells in your workouts: The results are amazing and it is quick calorie burn. A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that the average kettlebell workout burns 20 calories a minute; that’s 600 calories burned in 30 minutes. So, a half-hour kettlebell workout three times a week is going to produce really fantastic results!

Eat A Balance Of Macronutrients: Do not cut out any food groups as you will most likely be hungry and eat foods that your body doesn’t really need. If you are hungry, fill up on protein and veggies as protein increases your metabolism by up to 20% and veggies take more calories to digest than what they contain.

Use Moderation When Cheating On Your Diet: Allow yourself to indulge a little here and there, but limit your portions. Far too many of us think “Oh, it’s a holiday so I should eat as many treats as I can because once the holiday season is over, I can’t have treats anymore!” This is a huge misconception! Why not have a small taste of what you want, and enjoy the time with your family rather than a huge plate of food and a belly-ache. Cookies and pies are around 365 days a year, and with planned cheat meals you can enjoy them every week. So don’t make the holiday season a reason to ruin your hard earned results.

Brush Your Teeth Following A Meal: Sounds silly but who wants to eat after they have that minty fresh breath?

Decide today that you want to make the best out of this holiday season. Don’t wait until January 1st to set your New Year’s Resolution; set it today! You will start 2014 feeling great and you will be able to focus on different goals than 90 percent of the population. You only live once, so enjoy what you love in moderation. Make the holiday season about being with your loved ones rather than feeling guilty about having had too much to eat. Stay active, even if it is not your normal routine, and you will maintain or progress even during this time of year.

Set your goals and enjoy the season! ES_ALEX_HEADSHOT


Alex Zuniga is the founder/owner of Elite Spartans and began his life-long commitment to a lifestyle of fitness when he was six years old playing soccer in Mexico City. From that time on, fitness became an integral part of Alex’s development as an individual and proponent of the fitness industry.

To learn more about Elite Spartans go to

Photos courtesy of Elite Spartans.


Are You At Risk For Heart Disease?

By Monica Mireles

According to The American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease also called heart disease includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Cardiovascular disease and stroke ranks as the No. 1 killer in Latinos.

As a public health professional, I work within the community to promote health and wellness.  I encourage my clients to get involved with their health.  Getting involved with your health is as simple as knowing your family health history and knowing ways to prevent or reduce the risk of illness and disease.  This preventative approach will enable you to live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Let’s start by learning to understand how the heart works.  The heart is a hollow, muscular, cone-shaped organ, about the size of a fist that sends blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen.  Then it delivers oxygen to all the cells in the body.  The heart is located in the middle of the chest that is a part of a circulatory system that carries blood throughout the body.  Since the heart is such an important pump in your body, you want to keep it free from heart disease.  When the heart stops, life stops.  So when you take care of your heart, you take care of your life.

The risk factors for heart disease vary.  Some of the risk factors for heart disease, like age, family history, and gender, are things that you cannot change.  But the good news is that there are some risk factors that you can do something about.  They are, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, being overweight or obese, diabetes, physical inactivity, and smoking.

Take these steps to prevent heart disease:

Blood Pressure: Check your blood pressure at least every 2 years or more often if you have high blood pressure.  Choose and prepare foods with less salt and sodium.

Blood Cholesterol: Get your blood cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years if you are age 20 or older.  Choose foods that are lower in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol.

Overweight: Get your BMI and wait measured every year.  Aim for a healthy weight.  Try not to gain extra weight.  A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for a woman and more than 40 for a man increases the risk of heart disease.

Diabetes: Find out if you have diabetes.  Diabetes is serious.  You may not know you have it.  It can lead to heart attacks, blindness, amputations, kidney disease, and heart attacks.

Physical Activity: Stay active.  30 minutes a day is all it takes to reduce your risk of heart disease.  Try walking, running, dancing, and playing sports.

Smoking: Stop smoking now or cut back gradually.  Cigarette smoking is addictive.  It harms your heart and lungs.  It can raise your blood pressure and blood cholesterol and those of others around you.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what heart disease is and how you can make changes to reduce the risk of heart disease for you and your family.


Terhilda Garrido, VP of Health Information Technology at Kaiser Permanente

Terhilda Garrido shares 20 years of experience at Kaiser Permanente with Diana Estrada at the Women of ALPFA event.

Putting Your Health First

Latinos are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with obesity and diabetes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Being overweight and obese is when your weight is greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height.  Obesity has been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems, such as diabetes and hypertension. Diabetes is a disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. The consequences of diabetes are kidney disease and kidney failure, heart disease, loss of vision, nerve disorders and even death. Obesity and diabetes are striking an ever-growing number of adults and are now beginning to show up in our teenagers and children, especially in Latinos.

Studies indicate that, “Because of the growth in childhood obesity, it is projected that half of Latino newborns will develop diabetes in their lifetimes” (Narayan).

The good news is that you have the power to prevent obesity and diabetes. As a program coordinator for the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a national research study, I work with clients that are “pre-diabetic/borderline diabetic.”  DPP has found that participants who lost a modest amount of weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity sharply reduced their chances of developing diabetes.

Take these simple steps to put your health first in order to reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes:

 Keep your weight under control

Living a balanced lifestyle that involves healthy eating and physical activity will help you maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that if you lose 5-10 pounds you can prevent or even delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.  Being overweight or obese and being Latino are risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

 Physical Activity

Getting at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity will lower your risk of getting diabetes. Being physically active will help you manage your weight and lower your blood sugar.  The best way to ensure that you get an adequate amount of physical activity a week is to do something active that you enjoy.  A few examples of physical activity are: walking, dancing, bike riding, swimming, jogging, and participating in sports. Involve your family and friends to help them be healthy too.

 Eat Healthy

Healthy eating is a way of life.  Limit your trips to fast food restaurants and limit your intake of highly processed foods, while focusing on eating as close to nature as possible. This means replacing highly processed foods with more natural and whole foods, such as: fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, poultry and fish.

Stay away from smoking

Smoking will increase your risk of various diabetes complications, such as heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. In fact, smokers who have diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than are nonsmokers who have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Take steps today to make your health, and the health of your family a priority.

By Monica Mireles


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Narayan KMV, Boyle JP, Thompson TJ, Sorensen SW and Williamson DF (2003). Lifetime risk for diabetes mellitus in the United States. JAMA. 290(14):1884- 1890.

American Diabetes Association

2012 Timeless Hair Care

Hair Styles & Hair Products

“For more traditional styles, Oribe’s hair products are a must have,” suggests Gina Hidalgo of Faux Salon in Campbell.

Cuban hairstylist Oribe Canales went from successfully doing runways to celebrity hair; celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Lyfe Silva just to name a few. These products are available in your high end salons. Among his product line are the popular:

  • Superfine: Hair Spray – Tames wild hair with a medium hold
  • Crème for Style – Creates a foundation for hair styles and tames frizzy hair
  • Royal Blowout: Heat Styling Spray – Helps maintain big sexy hair
  • Volumista: Mist for Volume – Adds volume to hair, described to be “mane-plumping”

Men and women use these products daily for professional, playful, and glamorous hair styles.  Ask your stylist for Oribe to keep your hair looking gorgeous all day long.

Oribe Product Photos by Eydie Mendoza

2012 Hair Styles

Hair Styles & Hair Products

“The 80s and 90s are back,” says Gina Hidalgo of Faux Salon in Campbell, “… time for fun colors!”

The funky colors and styles have made their way back to the salons. Men and women are wearing blunt shaved to geometrical cuts with enhancing colors, including yellows, blues and reds.

Pomade is the product of choice to give hair the extra spike and “Great hold for Mohawks.”

Current hot pick is Fiber Grease from Tokyo but ask your hair specialist for what works best with your hair and style preference.

Fiber Grease photo by Eydie Mendoza