Sandeep Rajbhandari



Body composition is a term used to describe the amount of fat and muscle in the body. While many people focus on losing weight, changing body composition is more important for achieving optimal health. The benefits of a healthy body composition include improved energy levels, better metabolism, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. In this post, we will explore why changing body composition is important and how exercise and diet can help you achieve your goals.

Why Changing Body Composition Is Important:

Changing your body composition is important for several reasons. Firstly, it can help improve your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. When you have a higher muscle mass, your metabolism is faster, which means you burn more calories even when you’re at rest. This can be particularly helpful for weight loss and weight management.

Secondly, a healthy body composition can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Excess body fat is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. By reducing your body fat percentage and increasing your muscle mass, you can lower your risk of developing these conditions.

Furthermore, a healthy body composition can improve your physical performance and overall quality of life. When you have a healthy body composition, you have more energy, better sleep quality, and improved physical performance. This can make it easier to perform everyday tasks, participate in physical activity, and enjoy your favorite hobbies and activities. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that elderly individuals with a higher muscle mass had a lower risk of falling, greater mobility, and better quality of life.

How Exercise Helps:

Exercise is a critical component of changing your body composition. Specifically, resistance training, such as weightlifting, is the most effective way to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. When you lift weights, you create small tears in your muscle fibers. Your body then repairs these tears, making your muscles stronger and larger. Over time, this process leads to an increase in muscle mass and a reduction in body fat.

In addition to weightlifting, cardiovascular exercise can also be helpful for changing body composition. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling, can help you burn calories and reduce body fat. However, it’s important to note that cardiovascular exercise alone is not as effective as resistance training for changing body composition.

How Diet Helps:

Diet is also an important component of changing your body composition. To increase muscle mass, you need to consume enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, so it’s important to eat enough to support muscle growth. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

In addition to protein, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods provide the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to support muscle growth and overall health.

Feeling Better:

In addition to the physical benefits, changing your body composition can also have a positive impact on your mental health. People who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body composition tend to feel more confident, have higher self-esteem, and experience less stress and anxiety.

In fact, a study conducted by the University of Basel found that regular physical activity can be just as effective as medication in treating depression. This is likely due to the release of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that help reduce pain and improve mood.


Changing your body composition is important for achieving optimal health and wellbeing. By increasing your muscle mass and reducing your body fat percentage, you can improve your metabolism, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and improve your overall quality of life. Exercise and diet are both critical components of changing body composition.

Exercise and cognitive performance

Cognitive performance refers to our ability to learn, think, reason, and remember. It is a critical aspect of our daily lives, and any decline in cognitive function can significantly impact our quality of life. Fortunately, exercise can help to maintain and even improve cognitive performance.

Research has shown that regular exercise is associated with better cognitive performance in various domains, including attention, memory, and executive function (Colcombe & Kramer, 2003; Hillman, Erickson, & Kramer, 2008). One study found that older adults who engaged in regular aerobic exercise for six months improved their spatial memory and increased the size of their hippocampus, a brain region critical for memory (Erickson et al., 2011). Additionally, another study found that a single session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise improved working memory performance in young adults (Pontifex et al., 2019).

The mechanisms behind exercise’s positive impact on cognitive performance are not fully understood. However, it is believed that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which provides the brain with more oxygen and nutrients. Exercise also promotes the production of growth factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps to support the growth and survival of neurons and synapses (Voss et al., 2013).

Exercise and mental health

Mental health is another critical aspect of our overall well-being, and exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on various mental health outcomes, including depression and anxiety.

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Research has shown that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression, with some studies suggesting that exercise may be as effective as antidepressant medication (Blumenthal et al., 2007). Additionally, exercise has been shown to be beneficial for reducing anxiety symptoms, with one study finding that a single session of moderate-intensity exercise reduced anxiety in young adults (Leppo et al., 2018).

The mechanisms behind exercise’s positive impact on mental health are also not fully understood. However, it is believed that exercise may increase the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of pleasure and well-being. Exercise may also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which have been linked to depression and anxiety (Dunlop & Talbot, 2017).

Exercise and brain structure

Exercise not only impacts cognitive performance and mental health but also has a positive impact on brain structure. In particular, research has shown that exercise can increase the size of certain brain regions and improve white matter integrity.

One study found that older adults who engaged in regular aerobic exercise for six months increased the size of their hippocampus, a brain region critical for memory, by 2% (Erickson et al., 2011). Additionally, another study found that older adults who engaged in resistance training had increased gray matter volume in regions of the brain associated with executive function (Cassilhas et al., 2016).

Exercise has also been shown to improve white matter integrity, which is critical for the efficient transmission of neural signals throughout the brain. One study found that older adults who engaged in regular aerobic exercise for six months had increased white matter integrity in regions of the brain associated with attention and memory (Voss et al., 2013).


In conclusion, exercise is not only important for physical health but also has a positive impact on brain health, including cognitive performance, mental health, and brain structure. Regular exercise has been shown to improve attention, memory, and executive function, as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise can also increase the size of certain brain regions, such as the hippocampus, and improve white matter integrity.

While the mechanisms behind exercise’s positive impact on brain health are not fully understood, it is believed that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, promotes the production of growth factors, such as BDNF, and may increase the production of endorphins. Exercise may also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which have been linked to depression and anxiety.

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can have significant benefits for your overall health, including your brain health. Even small amounts of exercise, such as a 30-minute walk, can make a difference. So, whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga class, or weightlifting, find an exercise that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine.


Blumenthal, J. A., Babyak, M. A., Doraiswamy, P. M., Watkins, L., Hoffman, B. M., Barbour, K. A., … & Sherwood, A. (2007). Exercise and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Psychosomatic medicine, 69(7), 587-596.

Cassilhas, R. C., Lee, K. S., Fernandes, J., Oliveira, M. G., Tufik, S., Meeusen, R., & de Mello, M. T. (2016). Resistance exercise improves hippocampus-dependent memory. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 49(10), e5312.

Colcombe, S. J., & Kramer, A. F. (2003). Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults: a meta-analytic study. Psychological science, 14(2), 125-130.

Dunlop, B. W., & Talbot, L. S. (2017). Stress and Inflammation: The Role of Exercise. In The Oxford Handbook of Stress and Mental Health (pp. 1-12). Oxford University Press.

Erickson, K. I., Voss, M. W., Prakash, R. S., Basak, C., Szabo, A., Chaddock, L., … & Kramer, A. F. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 3017-3022.

Hillman, C. H., Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 58-65.

Leppo, M. L., Leicht, J. D., & Hirth, V. A. (2018). Acute effects of aerobic exercise on anxiety reduction in young adults. American Journal of Health Education, 49(2), 78-84.

Pontifex, M. B., Saliba, B. J., Raine, L. B., Picchietti, D. L., Hillman, C. H., & Johnson, C. R. (2019). Exercise improves behavioral, neurocognitive, and scholastic performance in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of pediatric psychology, 44(3), 340-354.

Voss, M. W., Heo, S., Prakash, R. S., vanPatter, M., Erickson, K. I., Alves, H., … & Kramer, A. F. (2013). The influence of aerobic fitness on cerebral white matter integrity and cognitive function in older adults: results of a one

We are constantly exposed to germs like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and toxins that can cause diseases and infections. With an ongoing pandemic, the risk is even higher and the focus to stay healthy and reduce our chances of getting sick has never been more important. Luckily for us, nature has equipped our bodies with natural defense mechanisms that normally kick in to protect us in the event that one of these pathogens attack us. Our immune system, though strong and capable of handling a lot of foreign invaders, works best when it’s boosted naturally with the right minerals and vitamins often found in our foods. Since all foods are not created equal, certain foods are considered superfoods because even in small portions, they contain just the right amount of nutrients and vitamins to boost our immune system naturally.  Here are seven superfoods that you should consider adding to your list of immune-boosting foods: 

1.   Fish

Easy ready to enjoy meals

Fish, including salmon is delicious, light, and a great source for healthy protein. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids which is one of the most scientifically-studied nutrients that has so many benefits for our body. Fish has not only been shown to only boost our immune system but can also improve sleep, help fight anxiety and depression, promote a healthy heart, improve eye health, prevent certain cancers, improve bone and joint health, and nourish our skin. Most fish have a ton of omega-3 but if you’re trying to get the best for your buck, then salmon should top your list of foods high in omega-3. 

2.   Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are not only low in calories and high on fiber, they are also rich in vitamins and nutrients that play a critical role in keeping our immune system functioning at a higher capacity. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, arugula, and turnip contain minerals that are great for improving our cognition, preventing certain cancers, reducing our risk of heart disease, reducing stress, preventing abnormalities in developing babies, and reducing inflammation to boost our immunity. Spinach for instance packs a lot of antioxidants that boost our immune system to help our body fight germs and other opportunistic infections. It is also high in vitamin C, a vitamin that is essential in boosting our immunity and reducing the risk of infection from cold and related viruses.

All leafy and colorful vegetables to your diet for numerous benefits

3.   Yogurt

You may already know that yogurt is packed with the right nutrients for our body. Look for yogurts with live and active cultures when possible as these cultures can help keep your body balanced to improve immunity and reduce risk of infections. Yogurt also has a lot of vitamin D which is not only great for bone health but is also good for improving our immune system. According to the National Institute of Health, low levels of vitamin D is a risk factor for increased infections with viruses such as cold and flu. So, add yogurt to your daily diet to boost your immune system especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu months.

4.   Nuts

Nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts contain a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant which has been shown to significantly improve and boost our immune system. Since vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps our body get rid of toxic byproducts of our metabolism, a good healthy serving of nuts rich in vitamin E can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and certain cancers, as well as improve and slow down the aging process. Vitamin E also enhances our body’s defense mechanisms, boosting our immune system to protect us from several infectious diseases like cold, pneumonia, flu, and related viruses. 

5.   Green Cruciferous Veggies

Green cruciferous veggies like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and Bok choy are rich in fiber, but are also packed with vitamin A, C, E and many other essential nutrients like zinc and selenium that have been scientifically proven to boost our immune system and protect us from harmful germs and pathogens. If you have to have one superfood in your daily diet, consider making broccoli your food of choice. Broccoli is so powerful that just half a cup of steamed broccoli provides almost 85% of our reference daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, a vitamin well-known for boosting our immunity. 

6.   Berries

Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, grapes and acai berries are colorful, sweet, and sometimes sour. However, the benefits of berries go beyond their great taste and eye appeal because they are nutritionally dense and contain extremely powerful nutrients like fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and several many antioxidants. Aside from their proven role in boosting our immune system due to their high content of antioxidants, berries also improve our heart health,  reduce cholesterol, maintain our weight, and prevent diabetes amongst many other benefits. 

Try our organic strawberry chia pudding with added fruits!

7.   Whole Grains (Quinoa, Brown Rice, Oatmeal)

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain oatmeal are rich in fiber, vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. They are known to lower the risk for diabetes, reduce the risk for certain cancers, support a healthy heart, and support healthy digestion. Since whole grains contain a good mix of antioxidant, vitamins, and minerals including zinc, iron, and the B vitamins, they play a major role as immune boosters to improve our immune system and reduce our risks of getting infections. Celiac patients and those with gluten sensitivity should continue to avoid whole grain but try other superfood options where possible. 

There are many superfoods that can boost and improve our immune system and adding these seven food types to your diet, when possible, can go a long way with helping your overall well-being while keeping you safer and healthier. 

1992 – As a 6 year-old kid growing up in Nepal, I  contracted a disease called Neuro-cysticercosis. 

Don’t worry this isn’t my brain, this is just an example of a brain with the disease

Neuro-cysticercosis is literally worms in the brain.

Cysticercosis is a tissue infection caused by a young form of tape worm cyst caused by ingesting undercooked pork. Neurocysticercosis affects the brain.

During a gathering at home, I unknowingly ate some undercooked barbecued pork that was contaminated with a tape worm cyst.  

I was a normal, fun-loving boy, who always had a smile on his face. Out of nowhere, I turned gravely ill in a matter of days. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, and extreme fatigue. The worst symptom of all, however, were the periodic epilepsy-like seizures. During an episode, my hands would convulse and shake violently until someone held me down. All I could do was cry in anguish and even at that age, I remember thinking that that was the end of me.

This was me before getting sick

Within a few days of my symptoms manifesting, the doctors determined that it would be best if I was taken to Thailand for treatment because they just did not have the medical services in Nepal to treat my condition. Fortunately, my dad had the resources to take me out of the country to get treated immediately. 

This was me when I got sick

I was admitted in a Bangkok hospital for what felt like months. My parents were worried sick and to this day, my mom still tells me how my dad’s hair turned white overnight because of how anxious he felt while we were there. I remember nurses and doctors visiting my hospital room every morning to draw blood or to inject me with some medication. EKGs were a usual thing and I  had become accustomed to living in the hospital. I also remember they performed a lumbar puncture procedure, the pain from which, I will never forget.

My prescription drugs included heavy doses of anti-psychotic drugs that were used to prevent seizures. Those drugs treat you by altering how the chemistry of your brain works. It took a while for the medicine to start working and as part of my prescription routine, I took those drugs for over 3 years.

Eventually, after what seemed like a lifetime of suffering, the combination of medical procedures and strong drugs started working. I started getting better. We visited hospitals in Thailand for follow-ups once a  year for over 5 years. Over time, the seizures stopped and I was eventually cured. 

As expected, the drugs I took for so many years had side-effects. While on them, my mind was cloudy and was confused most the time. Even though my parents put me back in school for some sense of normalcy, I would spend most of my days day-dreaming. All I wanted to do was sleep and eat, and to no one’s surprise, I ended up putting on a lot of weight. As the years went on and I eventually cycled out of all the drugs, I had gone from a scrawny little kid to an obese adolescent.

Unfortunately, because of that, I struggled with weight management most of life. It felt like I had given up one fight for another. Often taunted and teased at school, I became determined to find a way to get my health under control. At the time, there was not a lot of information on weight management and dieting. There was, as it is now, a lot of conflicting information of what was healthy and what was not. Out of worry for my health, my dad often forced me to drink water before a meal and eat less. This made me develop a bad relationship with food. I tried everything from crash dieting, liquid dieting, Atkins, and a lot more during my teen years. Trying many diets and falling off of them throughout the years caused my body weight to constantly fluctuate without achieving long terms success, which further ruined my relationship with food. Needless to say it wasn’t healthy.

2006 – The 19 year-old me moved to California to pursue a degree in Business. By that time, access to the internet and information on diet and exercise methodologies had become much more accessible. After researching many topics online, I got into working out and meal-prepping to manage my health. I became particularly enthralled by how bodybuilders used diet methodologies to control their body composition. I made great strides, lost 40 lbs, and to became the healthiest version of myself. 

I was still struggling to maintain that lifestyle though. As a broke college student, I wished there was a way for me to stay healthy without having to put in so much money, time and effort. Naturally, because of what I had been through all my life I was determined to stay healthy and aspired to help others like me someday.

At the time, the concept of meal-prepping healthy meals had started gaining popularity but no one thought of it as a viable business model.

2011-2013 –  Fresh out of college, I worked a corporate job in accounting and finance. I also realized how hard it was to stay healthy while working a 9-5 job. Corporate America is addicted to sugar, coffee, and carbs. A lot of carbs. I found it increasingly difficult to manage a healthy lifestyle and have good work-life balance. The struggles with my weight and health continued. 

Until this time, I didn’t realize I had become the cliché example of a person who would try a new diet every year, who was stuck in this vicious cycle of trying and failing every few years. I would try something new, get results, and then gain all the weight back once I stopped doing what I did to gain those results.  

What I learned about living healthy – Every few years a different method gains popularity because it is what is sold. After many years of trying different diets, failing, and still struggling with my relationship with food, I took some time to reflect on my journey and listened to industry professionals who weren’t peddling any diets or products. 

Here is the best advice I ever got on food and diet – The best diet is the one that you can stick to forever. Of course, most diets work, but you can’t stick to one forever. Caloric restriction is the only thing that all diets have in common, so instead of looking at certain diets as an all encompassing solution, you have to change your perspective and look at them as tools you can use to achieve a specific goal. That’s all. This simple advice really changed the way I looked at food and helped me tremendously. 

2014 – The birth of Local Foodz-It started with a conversation between two of my close friends (who are now co-founders of Local Foodz) that led to an epiphany. I was complaining about the state of my unhealthy lifestyle and about not being able to get my meal-prepping done before my week started, when one of them said, “imagine how many people have the same problem.” That instant, we realized that it was a universal problem. Immediately following the conversation, we decided that starting a “meal prep” company was an idea we wanted to pursue. The idea aligned perfectly with our personal goals. It not only worked as a business model, it helped people achieve their health and fitness goals, something I was really passionate about. Our conviction about the business idea was further strengthened by the strong response we got from a local fitness industry professional who immediately referred people our way. We earned our first customers even before we officially started the business. Further still, my partners and I had the complimentary skill-set to get this project off the ground. Now, we’re on our 5th year of operations.

Before Local Foodz, I just wasn’t passionate and driven about what I was doing. I always felt something missing. That was, as I would later come to realize, a sense of purpose.

It felt like the stars aligned the day we started Local Foodz. Everything that I’d been through all my life culminated in that one moment and I realized that I found my purpose. In that moment, I realized that everything I had been through was so that I could use what I had learned, professionally and otherwise,  to build something that would help people become healthier in every way. After all, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. It’s a worthy cause. 

Looking back, I can’t imagine where I would be now if I never went through what I did. I am very passionate about what I do at Local Foodz because what I went through. In a way, the disease, the suffering, and the challenges all helped me determine what my purpose is today. If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably still be pushing paper somewhere.