Food has always played a special role in Navil Lorenzana’s life. “My family is huge, and we see each other all the time,” shares the Long Beach native, who is first-generation Mexican American. “Food is what brings us together.”
As a certified yoga instructor, health and wellness has long interested her deeply. “When I had my daughter, I was introduced to a dietitian who focused on educating lower-income populations. Immediately I became interested in the field of nutrition with a more academic approach and wanted to learn the science behind it.”
Navil left her career of teaching yoga and went back to school at California State University, Long Beach to pursue a science degree, earning a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics with a minor in food science. She is currently completing a supervised dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, as well as pursuing a master’s degree in Dietetic Administration.
Following her studies at CSULB, she became a dietary technician at a center for people with eating disorders. She volunteered at a housing development and taught a cooking class focused on using donated produce from local farmers markets around the Long Beach area. Navil also helps in a food pantry that gives food to patients living with HIV/AIDS.
“People think exterior appearances represent health and wellness. We are so often driven to how we look on the outside rather than how we feel on the inside.”
Today, as Terranea’s resident nutritionist, Navil is instrumental in menu development and planning. With the chefs, she creates balanced items that are not only delicious but also nourishing for resort guests. She offers nutrition education through a biweekly column that discusses various topics of general nutrition and wellness to better inform the Terranea staff.
But her role as nutritionist was not her first job at the resort. She initially came to Terranea as a bartender at catalina kitchen while completing her nutrition degree.
Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra later approached Navil about working within the culinary department as a nutritionist. She says, “I shared with him the things that I have encountered within my job as a dietary technician and volunteering in the community.”
Navil’s approach to nutrition at Terranea is “all foods fit,” believing this to be the key to overall health and wellness. Not a fan of “restrictive eating and yo-yo dieting,” she hopes to educate people to eat wholesome food and build awareness of what food means and what it does to the body on a cellular level.
“People think exterior appearances represent health and wellness,” she explains. “We are so often driven to how we look on the outside rather than how we feel on the inside. Health is achievable at any size.”
For those looking to make a change to their nutrition, she suggests keeping a three-day food diary and writing down everything you eat. Once the diary is complete, she recommends taking it to a dietitian and setting up a nutrition counseling session. She also advises cooking as often as possible and enjoying the food without regret or guilt.
Since beginning her new role at Terranea, Navil has contributed to the resort’s Chefs to End Hunger program, which donates excess, never-served food to the Midnight Mission in DTLA. She’s also a member of Terranea’s Green Team, a group that discuses and suggests innovative approaches to be more sustainable at work and in life. She’s known to give presentations on wellness topics to fellow resort employees during lunch breaks at Lunch and Learn, and she supported a fundraising event for a community garden called The Growing Experience in a lower-income area of Long Beach.
One of her proudest moments is helping open solviva, a healthy dining eatery adjacent to The Spa at Terranea. “It’s my favorite outlet, as it is where I work most of the time,” she says. “The food is just perfect for me. It makes me happy to see chef de cuisine RJ Dela Merced’s creations come alive and nourish the body and soul. We crafted our menu with wellness in mind. That diet mentality is what we want to get away from.”
Navil relishes working in a place where innovation, drive and creativity run through the veins of her colleagues. “We are expected to do things with passion and inspiration, and I get to do that every day within my department,” she says. “I believe that feeding people is a very noble and selfless act. Being in food service in combination with nutrition is very fulfilling for me.”
To experience Terranea’s dining outlets and learn more about Terranea’s culinary offerings, please call 855-416-3928.
100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes | terranea.com