Why I Am NOT a Vegan

I’m a HUGE fan of eating tons and tons of vegetables, as well as other nutritious plant-based foods including fruits, nuts, seeds, and small amounts of legumes and whole grains. And most people ASSUME that being such a "health-freak" that I MUST be vegetarian.

But that’s not the case.

In my years as a health coach, I’ve learned (and keep proving, to myself and others) that no one diet works for everyone. We are all different, and while many people do best on vegan diets (the benefits are numerous!), many people do best with some animal protein.

But GOOD-QUALITY ANIMAL PROTEIN is one of those variables that I believe is not necessary for everyone, but in small amounts, can be HUGELY BENEFICIAL for many people.

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8 Tips for Relieving Headaches

Do you ever get bad headaches? Maybe you had too much wine last night? Maybe its “that time of the month” or you’re going through hormonal changes? Maybe you’re detoxing from sugar and coffee (or other addictions) and you’re feeling the effects with a pulsing headache? Maybe you’re not sure what it is, but come mid-afternoon, you get an annoying headache….?

Many of us are used to just popping a pill and praying it subsides. However, as most of you know, I’m no longer a fan of popping a pill because you’re not addressing the root cause and that headache will keep coming back. Plus, all pills have side-effects. Instead, I’d like to share with you some more natural tips when you’re suffering from headaches.

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5 Reasons Why I Eat Ginger Every Day (+ recipes)

Luckily for me, I naturally love spicy foods, and I’ve found that a lot of the spices/ herbs/ condiments that I love most are also awesome for my digestion. One of these miracle digestive spices is GINGER.

Ginger is a widely used condiment, that’s part of the same family as turmeric and cardamom, all of which are great for our health. And like turmeric (which most of you know is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent if you read my blogs), Ginger also anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to to tons of other benefits (beyond digestion!). 

Read below for 5 BENEFITS OF GINGER (as well as recipes and tips on how I use ginger in my daily diet).

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Healthy Guide to MANAGUA

Staying healthy everywhere you go is always a challenge, particularly in those cities where it’s still hard to find healthy food on-the-go. Even if you have the luxury of always eating at home and cooking your meals, finding a good variety of healthy ingredients is not always easy. Even more challenging is when we’re pressed for time, or have a lot of social events, and are forced to eat out a lot. Staying healthy and slim becomes extremely difficult.

So I’ve made it a point to explore every place around me that can help to keep my life a bit healthier! I now make a list of my go-to “healthy spots” in every city where I spend a lot of my time - including markets selling fresh organic produce, specialty health stores, restaurants serving good quality healthy items, and of course, places where I can go to burn it all off!

Today I want to share with you my healthy guide to MANAGUA – my new home town. Check out my list below, and feel free to comment/share!

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8 Tips For Reading Nutrition Labels

Nowadays (unfortunately), a large part of the food we purchase comes in packages, and truly understanding the labels on these packages is tricky for all of us.

And despite more widespread awareness on health and wellness, most people still don’t pay enough attention to nutrition labels as they should, or don’t really know how to properly ready/understand the labels, in order to make the healthiest decision about what to buy (and what to avoid).

Therefore, I’m laying out for you my BEST TIPS to keep in mind when you next go shopping. This will make your shopping for healthy foods (and losing weight) a lot easier!

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Balance with Mariana's Healthy City Guide: MADRID

Madrid is a city that in the past few years (especially the past 2!) has undergone a huge transformation in the world of health and wellness. While most traditional restaurants have a hard time offering many veggies (especially without ham!), I’m at least happy to see tons of vegan restaurants popping up, as well as health food markets, casual healthy restaurants that offer organic bites, superfoods and green juices, and of course, yoga studios. Since I always indulge in too much wine, dessert and seafood when visiting Madrid (!), these healthy spots become my little heavenly escape for the occasional healthy meal and workout to keep me balanced.

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My Beginner's Smoothie Guide - updated!

By popular demand from my readers, I wanted to share what I call my “beginner’s smoothie guide”.  I LOVE my morning smoothies (as all my ex-coworkers know very well and would make fun of me for!) because while they look green and weird, my recipes are actually delicious, and of course, they are the quickest way to get a nutritious breakfast that revs up my metabolism and leaves me satisfied for hours.  

I make sure to include a combination of organic greens, low-glycemic fruit, clean protein and healthy fats, so this way, my smoothies won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels the way most other quick breakfast options do, like cereal and even oatmeal (especially if it’s the quick oats you get on-the-go).  And of course, green smoothies are an easy way to get 1-2 servings of greens into your day!

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How (and Why) I Use Coconut Oil Every Day

Last week I wrote about why I still LOVE coconut oil despite the controversy on saturated fats. Today I wanted to share with you many of the fabulous ways that I use coconut oil.

Here are 14 ways in which I use coconut oil on a regular basis (7 in the kitchen and 7 in the bathroom & bedroom):

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Why I (Still) Love Coconut Oil

Most of you already know about my LOVE for Coconut Oil. And you know that most of my passions are for healthy things – or things that I find help ME be healthier and more balanced.

Today I want to share why I (still) love coconut oil (despite recent controversial articles), including 8 AMAZING BENEFITS that keep me motivated to use coconut oil every day!

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Want a Flat Belly? 5 Things to Avoid

In my 6 Secrets to a Flat Belly WEBINAR last week, I shared 6 of my best secret tips to a get and maintain a flat belly. But even applying those (effective & proven) habits aren’t enough if you don’t start by AVOIDING THE KEY TRIGGERS that are leading to those extra pounds around your midsection. I always believe in starting by finding the ROOT CAUSE behind your health issues. And in the case of excess belly fat and bloat, it’s usually centered around inflammation as well as sub-optimal digestion.

Here are the 5 key things to AVOID (that will address the likely root cause of your belly fat) and what to eat instead:

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Is Your Toothpaste Safe?

Did you know that your regular toothpaste may be doing more harm than good?

WATCH MY QUICK VIDEO to learn one surprising ingredient you should avoid in toothpaste, and get my easy HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE RECIPE. 

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COLLAGEN: Why You Need It & How to Get It

Have your heard about COLLAGEN? Maybe when you hear the word "collagen" you think about cosmetic procedures such as "collagen injections" or collagen boosting creams and such. But it's CRUCIAL to understand that collagen is so much more than that - it's everywhere in your body and it's essential to your health, for both your inner and outer beauty. And this applies to men, too!

Collagen is a super important protein in your body; it makes up about 75% of our skin composition, and 30% of our bodies overall. Unfortunately, we are losing our collagen every day - not only as we age, but also due to hormonal changes, processed foods, sugar and alcohol, hydrogenated oils, radiation, excess sun, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, stress, and more! And most of us are not getting enough collagen in our modern diets. Therefore, boosting your intake of collagen is ESSENTIAL, as is minimizing those factors that decrease our collagen!

Read more to learn BENEFITS of Collagen and HOW to increase your collagen.

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Easy & Delicious Homemade Granola

One of my goals has been to cut back on processed foods, in particular, those with a ton of sugar and unnecessary additives – such as cereals, bars and store-bough granola. Why? Because I’d say it’s the #1 factor hurting our digestive (and overall) health.

And while before, the thought of making my own “healthy treats” sounded way too time consuming and complicated, once I tried it, I realized how easy (and fun) it is. I make a large batch of my granola and/or my granola bars once every few weeks and freeze them, and that way I have a homemade sweet treat on hand for when I’m craving a bit of crunch to add to any breakfast or as a snack.

I promise you, its way easier than you think, and really doesn't take much time. Plus, you'll love it!

So let me share with you my home-made recipes for my "superfood" Granola and Granola bars.

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10 Tips for Eliminating Cellulite

Unfortunately, it's extremely common to develop some cellulite on our bod, particularly on the booty, upper legs and abdomen.

And while we shouldn’t be ashamed, it’s still something that no one likes. Let’s be real, we all want it GONE. 

First - what causes cellulite?

Cellulite is essentially fat deposits just below the skin, and it can be attributed to your diet, lifestyle, hormones, and partly also age and genetics. Usually it’s a combination of these things, but the first two (diet and lifestyle) are always at least partially responsible. Certain diet and lifestyle factors can lead to a buildup of toxicity in your body, and these toxins are stored in your fat, and help contribute to the “dimples” of cellulite.

So it is incredibly important to start detoxifying your body in a gentle way to get rid of these stored toxins, and then implement healthier habits in your day to day to minimize further accumulation of toxins.

On top of that, it helps to strengthen the connective tissue of your skin, and reduce fat overall. 

Here are my 10 BEST TIPS FOR ELIMINATING CELLULITE:

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Why I Eat Sweet Potatoes Every Week

One of my all time favorite veggies are Sweet Potatoes. First, because I love the TASTE (that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth). Second, because of their nutrition and HEALTH BENEFITS. Third, because they're so VERSATILE and great to use for many healthy recipes (think sweet potato brownies, sweet potato crust, sweet potato toasts,..).

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My Basic Guide to Essential Oils

Many people have asked me about my “DIY” recipes for self-care, and about what I do to stay “clean” (i.e. minimizing my toxic exposure) on a daily basis. And for me, both of those answers are centered around Essential Oils. So I figured it would be worth it to share with you a bit more info on Essential Oils and why I’m such a huge fan.

READ MORE to learn WHAT essential oils are, what they're used for, where you can buy them, and how I personally use them in my day to day to support my healthy, balanced lifestyle!  

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5 LIFESTYLE TIPS TO HELP COMBAT HORMONAL ACNE

I am a big believer in treating problems from the inside out - addressing the root cause of your issues, instead of just covering them up with a temporary solution or medication. Of course there come times when medication is needed, but even then, I suggest accompanying the treatment with holistic remedies aimed at healing the root cause, that will help you both in the short and long-run. And that applies to hormonal acne, too!

Last week I dove into the key triggers related to hormonal acne, and wrote about healing hormonal acne with FOOD. If you haven’t read it yet, read it now!

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8 Ways to Heal Hormonal Acne with Food

THE KEY to preventing and healing hormonal acne is focusing on a diet (and lifestyle) that helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. This will help you achieve ideal levels of glucose and insulin, which will help stabilize your LH and your level of androgens to help eliminate your hormonal acne (and ultimately will help with all of your hormone related issues!)

So today, I'm focusing on the DIET part that will help you stabilize/lower your excess androgens and overcome your hormonal pimples. 

Here are 8 DIET TIPS TO HELP WITH HORMONAL ACNE:

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A “Quinoa-like Superfood” You Should Add to Your Diet (and 4 recipes!)

Most everyone knows about the delicious superfood quinoa and its awesome health benefits. BUT if you’re getting bored of only using quinoa and occasionally rice, maybe it’s time you start exploring other delicious, nutritious, and naturally gluten-free grains. (And in fact, quinoa and all of these that I’m about to list, are technically NOT grains, but SEEDS that are high in protein and fiber. I call them “grain-like seeds”. Which is in part why they're easier on the gut!) Examples include:

  • Buckwheat
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Teff

Today I want to focus on BUCKWHEAT as its one of my favorites. I started eating it for its hormone-balancing properties, and now I eat it because I love it!

Here is why you should be adding buckwheat to your diet (and 4 delicious recipes!):

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A Quick, Delicious, Gut-Friendly Meal: Easy Vegetable Chickpea Curry

Do you come home tired from work without energy to cook (nor digest) a big meal? Do you crave a light, simple meal, yet comforting and soothing?

Maybe you’re still a bit stressed form work and your belly feels a bit bloated, so you know that you need something easy to digest.

This happens to me constantly. And while a sandwich or bowl of cereal is what I would do in the past, I now know that all that gluten and sugar at night is the WORST thing for my belly. So about a year ago, on one of these tired work days, I came home to go though my pantry and fridge to see what easy and belly-friendly meal I could make, and that’s when I first came up with my Easy Vegetable Chickpea Curry. And now, its become one of my go-to meals for these days.

On top of being simple and delicious, it’s awesome for your digestion. This dish is filled with all the different types of fiber to help you poop beautifully (yep I said it!) and the curry spices help you digest the food – which is especially important at dinner time.

And most importantly, this dish can be done in just half an hour (or even less). 

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