3 Tips For a Successful New Year

This is one of my favorite times of the year, when work is slow, there is more time to relax and enjoy time with friends and family.

With the year almost over and a new one about to begin, it's also the best time to REFLECT and get organized for an even better new year.
 
It's been an amazing year, so it's worth it to take a second and EMBRACE that and be thankful.

Here are 3 ways to maximize your year-end and set yourself up for another amazing year. 

Read More

WINE.... Healthy or Unhealthy?

We all have our guilty pleasures, even those of us in the health and wellness industry. For me, it’s a glass or two of red wine, and dark chocolate. A glass of wine makes a good meal that much better, and nothing makes me happier than finishing my meal with a piece or two of rich, dark chocolate. 

I’ve already shared with you the BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE and why I happily continue to include it in my regular diet, and today I want to share some not-so-known benefits of WINE.

New studies are constantly backing up the health benefits of drinking wine (for moderate drinkers). But like most things, the quantity, quality, and timing (when you consume it) all play a role. 

Read more to learn BENEFITS, RISKS, and some suggestions as to WHEN and HOW MUCH to consume.

Read More

3 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hopefully you're super psyched about this awesome and meaningful holiday. I now live in a new country that doesn't formally celebrate Thanksgiving, but I was secretly happy to learn that my new family here celebrates this American holiday.

So on top of many other things, I am grateful for that this week.

Thanksgiving is, after all, about GIVING THANKS. It's a time to be with loved ones and celebrate all the awesome things in life. And of course, it's a great time to enjoy delicious food. Who doesn't love Thanksgiving food, wine, and family time?

Problem is, many of us health-conscious people simultaneously slightly dread the holiday because we usually wake up bloated and feeling heavy the next day, and possibly even gain weight in just one weekend.

Luckily I've discovered that doesn't need to be the case. IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE TO ENJOY A HEALTHY THANKSGIVING, while staying guilt-free. Of course indulging a bit is OK, but if you balance it out with some healthier (and even more delicious) recipes, and a few more tips (that I share with you), you can fully enjoy the holiday without any negative consequences.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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!  

Read More

How to find Balance and Health as a Pisces

As it’s my birthday month, I wanted to share some tips for all my fellow Pisces on how to stay balanced and healthy. All of us Pisces have a lot in common, and we (generally) share certain characteristics that are important to take into consideration when it comes to staying healthy and building our healthy routine.

Here are 8 Health Tips for PISCES:

Read More

International Women's Day Special: 5 Health Tips for Women

Let’s be thankful today for what women do every day, for what we give to the world. Because we offer a special gift, with our open and vulnerable hearts, our motherly instincts, our caring nature, our desire to always offer love and support. And of course, we bring new lives into this world.

As part of my practice as a Health Coach, I like to remind every woman that I work with to be PROUD of who they are, and to remember that even though we as women always struggle to be and look perfect, we’re already perfect inside. And that beauty gets reflected most once we recognize it and fully love ourselves. So today, ladies, be grateful for exactly who you are, and accept all of your flaws and love them too.

Now I’d like to share with you 5 HEALTH TIPS FOR ALL WOMEN:

Read More

Looking For a Healthy, Sweet Treat this Valentines?

Although Valentine’s day is a bit of a cliché “Hallmark” holiday, I like to use it as an excuse to do something special for me and my loved ones. Like most other holidays, it offers a nice reminder to be thankful for each other and for what we have. It’s also traditionally a “date” night, which gives us that extra push to pamper ourselves and dress up – which ultimately is a way of giving love to ourselves.

It’s also a great excuse to indulge in chocolate, and look for new healthy chocolate treats to make for myself and my family. The good thing, that all chocolate lovers should know, is that good-quality dark chocolate is amazing for your health. READ MORE HERE about why you should be eating more chocolate.

Last Valentines, I shared with you my delicious (and VERY EASY) healthy chocolate dessert recipes – my Chocolate Coconut Date Balls and my Chocolate Mousse. If you haven’t tried them yet, I highly suggest you give them a try. They’re simple to make, and don’t require baking!

But this year, I’m living in Nicaragua, and still learning where I can get all my ingredients locally, as it’s a whole different market as the US. So making all my recipes isn’t always as easy. Therefore, I’m also scoping out the local scene for new healthy spots and treats made by other foodies, health-fanatics, and entrepreneurs like myself.

Last week I happened to meet the beautiful Alexandra Perez in Nicaragua, and tasted her yummy energy balls. So for those of you Nicaraguans feeling a bit lazy to make your own, I highly suggest you try these Fit Girl Snacks.

Read More

7 Tips for Alleviating PMS

Do you ever suffer from PMS symptoms, and wonder WHY you feel so sh*tty, when others don’t? Or maybe you just accept it as “normal” and load up on pain killers and chocolate during that time of the month.

While roughly 75% of women experience headaches, bloating, difficulty sleeping, mood swings and other symptoms of PMS, there is a lucky 25% hardly feel a thing. And the most amazing piece of news that I’ll share with you today is that – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER FROM PMS. You can even overcome the acne, cravings and fatigue, and without drugs. PMS is not “a given” and you can avoid it through some natural modifications.

The key to eliminating your PMS symptoms is to focus on the right diet (and lifestyle) factors that help balance your hormones, in particular, to avoid estrogen dominance, excess cortisol, and insulin resistance.

Diets rich in sugar, refined carbohydrates, conventionally farmed (non-organic) meats and dairy products, caffeine and alcohol, all promote hormone imbalances. Stress, environmental pollutants and hormone-disrupting chemicals further disrupt your hormone. These diet and lifestyle factors contribute to inflammation and increased stress in your body, which get your hormones more out of whack, worsening your PMS symptoms.

So now that you know the key triggers of PMS, lets talk about all the things you can be doing to create more hormonal balance.

Here are 7 effective tips to start implementing now to avoid PMS:

 

Read More

Stressed? One Easy & Effective Tool to Melt Away Stress

Do you sometimes feel like your to-do list is never ending? Like every time you're finishing one thing, something new pops up, and there's just never enough time in the day to do everything you want to do? Are deadlines freaking you a bit? Maybe your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife are driving you nuts. Or maybe you secretly want to murder your boss or a coworker!

Whatever it is, it's sometimes hard to control the stress and anxiety that builds up from time to time. It happens - we're human, and we're busy people these days. But it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to find ways to manage your stress and not let it have a catastrophic impact on your health - because it will. 

Luckily, there are many things one can do to help manage stress (read more HERE), but this one simple technique that I'm sharing with you today, almost instantly tells your body that you're not in danger and everything is OK; it stops the production of stress hormones and allows your body to relax.

WATCH MY VIDEO TO SEE THE ONE TECHNIQUE THAT I FIND MOST USEFUL, AND HOW I DO IT.

Read More

8 Ways to Activate Your GENES For Better Health & Weight Loss

One of the most fascinating studies that I've come across is regarding how we can program our genes to improve our health through food and lifestyle choices. YEP. If you eat poorly and live in stress, you make yourself even more susceptible to gain weight, but when you feed your cells the right way, that can start changing the behavior of your genes so that you (and your children) will have a tendency to be thinner and live longer.

We are all born with a FIXED set of genes (aprox 23,000) that determine our physical characteristics such as hair/eye color, and certain childhood diseases. Then we have many more gene mutations, which affect how genes express themselves in your body. And while we cannot change those 23,000 genes, new studies (called epigenetics) show that we CAN change the expressions of these genes, that direct our biochemical processes, and make us more/less likely to get certain health disorders.

Healthy aging is mostly due to how we “communicate” with our genes through our diet and lifestyle. OUR FOOD IS INFORMATION to our bodies, constantly giving “instructions” to our genes. If we eat nutritious, real food, it sends “good health” instructions to our genes. If we regularly eat foods loaded with sugar, trans fats and chemicals, its simply “bad data” for our genes that will stop our body from properly functioning.

Read More to learn 8 of the most important steps that you can take every day to optimize how your genes behave, helping to “turn on” the genes that promote good health (and “turn off” the genes that promote illness): 

Read More

6 Healthy & Delicious Holiday Recipes

The holidays are about enjoying family and friends, and of course, enjoying yourself. But we all know that part of that includes a lot of food - usually in excess, and not so healthy.

The good news is, you absolutely can enjoy yourself, the company, and your meals, without feeling like you need to restrict yourself too much, and more importantly, without feeling heavy and bloated after each meal!

The key lies in taking some time to make a few meals at home, where you can control what ingredients you use, and make sure they are compatible with your preferred healthy diet and lifestyle - while still being holiday-themed and absolutely delicious!

And don't be shy to invite your friends/family to cook with you - its part of the holiday fun!

Here are 5 of my favorite Holiday Recipes that you, your family and friends will love - and are all gluten, dairy and preservative free, use only healthy oils, and no processed junk!

Read More

The Best & Worst Sweeteners

Most of you know the negative effects of excess sugar. Sugar is empty calories that can lead to hormonal imbalances and weight gain, not to mention it’s addictive!

And hopefully, you also know that artificial sweeteners are just as bad for you. They’re filled with potentially harmful chemicals, have no nutrition, and in my experience, trigger more sugar cravings.

But what about all the natural sweeteners that are being marketed as “healthier” alternatives to sugar, such as honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, stevia, etc.?

Read More

Why You Should Be Eating More Chocolate

Halloween is around the corner, and many of us are worried about the temptation of all the candy and chocolate all around us.

But the good news is – you CAN indulge in chocolate and stay healthy! Dark Chocolate is loaded with fiber, protein and important minerals (including magnesium and iron) and contains an ideal fatty acid profile. Having about 1 ounce of organic dark chocolate (70-90% cocoa) is a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

READ MORE for some awesome benefits of consuming dark chocolate, and to learn what to look far and brands I recommend!

Read More

10 Healthy Snacks to Buy When You're On-The-Go

As a holistic health coach and foodie (yes I love eating!), I am a true believer in eating WHOLE FOODS as much as possible, and avoiding most pre-packaged foods. Even for snacks, I find that there are a ton of easy options based on primarily whole food sources that one can easily put together at home the night before and take with you to work/on your trip. (See my previous blog for more on healthy, homemade snacks).

But sometimes, we haven’t had the time to make your own snacks, we’re hungry, and need a healthy option to buy at the local deli market or airport vendor. For those times, I wanted to share some options that are nutritious and “clean” (have little-to-no junk/bad ingredients), and won’t ruin your healthy efforts. Because believe me, most of the snacks you’re used to buying are terrible for your overall health, and even those occasional snacks (unfortunately) add up!

Here are 10 of my favorite on-the-go snacks to buy:

Read More

3 Foods to Combat Stress & Anxiety

When people think of stress, they think mostly of work and deadlines. But there are so many other forms of stress that are impacting your health. And one of the biggest ones comes from the FOOD that you’re putting into your body.

The foods you eat can affect your hormonal balance and create inflammation in your gut, all of which can stress out your body.

Generally, when your body experiences any type of stress, its primary focus becomes controlling that stress. Your body will secrete more cortisol and adrenaline, which tells your system to “restock on the energy supply” even if it’s not really depleted. As a result, it makes you hungry and encourages fat storage. Yikes! (This is why I say, “stress can make you fat!”) Note: everyone is different and people respond differently to stress, but this is what most commonly happens.

And what’s interesting is that certain foods contribute to stress on your body, while others help alleviate it.

What are the key foods that creates stress?  

Coffee, alcohol, sugar, and generally, all heavily processed foods. They increase your stress hormone levels, and will feed the bad bacteria in your gut, causing stress in both your hormones and your gut.

What are the foods that actually help your body stay healthy and combat stress? 

Read More