When my dog, Teva, started losing her hair in patches, the first thing my veterinarian asked me was, “What are you feeding her?” Yes! What a good question! But you know what? I have never been asked that question at the doctor. Not once. Not even when I was a teenager suffering from IBS and acid reflux. I was just given a prescription. Nothing frustrates me more than getting a Band-Aid for the symptoms and not addressing the underlying cause of my issues which is why this job is so important to me. I want people to start feeling amazing, eliminate migraines, get off cholesterol-lowering drugs, increase serotonin naturally, balance hormones to alleviate PMS. And do it with food and natural supplements so you can feel like a happy and healthy person I finally became after years of IBS, estrogen dominance and low moods.
In my “before” photo, I was 15 years old where I was on a camping trip in Colorado. I already lost 12 pounds in this photo due to giardia (a parasite in the water), but you get the idea that at age 15 I was going down the wrong path. I decided enough was enough and I was like everyone and thought I needed a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. So I took up running. My love for movement and exercise did not come easily for me. Sure, I liked to play as a kid, but when it came to phys-ed, let’s just say I wasn’t the first kid picked to be on any team. I still remember when I was in middle school, pacing back and forth in my parents’ yard and contemplating how to get out of the dreaded “mile run” that I had to do in phys-ed the next day. My anxiety about this was getting the best of me. I remember thinking how I could break my leg so I didn’t have to run because if I were just to say that I was sick that day, the teacher would just make me run it the next week. I had to think of something more long term. Not wanting to actually break my leg, how could I fake a broken leg? All of these ridiculous ideas went through my head!
Eventually, I started to like running and I ran at least 11 miles daily and was still 150 pounds (at 5’2). I often ran in the morning and then another run in the afternoon. I also started training for marathons. What gives? I ate Special K with skim milk for breakfast and dinner, dried fruit for lunch, and still was too heavy for my frame. Sure, once the weekend hit, I was so hungry, I ate junk. It was impossible to balance my neurotransmitters and control my cravings on a diet like that!
As I learned more about nutrition, neurotransmitters like serotonin, and the ketogenic lifestyle, I started to switch my running to lifting weights and yoga. I do run a bit in the morning, but the neighbors all laugh at me because I am usually looking down at my phone answering emails! It is a relaxing run.
I’m telling you about my exercise regime because I want you to realize that it is NOT about calories in and calories out. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity = doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, yet we all seem to be succumb to this lie. Our bodies are more complex than that. It isn’t a simple answer. Our hormones and mitochondria determine our fat loss and fat gain. I want you to know that you do not have to kill yourself at the gym in order to lose weight. I certainly was sick of running all the time and living off of diet food like fat-free pretzels; which FYI, are higher on the glycemic index than jelly beans!
Anyway, my testimony is to help you feel encouraged and empowered to take control and understand that you deserve this and you do not have to live off of salads or live at the gym. If you are willing to take the time to prepare meals, even if they are slow cooker meals, you CAN do this! You deserve to feel amazing too!
I look forward to your “after” photos too!” – Maria
To get started click HERE. I’d be honored to help you too!
LIPTON ONION SOUP
Too many people have this Lipton Onion Soup Mix in their pantry to use for a beef roast or a dip. It seems harmless, just dehydrated onions and spices right? Nope…
Ingredients: Onions (dehydrated), salt, cornstarch, onion powder, sugar, corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, natural flavors, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
Trans-fat, caramel coloring, soy protein, and MSG… yuck, yuck, yuck and yuck!
MSG (an excitotoxin) causes damage to the neurons in your brain and has links to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and many others. Children are very susceptible to this type of effect on their sensitive and growing brains. Excitotoxins excite the neurons in the brain too much. They become exhausted and die. Neurotoxins are also the main cause of seizures. The damage may not be seen until many years later. When this happens, our neurotransmitters responsible for focus, mood, and memory have a hard time finding and recognizing their receptors due to the inflammation of the membranes on the brain cells caused by the consumption of MSG.
Brain levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (important for mood and focus) are lowered by 95% when you ingest excitotoxins. BUT what is even more disturbing, is that when you switch to eating 100% free of processed food, our brain remains unable to produce normal amounts of dopamine in
the hippocampus (the part of the brain most responsible for consolidating memory). This is one reason for the high rates of ADHD and depression. To read more on Brain Chemicals, check out my book: Secrets to Controlling Your Weight Cravings and Mood
TBHQ comes from petroleum (think “lighter fluid”). It is banned in other countries. TBHQ keeps fats from going rancid, so you see it in a lot of foods that they want to have a long shelf life. It is considered an “anti-oxidant” BUT it can itself be oxidized into harmful molecules, like tert-butylquinone…causing a TIRED TOXIC LIVER (see the chapter on the liver in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism).
“HEALTHIFIED” MOROCCAN BEEF
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 lb grass-fed beef roast
2-4 TBS organic garam masala spices (I used this one)
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
Slice the onion into thin strips. Place into a slow cooker (I love this one on sale too!). Place the beef roast into the cooker on top of the onions. Add the spices and salt. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. Shred with a fork and cook on the lowest setting for another 2 hours for the spices to infuse the beef. Serve over Miracle Rice, Cauliflower Rice, or in a “Healthified” tortilla! Makes 8 servings.
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving)
Traditional Beef with Rice = 378 calories, 9.8g fat, 32g protein, 38g carbs, 0.7g fiber (37.3 effective carbs)
“Healthified” Beef = 209 calories, 9.5g fat, 30.4g protein, 0.7g carbs, 0 fiber (0.7 effective carbs)
To find more recipes and tips for family dinners, check out my cookbook: The Art of Eating Healthy: Slow Cooker.
I am curious of your thoughts about raw cow’s milk. I noticed some (all) of your recipes use almond milk. We own and operate a grass-fed/grazing dairy, which means our cow’s diet is that of pasture and a small amount of supplemental grain in the parlor at milking time-that’s it. We are all but organic, just missing the certification papers, which means we do not use rBst and such. Raw milk from cows on grass has been shown to be high in CLA’s and Omega 3’s and 6’s. So, would your recipes work with our milk? While we do not sell or distribute milk to anyone else, it is the only milk we drink/use, and as a dairy farmer, it is exceptionaly difficult to buy other “milk” named products. We obviously have our own stash of grass fed beef, chicken and pork, and the garden.
I think raw milk is an ok option if you can get it. 🙂
You make an interesting point about them not asking what you eat. I went to the gastroenterologist today because of abdominal pain. They prescribed medicine t to me and did not ask me what my typical diet was. AT THE GASTROENTEROLOGIST! So yeah.
This might be a silly question, but should I add liquid to the slow cooker, or does the fat from the meat take care of the needed moisture?
Thanks so much for all your recipes and research Maria! My favorites are probably the Easy Greek Chicken and the Super Salad Dressing.
The juices should be enough. 🙂
Awesome, thanks Maria!
You can get the Frontier Natural Products Organic Garam Masala Salt-Free Blend — 2 oz from Vitacost.com for only $5.29
I’ve just read a little of your blog, but you’ve put so much time and effort into the menus and recipes…I really appreciate that!
I am going to try this one with a wild moose roast. Even better than grass-fed organic beef!
Thanks for your recipes and your story. I like that they are easy and straightforward, with ingredients that aren’t too expensive.
is it ok to use Marsala cooking wine?
It can be ok in moderation. Just count the carbs. 🙂
For the question KIM asked – garam masala seasoning is NOT Marsala wine. Garam Masala is an Indian cooking spice blend. Marsala is an Italian wine. not to be confused. However, as little red wine might be good in this recipe.
I am planning to make this and decided to see what the Garam Masala was. There is an easy to make recipe on AllRecipes.com. I have everything on-hand and think it will be easier to make what I need (just as I do for taco seasoning). Great sounding recipe. Have to find the right cut of beef for the recipe.