Maria, let’s start by asking you what’s one new thing you’ve learned about health over the past 24 hours?
I have been finalizing a webinar about Healthy Food choices and found out that as of this past year 45% of Americans have a chronic health condition. This is pretty alarming stuff. This piece of information made me further into thinking up content and being able to share tips that will hopefully become a solution for this epidemic. Even if it’s one person at a time, I owe it to myself to shine a light on what can be done and how to avoid it.
What is something you can’t live without every morning?
My celery juice for sure. I have fallen into the habit of having celery juice freshly made at home. It’s a bit harder to carry a juicer on the road so I cherish my juicer very much while I’m home. I also cannot live without breakfast. I’m not the type of person who could skip food.
You have a very fascinating career within the wellness space, where did it all begin and what inspired your journey?
It all began when I was in my 20’s and after years of bad food choices and stress, my lifestyle began to take a toll on me. I created a least 7 health conditions that truly scared me. The many doctors I went to had me on so many medications and one day I got up and decided that I didn’t want to live my life depending on prescriptions. At that time, my career was in real estate, which I ended up losing passion for. I was depressed, confused, anxious and sick. I had skin issues, digestive issues, hormonal issues, blood sugar issues, chronic migraines, and skin problems.
With this long list, I knew pretty well that I had to make changes so I enrolled in nutrition school. I wasn’t a fan of side effects for all the medication I was taking, but I was a fan of food. The moment I decided to educate myself on better food choices was the moment in which the healing began. It took me 6 months to start seeing the changes. All issues I had gone away with proper food choices, exercise and stress management.
I started my company TotalBodyFit right after graduating. I teach people about healing naturally the same way I did it. I’m in love with the results people are seeing.
How important is gut health when working with clients, and how do you offer them tailored advice?
This is very important. It was not until I started to heal my digestive issues that my body had better reactions. Food habits changed and the rest started to change too. My skin saw the biggest improvement once my gut health improved.
I teach my clients about clean eating, no processed foods (whether vegan or not) I value ingredient quality the most. I found for myself that the more processed the foods, the less my body worked properly and the worse my digestive issues became.
For me, it is very important to educate about what’s in your fridge or kitchen pantry and which hidden trigger can be in your food. I truly believe our society fails to educate us about the fact that food choices can save us or deter us. For many years in my youth and into adulthood I was blindsided about what food is wrong or right to keep me nourished.
I tailor my advice with clients in a way in which I need to know their food likes and dislikes as well as any allergies. All of these I take into consideration before discussing modifications to their dietary routines.
Why is it important to practice a holistic, integrative approach to health and wellness?
As the word holistic suggests, my approach is about the individual as a whole. The way you deal with stress, and if you make time for self-care whether it is physically or nutritionally, all of these factors are connected and you cannot have one without the other.
You cannot consider yourself fully healthy if you go to the gym but, have a stressful life in which you add fast food daily. A healthy balance requires all factors in your life to be in-sync.
Your business model is quite unique. You focus on ethnicity and blood type of individual clients. What does this entail?
I do talk to clients about their blood type and changes they can consider based on blood type research, but what is even more important than blood type is the daily routine and their level of food nourishment. In this complicated world it gets harder and harder to micro-manage calories, but what’s more important is what’s nutritious and what could help you thrive on a day to day basis.
The simple lack of a specific vitamin can throw off the immune system into a bad place.
Could you please share a success story with us where you’ve used your blood type method?
I have used it with clients who in the end fine-tuned their diets and added quality foods to help them thrive. I also have used it on myself and I understood that based on my blood type (O). I should eat meat, although in moderation. With everything that I have learned at the beginning of my journey, I made sure that I could add meat into my diet but I also learned that quality was of the essence. I have learned later in life that this approach can be applied as meatless but as long as you add vitamins into the equation.
Interesting news about vitamins is that nowadays our soil is so depleted from nutrients, that vitamins are essential for vegans and meat eaters. For those on a vegan lifestyle, they are a must!
Why do you think this approach is so relevant? What is the history of it?
This approach is relevant for self and health discovery and I encourage everyone in their beginnings for finding answers to different health conditions to give it a shot. I also strongly recommend vitamins to back up the process, and when I say vitamins I’m not attaching to a specific brand but quality and how to choose the right ones.
The blood type diet originated in the mid-’90s when a naturopath physician Dr. D’Adamo suggested that the body reacted to food response based on blood type and how our ancestors with similar blood types nourished themselves.
What other alternative practices have you been exposed to, or encourage as a practitioner guiding someone through better health?
I love the medical medium approach which suggests natural foods and learning about ingredient quality. I’m in the midst of trying out vitamins that are made for your specific DNA after a swab test. I will keep you posted on how that works out soon, and I’m pretty psyched about it.
Ok fun questions… If you had the chance to coach anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I would coach Amy Schumer. I adore her and she’s hysterical. I have been following on social media that she has been trying to take care of her body after having a baby and has been working hard with a trainer. I think we would get along well and I would love to food shop with her and for her after we discuss what she’s is willing to try and isn’t.
What’s in your fridge at the moment and why?
Lots of vegetables. I just got done with a 1 day of a raw vegan tune-up. The holidays have been really fun, but a quick cleanse is always a great idea… There is also lots of celery for my morning rituals. Tons of fruit and gluten-free toast which I touch sparingly for when I have a craving of anything toast.
My counters and pantry have fresh fruit, raw honey, gluten-free oatmeal, and potatoes in every color as well as ginger, which is essential during flu season and for gut health. Potatoes, by the way, are the best snack as long as not covered and creamy or cheesy foods.