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096: From Junk Food Lover to Real Food Evangelist – Maria Marlowe

Maria Marlowe is a Real Food Evangelist who helps busy women lose weight or clear up their acne by developing healthier eating habits. Since she established a private Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching practice in 2013, Maria has worked with hundreds of career women, moms, working moms, and even a number of celebs and top executives. Her book entitled The Real Food Grocery Guide has received praise from InStyle, Dr Oz The Good Life Magazine, Well + Good, and more. She lives with her husband in Dubai.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Maria’s favorite sandwich as she was growing up.
  • How her acne motivated her to change her eating habits.
  • How your food can actually be your best medicine.
  • Which carbohydrates are “good” carbs.

Connect with Maria:

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Interview Transcript

Maria, thanks so much for taking some time to join me today. I appreciate it.

Thanks for having me here.

Okay, now I love the fact that you call yourself a real food evangelist. Which I know what an evangelist is, but I’m not sure I know what real food is. So maybe if you could define that for us, tell us what real food is in your mind.

Sure. Real foods are the foods that mother nature intended us to eat. They are things like organic and unprocessed vegetables and fruit, organic and pasture raised animal products. Essentially the things that nature gave us to eat, not that a science lab gave us to eat. And when you’re in the grocery store, it’s the things that are generally in the periphery, the fresh stuff that doesn’t necessarily come in a package. Then that other stuff in the middle of the store that does come in these beautiful packages, and ready in thirty seconds when you microwave it, and the ingredient list has all of these words that you’ve never seen before and you can’t identify. Those things, I would not classify as real foods.

And actually there’s an author Michael Pollan who calls these foods, edible food-like substances. That’s what I would classify those as. I think the biggest distinction between those two types of food, is that real foods are going to nourish our body. They’re going to promote health, they’re going to give us energy and vitality. Whereas those packaged processed foods with strange ingredients, those are typically going to detract from our health. Going to make us feel worse, look worse, and zap our energy.

I’m depressed already.

No, don’t be depressed. Fresh, real food tastes so good.

Okay, okay. Yes, yes. That’s what we’re going for. All right, tell us a bit about your backstory, because I want to know why you are so passionate about nutrition and health. There’s got to be a story. You don’t just wake up and be like, “Okay, I’m going to be excited about this.” Tell us a bit about your journey.

That’s very true. I never thought that I would be doing anything with food or nutrition. And in fact, I grew up eating many of those edible food-like substances that were not real food. All those Frankenfoods, I grew up eating those.

What was your favorite?

Well, my favorite recipe, the first recipe that I ever made was a cookie sandwich. Which was two Keebler M&M cookies, those rainbow cookies sandwiched between two slices of Wonder Bread. And I would eat that as a sandwich.

No way.

Yes.

A cookie sandwich. I’m thinking two pieces of cookies with ice cream in the middle. You literally put cookies in the bread.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. So that’s just to give you an idea of the types of food I was eating. I ate a lot of pizza.

And some mayonnaise in-between the cookies?

You know, I didn’t eat mayonnaise. I didn’t eat mayonnaise. The only vegetables I ate were tomato sauce on pizza and french fries, naturally. Yeah, it was just all processed junk food. And unfortunately, even though it sounds delicious, it led to a lot of health problems. At first I didn’t realize that there was a connection between what I was eating and how sick I kept getting. I thought food only affected our weight. And now I come from a family where obesity, chronic illness, and even cancer are the norm not the exception. So when I looked around my family members when I was growing up, they were all suffering from one thing or another. Some were so overweight that they could hardly walk, their knees had to be replaced. Dealing with this chronic issue, that chronic issue.

And so as crazy as it seems, this all kind of seemed normal to me. It wasn’t until I got to college and I was dealing with really, really bad acne. To the point where I wouldn’t want to go out of the house. It started when I was about sixteen and I kept trying to cover it up. I tried everything I could. Drugstore medications, infomercial medications, going to dermatologists. Them prescribing medications, them even prescribing birth control, and eventually Accutane. Basically everything that I tried was not working. And when it got to the point where I was prescribed Accutane, I did fill the prescription but I happened to read the side-effects before I decided to take it.

And one of the side-effects jumped out at me, which was that taking this medication could lead to severe depression that could lead to suicide. I was just like, “No. I don’t want to be ingesting anything that has that kind of power control over my body.” Especially because I was depressed as it was, having a nervous breakdown I looked in the mirror that my skin was so bad. So I really just became relegated to the fact that I was either cursed with bad luck or bad genes. But then when I got to college, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. And mind you, my lunch was two slices of pizza washed down with a coke, and followed by a small box of Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies. Which that was my favorite in the later years.

Oh, yes.

She said, “Your acne might not be because of bad luck or you’re cursed, it might be because of what you’re eating.” And at that time this was a very revolutionary concept to me. Nobody had ever brought this up to me before. But I was so desperate and willing to try anything that I bought a book on connection between skin and food. I drastically changed my diet, and low and behold my acne cleared up. So for me to be able to see this in the mirror was really like, “Wow.” I just was amazed. And it only took a few months. Meanwhile I’d been spending I don’t know how much money on all of these other topical things, all these dermatologist appointments over the course of years. Which didn’t offer much relief. And then I changed my diet and within about three month, my skin cleared up.

That is amazing.

Yeah, this was when the lightbulb went off. And this was when I was like, “Why isn’t anyone teaching us this?” The more research I did, the more that I realized that food affects everything in our body way beyond weight and way beyond just skin. Even our mood, our IQ, energy levels, and our risk for chronic illness and disease. So that just took me down this nutrition rabbit hole. I could not get enough information. And then I ended up changing career paths to study both cooking and nutrition, because I wanted to share this message and teach people the power of using food as medicine.

So when you were growing up, I don’t know if you grew up with a mom and dad, but in your household, whoever did the cooking, what were they modelling for you? What were they providing for your food? I’m not trying to lay blame here, I’m just trying to understand.

No, not at all. Not at all. We didn’t really cook. My parents didn’t really cook, except for on the holidays. My mother, she thought cooking was a chore. So to her, cooking was a chore and so she did not like to do it. So instead we would order take-out every night. We’d either go through a drive-thru window like at McDonalds, or we’d order pizza as takeout, and that was primarily what we were having. For breakfast it was just something easy like cereal and milk. And then for lunch she would send us to school with sandwiches. But again, it would typically be either deli meat on Wonder Bread or cookies on Wonder Bread at my request.

That is amazing. I’ve never even heard of that. That is so good. I remember one kid. I grew up in Kentucky, and I remember walking to school with this kid, Ben. And I noticed in the morning, he had a Kool-Aid smile. Do you know what that is?

Yeah.

Okay. If you didn’t grow up drinking Kool-Aid or a colored beverage, listeners. Basically it looks like the Joker because the kid just guzzling so much red drink that it’s dyed their face. And I said to him, “Why do you have a Kool-Aid smile this early?” And he said, “Oh, I eat cereal with Kool-Aid,” instead of milk. So he drinks the rest of the Kool-Aid out of the bowl. I thought, “Oh, my goodness.” Everybody grows up with a different thing. I grew up with a lot more comfort foods in the South. We would do the eating out here once and awhile. Yeah, that’s so fascinating. And so your skin cleared up in college and you started increasing your level of education. Did you graduate with a degree in nutrition?

Yeah. I was initially going to school for fashion and then I had transferred over to finance. I ended up graduating with a degree in finance and business. And then I ended up going back to school to study cooking initially first. I went to the Natural Gourmet in New York City, which is a very famous healthy cooking school. And then from there I went back to study nutrition. So I first got back into the food through the cooking. And it was very interesting for me, because like I mentioned earlier, I had grown up with this idea that cooking was a chore and that it sucks. Nobody wants to cook, you shouldn’t have to cook. Just order out, just go out. And so I had the completely shift that perspective, and I started to think of food more as medicine and cooking as nourishing myself. And cooking as finding and providing the best, highest quality ingredients in food and nutrition. I got into the nutrition first through the food and the cooking, and then went back to studying nutrition.

I would thinking most Americans would think of food in one of two ways. One, either satisfying hunger, stop that feeling. Or the taste or texture, the experience itself. So I may not be hungry. Or a third, probably might be just as a coping mechanism, a soothing mechanism to sooth the emotional lack that I’m feeling in my life. Would you agree that one of those three categories?

For sure. Definitely.

Okay, so we’ve got satisfy hunger, the actual taste, and then satisfy probably an emotional issue. You’re talking about it in a totally different way. Some people talk about food fueling your body, which I hear you talking about that. But also you’re saying, as medicine. Break that down for me. I’ve got ibuprofen, anti-depression medication, how is food helping me here? Apple a day takes the doctor away, am I just eating apples?

I believe that food is our most powerful medicine. And I’d agree with you that I think most people, most of us including me up until a decade or so ago, to me, medicine came in a bottle, it was a pill. And we’ve all experienced taking a medication or taking a pill and finding relief. So for example, if you’ve ever had an ache or pain, or if you had a headache, you take an Advil and what happens? The pain goes away. So we all understand that concept. What’s interesting is that when we swallow that teeny, tiny, little pill, it’s going down the same exact digestive tract as the three to five pounds of food that each of is eating every single day. And so if that teeny, tiny pill has the power to get rid of our headache or get rid of pain somewhere else in our body, can you imagine what the five pounds of food are doing to our body every single day? And we’re eating multiple times a day, right?

So food really does have a huge influence over our health and over every cell in our body. And a lot of ailments are often very much food related. So for example with acne for me, there are many different causes for acne, but a few of them are nutrition deficiencies, nutrition inadequacies. So eating pro-inflammatory foods. And what is acne? It’s inflammation of the skin. Also digestive issues. People don’t realize that digestion is very closely tied to skin. If we have compromised digestion, that could lead to not only acne but also hives and rashes, eczema and other skin problems.

So food is very much tied to our ailments, and whether we’re eating foods that are contributing to it, or we’re not eating enough of the foods that could help remedy it. And so I think that this whole concept of food as medicine, we hear about it a lot more now. But the truth of the matter is, it’s really our oldest form of medicine. If you go back to Hippocrates, who’s the father of medicine, he very famously said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.” And if you look at the Eastern traditions of medicine, for example Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, when you go to one of these practitioners, very often they’re going to examine you, and they will probably be able to tell you what you’re eating based on your symptoms. And then they will make suggestions for foods to include or foods to avoid in order to help you get better.

So I really think that the whole food as medicine movement is just getting larger. I have friends that are both MDs and chefs. There’s this whole convergence of food and medicine now, and I’m really excited to see that. I think we still have a very long way to go. But a hundred percent, everything that you put in your mouth is going to have some sort of effect on your health and your body.

Now you’re coaching individuals in both nutrition, but also in health. Is that correct?

Yes.

Okay. And so if somebody comes to you with a health challenge, can you give me an example of someone who recently you’ve worked with and a particular health challenge that they were having, and how food helped them overcome that?

For sure, so I specialize in two areas. One is helping people with acne reverse their acne, and the other is weight loss. When I first started health coaching people, my main focus was health. But I found pretty quickly that most people don’t actually care about their health until they’re sick. Which is a little bit unfortunate. Prevention is not as sexy and cool as I think it should be.

Right.

But what I found is a lot of people were coming to me that wanted to lose weight. And what they didn’t realize is that all their other little ailments that they had, maybe the chronic bloating or digestive issues, the chronic headaches or chronic skin rashes. Those sorts of things would also clear up and get better when they improved their diet. So just a couple examples. I’ve had a few clients on the acne side who had very, very severe acne all over their face. Tried everything, again for years. And were at the point where they were prescribed Accutane, but were also too scared to take it. And so they would try my program and my method as sort of a last ditch effort before they finally relegated themselves to Accutane.

The results are amazing and I have some before and after photos on my website. It’s like night and day, and within a matter of months their skin completely clearing up. And then also noticing side-effects like, “Oh, well I actually also lost five or ten pounds that I was carrying around extra.” Or, “I noticed that my digestion is more regular, and I’m not bloating anymore, and I’m eliminating more regularly.” Things like that. So that’s some examples on the acne side.

And then just the health side, again, most people will come to me for weight loss. I had one man who’s a chef actually, who came to me and he dropped a little under twenty pounds, I think in about two and half, three months. And he noticed during the entire time that we were working together, he never had any of his eczema rashes flare out. Which he was having flare all the time very frequently before, but he realized that stopped flaring up.

So it’s just really, really amazing how much food influences our health across the board. It’s a little bit like putting puzzle pieces together. Where you kind of have to look at your symptoms and then work backwards to figure out, “Okay, why is this happening?” Is it that you’re missing something in your diet? Is it that you’re eating too much of something that’s causing or trigger this? Is your digestion off? Those are the first starting points that we’ll begin with, and then from there we’ll build on that. Test, examine, adding foods in, eliminating foods, seeing how you react, and then figuring out the perfect diet for your unique body.

So there are so many plans, so many voices, so many way. Everything from keto, to vegan, to vegetarian, to eat all meat, to gluten free, sugar free. I’ve interviewed a woman on the podcast who is really anti-diet. And she’s really more focused on healthy eating, but not dieting to lose weight. There are even people that connect the weight loss to fat shaming. It’s a whole hairball for me. And so when you’re trying to figure out how to eat, which I don’t even think most people think about how to eat. Most people just satisfy hunger. How do you choose? Things that you’re saying today could be conflicting with somebody I talk to tomorrow. How do you negotiate that process?

For sure. I think there are many different ways to reach the same end point. There’s many different paths. And when it comes to health, the perfect diet for me is not necessarily the perfect diet for you. And so yes, we see these very popular diets in the media like paleo, or keto, or vegan, or this and that. And they all have their benefits and their pros, but they also have their cons. And you can talk to someone, I’ve had a few people on my podcast who said they tried keto and they had to get off it because they felt like their memory was going, or they didn’t feel good and they just had to get off of it. Whereas others swear by it, they think it’s amazing.

Same thing with vegan. Whereas I’ve had cardiologists and doctors on my podcast who’ve talked about, “You have to go vegan if you want to have a healthy heart. You have to, have to, have to be vegan.” But then I’ve had other doctors on, and other people on who said, “Well, no, vegan actually caused problems for me. I find that eating mostly plant based with a little bit of animal product, that actually does better.” So there’s always going to be a million opinions, and that’s why what I really promote is listening to your body. Your body is always going to tell you if it likes something and it doesn’t. Your brain tries to force things like, “Oh, this diet sounds really good and it makes a lot of sense logically.” So what happens when we focus on the diet and we think about it like that, then when our body is giving us signs that it’s really not doing us much good, we ignore them and that’s when you run into trouble.

So I’m a huge proponent of listening to your body, experimenting, adding and removing foods as you need, to find that right mix of foods for you. Obviously working with someone who can help you do that. And I agree, I don’t believe in dieting. I don’t put people on a diet. I hate the word diet. Obviously I think fat shaming is terrible, and it’s not something I’d ever engage in. I didn’t want to help people lose weight initially, I wanted to just help people get healthy. And that has always been my thing, “I’ll help you get healthy first. If you drop some weight, that’s a side-effect.” Unfortunately a lot of people, that as their main goal.

Right, people don’t care. “I don’t want to get healthy, I just want to look better.”

Yeah, they just want to lose it. I mean, that’s what I’ve experienced in my practice. So any who, I’m a huge proponent of diet as a lifestyle. Eating healthy, eating real foods and whole foods, that’s a lifestyle. That’s not something you just do for a couple months to drop twenty pounds, and then you go back to eating whatever you were eating before. It’s adopting a way of eating that you will then keep up really for the rest of your life.

Okay. So it seems like to me, the biggest shift is a huge mindset shift. Because you talked about cooking is a chore. Come on, it is. We’re tired. We work fulltime jobs. We get home, we’ve got little kids running around that are yelling. Stick a cookie between two pieces of bread and hand it to them, right? So that’s a huge issue. And then I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to cook. I don’t know what to do. Oh man, it just feels so overwhelming. Obviously I’m being a bit factitious. My wife does the majority of cooking in our home, and she is very healthy. She gets up at 4:45, 4:30, works out every morning before she goes to her job, and she looks to be healthy. Although I do give her grief over the fact that she provides our kids with bad snacks all the time. And she’s like, “Ah, it’s the kids.”

So how do you make that mindset shift? Because everything you’re saying, I’m like this makes sense. This totally makes sense. And yet the convenience issue, it’s about convenience, it’s about what’s easy. That’s what wins in most American households, I think.

Yes, and I agree. I am a huge fan of convenience, so I totally understand working all day and not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen over a pot. And so I think that there is still a way that you can eat very healthily and feed your family healthfully, and quickly, and easily, that doesn’t require you to spend so much time in the kitchen. Luckily there are so many resources now, from buying your groceries to actually getting prepared meals that you could have delivered, to having someone meal prep for you. There’s a great service in New York where they’ll send a chef to your house on a Sunday, and they’ll meal prep everything for the week. And it’s really not expensive. If you’re eating out every day, it’s the same or even less to have someone do this. And it allows you to get the nutrition that you need, and eat the healthy foods, but do it conveniently.

I’m also a fan of buying things pre-chopped, or buying things a little bit pre-processed or pre-cooked. Obviously not processed junk food, but things like for example, I’ll pick up riced cauliflower, riced broccoli that’s already pre-riced for me so that I can just throw it in in the pot. So I definitely think convenience, we live in 2019, everything’s faced paced, we don’t have a lot of time. I hear you on that. It’s just a matter of not making excuses of figuring out, “Okay, yeah there’s these snacks that have high fructose corn syrup and their just easy because you open and eat them.” But there’s also snacks that are a lot healthier and are made with great ingredients.

So it’s just a matter of taking that little extra time initially to find those products, those more convenience foods that have great ingredient lists, and choosing those instead. Or making sure to batch cook on the weekend. Or making sure to find a meal delivery service in your area that can help you eat healthfully, but without taking up a lot of time.

It seems like right now in our culture, carbs are satanic. Now we know fried foods are satanic. Everybody’s agreed that fried foods are satanic, right? Carbs, why are they so evil? And why are people getting rid of those at such a huge pace?

So carbs are not evil. It depends what types of carbs.

The good kind. The pasta kind. The bread kind.

I would actually counter that that’s the bad kind. So yes, the carbohydrates, people tend to just lump them all together as one entity. But you really want to think about them in terms of being whole or unprocessed carbs, and then refined carbohydrates. So whole and unprocessed carbohydrates are things like vegetables. Vegetables are some of the healthiest foods that we can eat. So you don’t want to cut out carbs completely, because that means that you’re cutting out these very healthy, nutrient rich foods.

What I think is meant by cutting out carbs, is to be cutting out the refined carbohydrates. Which are your bagels, and bread, pasta, and those sorts of things. Which are made from refined carbohydrates. The problem with refined carbohydrates, is that the way that they’re digested, they’re very high glycemic. And so they’re going to spike our blood sugar. And when that happens, it sets off this whole negative chain of events. It can increase our propensity to gain weight. It could cause metabolic disorders. It can make us hungry soon after.

So oftentimes you’ll find when you eat foods or meals that are very high in refined carbohydrates, you may get filled up for a little bit, but you’ll be hungry very soon after. Because it’s not providing you with all the nutrition that you need to feel satisfied for a long period of time. So I would recommend that we do avoid the refined carbohydrates, more so because they’re refined, processed foods. And stick to the healthy whole carbohydrates, which is our vegetables and other plant based foods that are in their whole form.

And you’re Italian though, right? Am I right on that?

Yes. Yes.

Okay, so you’re basically telling all of your ancestors, “You ate poorly. You’re just a bad eater.”

Well, actually the Italians, if you go to Italy, they eat so many vegetables you would just mind boggled. In the U.S., I feel like we think of Italian food as pizza and pasta primarily, whereas they’re eating a ton of veggies, they’re eating fresh seafood that was just caught a couple hours ago. So the diet is a bit different. Look, if you want to have a little bit of room for pasta in your life, sure. But I think there’s also upgrades. So I’m very big on upgrading. So for example, let’s say pasta is your favorite food but maybe you’ve been advised to take those refined carbohydrates out, or the gluten out.

Oh, we’ve been advised. You just advised us.

Yes. So that case you want to look for pastas that are made from beans or lentils. These are protein pastas. So for example, chickpea pasta is quite popular and very good. Or you can even find now pastas made from all sorts of interesting things like seaweed or hearts of palm, from vegetables. From all different sorts of things where they turn the vegetable, or the seaweed, or whatever into that spaghetti like strand. And as long as you put a sauce on it, you really can’t tell the difference. I mean, okay, you can tell the difference, but it gives you the feeling of eating pasta. And it’s close enough that I think the health benefits of eating this way outweigh not eating pasta as often.

So we’ve talked all about ideas regarding food, but what you do personally eat? Tell me about your diet on an average day.

So I eat a lot of plants, a lot of vegetables for sure. My diet, the way that I like to plan my meals and how I advise people is, if you think of your plate as a – what do you call those? Those circle graphs.

A pie chart.

Like a pie chart, exactly.

But you don’t want to say pie, because now I’m thinking about pie.

Yeah, exactly. So if you think of it as that round pie chat, you want at least 50-75% of your plate to be made up of vegetables. They could be cooked. They could be raw. It doesn’t matter. You definitely want to have some greens in there. Dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli, chard, those sorts of things. Some colorful veggies in there. That other quarter of your plate should be some sort of healthy protein, so that could be an animal protein. And when you’re looking at animal protein, you always want it to be organic. If it’s beef, it’s pasture raised or grass fed. If it’s chicken or poultry, you want it to be again pasture raised, or at least free range and organic. Seafood, it should be wild. Or if you’re doing a plant-based, you could do beans or lentils.

And so that’s sort of the bulk of your plate, and then you do want to have some room for some sort of healthy fats. So that could be avocado on top. that could be some sort of healthy oil like olive oil for example, coconut milk. And that’s really the basis of a healthy plate. If you stick to those guidelines, even if you just eyeball it, it doesn’t have to be precise. That’s going to give you the fiber and the nutrition that you need to feel full and sustained throughout the day.

So that’s how I tend to eat. I do a lot of stir-fries. So I love just chopping up whatever veggies I have. Usually I’ll combine a green like for example chard or kale, and whatever veggie I have, like maybe a sweet potato or butternut squash or something. Chop those up. I sauté them with garlic, ginger, and sometimes chilies and olive oil. And yeah, basically if you sauté anything with garlic, ginger, or onions, it’s going to taste good. So that’s sort of my go-to. It’s ready in fifteen minutes. I’ll do that. And then for protein, I love wild salmon. I’ll do organic grass-fed meat every once and a while. And so I have basically some version of that pie chart, that healthy plate pie chart.

Your husband, you just got married recently. I’ve seen him.

He loves it.

I’ve seen him. He’s hot. He’s hot. He’s got a body like an Adonis. Look at this guy, he’s amazing. I mean, I haven’t seen him with his shirt off. He eats this way?

He eats this way. So when I met him, actually funnily enough one of the first things that we bonded over when we met and when out the first time, is that we both had acne when we were younger. And he actually did take Accutane. So he was prescribed Accutane and he took it. And when I met him, he had taken it obviously years before. When I had met him, he did have a few little pimples, breakouts here and there. Nothing major, but just a little bit. So I discussed with him and make some suggestions on his diet, and he changed a couple things. And then he stopped breaking out completely.

But unfortunately, one of the remnants, now we can’t say this with a hundred percent certainty, but he has a lot of digestive issues as a result. And with Accutane, that is one of the side-effects, is things like IBS, Crones even. A lot of digestive issues are associated with taking Accutane, so that’s something he’s battling now. But yeah, he’s completely changed the way that he eats, no more fast-food and he loves it. He really loves it. He definitely eats more than me. He eats larger quantities than me, but he’s still eating the same types of food.

That’s very fun. Okay, so you’ve written a book and it came out in 2017, called The Real Food Grocery Guide. Tell us about this book. Why you wrote it and why it would be helpful for people to pick up on Amazon?

So this book was a result of one of the services that that became very, very popular in my practice, and so that was a grocery store tour. I wasn’t expecting this to be as popular as it was, but essentially what I would do is I would offer my clients a service. That I would take them to their local grocery store, walk them all of the aisles. Teach them how to read ingredient lists. Teach them what the health benefits of foods are. And what you want to avoid and look out for. Because there’s a lot of greenwashing in the grocery aisle, where things look a lot healthier than they actually are.

So I would do this, and it became very popular. It was written up in the press a bunch. And so I said, “Okay, I can’t walk everyone through the grocery store, but if I write a book, that’s close enough.” So that’s what I did. The whole book basically breaks down every aisle of the grocery store. What to look for. What are the health benefits? What are the concerns? What to avoid? What to choose? How to prepare it? And it’s a very, very practical guide to healthy eating. It was featured in Dr. Oz. It was featured in InStyle, it’s doctor recommended. So it’s just a really easy, fun, practical way or practical guide to healthy eating.

All right, so some people are listening right now that are on the fence. They’re saying, “Okay, I get it. You can do convenience. It’s hard. I hear that the long-term side-effects. I don’t really feel that bad right now. Sure, I’ve got a little extra weight, everybody does.” Talk me into it. Pull it through, bring it home. Why should I make these changes?

Our health is the most important thing that we have. I think that in our society, I grew up thinking, and I think most people do, that as we get older, we get sicker. And as we get older, we lose our mind and our memory. As we get older, we get worse. Whereas you look at other cultures, for example in Asian cultures, typically when you get older, you get wiser. When you get older, you get better. So why is that in America, we view getting older with getting sick? And unfortunately, that age of when you start getting sick is getting younger, and younger, and younger, and younger. So I want to challenge you to really look at your life and look how you’re feeling, look how you’re living.

Weight is not a big deal. That doesn’t have to hold you back from anything. But not feeling good, not having energy, not being able to walk or run with your kids, not being able to keep up with life and live your life to your fullest, that’s really where you’re missing out. And I think to me, that is the most important. So if you’re going to eat healthy, obviously eat healthy for yourself, but also eat healthy for your family. You want to see your kids grow up, you want to walk them down the aisle, you want to see your grandkids. You have to be healthy in order to do that. You have to feel good. You have to think really well, quickly, have a great memory, be sharp, be on point. All of these things, our food can influence. So if you want to be in your best shape and be in your best form, then it definitely makes a lot of sense to focus on food and eat the healthiest diet you can.

All right, you’re going to get me thinking even more. That’s what I love about the podcast, is every guest helps me think through and challenges me. It’s just like this process of getting things in my head. And I will say convenience is a big thing in my life. My wife is very good about the choices that she provides for us, and what we do. But it’s hard Maria. It’s hard.

It’s hard but you don’t have to do it alone, and it gets easier over time. Sometimes it takes a little bit more time in the beginning to set things up and to know what you’re go-to’s are, to find that healthy meal delivery, or to find whatever services and thing that you need. But once you get over that hump and you set all that up, usually it’s pretty smooth sailing. This is coming from a girl who used to eat cookie sandwiches. I would not eat vegetables for the first two decades of my life. So for me to go from that, to craving kale and wanting to eat healthy, it’s was a huge, huge change for me. I can say that it honestly gets easier, and the more that you do it, the better that you feel. It makes you want to continue with it.

Yeah, and you have no acne. Look at you.

I have no acne. I have no acne. I lost twenty pounds. My digestive issues went away. I don’t get sick as often. That’s another thing with the immune system which I didn’t mention. When I was growing up, still they call it cold and flu season. We’re going into cold and flu season. Well, no, we’re going into winter. If you have a strong, healthy immune system, you have a lower risk of picking up the office bug, or flu, or cold, whatever is going around. It’s when our immune system is a little bit depressed, then that’s when these bugs can come in and really take over and you get sick. But if you’re feeding your body the right foods, and if you’re living a healthy lifestyle, you’re reducing your stress, managing your stress, you’re going to reduce your chances of getting even things like the common cold and common little bugs and illnesses.

Well, I know your website as well as social media has tons of recipes that people can check out. So that’s www.mariamarlow.com, and of course we’ll put that in the show notes, people can swipe up on their phone and click that now, or you can go to our website and get that. But the book, which I don’t have it in my possession, I’ve seen pictures of it. Beautiful  photography inside. It’s called The Real Food Grocery Guide, and it is available on Amazon, we’ll link to that as well. People can work with you to eliminate their acne, and lose weight, and best of all get healthy. Thanks so much, Maria. It’s good to be with you.

Thanks so much.

thank you!