The Plan to Eat Podcast

#62: Living Fit and Fab Over 40 with Nutritionist and Chef, Mareya Ibrahim

August 02, 2023 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 62
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#62: Living Fit and Fab Over 40 with Nutritionist and Chef, Mareya Ibrahim
Show Notes Transcript

Mareya Ibrahim is The Fit Foodie - a nutritionist, clean-eating chef, published author, podcast host, and the founder of Mareya joined me on the podcast to talk about how she helps women navigate their food and fitness as they enter into peri- and menopause stages of life. We also talked about her company and her book, Eat Like You Give A Fork. This episode is packed with tips and helpful information, enjoy!

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[00:00:00] to the Plan to Eat podcast. Where I interview industry experts about meal planning, food and wellness. To help you answer the question. What's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello and welcome to the show. Today I got to talk to Mareya Ibrahim. She is known as the Fit Foodie. She is a nutritionist, a clean eating chef and author, a podcast host, and the founder of eat Today we talked about all of the different things that she does, including what Eat Cleaner is, uh, why it's important to clean and wash your produce properly.

We talked about her book, eat Like You Give a Fork, which is such a fun name. We talked about nutritional needs for women who are somewhere in their forties in their peri and menopause stages of life, and Mareya just gives so much. Advice and so many great tips, and I hope you get a lot from [00:01:00] this episode and enjoy the show. 

, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Mareya: Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

Roni: So why don't you start off by giving our audience a little intro of who you are and what you do.

Mareya: Sure. Um, my name is Mareya Ibrahim Jones now cuz I'm. Remarried after being a single mom for over 13 years. And I go by Chef Mareya. I've been in the food industry for almost 29 years. Um, and I'm a trained chef, holistic nutrition coach. And I'm an author and I'm, I'm also the co-inventor and founder of Eat Cleaner.

We make a line of products for food safety and shelf life extension, and that's super important right now, especially as food waste has become such a global problem. Um, over 40% of all of the produce that's grown here in the United States ends up in a landfill, and it's the single largest contributor to methane gas emissions.

So, We can all do our [00:02:00] part to help prevent that. And that's really why we created Eat Cleaner, was to be able to help you enjoy cleaner, safer, longer lasting, fresh food. And I'm just super passionate about helping to empower, you know, especially women. But, um, you know, Everyone really, but women for us being the, you know, the leaders in our families in so many ways to take care of themselves so that they can take care of others.

I heard somebody say a quote, and I think it's so perfect. It's if your cup isn't full, you can't overflow into someone else's. So we can't expect to be pouring into everyone else with an empty cup. So it's, it's really not selfish, it's self full.

Roni: Mm. Ooh. I really like that phrase. Well, I feel like I have so many things that we could talk about. I know you have a really interesting story about how you invented Eat Cleaner and why that came about. Um, that I would really like you to share to start off.

Mareya: Sure. [00:03:00] Yeah. I mean, they say that invention, you know, it's the mother of invention is when things come about. And I really do believe, like, as a mother, um, it, it really came about because of that, you know, um, having been in the food industry for a long time, you tend to have your finger on the pulse of different issues, you know, and it's interesting, I think, you know, I was around when organic certified organic was just getting defined and people were like, what does organic mean?

Um, it's pretty ubiquitous now, but back then nobody knew what it meant. We just knew it from like, Chemistry, you know what organic meant. And I remember my dad coming to me and saying, you know, this whole idea of organic is, it's nice, but you know, it shouldn't prevent people from wanting to eat produce because there's a way to remove the pesticide residue.

And I was like, oh, really? So I kind of parked that idea in the back of my mind as I was kind of walking through my career. And then kind of [00:04:00] fast forward probably about 10 years. Um, my dad got cancer. He got bladder and prostate cancer and I went with him to the doctor and the doctor was talking to him and saying, you know, you can eat everything that you feel like including sugar, but avoid raw food.

Anything that's uncooked you should avoid. And I was like hearing right now, like, Eat sugar, but avoid raw food, which has enzymes and pro and prebiotics and you know, the nutrients in, in their whole form that you need actually to, to boost your immunity and be healthy like that makes no sense. But I, I came to find out.

And this is taught in, you know, cooking school 1 0 1 is, you know, if there's no kill step from the cooking or, or perhaps freezing process, then yes, you are at risk for foodborne illness. And, uh, leafy greens are the number one [00:05:00] cause of foodborne illness. According to the F D A. And the cdc. So if we have, you know, this thing that's supposed to be really healthy for us, that's making us sick, then we've gotta reexamine things.

So, when my dad got cancer, I just made it my mission to help him eat a salad safely, cuz salads are my dad's favorite food. You know, I, I couldn't bear the thought of him always having to eat cooked food. And, uh, you know, thank God he's thriving and doing well and eats a salad every single day and washes it with eat cleaner.

Um, and so we really put, you know, him being an environmental scientist and having his masters in agriculture and me with my food background, we really wanted to create something that would be. Not only lab proven and scientifically sound, but not leave a bad taste on your food, not alter the flavor to where you're like, gross, that tastes like chemicals.

So it, we believe it really is the only product out there [00:06:00] of its kind that's not only lab proven and patented, and scientifically proven to remove up to 99.99% of the residue that water can't including. Wax, which by the way, about 80% of our produce is waxed. You know, chemical residue, um, pesticide residue, certainly, and the residue that can carry foodborne illness like e coli, salmonella, and listeria.

That can put somebody like my dad. Or anyone who's immune compromised in the hospital or worse. Um, and it helps your produce last up to five times longer. So just by washing your produce, when you bring it home, you make it safer to eat and you make it last longer. So it's, it's feeding you and not, and not feeding a landfill.

And that's really how we need to, approach food is when we buy it, we need to use it.

Roni: Yeah, it's so interesting because I think a lot of these tactics that either it's the food industry or it's the grocery stores, [00:07:00] I guess it's all their own system, right? That's doing these practices of putting wax on things, spraying pesticides on things, spraying the, whatever the chemical is that helps, like fruits and vegetables, ripen on time, all of those things.

You know, like what you're saying is that if you actually eliminate those things, it helps your produce last longer. Like this system that's been created is actually making our produce go in the landfills a lot faster.

Mareya: Well, you know, let me clarify, because the, the, the, um, the waxes and things that are being applied to the produce are in theory supposed to help them last longer,

Roni: Mm.

Mareya: so, But the problem with that is the wax is then trapping residue under the surface. Most of your produce is not washed before you get it unless it's in a package that says pre-washed, which I would really advise all your listeners to take a double look at anything that they buy in a package, because [00:08:00] not all packaged produce is pre-washed.

Which is kind of misleading. You'd think it, it being in a plastic poly bag means it's been pre-washed, but that's not necessarily the case. They will label if it's been washed or not. But you know, by and large, they have not been washed. They have not been even rinsed with water. Uh, for example, all of our berries, none of those berries are getting rinsed.

Not that rinsing really does anything, but the point is, if anything is then getting wax, the wax is sealing in. Everything that has not been treated or not been addressed. So, um, that's where it gets a little scary. And, you know, there's a new, I, I know this is. Probably a lot of your listeners have seen this because it's become viral now, but there's a company called Appeal and they are coating, produce now with their patented coating.

And people are very concerned about that. And, uh, it is another form of coating that's made from plant-based fat. [00:09:00] Um, so it's basically the same idea as the wax and no, you can't remove it with water. It doesn't mean that it's harmful, but the problem again is if it hasn't been washed and you can't remove it with water, then what the heck do you do?

Eat cleaner? You know, eat cleaner is formulated to remove that fat, you know, anything that has plant fat or a wax that is, um, you know, petroleum based that, uh, is oil based. So you need oil to remove oil, and that's, that's what our product does.

Roni: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, my mom growing up, and I mean, even still, but you know, I know growing up, like cooking with my mom, she was a big stickler on making sure our produce was really clean and particularly celery. You know, cuz and like celery can be really gross sometimes You get it and you pull the, the ribs apart and there's so much gunk in there.

Mareya: You gotta chop the bottom off and literally one by one, tear the ribs out and then wash [00:10:00] those because they, the dirt likes to settle in right at the, the base of it. Yeah. Yeah. And you know it, she was smart for doing that. And it, it really upsets me. I viscerally, when I hear people say, ah, it's just a little dirt.

We all ate dirt when we were growing up. The, the dirt that we have now looks nothing like what we, what it looked like growing up. You know, for me, uh, you know, over 50 years ago, like, it, it looks nothing like it. The use, the rampant use of different fertilizers and fungicides and, um, herbicides and pesticides and.

You know, things that are being added, even organic, you know, we get this all the time. Well, I eat organic. Well, that doesn't invite you to eat manure. You know, like they're still using organic fertilizers and manure. That can certainly contaminate your food and fact, uh, We spoke to the head of uc, Davis' agriculture program, and he [00:11:00] said, your risk of getting foodborne illness from organic produce is much higher than conventional.

So the point is you still gotta wash it no matter what.

Roni: Yeah. Well, and the, the dirt that is in these like industrial farms is also totally different than the dirt that might be in your backyard. Right? Like it maybe our grandparents were eating dirt, but it was from their backyard, from their home garden

versus something that traveled multiple thousands of miles. 

Mareya: Yeah, mostly controlled. I mean, maybe, you know, with standing like flyover, you know, birds or, um, little rodents running through the garden. I mean, I. We're not talking about industrial level chemicals and you know, we, all we have to do is look at the rampant, you know, uh, the rampant cases of cancer and A D H D that's linked to pesticides and, dementia and, you know, all of these, inflammatory diseases that are coming from, [00:12:00] you know, not only our, our.

The food that grows in the ground, but all of the packaged food. And that's really the broader message of what I set out to do is to create a place and a resource where people can get sound advice. Sound advice that's based on science and real nutrition versus hyperbole. And like I, I just saw something about, there's a new trend right now about lemon coffee.

It's, it's the silliest thing I've ever heard because coffee and lemon, like they cancel out each other. So if you're drinking coffee, caffeine actually limits your absorption of vitamin C. So, and, and the two of them together are highly acidic. So why would you do that? But these trends catch on and, and we really wanna help people go down the road of sound nutrition versus just jumping on a trend.


Roni: Right. Yeah, that's a good transition into talking a little bit about the other stuff that you do besides having, um, eat cleaner. [00:13:00] So, yeah, why don't you talk a little bit about, I mean, you were previously a chef and now you're a nutritionist. What did that transition look like for you?

Mareya: Yeah, so it's really interesting. I, I had always really dreamed of working with food, um, professionally, and it, it's kind of, Ironic because it came out of a decade long eating disorder. And, uh, I think, you know, like, like many people, the obsession with food comes from a love of it, but like a mishandling of it.

Uh, so it, my own healing process was coming. To terms with it and that's where nutrition really came in is understanding that me depriving my body of nutrients was not benefiting anybody, um, trying to look skinny or trying to lose weight. I was actually doing the opposite. I was killing my metabolism so that anytime I would eat it would just hold onto the food.

Because it thought I was in [00:14:00] starvation mode. Instead of burning it efficiently, it just stored it as fat. And that is a big problem that we're having nowadays is people are jumping on these diet drugs. They don't realize it's a life sentence because it completely screws up your metabolism. The minute you go off of them, you gain weight again.

So, you know, I just really wanna help people, you know. Also keep a love for food. So my recipes are still chefy, but they're easy to make and they're nutrient dense and they're balanced so that they don't, spike your blood sugar. They keep your, your metabolism revving. They, they give you protein, because, uh, you know, quite frankly for women as we age too, it becomes really important that we watch our nutrients.

We can't just be eaters. I. Well, we can, but it's not gonna be a good thing. Um, we have to be really conscientious eaters, and that's why my book is called Eat Like You Give a Fork. You know, it's, it's [00:15:00] about hearing about your body because again, going back to what we said in the beginning, if you take care of yourself, your cup will be full so you can overflow into others.

But if you're always tired, if you're always anxious, if you're always hangry, that's hungry and angry, which most of us get, then you can't really serve anybody, especially yourself. And I really found out, I found that out the hard way. You know, I had anxiety attacks and I ended up in the hospital after a severe anxiety attack.

I was losing hair by the handful, you know, I was down to 87 pounds. Like it's not a good place to be. But there's hope. There's hope in knowing that your body actually needs nutrition. It needs food. We need it to survive. It's one of the only things we need to survive and thrive. So it's just a matter of getting that in order so that you're using it the right way.

Roni: [00:16:00] Hmm. And so your own. Your personal journey with this kind of started as you were, you were after 40 years old, right? When you kind of started this whole journey.

Mareya: Actually, no, I was so, I was much younger. Um, I started down the culinary path in my early, um, Uh, twenties, um, and was still grappling with my eating disorder at the time. It started when I was about 17 and, uh, you know, into my late twenties is when I really started to heal from it. But during that period of time is when I went to cooking school and I did find out that there was a lot of cooking with.

Butter and sugar. I mean, I went to a traditional French cooking school in Lion so, um, you know, it was not like the kind of cooking that I felt would actually serve me. So I. Kind of got what I needed and, and went into nutrition from that point and got my holistic [00:17:00] nutrition certificate. And that's really where my point of view on cooking, I think, blossomed.

And I was able to take the, the technique, the French technique that I had learned and the classic recipes and approaches, but take that into a new realm of healing with food.

Roni: Mm. And so even still now, do you feel like that French culinary experience is what inspires a lot of the recipes that you create?

Mareya: A hundred percent. You know, in my book there's a lot of, most of it is Mediterranean influenced, um, a little bit of Southern California, just cuz I've been here for over 20 years. But I. My heritage is Egyptian. We have a lot of French influence in our cooking in Egypt. And then I spent quite a bit of time in Italy, so you're gonna get definitely, a Mediterranean, coastal, uh, influence in the book.

Um, a lot of traditional Egyptian recipes in there, ones that I [00:18:00] grew up with as well. Uh, and, coupled with the nutrition part. So I would take like a, a recipe that I grew up with, for example, like a lamb kofta burger, but make it much more nutrient dense, adding in vegetables and adding in, different herbs and spices than you would see in a regular hamburger, for example.

So making it, you know, more flavorful, more healthy, and at the same time, You know, really eating the rain, eating the rainbow is one of my big trademarks. You know, like when you see my food, it's colorful. It's, it's visually, gonna represent different colors which heal our bodies in different ways. So, yeah, it's, it, I, the one thing that I always hear is it's visually very appealing when people look through the book.

So hopefully you'll get that colorful, you know, thing jumping out at you.

Roni: Yeah. So if anybody is interested in the book, is it strictly a cookbook or is there elements of, like [00:19:00] nutrition advice in there as well?

Mareya: it's definitely both. So it's a, it's a, I would say number one, it's a guide to eating with eight steps plus recipes to support each step. So as you're learning how to kind of. Rehab your refrigerator and purge your pantry and reset your taste buds and, um, fill up on greens and, you know, um, get nutrient dense.

Some of the chapters that are in there, there are recipes that support each chapter to help you kind of put the methodology into practice. It's a little bit different than just a straight up cookbook.

Roni: Right. I, I really am interested in that phrase that you just said, reset your taste buds. Uh, what are, what do you mean exactly by that? And then maybe what are some ways that people would do that?

Mareya: Yeah, so the part of the, um, beginning of the book is, uh, is an eight day taste bud reset, and I kind of equate it to. [00:20:00] Going to the gym. So if you wanted to rehab your, your eating lifestyle and uh, wanted to get started, but you really dislike vegetables, which I hear all the time, like I don't even like spinach or kale.

I'm like, okay, we need to start at step one then, because you can't just jump into these recipes. So I hope people reset their taste buds by removing certain things and adding other things in. So, for example, we remove refined sugar, we remove um starches, we remove beans, we remove alcohol, and then we add certain things in, and you eat those foods, those flavor profiles.

Sour, bitter and umami. And you repeat that for eight days and it's amazing how quickly in eight days you will actually start to feel the change. And you know, our taste buds get imprinted pretty much by the time we're five years old. So if, you know, you kind of grew up eating, you [00:21:00] know, a lot of processed food, chances are that's just kind of like what you eat now.

Um, unless you've given yourself a chance to change that. But the good news is anybody can reset their taste buds at any age. You just have to decide you're going to do it. And when you do, you rewire your brain. So you start eating differently, your brain registers it, and then your brain starts to take over and say, I actually really like.

Those greens because they give me energy and they make me feel good. Uh, and it's a beautiful thing. I, I've seen it literally thousands of times over my coaching over the years. And, uh, people start to pick brownie or broccoli over brownies. You know, they start to crave. You know, the, the whole foods that make them whole versus the junk that leave them feeling like junk.

You know what I'm saying? And I'm pretty straight up. It's, it's a funny tongue in cheek [00:22:00] kind of book. It's very punny, so you have to bear with my food puns. But, you know, I think what you get is just a, your, your girlfriend telling you what nobody's told you before in a way that's loving, but straight up.

I, I don't mince words.

Roni: that sounds amazing. Uh, that eight day reset sounds like something I could use. I. A couple times a year, I usually, you know, give up sugar or something like that and it can be such a challenge. I've, I've always kind of identified as somebody with a sweet tooth and so yeah, I think I need to do something that is a little more systematized like that if I

Mareya: Yeah, so I, I have a program, it's, um, you can find it on my website at and it's called Eat to Thrive. And it basically breaks down the book. So it's an eight week program. You can do it in eight days too. Um, and part of that is the Taste Bud reset. [00:23:00] And I really encourage people to, they're gonna get the book, or even if they're not gonna get the book to, to try the program because it puts it in a practice.

And, um, you know, I think. I think what I have found in over the course of my career and just talking to people is it's, it's not easy to change. I fully recognize that it's not easy to change. There's a lot of fear that comes with that. There's a lot of like, well, who are you to tell me that I can't have a cookie?

The thing about this program is I never tell you that you can't have a cookie. I just tell you that. If you take the reset, then the kind of cookie you crave might look very different than the cookie you used to crave. Maybe you used to eat the cookies down the street at your favorite bakery, but they used a ton of sugar and butter, but maybe you'd like to try my no bake.

Chocolate chip oatmeal, cookies in the book, or the tahini marble fudge that is like to die for that. Don't have refined sugar in [00:24:00] them. That still satiate what you're after, but they actually give you nutrition with them. So it's never like, you know, you can never have that again. But what it looks like might look just a little bit different.

Um, and you know, a, a lot of this I was on a show called Recipe Rehab on a b, C, and that show took family recipes and we would rehab them and make them better. And, uh, it was always two chefs kind of cooking against each other. And I remember, I, one of my recipes that I did was, uh, a brownie and we took all of the saturated fat and sugar out and we used, I used pureed beets and I remember, uh, The, the host just going, I can just hear all of America stopping in their tracks right now, going beets what?

Um, but it works. And, and the family loved it and they ended up picking my recipe as the winner. So, you know, all I can say is you gotta give it a chance. And [00:25:00] if you give it a chance, You still dislike it? Try it again. It takes eight to 10 times before you start to, you know, sway even the toughest taste, bud.

But I hear it time and time again and man, I'm so glad I stuck with it. Just bite after bite, it was worth it. Um, and that, that reset will guide you through it really carefully so that you know it, it's like I'm your Sherpa going on this trek with you.

Roni: That's really encouraging and I'm glad that you mentioned that, that it does, it's not just an instantaneous thing. It reminds me of, we've talked to people on here before about, um, getting your kids, you know, kids who are picky eaters, and you even mentioned that kids taste buds start to develop at five.

And so, you know, if your kids are picky eaters, like her thing was like exposure, exposure, exposure. And I, you know, I, it doesn't seem like it changes as, as you get older, you need that exposure in order to get used to something.

Mareya: Totally. And actually [00:26:00] they're imprinted by a five. So it even starts earlier, you know? And um, I know like, I mean, of course every child when they try something new, They will have a little bit of a sensitivity to it. It, it's just, it's something in our genetic makeup. It it's our, it's our ability to defend ourselves.

So when we taste something bitter initially, we want to spit it out because bitter can imply danger. Um, But you have to just keep, keep at it, keep trying, like don't give up on the spinach and the, you know, and the green beans and things like that. Where if your child spits them out, that you decide you're never gonna give them to them again and only give them sweet things because that's exactly the reaction that you should expect.

But it doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing, 

Roni: Well, I wanna circle back a little bit to what you mentioned earlier, which was talking about women's nutritional needs. Um, I [00:27:00] know this is something that you're a bit of an expert in, so I wanted to talk to you about this. What, as a woman who, I'm, I'm still in my thirties, but I know that you work with a lot of women who are like perimenopause, menopause phases of their life, and so what kinds of fitness and nutrition needs are changing during those periods of their lives?

Mareya: So many things. Well, number one, after the age of like around 35, we really start to diminish our natural production of collagen. And collagen is the, the super glue of our connective tissue. So our hair, skin nails, our joints, our ligaments, and uh, it's very easy to. Start to see that breakdown over the age of 35.

So adding collagen to your dietary intake is extremely important. Um, I take it every single day in the morning. I actually, uh, tore my a c l and my meniscus several years ago when I opted out of surgery. [00:28:00] And, uh, I've just been taking like mega doses of collagen and doing, you know, weight training and stuff and can do everything on my knee now.

So, , you, it's that important. It's that important to keeping us injury, uh, you know, prevention of injury and keeping our connective tissue together. So that's very important. As is protein, you know, protein is. The, you know, made of amino acids. They're the building blocks of humanity. They're that important.

It's that important to get protein into your diet. So, especially for my plant-based eaters out there, you know, you want to make sure you're getting complete proteins, like beans and rice together are complete protein. Um, and I talk a lot about that in my book because there's a plant powered, you know, section of the book.

Um, And, uh, and then also, you know, foods that help to lower inflammation because that [00:29:00] is another thing that we battle, um, with managing our hormones. As our hormones start to change through peri and and menopause, our ability to produce testosterone diminishes, we become, we tend to become more estrogen dominant.

So watching. Out for our estrogen, you know, intake, uh, being mindful of plant-based estrogens too phytoestrogens that come from soy and and other foods. There's a lot of phytoestrogens out there. So just being mindful of them based on where you are. And everyone is different and that's why it's super important to know where your hormone panels are on a regular basis.

But you know, Sweet potatoes can be a wonderful thing to help with managing hot flashes, for example, uh, when it makes sense. So adding certain foods in and taking certain foods out based on your own individual hormone balance is really important. And I would say, you know, [00:30:00] Extremely important is hydration.

We, we talk about food a lot, but hydration helps to lubricate your muscles. It helps to, and, and your connective tissue. It helps to, uh, get rid of waste. So, you know, food in waste out, like, we wanna be able to, you know, keep ourselves toxin free. So water helps to flush that. Um, water helps to keep us feeling satiated.

Oftentimes we feel like we're hungry, but we're actually thirsty. So that's another reason why water is important. And it just, it helps to flush our systems and, um, hydrate our cells and our mitochondria. Really depends on that. You know, the integrity of our cells depends on hydration. They're over 70% water.

So, you know, for all those reasons, it's really important. I would say maybe even more important than the food is making sure you're drinking water and coffee's, [00:31:00] dehydrating, alcohol's, dehydrating, um, you know, when you are really active you tend to be more dehydrated. So, You know, know your levels and know what you need.

Uh, on a regular basis, we should at least be getting half our body weight in ounces of water every day. So, just do the math for yourself and if you're active, you need more.

Roni: Can you talk a little bit more about phytoestrogens? Cuz that's not something I'm. Familiar with.

Mareya: Yeah. So, um, there are plants in the, in the plant kingdom that tend to be, more. Estrogen, phytoestrogen, plant, estrogen rich, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just, again, knowing where your own hormone levels are. So if you are estrogen dominant already, and you are maybe consuming more soy than you probably should [00:32:00] be because soy is quite phytoestrogen rich, then it could be knocking your.

Hormone levels out of whack. Um, and so, you know, again, for th this is a, a very much for my plant-based eaters out there, that if they're not eating animal protein and they're tending to eat more, you know, soy protein for example, it's just something to be mindful of. And, uh, you know, you can get that from a number of different.

Plant-based sources. It's not saying Don't eat plants. Please don't misunderstand me or don't eat soy, but just know your own levels so that you know, you know what, what you should be having

and you can get you, you can monitor your levels at your regular doctor's appointments with simple blood panel.

Roni: Okay. Yeah, that was my next question.

Mareya: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Roni: Yeah. So I feel like you've given a lot of really good tips there, particularly related to water taking collagen. Um, do you have any other tips, like if somebody is, [00:33:00] you know, struggling in their, you know, is just starting to go through perimenopause or menopause, like what would be a good first step?

Mareya: Yeah, I think, you know, definitely know where your blood. Where your hormone levels sit with a blood test, um, and plan on doing that on a pretty regular basis. That's number one. Number two, there are certain things that probably will just serve you to cut down on significantly alcohol. And caffeine. Um, I'm not saying you can never have a drink again or you can never drink a cup of coffee again.

I do drink a cup of coffee sometimes two every day, but I make sure I Dr. I take magnesium to balance it out because caffeine strips, magnesium, and. Like I mentioned earlier, um, vitamin C. So making sure you're then replenishing your body so that, um, you're not dehydrating is very important. Alcohol doesn't sit [00:34:00] well with a lot of women during p peri and menopause, so know yourself, know if you're drinking something and then you start having hot flashes, that's probably not the best thing to do.

So temper that. There are a lot of great non-alcoholic drinks out there and low. A B v, uh, wine and, and spirits that you can enjoy just as much as regular alcohol, and feel a lot better in the mornings. So that's something to explore. One thing I wanna talk about really important is Omega three s.

Omega three s help us to naturally balance our hormones and, um, taking a fish oil supplement or, getting, you know, Avocado in, seeds like, uh, flax seeded or chia seed is really great. Um, taking krill oil, all of these things can help you with your essential, fatty acids and fat is really important for women.

you know, I think I, [00:35:00] thankfully, you know, keto became pretty big. We now understand that fat is not a four letter word, but every, every diet should include healthy fats, and I like to prioritize plant-based fats versus animal fats as your main source of fat. Um, I know there's different schools of thought out there, but mono unsaturated fats that you can get from plant-based fats tend to be the best for your body.


Roni: Are there other, um, instances of that besides avocado? I feel like avocado's the only one that I know as a high fat plant-based item. Oh, okay.

Mareya: wonderful source of fatty acids that is actually, um, more of a saturated fat, but it's a special classification of saturated fat. It's an M C T fat so. Um, that is, it allows your body to more readily convert it to energy, so it, it's a really good [00:36:00] source of fat as well.

Roni: Okay. And then you have a program as well for women over 40. Why don't you explain what that's about?

Mareya: Yeah. So, uh, it's called Fit and Fab over 40, and it is a 21 day reset. That helps you to kind of also evaluate in your own body what's going on. Help you prioritize the better for you foods and puts them into, uh, you know, a daily plan that you can use. You get a a three week meal plan and recipes and.

Shopping list. So it makes it really easy to just implement. And then it, it gives you just some, you know, a lot of the things that we talked about today, but more of a deep dive. So, uh, about hydration, about, how to food cycle, um, about how to eat more during the day in smaller. Portions in intervals and why?

I suggest that. And [00:37:00] exercise information too. You know, fitness is an important part of being healthy for women. Uh, the food is the biggest part, 80 to 90% and. Hydration is included in that, but exercise is also really important. I actually went through my own transformation last year. I competed in my first bodybuilding competition.

So I've, I found that just by manipulating food, even doing consistent exercise, you can completely transform your body. So, um, I, I share some of those tips and how to just get more toned how to, Manage, you know, your energy levels and all the things that we go through during this, you know, this, uh, wonderful transition as I like to call it.

Roni: That's cool. We'll make sure that we link to that in the show notes, so if anybody's interested, they can find it.

Mareya: There's a free masterclass too that I would really encourage people to try. Um, watch the Free Masterclass. It's also at [00:38:00] and I really go into this in a lot of detail and tell some of my own, you know, personal stories and, um, I lost my mom and I. Both of my grandmothers to stroke. So I talk about managing heart disease.

It's the number one killer of women worldwide. I think a lot of people are very shocked to hear that. They think it's cancer, it's actually heart disease. So, um, you know, what can we do to manage that? And eating right and exercise is, and managing stress is a huge part of that.

Roni: Great. Well, was there anything else that, um, you wanted to touch on today that we haven't talked about?

Mareya: Oh, I could talk a lot, but we'll save that for another time. No, just if anybody has any questions, you know, feel free to reach out to me. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook primarily at Chef Mareya. And certainly if you sign up for any of my programs or all the free resources, I have a ton of free resources on the website.

I [00:39:00] also have products that I love, that I vetted, that I recommend, whether they be supplements or, um, you know, biohacking little hacks that I like to use. You can find those on the website and tons of just content to read through blogs and recipes and you don't have to buy something. I just welcome you to be a part of the, the community and, and find a way to feel better.

Cuz I, I just want that for everybody.

Roni: That's wonderful. Okay. Well, the end of the episode, we like to talk a little bit about recipes. So can you talk about a recipe that you've made or eaten recently that you just really loved and wanna share?

Mareya: Yeah, uh, I actually just posted it, uh, so you can go find it on my Instagram. It's a seafood stuffed avocado, and this is the ultimate food for managing your hormones because it contains avocados, which is incredible for balancing your hormones. It looks like a uterus. And it's. [00:40:00] Got canned seafood in it.

It's actually got sardines and tuna. So, um, many people overlook those seafood items, but they're very good. They're wild caught, and they're super nutrient dense. And just because they're in a package doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Uh, and I mix those two together with a little bit of Dijon mustard, some fresh thyme, a little nod to the French cuisine.

Some different herbs and spices and, uh, it's just a wonderful, really high protein delicious spring salad that'll take you into the summer. And it looks really pretty.

Roni: That's great. Thanks for sharing that and thanks for joining me today on the podcast. It's been really lovely talking to you.

Mareya: same here. I, I really hope it helps. I.

Thanks for tuning into this episode, you can support the Plan to Eat podcast by subscribing, wherever you get your podcasts and leaving us a rating and review on apple podcasts and Spotify. Thanks again for listening[00:41:00]