Maria Marlowe grew up in New York on a Standard American Diet. She thought she was eating healthy, following the USDA food pyramid guidelines.

It called for “6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta” a day. She happily obliged. Pizza then, to her, was the perfect food: a serving of bread, one of dairy, and even a one of vegetables! 

She was overweight, always sick, plagued by acne and digestive problems. She hated her body, and spent years waging war against it. Restricting calories, skipping meals, exercising like a maniac, experimenting with fad diets… nothing worked. Her problems persisted for years, until one day, desperate, she tried a radical new approach. Simple:

Real. Healthy.

“I got rid of processed and refined foods and added whole, real foods. In a matter of months, my skin cleared up- something no cream, cleanser, or dermatologist had been able to do.”

That turning point led Maria down the nutrition rabbit hole:

“I learned that food affects everything in our body… way beyond just weight or skin.”

She changed career paths to study nutrition and cooking. She now helps people improve their eating habits and thinks of food as medicine.

“There is a connection between what you eat, how you look, and how you feel.

You can look healthy – i.e. be thin – but still be incredibly unhealthy and unhappy. You can eat all the healthy foods in the world, but if you have no energy or are miserable – are you really well?”

There are many reasons for this broken relationship people have with their bodies:

“We’re taught by the media, society, and heck sometimes even our mothers, that a woman’s body should be a certain way. Thanks to airbrushing and photo editing, anyone can add a six-pack, tighten their waist, lengthen their legs… you’d never know. We are shown impossible standards and feel bad when we can’t meet them…

then we’re sold products, treatments, and surgeries to help us get there.”

In parallel,

“We are taught that food only affects our weight. […] For years, the junk food industry has propagated the notion that you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise in order to be thin and healthy.”

This is simply not the case.

“Food affects everything from our mood, to our energy, sleep, skin, and physical health. Traditional medical systems of the East, such as traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda – acknowledge the significant impact of diet on every aspect of our health, and a physician is just (or more) likely to prescribe a certain eating plan than a pill.”

Marlowe believes that is what we need: a different approach to dieting. A real plan involving real food, tailored for real women.

“I believe healthy eating should be easy and accessible to every person. In my EatSLIM online nutrition and cooking course, I teach people how to better understand their body so that they can tweak their diet and start feeling better right away. 

Often it’s small changes – like swapping water in place of soda- that can make a huge difference in how you look and feel.”

Her meal plans are designed for busy people who want to eat healthy but do not want to spend hours in the kitchen.

“I’m a big fan of fifteen-minute-or-less recipes and meal prepping. And while I recommend cooking as often as possible, I also empower my clients to make the best choices when eating out and traveling, no matter the circumstances.”

Good habits, real food. On a regular day, that philosophy looks like this:

  • Drinking about 2.5 liters of water

“I recommend keeping a one-liter glass water bottle with you at all times.” 

  • Eating an extra-large serving of dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, arugula, etc.)
  • Managing stress

“Yoga, exercise, and other self-care practices are helpful, but the most effective is mastering your mind and how you deal with stressors.”

  • Avoiding processed, refined, fried, and packaged foods as much as possible
  • Eating according to the ideal plate ratio (50% vegetables, 25% healthy protein, 25% more greens, veggies, or beans, and a moderate amount of fat) whenever possible.
  • Fighting sweet cravings with fruit or fruit sweetened desserts instead of snacks made with refined sugar.

(Try Maria’s recipes for banana ice cream and chocolate truffles.)

Maria’s approach has helped so many lose weight, clear acne, and address digestive issues. Most importantly, it has helped many feel good about themselves again.

“You can’t achieve the body you want by hating the one you have. It will just lead to resentment, excuses, and self-sabotage. When you learn to love and appreciate your body, to thank it for all it does for you, then, and only then, can you start to heal and improve it for the long term.”

Note: Read more about Maria’s philosophy and programs, sign up for a class, and check out her latest book, The Real Food Grocery Guide.*

*Called “the most practical guide to healthy eating, The Real Food Grocery Guide walks you through the different sections of the grocery store and to help you make the healthiest choices for you and your family.

Yara Zgheib

Author Yara Zgheib

Yara is a writer, policy researcher and analyst, and lover of culture, travel, nature, art. She is the author of The Girls at 17 Swann Street and blogger behind Aristotle at Afternoon Tea. She has written for The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, The Idea List, A Woman’s Paris, and Holiday Magazine.

More posts by Yara Zgheib

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