The Benefits of a Plant-based Diet

The world is changing fast and many people are waking up to the facts that have been around for a very long time. It’s no secret that meat & dairy come loaded with a variety of health damaging factors. Furthermore, our planet has been suffering the causes of the animal agriculture industry for way too long. In this article, you won’t find anything about the cruel practices that go hand in hand with slaughtering animals for food but instead, you will learn about the many significant benefits of a plant based diet.

But first, why did I decide to say goodbye to consuming animal products? 

It all started in January 2016. I was in Cape Town, a place where locals specialize in a variety of meat dishes. Growing up in an Italian/German family where my father owned a restaurant for 30 years, you can imagine how my diet was filled with a lot of dairy and meat. I had never really considered my food as a source of disease and so I ate a lot of animal products. 

One night in Cape Town I had this extremely vivid dream of an animal being slaughtered right in front me and could see every detail of it…after waking up, I decided to quit meat for good. My vegetarian journey began. This year in February after studying documentaries, articles, and books, I took it one level higher - a fully plant based diet. One of the best decision in my life!

 

 Fruits = Life

Fruits = Life

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most prominent benefits for the body & the environment:

 

The Body

 

Better health

A highly decreased risk of a variety of diseases such as different types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. Caused by the lack of saturated or trans fats and cholesterol, plants come packed with nutrients to keep your health in top shape. 

What’s more, scientist recently discovered that plant based diets even help protect against memory loss caused by aging. Research is indicating a strong connection between consuming animal products and the Alzheimer’s disease due to the plaque that is building up in the blood vessels and therefore depriving brain cells of oxygen-rich blood.

Weight loss

How about a diet where you can eat all the time and still lose weight? I know, sounds too good to be true, right? 

The beauty of plant based nutrition is that it comes packed with fiber, vitamins AND far less caloric density. This means in order to get the same amount of calories with plants you need to eat more than the same amount of calories obtained via meat or dairy. Eating more food, living healthy and setting yourself up for your dream body - sounds freaking awesome to me!

 

The Environment 

Given the dire situation we find ourselves in (think climate change, forest destruction, dead ocean zones, etc.) it’s about time we address this topic in more detail.

Below I have listed the most prominent topics with references when clicking on the highlighted words.

Going plant based will…

Result in the lowest possible CO2 footprint compared to vegetarians and meat-eaters. Given the fact that climate change is probably the most existential threat we have ever faced, this is a very legit argument in order to heavily decrease your meat intake or quit for good!

“Intensive livestock-rearing is a major cause of greenhouse gases, in part because of the methane produced by the animals and the massive slurry pits that accompany large farms”

And another one...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/21/eat-less-meat-vegetarianism-dangerous-global-warming

Drastically reduce your water consumption

“1 pound of beef requires anywhere between 2000 and 8,000 gallons of water to produce, according to studies conducted by UC Davis.” 

Helping to restore the oceans

In recent news… 

“The Gulf of Mexico is currently experiencing one of the largest “dead zones” ever seen, in which a massive patch of the ocean is now devoid of life. A new report claims that this ecological devastation is the result of the meat industry that occurs in the heart of the United States.”

Conclusion

I will say this: going plant based is a process, it requires planning and getting used to changing your diet. Especially in social gatherings, it may be more challenging than usual. Yet, it is well worth the effort. How much do you value your health? How important is it to you to make a contribution to our society? Are certain tastes more important to you than helping to restore the planet for your family? How you live and what you consume greatly matters. With every decision you make, you create demand and according to economics 101, demand creates supply. 

Waiting for politicians to make these changes happen won't help. We need to start thinking about the things that really matter. It's time to educate ourselves and learn how we can all make an impact. Healing starts with what you put on your plate every day! I hope this article has helped you to shed some more light on the topic and would love to hear your feedback!

Remember...

The choices you make today, create the world you live in tomorrow. 

 

Much love,

Mario 

 

 

The Power Morning

What if I told you that it takes just 30 minutes of your day to completely transform your life? Sounds like a Marketing scheme I know…but no worries, you don’t have to sell your friends how-to-get-rich-fast-while-sleeping-wonder-pills. Bear with me because I’m going to show you one of the most powerful ways of giving your life a well-deserved boost.

One of the most dreadful times of the day (and I’m sure many of you can relate) used to be my morning. I remember the days at University: set the alarm to 7 am and the follow up with a cascade of 20 snooze attacks. My mantra used to be “I’m not a morning person” and getting out of bed meant the struggle was real! Then in 2014, I came across Transcendental Meditation and quickly learned the technique here in NYC. I would wake up and before breakfast meditate for about 20 minutes. At first even these 20 minutes were a real challenge because that meant 20 minutes less sleep or 20 minutes less happiness. However, after practicing meditation for a few weeks, I started noticing changes: more focus, less stress, and more energy. At that point, I fell in love with meditation and gladly exchanged these 20 minutes for so many benefits. 

Now, I’m not here to promote Transcendental Meditation and I’m also not saying that those are the 20 minutes that will completely transform your life although meditation plays a big role in it. This was only the beginning to a much more powerful tool that would set the foundation for a life on my terms! 

If you are dealing with stress, lack of motivation or energy, this tool will greatly help you make a difference. Scientists and super successful entrepreneurs mutually agree: the morning is the most important time of the day. It is the time that sets the tone for the day and it is crucial to your well-being and success. 

 The power of NO morning routine...

The power of NO morning routine...

But why should I have a routine? In short because making it part of your routine won’t use the mental capacities to make a decision whether to do it or not. If it remains outside of your routine, you will feel tired and unmotivated in the long run.

So, here it goes, The Power Morning!

Based on 4 individual small routines, I will list the things that can help you take control and feel much more energized. Keep in mind, the order can be changed but I strongly suggest to start with the exercise to give yourself a boost when coming out of bed.

Exercise

In order to get out the fatigue of the morning and boost your metabolism, one of the things I do at the very beginning of my Power Morning is hitting the gym. I begin by drinking a glass of water and then make my way to the gym. Once I have arrived I’m fully awake and ready to call out the Schwarzenegger in me! If you don’t want to go to the gym in the morning, I suggest you do a 5 minute HIIT workout. Here is a good example I found on Youtube. You can always switch things around but those 5 minutes are crucial. 

Benefits: 

  • Boosting your metabolic rate and therefore burn more calories during the rest of the day
  • Higher focus
  • Better mood due to endorphins (the happy hormones) being released 

Meditation

After I come back from the gym, I take a quick shower and then get ready for my meditation. It takes me about 20 minutes and I wouldn't miss a single day. The benefits are numerous and this truly helps you to go into a deeply relaxed state. If you can’t afford a meditation course, I suggest starting with a breathing exercise and just focus on your breath for 10 minutes. More info right here. Our minds are constantly at work and trying to get rid of the habit of overthinking can be very hard. Meditation has helped me to do just that!

Benefits:

  • Less stress
  • More focused 
  • More energy 

Gratitude

Once I’m done with my meditation, I switch over to 5 minutes of gratitude. I usually focus on 3 things that I’m most grateful for: my family, my health and being alive in this marvelous world. It may seem like a small and not very important tool but the incredible power of gratitude has been studied by many scientists. Take a look at this video that shows the effect of words, sounds, and videos on water. In my life, gratitude has helped me shift my focus from the things that are missing to the things that I already have. Not only has this allowed me to have a much healthier outlook on life but also reduced stress and increased my happiness. Here is another article that shows more of the benefits. I cannot emphasize the importance of gratitude enough and will write a special article dedicated to the topic. If you express gratitude on a daily basis, your life will change for the better.

Benefits:

  • Shift your focus towards the good things in life 
  • Feel better
  • Improves your physical health!
  • Improves your relationships 

Remember a state of gratitude does not make space for negative energies. Gratitude is one of the most powerful cleansing tools for your mind. 

Visualisation

Once I’m done with my 5 minutes of gratitude, I switch to the most fun part of The Power Morning: Visualisation. Here I create a picture in my mind and envision the future the way I would like it to be. In just 5 minutes I highly focus on seeing myself already achieving a certain goal like traveling the world or flying around like Superman (let me know if you can help me achieve this goal).

This may sound stupid and like wishful thinking but actually, many of the most successful people on this planet have done this daily (Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan just to name a few). The way you should go along with it is to really picture all the details, seeing people engage with you and treat you as if you had already achieved your goal. How will you feel once you have achieved this goal? What will you do then? How will people talk to you? The more detailed you can be, the better the outcome. This greatly helps to reduce stress levels because you are creating a picture of achievement in your mind. Many times people will stress about the future and let anxiety overcome them. If you can’t see yourself achieving the goal, how do you expect to know when you are there? It’s a fun experience and I promise you will find many more benefits once you have done this daily.

Benefits:

  • Boost in motivation
  • Stress decrease 
  • Shift in focus

The Power Morning has helped me to build a strong routine, which allowed me to build my foundation in life. Yes, I have bad days and get stressed out but this routine is my safe place and I accredit many achievements to this simple trick. It may be challenging at first and you don’t have to do everything at once. Try implementing these tools more and more as you play around with it. All it takes are 30 minutes in which you can decide to change your life for the better!

The key here is consistency and not giving up. Just like small acorn will one day become a mighty oak - the first step to a more powerful life begins with your alarm clock in the morning. 

Much love,

Mario  

 

Top 3 Stress Killers

Have you ever been so stressed out, you wish you could disappear and spend the rest of your life on a beach far away from everything? I have. Many times. 

I remember very well, about 1 year ago as I was preparing an event for my custom shoe brand. It was hectic and last minute changes were coming in. The phone was ringing, people were asking questions, the first guests were about to arrive and it felt like I was all over the place. Then, all of a sudden my body started getting really hot, I was feeling dizzy and about to snap. I could feel the tears building up and quickly went to the toilet. The only way out was to leave the event and go to the park outside. Luckily, my girlfriend was able to calm me down over the phone and I slowly regained control…

What happened? 

I was working 7 days a week on 5/6 hours of sleep and little to no enjoyment. To this day I still find it difficult to celebrate success and reward myself for the hard work (although I’m making progress). Everything in my life was aligned with work, always busy and almost no time for friends or myself. 

My routine was rigid: get up at 5 am, work out, meditate, have breakfast and then off to work. Come next day, press repeat. 

In order to be successful in life it is crucial to have a routine that keeps you structured BUT without days of relaxation, your batteries are quickly going to expire.

Most successful entrepreneurs talk about hard work, hustle and grinding but not many emphasize the importance of dealing with stress.

It’s no secret that increased stress leads to higher levels of cortisol and that is the gateway to a number of beautiful things such as:

  • heart attack 
  • anxiety 
  • depression
  • stroke
  • ugly face syndrome (Ok I made this up but come on, nobody looks their best when stressed AF!)

Now, don’t panic. This does not mean that you will be having a heart attack tomorrow if you are feeling stressed BUT if you are constantly stressed out, this will increase your chances of getting sick!

Alrighty, let’s get down to business, here are my Top 3 Stress Killers

Get ready to chill out and begin your journey to Zen-istan (this is my imaginary place where everyone is completely at peace).

 Zenning in style

Zenning in style

 

Numero 1 - Meditation

Arguably the most effective and powerful way of dealing with stress. I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for more than 3 years and have not missed a single day. Why? Because it has given me more energy, focus, and peace of mind. There is an overwhelming amount of research on the topic and the benefits are undeniable. I strongly believe we will see meditation become the norm. Just like running is one of the most popular ways of working out, it used to be rather frowned upon. There are many different ways of meditating and I can only speak for TM as I have not practiced other types. Many of my friends use different techniques and achieved similar results. Give it a try and find your inner stress warrior! #namaste

Numero 2 - Gratitude

While stress can be of physical origins such as lack of sleep or some kind of illness, in many cases it is related to our emotions. As we have learned in my previous post (The Power of The Mind), our thoughts directly influence emotion. So, if you are constantly focusing on all the things that are not working out or worrying about the future, you are very likely to feel more stressed! What can you do? Cultivate gratitude, appreciate the small things in life. The more you do this, the more your brain will start to shift. Your focus will go towards appreciation and seek solutions. It doesn’t mean all the negative will vanish overnight BUT you will naturally feel more relaxed and have more energy. A mind filled with gratitude has no space for fear or anxiety.  

Numero 3 - Nature

When in doubt, consult mother nature! Despite terrifying spiders and bloodsucking mosquitos (oh boy I hate those), nature is one of the best antidotes for stress. Think about it, how did you feel when you were last wandering through the woods or lying on the beach with the sun shining on your face? 

Just try to imagine yourself being there right now, a light breeze on your face, birds singing in the trees…can you feel a little relief?

Spending time in nature means no loud noises from cars, no angry bikers, and no garbage filling your nostrils. Being in nature on a regular basis can significantly help you deal with stress. Plan a trip over the weekend, leave the world behind, plug out and just be with our most beautiful source of life. 

Life can be overwhelming at times but there is no need to panic.

You have the power to free yourself from stress and start breathing again.

What’s your best way of dealing with stress, any tips I can try? Let me know in the comments. 

Much love,

Mario 

Mind over Matter

With a slipped disk in my back and depression overcoming me on a daily basis, I began to understand how many isolated elderly people must feel. I was 23 years old, hated my job and lived in a body that was clearly out of shape. The pain didn’t reside in my back but in the left leg. Sitting, standing, walking and even sleeping became a daily struggle. It all started with a car accident back home, where my car was hit while making a turn. At the time I didn’t feel any pain but it slowly developed into a slipped disk and an inflamed sciatic nerve. To spare you a long story of doctors trying to fix me with therapy, pills, and injections - I was not seeing an end to my problem! 

On top of that the only pills that helped calm down the pain, made me fall asleep in class. Now try to imagine a class full of testosterone driven young pilots, all motivated and hungry to succeed…and me, in pain and struggling to stay awake. “What’s up dude, not interested? You should pay attention, this is really important”. I felt terrible and embarrassed, mainly because I couldn’t share this with anyone out of fear of rejection.

Note: as a pilot, you need to be physically fit or may be classified as unfit to fly.

So not only was fear building up but also the lack of any form of exercise. The doctors told me not to work out and be very careful. One specialist in Hamburg even told the only thing that would help right now is surgery. Really? Only 23 years old and this guy already wanted to cut me open! Not happening, bro…

I knew I had to change something because I was digging myself a hole and the thought of committing suicide was not far away. The change started to materialize when I quit my job, it was a moment of incredible relief. It was as if a 100 pounds of weight had been lifted off my shoulders. In only 6 weeks I had accomplished what doctors tried to fix in 1.5 years - no pain, flexibility and a big smile on my face! 

Now you are probably wondering how I did it? Click the link at the end of this post and buy my new program for only $699. Until next time, ciao! 

Ok, just kidding, I’ll tell you.

Numerous reports and studies have shown that the perception of an illness greatly impacts the healing process.

In other words, what you think about your illness can determine how or even if you will heal. I remember my thoughts very well. Not being able to exercise and freely move without pain, caused me to hate the state I was in. The conversation I had with myself was negative, disempowering and far from lifting me up. Yet, I came to realize that the physical pain I was feeling, was in direct relation to my thoughts. When you hate yourself and have very little love left in you, how do you expect your body to heal? 

After quitting my job, I started reading books about self-development, healing and beautiful stories that would inspire me to have faith. This is not positive thinking and expecting the pain will just wash away. If you are in a serious condition, I highly recommend consulting specialists WHILE you feed your mind with as much positive information as you can. Listening to audio tapes by Les Brown & Tony Robbins greatly helped me to reshape my thinking. However, the process didn’t stop there. I started working out again and took slow steps to regaining my shape. I was able to sleep properly, to relax and forget the weight that was putting me down. My body was literally crippled by my thoughts of fear, limitation, and anxiety.

Did you know that your brain is not able to tell between reality and imagination? If you are constantly stressed about the past or future, the brain will cause your body to feel that sensation in this very moment (even if it’s not happening right now). If your body is not at ease, you are planting the seeds for all kinds of diseases. 

 

The Healing Process

 

True healing begins with you. I used to carry this burden of guilt within me and it would make me sick. When I finally forgave myself for quitting the career I hated, my body immediately responded. Holding onto grudges in life increases the chances of developing any form of sickness. 

The first step is to forgive yourself. Do you constantly think about the things you should have done differently? Do you think you're not good enough, not rich enough, not beautiful enough? All of this is adding to your emotional pain, which will transcend into physical pain. Unfortunately, in many cases, our western society is not trying to heal us but more so to deal with the symptoms. Eating healthy, exercising on a regular basis AND consulting a specialist is necessary but it all starts with the way you think. 

Understanding that where you are now, does not determine where you will be in the future, has helped me change my thinking. I viewed the failure at Lufthansa as one of the greatest gifts in life. Only because of this experience, did I begin to discover the real me. My pain turned into preparation for something greater than me. My despair was a life lesson, which I would use to inspire others…and my desperation turned into gratitude for the small things in life - like being healthy and able to walk without pain.   

Do you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled? Maybe it’s a romantic relationship or the job you hate. Go deep inside and take a moment for yourself. You do not deserve to be unhappy or unfulfilled. Your body will respond to your emotional pain. Lift yourself up and make a conscious choice towards a healthy life…it all starts within you

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

As always, I would appreciate your questions, feedbacks or encouraging notes in the comments :-).

Much love,

Mario