Hello and welcome to Amazing Paleo! In case you don’t know me, my name is Mariel. I was born and raised in Quito-Ecuador and now, well, I live in Boise-Idaho. Big change! I am married to the most wonderful and inspiring man on the planet; he helped me develop this fun blog (thanks babe!) and he is my inspiration to become a better cook and baker. Making him say “wow, this is amazing” makes every second in the kitchen so much more worth it! I am very passionate about staying in shape and eating the healthiest I can. The perfect combination of a workout program and smart eating habits can make anyone feel and look incredible. Genetics don’t really matter here…it is ALL about smart choices and a strong commitment to stay healthy. Let me tell you my story… My first year in Idaho, I was overwhelmed by stress. College stress, new culture stress, missing my family/friends from Ecuador stress, boy stress….you name it...I had it! I was a very pressured young lady! I decided that going to the gym would release some of that tension and it would bring quiet time for myself, to re-focus and to clear my mind. I was right. “So, what did I do at the gym?” you might ask. Well, I frequented cycle and Pi-Yo (a combination of yoga and pilates) classes. I did cycle 3 times a week for 45 minutes per session, and Pi-Yo 2 days a week for 45 minutes per session. See, I always thought girls could only accomplish the best physiques with cardio. Oh, how mistaken I was! I did not take any supplements, hardly ever had coffee, and I thought I had a decent diet that would help me stay healthy and fit. I ate healthy and worked out A LOT. There was only one discouraging problem, I could not see positive changes when it came to my body shape. It stayed the same, no matter how hard I cycled. <A HREF="http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_mfw&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Famazpale-20%2F8001%2F4dcb6bab-7acf-4435-b998-0d9c5f4e7250&Operation=NoScript">Amazon.com Widgets</A> After I graduated from school, I got engaged. Preston (now my hubby) started working for Bodybuidling.com, and that is when my life took a 180 degree change. To get ready for our wedding and honeymoon, Preston decided to put himself through a free online trainer program his work offered. I could not believe the results he had! Not only did he build a ton of muscle but he also lost a good amount of body fat. Let me tell you, his body looked fantastic! After seeing his results I skeptically decided to follow a training program as well. I followed the Jaime Eason 12 week trainer. It was my very first time lifting weights…ever. I was definitely intimidated by them and had no clue how any of the machines worked. Plus, the gym I was going to had the weights area completely swamped by men, and men alone. I was singled out and looked really goofy trying to figure out how in the world a leg press or a cable fly exercise was supposed to go. Nonetheless, I learned! And it became my new love affair. My body leaned out, my arms became more toned and strong, my abs started showing, my legs had a better muscular tone to them…I was one happy cat! I finally discovered the secret to a balanced and strong physique! Now, there is no turning back. I am constantly switching up my workouts and always add weights. One day legs, another shoulders/calves/abs, another back and biceps, etc. It’s good to keep the body guessing what’s coming. Variety is the spice of life…but also, the trick of the trade in this case! Now to one of the most important parts, changing the way you eat! I discovered throughout the transformation that it is true what they say, more than 70% of your positive results really do come from what you eat. Eat your proteins, eat your veggies, and eat your healthy fats! This will keep your body and mind healthy! Now let me introduce you to the Paleo diet if you haven’t heard of it. It consists of eating unprocessed meats, veggies, fats, basically anything a caveman could’ve gotten his hands on! I have found this diet extremely sustainable and enjoyable. Not only does it provide your body with constant energy, but it is also fun! You can make so many amazing recipes by combining the rawest and healthiest ingredients out there. Here are some benefits of the Paleo Diet: It is delicious Ingredients, because they are natural, are easily digested by our bodies It keeps your metabolism burning hot! It provides our body with essential nutrients and minerals Fat burns with 3 times the energy of carbohydrates which results in increased and sustained energy throughout the day. I am hooked. For me, there is no turning back. Granted, there may be some days where I crave frozen yogurt :/ or other cheat meals, but that’s okay! I allow myself 1 cheat meal per week to keep my cravings and metabolism in check. If you designate one day a week as your cheat day, it gives you something to look forward to and can help you stay accountable! You might even see that after certain cheats your tummy might not be at its happiest. That is me in a nutshell! I love living a healthy and fit lifestyle and being able to try delicious healthy food at the same time! I am excited to start this journey with you. I hope you enjoy trying my recipes, giving them your own twist, learning some cooking and baking tips, and letting my passion for fitness rub off on you a bit. Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your comments and suggestions for the blog!