Aliso Viejo resident Mareya Ibrahim is the author of “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating To Thrive,” a book released earlier this year chock-full of nutrition advice and over 80 health-conscious recipes.
“I really wanted this book to be a roadmap for people. I just want to help people get away from the confusion,” says Ibrahim.
With over 26 years of experience in the food industry, Ibrahim is also a nutrition coach, chef, a podcast host of “Recipes for Your Best Life,” and founder of the patented produce wash “Eat Cleaner.” She has loved living by the coast and appreciates the Mexican influence on the Orange County food scene.
“I kind of coined my culinary point of view ‘MedMex’ because I really fused Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine a lot. It’s kind of like my Mediterranean upbringing with my SoCal lifestyle. I have a lot of recipes in the book inspired by that fusion,” says Ibrahim.
Ibrahim shares 5 helpful tips to living a healthier, more balanced lifestyle:
1 The 90/10 Rule
“You have to have balance. I think the bottom line is if you eat in a balanced way 90 percent time of the time, you get to indulge some of the time and it’s good for you and important for you. The truth is one good meal won’t make you healthy, and one bad meal will not send you into the abyss. There’s a science to how you combine your essential nutrients.”
2 Eat small meals frequently.
“Eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours. One of the strategies in the book is an intermittent fast two days a week, so you just compress your eating window within an 8 hour window, but it’s not like you’re fasting. I actually don’t want people to fast where they’re not eating because it slows down your metabolism into thinking you’re in distress. Chewing is important. Chewing triggers your metabolism to work.”
3 Retrain Your Tastebuds
“The first step in the book is retraining your tastebuds because for a lot of people when you tell them, ‘I want you to eat a lot of vegetables and leafy greens’ and they’ve never really done that before, they’re gonna be like, ‘Well, I don’t like greens.’ You have to teach people to change their tastebuds so they crave different flavors other than salt and sweet. I want you to love produce just as much as you would love a cookie.”
4 Build Sustainable Habits
“My approach is what you can do for life. I don’t think you could do (diets like) Keto for life. You’d be depriving yourself of so much. I think that as human beings and as omnivores, we get a lot of choice. The truth is there really isn’t one, restrictive diet that gets you to the finish line without making you feel like you’re missing out on something. Just because you’re taking out a food group doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating better.”
5 Eat With Other People
“When you eat with other people, you eat 30 percent less because you eat slower. You get fuller faster, you’re engaging in conversation. It’s a different experience when you’re eating alone. I want people to feel like food is the glue that brings us together. It doesn’t have to be this scary, daunting thing.”
Ibrahim also launched the 8-week, supplementary program “Eat To Thrive” that walks you through the process of eating cleaner. Find recipes, tips, her book, and more at @eatcleaner, eatcleaner.com, or mareyaibrahim.com.