Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria Koutsogiannis?

Photo Courtesy Of Maria Koutsogiannis

“I was born and raised in small town Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. That city shaped my childhood and I have so many heart warming memories in that place. Although I live and have lived away from home for 9 years I still miss and think about my roots everyday. I currently live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I went to University here and after graduating I moved to London for two years. My British boyfriend and I now live back in Canada. Calgary is located near the Canadian Rocky Mountains, within a one hour drive you find yourself in the middle of paradise. The air is fresher, the skies are more magical and for something reason your worries just seem to disappear. There are loads of best things in Calgary, including the diversity and business focused downtown area but The Rockies are certainly the best.

Oh dear, you’re going to make me cry. Growing up I wanted to be a doctor but not any kind of doctor, I dreamt of being a pediatrician. Since I can remember I have always been the type of person that wanted to help people. That, mixed with my larger than life love for children it just made sense to want to help kids. I got into food when I was very, very young. My family is Greek so I learnt how to cook and create recipes at a very young age. My mother taught me a lot and I have her to thank for my creativeness. As for fitness, I have been an active soul since I was born. I started getting much, much more into fitness in 2014. The year I decided I was going to change my life around. Around a year before I had beat the most challenging obstacle I had ever been faced with. I conquered bulimia. I turned to fitness and proper nourishment to make sure I never went down that path again.

The day I decided I was going to make a big change is the best day of my life and I have not looked back since. I typically choose different body parts to work out. I do gluten, back, legs, shoulders, bum, arms. On a Monday I will walk into the gym, do a quick stretch and warm up then head straight for the weights. I love lifting heavy, heavy weights. I typically do five to six exercises (all super sets), three to four sets and around 12-16 reps depending on the exercise. They make me feel great, help me think clearly, have a better outlook on life and allow me to blow off some steam. I finish off my work out with 10-30 minutes of cardio on either the treadmill or stair master. Because I have worked so hard to gain this booty of mine I don'tt do much cardio as I wanna keep this bum poppin’.

I've been 90% plant based for around one and a half years now, because of my past I do not call myself vegan. I can’t restrict my diet or shame myself for craving feta cheese. Every day I eat a lot of veggies and fruits and truly really never eat meat, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t had an egg, some honey or the odd bite of fish. I would love to one day say I am 100 perecent plant based, but until my body completely adjusts to digesting foods I will keep it as I am. To get this year started right, in my opinion, you should be eating loads of veggies and fruits Make sure you are getting very hydrated when you wake up, drink a smoothie, have some matcha and pack a nutritious lunch. I love things like Mediterranean quinoa salads, stuff spaghetti squash and easy treats like energy bites (filled with nuts and seeds) and avocado on toast. My favourite types of recipes are currys and soups. They are simple to follow and even better for the soul, body and mind. All the spices and herbs that can be added to these dishes help detox your body and help sweat out unnecessary toxins.

I don’t really wear specific sports gear to help boost performance. If I had an opinion about this topic I would say choose clothing that is comfy and breathable. Protect your boobies and wear gear that make you feel sexy and confident. The better you feel the harder you will work, I promise!

I swear by Neal’s Yard Remedies. I rarely wear makeup, when I do I use it it’s cruelty free and light. I really enjoy making my own masks and exfoliating with ingredients like honey and sea salt. I am always very gentle with my skin and try not to over cleanse or care for that matter. I believe less is more, so use good products and take your vitamins (D, is so important).

I love photography. I had no idea I was any good at taking pictures until I started, Food by Maria. I stay mindful by being very grounded when it comes to my health, my life and my blessings. Growing up I was very lucky and this made me realize that I should give to those in need and never take for granted my two feet, my voice and my ability to get up every day and chase a dream. It is important to me to do things for my community. I love visiting the homeless, making meals for them and giving them clothing in the cold months. I believe that I cannot control every detail in life but I can control my future because I am the one creating it. Some are not so lucky. I’m blessed to not be struck with disease or mental illness. Just remember, the simple actions have the largest impact. Shine on you diamonds.”

- As told to MBF, January 18, 2017

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