Body Fat VS. Water Retention

Uncategorized | October 27, 2013 | By

Now, this is a very important and interesting subject, simply because a lot of us mistake fat for water retention. 
This are two completely different things not to be mistaken!

Because of my experience in the field, i can see right away if a person is “suffering” from water retention. And how do i spot that?!? Is quite easy.
I will always remember what my Spa Treatments Mentor told me: “Mariana, there are 3 mains ways of spotting a person suffering from water retention, edema or fluid retention (all the same). 1 – The person (mainly women) will show a swelling of the skin that causes it to become shiny and stretched, specially on hands, ankles and feet. 2 – If you want a further examination she said, grab your friend’s arm for example and press the face, hand or arm skin. If the skin holds an indent (skins stays in, creating a cavity) for a few seconds, your friend is suffering from it (when you push in on your skin and it stays indented that could mean bad circulation in that part of the body). 3 – Another way of spotting it, and for me that works really well is grabbing your friend’s arm for example and press the skin (when you press on the skin, you force the blood out of the capillaries and the skin turns white – blanching). If the circulation is normal, the capillary blood comes back instantly and skin color returns. But if the blood return is sluggish, the skin stays white for several seconds that honey, can indicate poor blood circulation.

So first things first
What is Water Retention, what causes and what are the symptoms?
Water Retention is a condition that results when water leaks into the body tissues from the blood. In normal circumstances, the fluid is drained from the body tissues through the lymphatic system which is a network of tubes throughout the body that removes waste and extraneous material, and empties it back into the bloodstream. Our body has set fluid levels and will restore itself to its usual state within 48 hours of taking in extra water under normal circumstances.

When fluid is not removed by the lymph system properly, it is retained in the body tissues where it causes swelling (edema). Water retention is most common in the feet and legs, but it can occur in the hands, arms, abdominal cavity and around the lungs also known as pulmonary edema. 

Causes of Water Retention:
Depend on a wide range of factors including:  

  • high salt intake, 
  • reaction to hot weather,
  • gravity, 
  • nutritional deficiencies, 
  • burns as well as sunburn, 
  • side effect of certain drugs,
  • pregnancy,
  • oral contraceptives such as the pill, 
  • the menstrual cycle and menopause.

This condition may also be symptomatic of other serious diseases such as heart failure, liver disease, arthritis, allergic reactions, thyroid disease such as hypothyroidism, chronic lung diseases, malignant lymphoedema or kidney disease. 

Symptoms can include:

       Swelling of affected body parts.  Feet, ankles and hands 
    are commonly affected
       The affected body parts may ache
       The joints may feel stiff
       Rapid weight gain over a few days or weeks
       Unexplained weight fluctuations
       When pressed, the skin may hold the indent for a few
     seconds (pitting edema).

Mild fluid retention can be helped in the following ways:

  • Reduce the amount of salt in your diet; for instance, don’t add salt during the cooking process and stop salting your meals at the table. 
  • Avoid foods like potato chips and salted peanuts. Be wary of processed foods such as manufactured meats, which tend to contain ‘hidden’ salt.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is thought to help in cases of mild fluid retention. Good sources of vitamin B6 include brown rice and red meat.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), calcium and vitamin D help the body to excrete excess fluids. Include fresh fruits and low-fat dairy foods in your daily diet.
  • Supplements may help in the case of fluid retention caused by the menstrual cycle: for example calcium, magnesium, manganese, evening primrose oil and chaste tree.
  • Herbal diuretics include dandelion leaf, corn silk and horsetail.
  • Make sure to discuss the use of supplements with your doctor or health care professional, particularly if you are on any type of medication.
  • Drink plenty of water. It may sound contradictory, but a well-hydrated body is less likely to retain fluid.
  • Cut back on dehydrating drinks such as tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Cranberry juice has a mild diuretic action.
  • Lie down with your legs higher than your head, when possible.
  • Women produce larger amounts of estrogen during their monthly cycle, which does the same thing. Staying active, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet that is low is sodium and sugar can help you avoid water retention and water weight. 
From here, you can understand that Water retention has little to do with Fat.

It can be tricky to be certain if the weight you gain is water or fat just by looking at yourself, I understand. Water weight can make affected areas of the body feel tighter and swollen. You may actually experience pain or tenderness in the skin and joints. Water weighs more than fat and usually water weight appears in all the same areas fat tends to store. Water weight can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, usually more so than fat. One of the simplest indicators is how fast you gained the weight. Fat takes time to convert and store. Water weight can literally appear overnight. Weigh yourself when you first wake up every morning, and compare your weights. If you see small fluctuations, anywhere from half a pound to four pounds, throughout the week, you are likely retaining water. If your body fat percentage goes up, you’ve gained fat.

There you go, no more misunderstandings!

Sharing the Passion

Uncategorized | October 26, 2013 | By

Happy Saturday everyone!!!
Last weekend of October!!!

What a beautiful Autumn Day today…the sun is still shining but you can definitely feel that cozy fresh breeze early in the morning and at the end of the day. Just love Macau in this time of the Year – very pleasant.
October 26th…in 2 months time we are celebrating Boxing Day and a few Birthdays!In a bit more than 2 months we are toasting and counting down for the New Year!!Oh my!!2014 is just around the corner!!!

After Sienna’s birth we declared December as the busiest and most expensive month of the year, overtaking August by far…We have my Husband’s, Grandma’s, Sienna’s and Sister in Law’s Birthday with Christmas in between!!!I just love December, is definitely the coziest time of the year specially when surrounded by snow and skim hot chocolate…This year will be no exception. We just booked our tickets and a cozy winter house with a fireplace (for 2 weeks) in Denmark! Can’t wait to get there!

I will keep blogging and “instagraming” all…keep following me here and in

In the next posts, i will be covering the bests of the bests of this year: the main events that occurred in my life this year – again, you are welcome to post your most memorable moments of 2013, the best products (mainly the natural health beauty ones) – those that we can’t live without, the best baby products of 2013 and many more. I decided to focus only on the Natural and Green products because that is my area of expertise…I’m all about Natural and Green honey!!!I will start November with the Anti-Ageing issue…something that we all want to know and try to reverse am i right?!?

Also, i will be talking a lot about X’mas: DIY X’mas crafts and projects as well as light and low-calories recipes suitable for the Season. Healthy Tips will not be forgotten either!!!

I will reveal my 3 big projects for 2014…everything is in progress still,too soon to announce!!But can’t wait to share them with you.
Can’t wait to start working on the New Year’s Resolutions subject…always the most talked issue in December and January…I will be interviewing some friends and will post their resolutions here…it will be fun!You are welcome to participate as well!!!Hello!!!

In the middle of December i will be launching/talking about the most wanted, my very own Detox, Cleanse and Renew Program. I will share with you my recipes, tips, and schedules… the very same program (but adapted) that i will be launching for the 1st time ever in one of the Resorts here in Macau – one of my 9 Wellness Programs – specially designed for this Resort. Of course i will adapt the program to the circumstance…I will be creating and suggesting tips for you at home based on my knowledge and experience.

Sienna, Hubby and I just came back from a well deserved mini getaway in Hong Kong. We discovered this little gem 20 minutes away from Central. Wow, we came back inspired and re-energized. I just got that positive vibe and kick to do things…that excitement you feel when you are committed to start something new. That feeling you have when you are about to start a new challenge or a new passion..the excitement for the unknown…Love this power!Nothing can stop me…and i think this is what i needed..this power and kick in the butt to make me remember who i am and what i do!As if i found myself again.
Besides being a Wife, Mother, Daughter, a Friend, an Auntie and a Sister. We spent 3 lovely days and 2 nights exploring and putting our life into perspective. You will understand from my next post why this getaway was so important for us. Physically and emotionally. 

We discovered Discovery Bay. A place we have never been before. From the 1st impression, we wanna move there tomorrow!
We loved the lifestyle, the hotel, the surroundings, the environment, the landscape, the restaurants, the people, the family life, the houses, the balconies and terraces facing the sea…everything was an inspiration and enough to realize that we need a change ASAP!Above all, we relaxed, we enjoyed and we had fun!We walked a lot, we ate good food (healthy) and we had a good routine. We couldn’t stop imagining ourselves living there!!

This is what i love about blogging…i am free to express myself and free to share with you what i find it important…not only health wise but lifestyle wise. I will always advise and suggest my family, friends and followers – i don’t like calling my clients – clients. For me, my clients are my friends, my followers and my inspiration. Without you i wouldn’t be here and i wouldn’t have the drive to post and share what i think it matters. 
One thing definitely leads to another and i can’t imagine myself doing something else. This blog got to a point that i am soo committed to you, that if i don’t blog, i will feel empty!And that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you have passion for something and when you’re committed to share this passion with the others. Specially when your mother tongue is not english…my case!!!

Stay tuned for the next posts and don’t forget to participate.

Cozy Winter Soups

Uncategorized | October 16, 2013 | By

Who doesn’t LOVE a warm bowl of soup for lunch or even better..for dinner?!I am a huge fan and i try to spread this love to my family. Hubby and Sienna love their soup too. I try to cook them from scratch as much as’s definitely the best option. This way i can control the type and amounts of vegetables that i want to use as well as choosing to use salt-reduced stocks and few other additives.. All time favorites? Chicken soup with alphabet pasta, mint leafs and chicken pieces- a replica of the famous portuguese chicken broth soup (originally made with rice) and Carrot soup with spinach!we can eat that for days in a row.


With Autumn here and Winter just around the corner, i decided to dedicate this post to SOUPS

Our bodies require certain things from us during the cooler months. They want us to have extra sleep, they want us to rug up and stay inside more, they want us to be more gentle with ourselves, and they want us to eat quite differently to other times of the year. There’s a reason why we crave hearty, heavier, warming meals during winter..suddenly a salad won’t be an appealing lunch option! It’s our body’s innate intelligence letting us know what’s best for us. 

Soup is a quick, hot meal that offers plenty of health benefits. You can throw a variety of ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning before you leave for work or school and return home to a delicious meal in the evening. The healthiest soups include fresh, low-fat ingredients and a minimum of salt and extra fat. You can use up leftovers in a soup pot and create new variations of favorite recipes, since soup lends itself to experimentation.

Soup seems the perfect warming winter meal. But how healthy is it really? And which type of soup should you choose?
I always advise to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day but it can be difficult to hit these targets sometimes. A bowl of soup is one excellent way to make sure you are getting at least two of those portions. A mixed vegetable or minestrone soup will also ensure you get a good mix of minerals, nutrients and phytochemicals (antioxidants found in plants that destroy harmful chemicals in your body).
The type of soup you choose to eat can have a significant impact on your diet. When you are picking a soup it is important to look for ones that contain vegetables for vitamins and nutrients, and beans or pasta for slow-release carbohydrates to give you energy throughout the rest of the day.
BUT not ALL soups are Healthy, have a look:
Pre-made soups and packet soup mixes tend to be exceptionally high in sodium (salt) with the average packet soup containing a massive 800-1200mg of sodium or a third to half of our total daily sodium limit. Pre-made soups also tend to be relatively low in protein and high in carbohydrate thanks to their base being potato starch.
Try and avoid ‘luxury’ soups containing cream as this means they could have high levels of fat. 
Vegetable-based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine a high nutrient density with a low energy density = we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories. At a time where foods with a high-energy density and low-nutrient density such as white bread, snack foods, sugar-based drinks and high-fat fast foods dominate our intake, a low-calorie option that fills us up is a much better option for optimal health.
When diners consume a low-calorie vegetable-based soup before their main meal, they consume up to 20% less calories at a meal as the bulk of the soup helps to fill us up so we eat less. Nutritionally this is also beneficial as the nutrients found in vegetables including many water soluble vitamins such as vitamin B, C, K as well as dietary fibre and a range of minerals, also helps to regulate the digestive tract and ensure that we get the number of key nutrients we need each and every day.
Plus, eating soup has an extra benefit from a weight and fluid retention perspective: soups that have a base of leeks, onions and celery are also particularly high in the mineral potassium. Potassium helps to bind excess sodium, it helps to rid the body of excess fluid. As many of us carry fluid and regularly feel bloated thanks to a high-salt diet and a lack of activity, dropping as little as 500g of body weight after a few vegetable soups, even if it is just fluid can make us feel lighter and leaner instantly.
Soup can be a simple meal addition – a way to ensure that the family gets all of their vegetables and nutrition; a filling afternoon snack or an entire lunch or light evening meal, especially when beans, potato or sweet potato are the base providing heavier carbs as well as chicken, lean sausage or some mincemeat for protein. It is important to remember that rice, noodles, legumes and pasta do add considerable carbohydrates and calories to your soup and are likely to negate any weight loss benefits. On the other hand, broth-style, vegetable-based soups have virtually no calories and can be consumed relatively freely (but of course you do need to count any bread).
While bulking meals up with low calorie options such as vegetable soup on a regular basis is a great way to load up on nutrition in general, for those wanting to drop a couple of kilos quickly, replacing the evening meal with a vegetable based soup is a safe way to do it. The low energy content helps to keep your total calorie intake low, while the bulk prevents you from feeling hungry and deprived the way you would if you were eating very little on a regular diet, or using meal replacement shakes.Not only are soups a great option nutritionally, but certain types of soup have also been proven to help support weight loss. For those wanting a more intense regime, a vegetable soup can replace two meals a day for five to seven days without any negative side effects. Although much of the weight loss will be fluid, sometimes all we need to feel leaner and healthier is a flatter stomach and a kilo or two less on the scales.
Check for great soup recipes!

Ways to CUT Calories

Uncategorized | October 11, 2013 | By

To continue with the previous post, a major component to weight loss is cutting the amount of calories you take in and increasing the amount of calories you burn.  

Watching portion sizes, eating a well-balanced diet, working out regularly, etc. are all essential to weight loss and weight maintenance.  A tricky thing to watch out for is foods that provide you with empty calories. Like we saw before, empty caloric foods are mainly found in: 

– Baked goods
– Fried foods
– Refined foods
– Candy
– Soda
– Chips
– Alcoholic beverages
– Juices (those that are not 100% juice)
– Butter and Margarine
– Sauces and Gravies

So How do you avoid these empty calories?

Have a look at one of my first choices….(don’t forget that you can always refer to previous posts like: ). This may sound like a repeated song, but at the end of the day, it will all lead to the same routines and habits….I am NEVER tired of advise and suggest it this fabulous tricks:

Plan ahead  Know what you will be eating during the course of the day. Pack your lunch if you will not be home during the day, pack fruit or cut up veggies for your day time snack, this can help you fight the after-lunch/before dinner hunger and will prevent you from wandering to the vending machines in search of empty calories…

Avoid fried foods Switch your fried chicken for a grilled or baked skinless chicken breast.  Not only will this help to cut calories, but you may even notice you feel better (eating fried foods has a way of sitting heavy in the stomach and making you feel sluggish) and for me, personally, fried food gives me bad skin.

Drink water Making this switch from soda to water will help slim down your waist!Ditto!

Limit your sweets Try to avoid eating sugary sweets and baked goods, replace them with fruit.  Most fruits are sweet and all will provide you with vitamins and minerals!

Cut down on sauces and gravies These can add some serious calories to your meal. If you can’t do it cold turkey, put the normal amount of sauce/gravy you would use on the side.  Dip your food into it every other bite.  You’ll be amazed at how much will be left over (which equals fewer calories you consumed).

Instead of hitting a bar on the weekend, schedule a dash-and-drink date with a girlfriend. After burning 222 calories during a half-hour jog, head back to your place or hers and pour yourself a 5-ounce glass of wine. According to a study by the Alcohol Research Group, most bartenders pour 6.2 ounces of red or white, and that little difference saves another 29 calories.

Picking up a handheld morning meal to go is fine, but ignore the call of sausage, bacon, ham, egg, and cheese—the egg whites and veggies wrap will look better on your thighs.

Celebrate a good day or bust out of a funk from a bad one by shaking your thing all around your house to your favorite music for 45 minutes. Goodbye 284 calories, hello brighter mood and sexier body.

Instead of an entire can of clam chowder with oyster crackers, opt for 1 cup of chicken noodle soup with a side salad topped with lots of vegetables and 1 teaspoon oil mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar. You’ll cut back on bloat-inducing sodium to boot.

Make your go-to restaurant dinner two non-fried appetizers instead of one main dish.

While watching your favorite hour-long TV show, perform each exercise for 1 minute, and repeat the circuit six times:
March in place (as fast as possible)
Sit-ups (as many as possible)
Jump rope (as fast as possible)
Pushups (as many as possible)
Jumping jacks (as many as possible)

Remove half the meat and smear on 1 tablespoon of hummus instead of layering two slices of cheese, or spread on mustard instead of mayo.

Hit the supermarket to pick up your weekly groceries (45 minutes of shopping works off 113 calories), then head home and whip up that recipe you’ve wanted to try. Cooking for an hour torches an additional 168 calories—just resist tasting!

Treat yourself year-round and save 250 calories by ordering a tall nonfat caffè misto, and then sprinkling on some nutmeg and cinnamon at the counter to add that seasonal sweetness. 

Mix up your cardio while working muscles from head to toe by hopping on a rowing machine: Thirty seconds at high intensity alternated with 30 seconds at moderate speed for 30 minutes total will torch 250 calories

Give your body a post-dinner calorie-burning boost by taking a walk around your neighborhood or in a local park. Walking at a moderate pace for an hour burns 277 calories, plus being out in nature helps relieve stress that’s built up during the day much better than a sundae can.

Turn down three mozzarella sticks with dipping sauce and pick up two 1-inch cubes of cheddar instead. Then forget about mixing a vodka-cranberry (most of us tend to pour generously at parties) and ask for a small (4-ounce) flute of champagne.

When you’re crunched for time at the gym, give yourself 25 minutes and perform this circuit as many times as you can—bonus if you don’t take breaks. Do each exercise for 1 minute, performing as many reps as possible and running as fast as possible:
Squat jumps
Split squats
1/4-mile treadmill run

Saute vegetables in low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of one tablespoon of oil, and you’ll cut 117 calories. Hit the 250-calorie mark by replacing beef with tofu and serving on top of soba noodles rather than rice.

If you’ve been putting off cleaning your house or apartment, perhaps this will motivate you: Eighty minutes of nonstop work—moving furniture to vacuum, cleaning corners (including ceiling crevices), scrubbing hard, you get the picture—will negate about 250 calories, 

The fresh baguette offered by many Italian restaurants may make your mouth water, but one portion dipped in a tablespoon of olive oil equals 300 calories. Ask your waiter to bring a small bowl of olives instead and nibble on five while you wait for your entree to save 280 calories,

There’s nothing wrong with a steakhouse dinner, but restaurants often top your meat, veggies, and potato with butter—and that’s before adding sauce. You may ask for your  food to be prepared sans butter and sauce, and with cooking spray instead—most places will be happy to accommodate you. In fact, i always ask for modifications when ordering a meal…They will always accommodate or at least try to…don’t think you are being ar simply being a conscious eater. You will end up eating the “same” but in a healthier version.

Everything is possible. The Key is in your motivation and determination!

Calories Revealed!

Uncategorized | October 11, 2013 | By

Let’s put a little break on the pregnancy subject and bring back our focus to the healthy changes we can make everyday in order to live a lighter and happier lifestyle. Fall is here and before we know it we are preparing X’mas and New Year’s Menu. And if you are like me, that will start in a few weeks, most likely before Halloween…specially now that we are combining two cultures an traditions – the Danish and Portuguese/Brazilian. We decided to share the most we can with our new Family.

We love this season so much that i get incredibly excited just by thinking about it. X’mas tree it’s ordered already…my next step, is choosing the right color schemes. Love the rich greens, reds and the luxury that the golds and silvers provide! I’m in Hong Kong at the moment, and i am ready to hit some fantastic decoration stores…my favs are Indigo and Inside…can’t come to this city without paying them a visit!Can’t wait to see their X’mas window display coming in November…alway to die for! Anywaayyy, putting the X’mas Season a side and focusing now on our “Always there for us” Calories…

What are Calories? Do we really know about them? How much do we need everyday? Are all Calories bad?

 Have a look below:

A calorie is a unit of energy. Calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity. For example, an apple may have 80 calories, while a 1 mile (1.6km) walk may use up about 100 calories.

The human body needs calories (energy) to survive, without energy our cells would die, our hearts and lungs would stop so on. We obtain this energy from food and drink. If we consume just the number of calories our body needs each day, every day, we will probably enjoy happy and healthy lives. If our calorie consumption is too low or too high, we will eventually experience health complications. The number of calories foods contain tells us how much potential energy they posses.

How many calories do we need each day?

Not everybody requires the same number of calories each day. Our ideal calorific consumption depends on several factors: our overall general health, physical activity demands, sex, weight, height, and shape. 

The US government says the average man requires 2,700 calories per day and the average woman 2,200, while the NHS (National Health Service) UK, says it should be 2,500 and 2,000 respectively. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations says the average adult should consume no less than 1,800 calories per day – Attention – not considering Pregnant or Breastfeeding ladies obviously! 

What are “Empty Calories”?

Empty calories are those we consume with very little nutritional value, they posses virtually no dietary fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, dietary minerals and vitamins. A part of empty calories come mainly from solid fats and added sugars.

  • Solid fats (solid when at room temperature)beef fat, shortening and butter. Although solid fats exist naturally in many foods, they are commonly added during industrial food processing, as well as when certain foods are being prepared.
  • Added sugars: calorific sweeteners that are added to foods and beverages during industrial processing. In the most common types of added sugars are sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, which are mainly composed of about half fructose and half glucose.

Added sugars and solid fats are said to make foods and drinks more enjoyable. They are added the companies to boost sales. However, they also add many calories and are major contributors to obesity and other serious conditions including heart diseases.

These are some of the foods and drinks that are considered to have the most empty calories…sorry guys!!!

  • Solid fats + added sugars – ice cream – donuts – pastries – cookies – cakes
  • Solid fats – ribs – bacon – hot dogs – sausages – cheese – pizza 
  • Added sugars – fruit drinks – sports drinks – energy drinks – sodas

There are ways of purchasing the above-mentioned products, or similar ones, with less solid fat or empty sugars. Rather than going for the standard hot dog or a fatty cheese, one could choose a low-fat cheese or low-fat hot dog.