Make Meat a Treat, I Dare You!


Some of you would’ve noticed on my Instagram account (@mariasnaturalkitchen) that I have a clear preference for plantbased meals. I love fruit and vegetables, I am fascinated by spices and herbs and clean eating is a way of life for me. If you want to eat less meat, continue reading this post.


I’m not perfect though, chocolate is my Achilles’ heel (isn’t everyone’s?). I will succumb to naughty chocolate treats every now and again. I also have this philosophy  that if the healthiest option available isn’t vegan (but meat-free), I will go for that instead.

But it’s all about balance, right?



My decision to include an abundance of whole foods in my diet was not purely health-conscious, I genuinely love the taste of veggies. But I soon began to notice the difference in my energy levels,  skin complexion, digestion and ability to maintain a healthy weight. It was very hard to go back afterwards…


However, I recently became more aware of the environmental impact my lifestyle has. And this has made me even more passionate about it! Let me hit you with some facts now, courtesy of my new favorite website

70% of agricultural land is used up by livestock, providing grazing land and feedcrop.

Roughly 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by livestock and their products,1 that’s more than is produced by transport.

1 beef steak emits more CO2 than driving for an hour and leaving all the lights on at home.

Now, I’m not saying to stop eating meat. BUT even changing from carbon-intensive lamb and beef to less carbon-intensive pork and chicken means a 18% reduction.

Not to mention the health benefits.

Health Benefits

Limit Cancer Risk: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.

Reduce Heart Disease: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that if you replace saturated fat-rich foods (meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds), you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease by 19%.

Fight Diabetes: Research suggests that higher if you eat a lot of red and processed meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Curb Obesity: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.

Live Longer: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.

Improve Your Diet: Consume beans or peas for  higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.


To celebrate earth day, I pledged to eat at least 10 plant-based meals per week from now on. 

Make your pledge too, here:

And don’t forget to be more, chase less.


When Life Gives You Lemons, Turn Them Into Easter Eggs

A couple of months ago I decided I needed to book my first adventure for this new year, as 2016 was so full of new experiences, travelling and the outdoors. So I had to keep it up!

And so I did. I booked a wonderful 5-day hiking trip, over the Easter weekend – to the Lake District in the UK – a place I’ve been meaning to visit for a looooong time. I even got a good friend of mine to sign up to it too, so we can go together. Hooray!

Helvellyn and Striding Edga

Four weeks before the trip…first change of plans: my friend couldn’t come anymore due to a work assignment abroad. No biggie, I could go with another friend, who wanted to go.

Seven days before our trip, I decide to give myself a pedicure, as the hottest weekend in London was upon us and I needed pretty toes. But some things should be left to the professionals. In fact, one wrong handling of the tool I was using cut a bit too deep into my big toe, and 24 hours later I was waking up in the middle of the night with a throbbing toe and sharp pain.

Yep, I got an infection. One that got worse, and worse over the course of the week, which also required a visit to the doctor and a course of antibiotics. Not being able to walk or put shoes on my feet, Thursday came along (the day of the trip) and I was faced with the option of going but not being able to do much, or staying and losing money.

I decided to stay in London.

And this is where the best bit happened. Instead of sulking and feeling sorry for myself, which I must admit I did for the first day, I decided to turn this weekend around and make it the best it could be. In fact, as my foot got better by Saturday morning, I planned a mini hike up Box Hill, Surrey – which made my day and changed the whole mood of the weekend.

I spent the afternoon in the warm sunny weather on the hill and headed home for a lovely home-cooked vegetarian meal, which I lovingly prepared 🙂

scotland WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONSIMG_2997IMG_3004IMG_3031IMG_2990IMG_3038IMG_3077IMG_3079IMG_3093

The next day, I was invited for Easter lunch at one of my friend’s parents house, and that turned out to be one of the happiest days ever – with good food, laughter, beautiful weather, a cosy pit fire, lots of wine and chocolate and pub quizzes!

In the past, I would never have been able to change my mindset so quickly. And even now I struggled a bit to accept this sudden change of plans and losing money. But it just goes to show that if you try to make the best of a situation and really push aside those blaming and negative thoughts, nothing can stop you! It’s always your mind. It is a powerful weapon and your mindset is what makes or breaks a situation.

Cheers and don’t forget to be more, chase less.