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I'm Melissa!

A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!

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It’s time to stop and smell the roses. Remember it is so important to be kind to your body.

You only get one temple and you need to take care of it.

But I get you. You are not alone. I’ve been there many times over the past months since lockdown began.

It’s human nature to be our own worst critics.

Especially when it comes to our relationship with our weight, the reflection in the mirror and our body-image.

For years I prided myself as someone that never owned a scale, followed a diet or avoided food groups.

I aimed to eat balanced home cooked meals like my Italian friends. None of them ever seem to be flabby or out of shape.

But yesterday we were hanging out on the beach and as I gazed out at the ocean I found myself people watching. I do my best to never judge others especially based on appearance. Beauty comes from within.

But I found myself noticing that most men (even young boys) had pot bellies and man boobs and women of all ages has thighs riddled with cellulite and stomach rolls.

Covid 19 has been hard on humanity.

I myself arrived in Italy much curvier with a thickness to my waistline. And my clothes were definitely a little tighter. What can we expect when we are locked indoors with food as the only comfort source and no chance of working out like we used to.

But given the amount of people that have lost their lives and sanity in this pandemic I am so grateful to have my health and that my body is working.

Now more than ever our bodies and minds need TLC.

Cornerstones of the plan I’ve been following:

  1. Drink 2 to 3 liters of water every single day. If this is the only change you make you will see huge results. I promise.
  2. Make sure you are getting 2 servings of fresh fruit every day.
  3. Make sure half of your plate is made up of fresh fruits and veggies
  4. Cook as much of your meals as you can using fresh produce… check out the free recipes on my site or grab a copy of my free HOW TO COOK MASTERCLASS filled with all my secrets.
  5. Move your body for 30 minutes every single day (turn up the music and dance it out or head out for a walk. My amazing friend Maeve Mc Caffery is also offering online yoga classes so check her out).
  6. Sit down and eat all meals at a table (no standing in front of the fridge or eating in front of a screen)
  7. Get 8 hours rest every day. Your body heals when it sleeps.
  8. Limit alcoholic drinks to 1 to 2 a day – beer, wine, or spirits with lemon and ice. And drink plenty of water to rehydrate. Avoid sugary cocktails, sodas, and juices.
  9. Enjoy 70% dark chocolate if you want a sugar fix.
  10. Meditate for at least 10 minutes every day. Focus on your breathing and allow the deep inhales to oxygenate your system and calm your stress
  11. If you do have a super-indulgent meal, don’t beat yourself up about it. Life is to be enjoyed. Just try make your next meal a smaller cleaner one.
  12. Limit yourself to one piece of bread per meal. Try making this bread or buying a good artisanal loaf that gets moldy in a few days
  13. Eat a good plain sugar-free yogurt every day. It is loaded with probiotics and 75% of your health depends on the health of your gut.
  14. Make sure every meal has a serving of protein (but be aware that a potion is the size of your palm)
  15. Don’t avoid carbohydrates. Your body needs them to function. Opt for healthier choices like sweet potatoes, brown rice or pasta and pizza made with 00 Italian flour
  16. Get enough good fats like avocados, olive oil, and fish into your diet. It keeps you full longer.
  17. When it comes to trigger foods like nuts, chips or popcorn remember to take a small handful and then sit down and eat them slowly. Don’t bring the bag with you.
  18. Never eat anything that comes out of a box, bottle, can, or package…. Your body wants real food
  19. Avoid screen time for 2 hours before bed. The blue light messes with sleep
  20. Remember to chew… Your body needs the digestive enzymes you secrete in your saliva.

I would love to hear more about the struggles and challenges you are facing so I can help you. And I also want to hear about your victories and wins.

And the thoughts we put into it and the words we speak to it are just as important as food and exercsise.

I hope these tips help you too. And remember the thoughts you put into it and the words you speak to it are just as important as food and exercsise.

So I want you to keep a GRATITUDE journal….

Write in it every morning and every night.

I want you to keep a journal and every morning and every night I want you to write a little love letter to your body thanking it for all of the everyday miracles it performs for you.

To quote the Rebbe….. A healthy body needs a healthy soul. Love light and blessings.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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