Does A Vegan Diet Offer All The Essential Nutrients For Growth?

The world of food is shifting because of multiple things. As the food prices are soaring, post-pandemic, people are now thinking a vegan diet is a luxury. However, there is still a high demand for a vegan alternative in all walks of life. Patients are being treated by using the vegan alternative of food, athletes are switching to a vegan diet and people who love to eat meat are shifting to impossible meat options now. Where the majority was thinking vegan diets will never be able to fulfill their hunger and satisfy their palate, more people are switching to vegan options because there are recipes that can give you exactly what you want. With so many food choices, more people are thinking of becoming a vegan not because they find it hard to have access to sustainable meat options but just because they feel vegan food is much lighter offering them a better flavor. The best part of a vegan diet is that you do not have to feel bloated which is pretty much obvious and inevitable in the case of dairy-based products.

With the help of this article, we will talk about the vegan diet and why it is becoming common now. We will further talk about some of its benefits and why the vegan diet is not praised by so many people. We will further talk about if a vegan diet is enough to cover all the essential nutrients that are required for the body.

What Are The Benefits Of a Vegan Diet?

Since more and more people are shifting to a vegan diet, people who are still following traditional ways are pondering about the benefits of a vegan diet. There is no doubt there are so many different benefits of a vegan diet. Some of the best options include:

● A vegan diet is healthier because it has more nutrients that you might not have in other kinds of diets.

● A vegan diet is very good for weight loss and acquiring your ideal BMI because it helps in shedding fat.

● A vegan diet is very good for kidney, heart, and liver function because it helps in reducing the toxins and has a detox effect.

● A vegan diet is very good for people who have a family history of cancer because it helps you reduce the chance of cancer.

● A vegan diet is very good for arthritis because of the nutrients and vitamins that it offers.

● A vegan diet helps in staying agile throughout the day and reduces the lethargic effect that you might feel after consuming fatty food.

Does A Vegan Diet Offer All The Essential Nutrients For Growth?

It is a common misconception that being vegan you will have certain deficiencies in your body. There is no doubt that we need a lot of nutrients and these nutrients are distributed in both plants and animals. From human history, we have seen that men were more committed to hunting which involved animals. However, this doesn’t mean we cannot survive without animal-based food. Instead, a poorly planned and executed vegan diet can cause deficiencies in our bodies. It is best to look at the food that you are eating and then see how you can improve it. Some people like to add supplements which is a good option, however, if you plan your diet in a good way you will not need supplements. Instead, you will be able to get everything that you need from your vegan diet alone.

Bottom Line

To sum it all up, a vegan diet is not just all about a few plant-based options. Now that the vegan industry is on the boom, it is becoming much cheaper than traditional dairy-based items as well. For the people thinking mainly about the alternatives of meat, there is a whole industry making lab-grown meat that will be pivotal for the food industry. It is not only good to satisfy the food palate but also good for hunger satisfaction. The best thing about vegan food is that it is low in calories as compared to dairy-based food. You can eat to your heart content and you will still be able to move without feeling bloated. Most people mix salads with meat-based items so that they can feel full without consuming too many calories. As a vegan, most people struggle with quitting dairy altogether and they feel this might affect their growth. However, there is a vegan alternative for everything however most people take extra vitamins for helping their body feel better and heal easily.

Keep These Basics in Mind When Going for Weight Loss

You are not the only one sorting through the information to select and get the best for your weight loss journey. Getting what is important for you and what suits you can be daunting with an excess of information. Hell, even I sometimes get frustrated withit and leave it as is. don’t let the information bombardment be a cause delay towards health. Time to put your workout clothes on. Just keep these basics in mind and boost off the weight-loss trip.


Go for the real stuff

Fashion diets seem trendy and useful but their effectiveness is short-lived. Weight loss and fat burning are not just about losing some pounds. You would have to gain and maintain a leaner physique. Also, crash dieting and salad diets help lose fat but make you weak. Adjust the diet to gain nutrition needed.

Learn and follow the equation

Weight loss is quite simple, it does not have to be a torture. Just burn more calories than you eat every day. This way your body will be forced to burn the fat reserves which will make the fat vanish. On the other hand, if you eat more than you burn the body will be forced to make fat. A healthy balance between these will keep you fresh, powerful and lost the fat too. 

Don’t make fat loss a punishment

During the winter the belly is hidden under hoodies or jacket. It is when the summers are up and the bulged belly makes you look odd in a T-shirt. Then you decide to put on the workout clothes and punish the body, meaning punishing yourself. Fat loss does not have to be a punishment. In fact, if you treat it like that, chances are you will quit soon.

Keeping yourself hungry throughout the day is actually doing the opposite. It is making you weak and deforming the muscles instead of fat. Low carb and lower-fat diet free of unhealthy food is the right way to go. This way the body will get nutrients it needs and the workout will help you burn the fat. Please refer to the previous point for how questions. You can even have a cheat day once in a while where you eat unhealthy food. 

Exercise often

Diet alone cannot help you with fat loss. Even if it does the results will not be long-lasting. Thus, the exercise comes in. Diet and workout together make the complete fat-loss equation. Working out now and then will not give the best results. So, you have to keep on following the diet plan and do exercise regularly to achieve your goals faster.

Keeping yourself hungry throughout the day is actually doing the opposite. It is making you weak and deforming the muscles instead of fat. Low carb and lower-fat diet free of unhealthy food is the right way to go. This way the body will get nutrients it needs and the workout will help you burn the fat. Please refer to the previous point for how questions. You can even have a cheat day once in a while where you eat unhealthy food. 


It is not that difficult, just tweak your routine a little and you are working out enough. Like, walk more, go for a morning jog or run, cycle to the work, prefer stairs, play with your children more, etc. Or you can try HIIT, weight exercises or even martial arts. 

Obsession with weight is wrong

Health and fitness are not just weighing less. The weight is just a number and different for every one of us. People with different body types, ages, height, and routines will weight differently. They all could be healthy despite weighing different and over a certain number. The point is, you should focus less on the weighing scale and more on your routine and diet. 

Don’t miss the breakfast

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. I suggest you never leave home without having breakfast. But any breakfast won’t do. Eat a complete nutritious diet include fiber, carbs, and proteins as well to get the energy you need.

Keep the goals achievable and try again with more realistic and do able timeline again if there was a problem. Rest is also important even if you are just working out to lose weight.

Elite Sports & Born Tough Review

I received my Warrior Black Medium Duffel Boxing Gear Gym Bag and let me say I am so impressed. 😍 There is so much room and so many compartments I can use. I am very big on good quality, and needless to say I was not disappointed. I’m in love with this bag. ❤️ If you haven’t done so, please check them out at and for great quality products.

Signing off,

Ray Marks ™️ #putyourmarksonfitness

Noodles For The Win!!!

50 Carbs, 7 Protein, 1 Fat

This past week, I have been craving noodles so I put my own twist on them. ☺️ I didn’t want the pre-made package. 🤷🏽‍♀️


2 ounces of spaghetti noodles

1 tablespoon of lipton onion & mushroom soup mix

1/4 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth (what I use) or broth of choice

Add salt & pepper for taste (as needed)

Handful of tri-color peppers & mushrooms (optional)


Boil your spaghetti noodles in a boiling pot with water and mushrooms, & peppers for 15-20 minutes or until soft texture. Pour most of the water off noodles and add in the soup mix and broth. Mix up thoroughly. Enjoy your meal. ☺️

Noodles 🍜

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

Air Fryer Popcorn Fail 😩 But Made It Work The Old Fashion Way

So I ran across a recipe showing how to pop my popcorn in an air fryer…🙄🙄🙄 So simple, right?!?! I figured I would try it for success. ☺️

Olive Oil & Kernels

So I placed them in the air fryer and turned it on for the appropriate temperature and time. Once the time ran out, I cut the air fryer back on for the same amount of time and temperature AGAIN! 🙄 Let’s say it was an epic fail.

Air fryer at 390 for 15 minutes….excuse the grease on glass. 😉

After no kernels popped, I did the next best thing…..I popped them the old fashion way!

Popped the same kernels on top of the stove ❤️

They turned out perfect and just enough!!! I have a new way of popping my popcorn. I usually just buy the ones already popped but we know how that can go, I like to control my oil and sodium intake. 🙃

Organic Popcorn 😍 Limited oil & salt

If you decide to try it, let me know if it works for you! Instagram: or Facebook: For me and the air fryer, NOT SO MUCH! 😆🤷🏽‍♀️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫 #marksonfitness 🔥

#FitspirationFriday Moves

Here is an example of a regiment I do to get my heart rate up after my weight lifting routine (especially after upper body). These exercises will work the full body and you will definitely feel it. Since I’m starting my maintenance mode, I keep my cardio to a minimum at the moment. I do use minimum cardio to warm my body up when I first start though.

Try 5 rounds of 30 reps of each exercise (3 exercises before stopping) with 30 second rest in between each circuit.

Afterwards is a mini stretch session. ❤️ Try it and let me know what you think. ☺️ If 30 reps each exercise are not enough for you, challenge yourself. DO MORE REPS!!! 🙌 Let’s push ourselves. 🙃 Please feel free to post in the Facebook group too.

Facebook Page:

Facebook Group: Put Your Marks On Fitness

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫 #marksonfitness

Workout Wednesday

By: Ethan Bowman

Let’s Get Inspired To Workout Today! 

Slim and Slender

Hi, Marker Babe!
Today is WORKOUT WEDNESDAY!!! Here is a cardio-based option I will be using today; sent by Ethan Bowman ( Fitbody Bootcamp). Every Wednesday, I receive these workouts that I can use and give little thought to what movements I will be doing. Try this out and let me know what you think. ☺️

Work for 45 seconds at a time with 15 seconds of rest/transition. Use and click “Tabata This.” For “Number of Tabatas” enter 5, for “Rest Between Tabatas” leave it at 1:00, for “Rounds Per Tabata” enter 5, for “Time On” enter 45 seconds, and for “Time Off” enter 15 seconds.

Your total workout time is 28:45.

  • Lunge + Front Kick
  • Skater Jumps
  • Wall Sit
  • Glute Bridge Pulse (R)
  • Glute Bridge Pulse (L)

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫

Did Someone Say Dinner?!?!

Let’s just say it’s so worth it! ❤️ Try the healthy recipe below.

Baked Salmon with fried cauliflower rice

Salmon (flavor your meat with spices to your liking) 🤤

Salmon marinade ingredients:
Sesame Oil
Organic Granulated Brown Sugar
Liquid Aminos

Cauliflower ingredients:
Bag of frozen cauliflower
Liquid Aminos
Sesame Oil
Chopped Carrots & Mushrooms

Pour eggs into heated pan with sesame oil. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the cauliflower rice, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and a splash of water. Once tender, add a drizzle of sesame oil in pan along with dashes of liquid aminos. Add in your eggs and stir to your liking. Combine sesame oil, sugar, cinnamon, liquid aminos, and pour over the salmon inside a baking dish. Bake on 400 for about 15-20 minutes then broil for no longer than 5 minutes. Enjoy your meal!

Inspired by @kissmywheatgrass_

Signing Off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

12 Foods That Don’t Cause Weight Gain

One piece of advice often given to dieters is to eat until you reach satiety — that is, until you feel full.

The problem is that different foods can have vastly different effects on hunger and satiety.

For example, 200 calories of chicken breast may make you feel full, but it could take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.

Thus, weight loss isn’t just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.

What Makes a Food Filling?

Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index (1Trusted Source).

The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.

Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.

Filling foods tend to have the following qualities: 

  • High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When foods contain a lot of water or air, the volume is increased without adding calories (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).
  • High protein: Studies show protein is more filling than carbs and fat. Diets higher in protein increase satiety and lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets do (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source). 
  • High fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full. It also slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer (6Trusted Source).
  • Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel full for fewer calories (7Trusted Source).

So if you eat foods with the above characteristics, then you can usually eat them until fullness without getting in too many calories.

Here are 12 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.

1. Boiled Potatoes

Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t. 

Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called resistant starch (89Trusted Source). 

Resistant starch contains half the calories of regular starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts a lot like soluble fiber, helping you feel full.

Because adding resistant starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories (10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

Interestingly, cooling potatoes after they’re cooked increases their resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes multiple times continues to increase their hunger-suppressing effect (12Trusted Source).

In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest (1Trusted Source).

While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, fried potato chips were found to be three times less filling.


Boiled potatoes, which are highly nutritious, are number one on the satiety index. Fried potato chips are three times less filling and not considered weight loss friendly.

2. Whole Eggs

Eggs are another food that has been unfairly demonized in the past. The truth is, eggs are incredibly healthy and high in several important nutrients.

Most of the nutrients, including about half of an egg’s protein, are found in the yolk.

Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.

In addition, they’re very filling.

Several studies found that people who ate eggs for breakfast were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel for breakfast (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source). 

In particular, one study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast lowered their body mass index (BMI) and lost more weight than those who ate a bagel (16Trusted Source). 


Eggs are a great source of nutrients, including high-quality protein. They may help you eat less for up to 36 hours after a meal.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a type of porridge, or hot cereal, that is often consumed for breakfast.

It’s incredibly filling and ranks third on the satiety index (1Trusted Source). 

This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to soak up water. 

Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs (17Trusted Source). 

When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal was better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).


Oatmeal is high in fiber and soaks up water, which makes it incredibly filling. It is more filling than traditional breakfast cereals and may help you eat less throughout the day.

4. Broth-Based Soups

Liquids are often considered to be less filling than solid foods.

However, research shows soups may be more filling than solid meals with the same ingredients (20Trusted Source21Trusted Source).

When soup was eaten at the start of a meal in one study, subjects consumed 20% fewer calories at that meal (22Trusted Source). 

Several studies found that routinely eating soup can reduce calorie intake, enhance satiety and promote weight loss over time (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source25Trusted Source). 

Stick to broth-based soups, as they tend to be lower in calories than cream-based varieties.


Soups are very filling foods. Eating soup at the start of a meal may increase satiety, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.

5. Legumes

Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are well known for being good sources of fiber and protein.

This, combined with a relatively low energy density, makes them a filling food that may even promote weight loss (26Trusted Source). 

A review of several studies indicates that beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are 31% more filling than pasta and bread (27Trusted Source). 


Legumes are high in protein and fiber, which make them very filling. They are also relatively low in calories, which makes them a weight loss friendly food.

6. Apples

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet.

Several studies indicate eating fruit is associated with lower calorie intake and can contribute to weight loss over time (28Trusted Source29Trusted Source30Trusted Source31Trusted Source). 

In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index (1Trusted Source). 

Because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows digestion, they help you feel full (32Trusted Source). 

They are also over 85% water, which provides volume and improves satiety without adding calories. 

It’s important to note that whole, solid fruit increases satiety more than puréed fruit or juice, both of which are not particularly filling (33Trusted Source).

One study looked at the effects of eating solid apple segments, applesauce or drinking apple juice at the beginning of a meal. 

It found that those who ate solid apple segments consumed 91 fewer calories than those eating apple sauce and 150 fewer calories than those drinking apple juice (34Trusted Source). 

Eating apple segments also resulted in higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings than other forms of fruit. 


Apples are high in water and soluble fiber but low in calories. Eating whole, solid apples may help you consume fewer calories and contribute to weight loss over time.

7. Citrus Fruits

Similarly to apples, citrus fruits are high in pectin, which can slow digestion and increase satiety.

They also have a high water content. Both oranges and grapefruit contain over 87% water, which means they’re able to fill you up for very few calories. 

It has often been suggested that eating grapefruit can promote weight loss.

In one study, obese participants eating grapefruit lost significantly more weight than those given a placebo (35Trusted Source).

In another study, eating half a grapefruit three times daily at mealtimes for six weeks was associated with modest weight loss and a significant reduction in waist circumference (36Trusted Source).

When combined with calorie restriction, consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals resulted in a 7.1% weight loss, a significant reduction in body fat and weight circumference (37Trusted Source). 

However, these results may not be exclusive to grapefruit, as drinking water before meals had similar effects. 


Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are also weight loss friendly foods. They’re high in fiber and water, which can help you feel full and consume fewer calories.

8. Fish

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in people who are overweight or obese (38Trusted Source).

They’re also loaded with high-quality protein, which is known to be very filling.

In fact, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods on the satiety index and ranks second of all foods tested (1Trusted Source).

One study found the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef (39Trusted Source).

Another study found participants who ate fish consumed 11% fewer calories at their next meal than those who ate beef (40Trusted Source).


Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which may increase satiety. Fish may also be more filling than other types of protein such as chicken and beef.

9. Lean Meats

Lean meats are high in protein and very filling.

In fact, higher-protein diets lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets (5Trusted Source).

One study found that people ate 12% less at dinner after eating high-protein meat at lunch, compared to those who had a high-carb lunch (41Trusted Source).

Beef scored second highest of all protein-rich foods on the satiety index, but other lean meats such as chicken and pork are also weight loss friendly (1Trusted Source).


Meat is high in protein and very filling. Eating high-protein lean meat may help you consume fewer calories at subsequent meals.

10. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is low in calories but very high in protein.

It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.

These characteristics make cottage cheese a weight loss friendly food. 

One study found that its effect on fullness is similar to that of eggs (42Trusted Source).


Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories. Its effect on satiety may be comparable to that of eggs.

11. Vegetables

Vegetables are low in calories and high in volume.

They’re also packed with all kinds of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that make them an important part of a healthy diet. 

Furthermore, they’re high in water and fiber, both of which help fill you up.

Research shows that salads, in particular, help satisfy hunger, especially when consumed before a meal.

In one study, participants who ate a salad at the start of a meal consumed 7–12% fewer calories at the meal (43Trusted Source).

Another study showed that eating a salad at the start of a meal increased vegetable consumption by 23%, compared to eating it with the main course (44Trusted Source). 

In order to keep your salad low in calories, avoid adding high-calorie ingredients and dressings.


Vegetables are high in water and fiber, which may keep you full for longer. Eating low-calorie salads can help increase your vegetable consumption and decrease your calorie intake.

12. Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snack foods.

It is also high in volume, so it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, despite being relatively low in calories.

Studies have found that popcorn will fill you up more than other popular snacks such as potato chips (45Trusted Source).

Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest. Commercially-prepared or microwave popcorn can be extremely high in calories and contain unhealthy ingredients.

To keep your popcorn low in calories, avoid adding a lot of fat to it.


Popcorn is a whole grain that is high in fiber and volume, both of which help you feel full. Studies have found that popcorn is more filling than potato chips.

Take Home Message

Filling foods have certain characteristics. They’re high in volume, protein or fiber and low in energy density.

Including more of these foods in your meals may help you lose weight in the long run.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How to Make A Healthy Blueberry Smoothie

By: Well Plated (Erin)

Blueberry smoothies are good for you, and this one also includes the perk of being completely and totally delicious.

It’s bursting with fresh blueberry taste, yes, but what really sets this Greek yogurt blueberry banana smoothie apart is that its flavor is reminiscent of a slice of fresh blueberry pie with a creamy scoop of ice cream. Yum and YUM!

This smoothie is thick, luxurious, and craving-worthy, as any self-respecting pie imitator should be.

It also offers protein and healthy fats, so you can count on it keeping you full all morning.

The Ingredients

  • Frozen Blueberries. The star of the show!
  • Frozen Banana. Banana is good in smoothies because it adds natural sweetness and makes the smoothie thick and creamy. For a blueberry smoothie (no banana), check out Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie.
  • Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Protein-packed Greek yogurt gives this smoothie the boost it needs to be extra satisfying.
  • Rolled Oats. Oats give the smoothie body, make it more filling, and add a subtle “crust” vibe. (For another oat-packed option, check out Oatmeal Smoothie!)
  • Almond Butter. Helps make the smoothie more satisfying and gives it rich flavor. If you prefer peanut butter, you can try this as a blueberry banana peanut butter smoothie instead.
  • Vanilla + Cinnamon. The key ingredients that take this from being a basic blueberry smoothie to one that tastes like a blueberry pie in a glass.
  • Almond Milk. I chose to make this a vanilla almond milk blueberry smoothie, but you can use any milk you have on hand. Making this a blueberry smoothie with milk helps us reach the ideal consistency.


To make this blueberry smoothie vegan, make sure to use a non-dairy milk and non-dairy yogurt. You can also make this a blueberry smoothie without yogurt, but you may want to swap in some extra ice cubes to thicken it up. 

The Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender. 
  2. Puree until smooth. ENJOY!


  • Protein Powder. For an extra protein boost, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder. I like vanilla here.
  • Maple Syrup. If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, add a teaspoon or two of pure maple syrup or honey.
  • Spinach. Make this into a blueberry banana spinach smoothie by adding a handful of spinach to the blender. Spinach will alter the color of the smoothie a bit, but you won’t be able to taste it.

Serving Idea

Make this into a blueberry smoothie bowl by adding a few ice cubes and additional frozen blueberries to make it as thick as possible. Pour it into a bowl and add favorite toppings. Fresh blueberries, banana slices, or granola would be tasty! Grab a spoon and enjoy.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 day. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze smoothies in an airtight freezer-safe storage jar for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.


You can also make your smoothie in advance, then pour it into an ice cube try and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve, add your desired number of smoothie cubes to a blender and puree.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

My Reason Behind A Healthy Slate

It’s been a year since I started my blog! I’ve learned to celebrate the small victories and appreciate everything in life. I always try to look at all situations in a positive light. As some may know, I wrote about the time I had brain surgery back in 2016 and I’m here to share more about the experience. I am an acoustic neuroma survivor!!!! If you don’t know what acoustic neuroma is, let me give you the details. 

Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main (vestibular) nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain. Branches of this nerve directly influence your balance and hearing, and pressure from an acoustic neuroma can cause hearing loss, ringing in your ear and unsteadiness. Treatments for acoustic neuroma include regular monitoring, radiation and surgical removal. Common signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing (tinnitus) in the affected ear
  • Unsteadiness, loss of balance
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Facial numbness and very rarely
  • Weakness or loss of muscle movement
  • Headaches

I only had one of the symptoms before surgery, headaches. This was a challenging time in my life and made me look at things very differently. Once I learned that I had this rare tumor and the only option was to proceed with brain surgery, I didn’t realize my life would totally change afterwards. I was under the impression that I would recover within 6 weeks. Oh, how I thought WRONG but I still believe God knows best. Had I known what I would endure, I probably would have prolonged the surgery which could have cost me traumatizing damage or even my life!

Let’s talk about the issues I had to face after surgery:

  • Lost an entire week of memory post-op
  • Learned to rebalance so I could walk without the entire world spinning
  • Learned to swallow properly (the doctor had me on food thickener)
  • Wore a patch over my eye to focus correctly (and had to wait patiently until my double vision went away)
  • Suffered loss of hearing and facial paralysis on left side

Once I was able to comprehend the reality of the challenges ahead, I thought my world had crashed. I was devastated and nervous I would never be normal again. Boy, I had my work cut out for me to become the normal RAYAN again! After a week in the hospital, it was time for me to start physical therapy. This terrified me because I didn’t know what to expect.

I will never forget day two of my physical therapy; I totally shut down and would not finish my sessions. The nurses just let me have my moment and the next day was so much better. I needed the time to gather myself from this horrifying experience and come to terms with the challenges I was facing. This was the start of my “NEW NORMAL LIFE.”On the third day, my entire mindset changed. My goal was to complete all my sessions to the nurses’ satisfaction so I could get home to my own bed. I had to perform walking, speech, and mind challenging exercises. I was determined to overcome my issues and get back on the road to normal.

After a few weeks of therapy, I was ready to go home. The work didn’t stop there! I had to attend outpatient physical therapy until my nurses felt I was ready to receive my completion certificate.

Needless to say, I mastered my sessions within a month. The nurses told me I was doing great at everything and there was nothing left to do but let the rest heal with time. I felt so accomplished and was ready to continue my somewhat normal life. After two and a half months post-operation, I returned to CrossFit class. This was so exciting and important to me. The night before, I laid out my workout clothes and never looked back!

CrossFit helped me so much with my stability. It was so challenging to get back to myself but the small victories were rewarding! It’s been five years since my surgery, and I am still conquering my new norm. With God, we will not fail! I am a living witness.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 〽️✨

Want permanent weight loss?

By Ethan Bowman

Short-term weight loss is easy. Long-term weight loss is much harder to achieve.

However, you know people who are permanently in beach-ready shape, so it is possible to be lean for life.

This begs the question: how can you lose the weight for good?

The answer is not found in a single habit or action, but rather in the following 5 Lean for Life Habits…

Habit #1: Reimagine Yourself

Up until now you’ve accepted the shape that you are in, and even if you hate it, you’re comfortable with it. Read that again to make sure it sinks in. You are comfortable with the body that you have right now, and until you decide it’s no longer comfortable then you’ll be stuck in the shape that you currently have. 

Now spend time reimagining yourself leaner. Really let that new image sink in until you’re more comfortable with it than you are with the image of your current body. Rinse and repeat. The clearer you can see and feel and imagine yourself in a lean body, the more urgency and desire you will create to achieve and maintain it. 

Habit #2: Break-Up With Sugar

Look, Sugar, we have to break up. It’s not you; it’s me. Sure, we’ve had some good times. You’ve tickled my sweet tooth and pleased my taste buds, but loving you is a double-edged sword that leaves me heavy and out of shape. So this is it, we are through! 

As silly as that sounded, your relationship with sugar is holding you back from living in a lean for life body. It’s not only refined sugar that is messing with your body composition; in order to be lean for life you’ll also need to manage your intake of natural sugars. 

The good news is that every day spent without sugar will make the next day that much easier and your cravings will become that much weaker. Stay strong and soon you’ll be more than happy with the occasional sweet treat rather than the all-day sugar drip that’s sabotaging your swimsuit dreams. 

Habit #3: Forget Dieting

Going on a “diet” implies a start and end date, but if you really want to change your body composition for good then there is no end to your healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon of adapting to healthier (and healthier!) habits to maintain for the rest of your life. The day that you stop trying is the day that your body reverts to its old (less svelte) shape. 

Don’t worry, the more time that you get under your belt with healthy living, the easier it becomes. Soon your lean for life habits will feel like a normal day – just as your current habits feel like a normal day now. The key is to stick with it until the habits fully stick, and to vigorously fight the urge to give up.

Habit #4: Plan Your Cheats

Being lean for life doesn’t mean swearing off pizza and ice cream for the rest of your days. (Thank goodness!) On the contrary, you’ll find that planned cheat meals of your favorite foods are more enjoyable than ever before. The key is that you will be planning your cheat meals in advance and containing the excitement to one sitting each week. 

The fun thing about enjoying a cheat meal while living a lean lifestyle is that there is absolutely zero guilt associated with the pleasure. Most of us experience twinges of guilt associated with most of our meals, because in the back of our mind is the thought that we should really be eating healthier in order to lose the weight that we have yet to lose. Once you’ve lost the fat and are actively living a lean life those cheat meals will be 100% pleasure!

Habit #5: Be Part of a Fitness Family 

Belonging to a group of fellow fitness enthusiasts is key to making and maintaining your body transformation. Being fit is easier achieved in a supportive and encouraging group, rather than alone. The accountability provided from your fitness peers will save you from missing workouts and will get you to push yourself to try harder.

One of the most gratifying parts of being in a fitness family is the day when your support makes an impact on a new member. To give the encouragement that was given to you is a special moment that will stick with you and will recommit you to your fitness lifestyle. 

Feels Good, Doesn’t It?

A challenging exercise routine is a quick and simple solution to get you feeling good fast.

This is because every time you exercise your body increases its production of endorphins, which are responsible for that feel-good euphoria you get after a great workout or while chomping down on a piece of chocolate. 

However, before you turn to chocolate and skip the gym, remember the end result of each and choose which one will help you reduce stress in the long run. 

Do you choose what you want NOW or what you want MOST OF ALL? 

Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato

​Here’s a flavorful, nutritious meal that comes together quickly. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner that takes chicken breast and infuses it with a sweet and spicy poaching liquid of chipotle, pineapple, fresh cilantro, savory Worcestershire and tangy lime. These flavors are robust and delicious! 

Courtesy of

What you need
Servings: 4

4 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil OR Butter
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
3 tablespoons minced canned ​chipotle chile in adobo sauce (or MORE if you like it spicy!)
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced into wedges


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel and pierce several times with a fork or knife. Place on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender when poked.

3. Melt the coconut oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bell peppers, onion and chipotle and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the orange juice to the skillet along with 1/2 cup cilantro and the Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.

5. Add the chicken to the skillet, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and veggies to a plate and cover.

6. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the liquid left in the skillet until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in the mustard. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and return it and the veggies to the skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Slice each baked sweet potato down the middle and fill with a heaping spoon of the chipotle chicken. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

One serving equals: 372 calories, 8g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 9g sugar and 39g protein.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness

Air Fryer Egg Rolls


Air Fryer Egg Rolls

If you’ve been disappointed by baked egg rolls before, be prepared to be delighted by air-fried ones. The dry, constantly circulating air gives the wrapper a shatteringly crisp texture. If you can, aim for vegan egg roll wrappers (Nasoya is an easy-to-find brand), which get particularly crispy.

Active time: 19 minutes Total time: 35 minutes

Air Fryer Egg Rolls


  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (170g) green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (20g) green onions, chopped
  • 8 ounces (227g) ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 8 (24-gram) egg roll wrappers


Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cabbage and carrot, saute 2 minutes. Add the green onions and turkey, and saute until turkey is cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and pepper.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a dry work surface with the corners set vertically (pointing up and down like a diamond shape). Moisten all edges of the wrapper with water. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling horizontally across the center of the wrapper. Fold in the left and right corners of the wrapper, and roll up. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat the air fryer, if necessary, to 400°F (200ºC). Coat an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Arrange 4 egg rolls in a basket in a single layer, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Air-fry until browned and crisp, 7–8 minutes, turning over after 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1 egg roll

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 144; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 277mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein 9g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 128mg; Iron: 7%; Vitamin A: 30%; Vitamin C: 14%; Calcium: 8%

We all want ideas on recipes made from the air fryer themselves. This is definitely an interesting one to try! I’ve been hooked on my air fryer for over 3 years now , and it’s the best investment for me. I don’t have to stand over a stove cooking for long periods of time which gives me time to get other chores done around the house. And it’s also QUICK! 😍

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Two Fat-Burning HIIT Workouts For Beginners


Two Fat-Burning HIIT Workouts For Beginners

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that alternates short periods of intense exercise with periods of recovery. It offers many benefits, from improving your cardiovascular health, endurance and overall fitness level to burning more fat and calories per minute than steady-state exercises like jogging or cycling. This means you can get maximum fat-burning results in less time, making HIIT a great option for fitting quick workouts into your busy schedule.

“HIIT is good for burning fat because it burns a lot of calories in a short period of time and increases the amount of calories you burn post workout to repair and restore your body,” says Nate Feliciano, owner and head of training at Studio 16 in New York City. That post-workout afterburn is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC) and refers to the amount of oxygen needed to restore your body back to normal. That level increases after a HIIT workout, so your body keeps burning calories in the hours after you’ve finished exercising.


“For beginners, HIIT may be intimidating,” says Feliciano, “but HIIT does not need to be one size fits all. There are many ways to modify the exercises used in your HIIT routine to accommodate your fitness level.” So, even if you’re new to fitness, interval training offers enough variety and adaptability that you’ll be able to find something that works for your body.

Because interval training is so effective at burning calories, it’s common to see quicker results when doing HIIT than many other disciplines. You still need to exercise regularly (and eat a healthy diet) for long-term results, but dropping a few pounds or noticing cardio improvements are great incentives to keep working toward your goals.

Beginners should be especially vigilant when it comes to warming up and cooling down. Warming up before your workout is essential to prepare your body for movement and prevent injury. Similarly, cooling down after your workout can help to lower your heart rate and loosen tight muscles.


Feliciano provides two beginner-friendly workouts below, one featuring equipment (kettlebells and battle ropes) and one that requires nothing more than your own body weight. Mix one or both workouts into your exercise routine twice a week, and see how HIIT can help you achieve the results you want.

Signing off,

You all know I love HIIT workouts. It allows me the heart rate boost I love to feel in very little time. Lately I’ve been concentrating on lifting vs more HIIT workouts. I must say, it’s a great balance for me. ☺️

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

FAQs On Waist Beads

On Your Mark, Get WAISTED! ❤️✨

Q: What is the purpose of waist beads?

A: History

You may have grown up around women that decorated their waists with beads made from seeds, glass beads, or crystals; perhaps you’ve seen one of your favorite influencers decoratively wearing beads around their waist too. From giving you awareness of how much weight you have lost to being a representation of a certain virtue, they are collectively a beautiful aspect of the feminine proclamation of self in several African cultures. They also serve as a form of stylistic expression as you can customize what colors you want to display, how many waist beads you want to stack, and what types of beads you want to use. These pieces stem from various areas of the Diaspora, ranging from Ghana’s Dipo ceremonies to Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe and those in between. Although trendy, African women have traditionally worn these beads as a symbol of femininity and prosperity for centuries. The history of waist beads can be traced back as early as the 15th century.

According to the Africa Facts Organization, “Jewelry in Africa is seldom just ornamental; rituals, religion and ceremonies play a large part.” With that said, there is such a large amount of influence that stems from cultural aspects and is concentrated in the colors of the beads. 

Waist beads can even be traced back to ancient Egypt, as shown in Figure 1. Hieroglyphs depict dancers adorned with braids and waist beads.

Many people question when an appropriate time for waist beads is or if they should wear them at all. The decision to wear them is up to the individual and what occasion they choose. From going on a beach trip with your girls to walking into an interview and having them be a subtle reminder under your business wear. Angela Hill from the Bay Area News Group states, “They’re for you. It’s personal. The meaning of the colors varies with every tribe — it’s kind of like visual dialects. And here in America it’s certainly a form of personal expression and individual interpretation. They’re for all women — any body type, any race, any background.” The beads are customary for promoting fertility, womanhood, and power. Often, they can be associated with the country you choose to represent depending on the colors chosen (i.e. Nigeria – green and white). Whether you want to show them off or have them under your clothes as a less obvious reminder, they are unique to you. Culturally, African waist beads can have a sensual significance as well, for potential male suitors.

West Africa

One of the most beautiful aspects of waist beads is the prominence of individuality when choosing the colors and materials of the beads. For example, Ghanaian girls may be presented with waist beads as a token of their “coming-of-age” into womanhood. They can also represent what class a woman is in, her economic status, and fertility.  Traditionally unmarried women of the Yoruba tribe wear an ileke, also known as waist beads or waist chains. Waist beads are romantic, fashionable and attract attention to the waist by making the waist appear slimmer and bringing out the curves of the hips. Modern-day wear includes decorative adornment and waist and weight management.

East Africa

According to Google Arts & Culture, “Glass beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and (from the 16th to 18th centuries) Portuguese traders, and reached southern Africa in small quantities through internal trade.” Wearing waist beads is largely popular across East African countries as well; women can add essential oils to their bead strings in order to promote healing properties and utilize them in similar ways as the Diaspora (i.e. promoting fertility, puberty, or class.

South Africa

The influence of waist beads spans across several countries and spreads to the Caribbean as well. Southern parts of Africa utilize waist beads in unique ways as well. Notably, women in Zambia and Malawi use their beads while pregnant or in order to seduce their husbands

Adorn your waist this summer! The beads will be sure to add a stylish yet meaningful addition to your outfits and swimsuits this season. We have given you a list of different waist bead colors along with their respective meanings below. Additionally, we have linked examples of our very own waist bead collection!

Q: What does different color beads mean?

A: Black – Power and protection

Blue – Loyalty and truth

Brown – Earth and stability

Gold – Good health, power and wealth

Purple – Royalty, spirituality and wisdom

Green – Abundance, fertility, nature and prosperity

White – Light, truth and purity

Orange – Courage, self confidence and vitality

Yellow – Energy, joy and happiness

Pink – Care, beauty, love and kindness

Red – Confidence and vitality

Turquoise – Communication and self awareness


African waist beads: Age-old tradition makes modern-day statement. (2012, July 31). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Mercury News website:

Beads, E. B. (n.d.). Waist Beads: Color Meaning. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Exotic Body Beads website:

Blog — MY AFRICAN WAIST BEADS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from MY AFRICAN WAIST  BEADS website:

Chest, T. B. (n.d.). Ghana Waist Beads: Meaning & Culture. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Bead Chest website:

Uju. (2016, April 2). African Waist Beads, Meaning, Significance, And Uses. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Answers Africa website:

Q: How do they relate to waist training or weight loss?

A: As far a waist training, waist beads are being used more and more in North America as a way to control weight gain and shrink your waist. Naturally, as the beads get tighter, you know you’re gaining a few pounds. So you can nip that weight gain in the bud before you’re struggling to button your jeans.

Q: Where do I place them?

A: Traditionally waist beads are worn along the hips semi-permanently, which means they are worn while bathing, sleeping, swimming, etc. until they break or they are cut off.

Q: How do I tie them on?

A: To tie them on, you simply place them around your waist, decide where you want them to sit, remove the excess beads and tie 3-4 knots.

Q: Can I wear waist beads all the time?

A: You can wear your waist beads all day, everyday. They may dull after time from showering, if that happens just polish them with a cloth. If you do want to take them off from time to time you‘ll want to tie them loosely from the beginning and then just pull them up and off like a shirt.

Q: How tight should my waist beads be?

A: Depending on how you want to wear your waistbeads, you can measure yourself above your navel, just at your navel, or right above your hips. Use a tape measure and measure against your bare skin without sucking in your stomach. You shouldn’t hold the tape loose nor too snug. Think about where you want to wear the beads.

Q: How many waist beads should I wear?

A: You can wear as few or as many waist beads as you feel comfortable in. Most women wear about 3 strands.

What you see is what you get! 🤷🏽‍♀️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide


Your “core” is much more complex than the infamous “six-pack abs” which refer to the muscle group known as the rectus abdominis. Dozens of muscles make up the core musculature, which has three-dimensional depth and creates or resists movement in all planes of motion.

Proper core strength and function can contribute to:

This quick and easy workout targets the essential stability from your deeper core muscles and the necessary mobility that the core can produce. Days 1, 2 and 3 repeat with higher volume during the second half of the week. If you experience back pain during any part of these exercises, please stop. This signifies that either the core is fatigued and no longer able to stabilize your spine in proper alignment or the form may not be spot on.

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide



The move: The McGill curlup differs from a crunch in that there should be no movement from the lumbar spine to protect the discs and promote proper posture. Begin by lying flat on your back with only one knee bent. Place your hands under the small of your back to monitor movement, ensuring your back does not touch the floor. Brace the core muscles and lift your head and tops of your shoulders, keeping the spine in neutral. For an added challenge, lift your elbows off of the floor.


The move: Line your elbow up with your shoulder and your shoulder with your hip and heel. With a very tight and braced core, push the ground away from you, staying active in the shoulder joint. Feet can be stacked or the top foot in front of the bottom, pressing the blades of the feet into the floor.

Option: To reduce the intensity, perform this exercise as a side bridge from the knees instead of the feet.


BIrd Dog

The move: The bird dog is a co-contraction of one leg and the opposite arm in the quadruped position. Begin by posturing the spine in neutral, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and the knees directly underneath your hips. Find a neutral spine and gently brace your core. Sweep the floor with your hand and knee after each 10-second hold.


The move: Find a strong-and-straight plank position on a stability ball. Ensure your shoulders are directly over your elbows and away from the ears. While keeping the rest of the body completely stable, rotate your forearms in a clockwise motion, stop and unwind in a counterclockwise pattern.

Option: To decrease the intensity, this exercise can be done with your knees placed on the floor.


The move: Place the stability ball at your shins, hands on the floor, and press up into a strong-and-straight plank position. Ensure the hips never sag, as this can lead to back pain. Simultaneously press into the floor with your hands and onto the ball with your shins, tuck both knees into your chest and return to the plank position. Your hips should elevate slightly during this movement.

Options: The closer the ball is to your feet, the harder the exercise is. For an even greater challenge, this move can be done with only one leg.


The move: Begin with your midsection on the stability ball and your weight equally distributed between your hands and feet with your gaze slightly out in front of your hands. Squeezing your backside, simultaneously raise the right arm and left leg. Lower both back to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Option: For a greater challenge, a full superman (both arms and legs raised at the same time) can be completed, but this is a tricky move!


The move: Grab a heavy dumbbell (or any weighted object) in one hand. While bracing the core and resisting side or forward bending, walk slow and controlled during the entire 30-second set. Repeat on the other side.

Option: If forearm strength is an issue, a weightlifting strap can be used on the working side.


The move: Begin by lying on your back with your head gently resting in your hands and feet about 4 inches off of the floor to create a strong abdominal brace. Lift your shoulders slightly off the floor and rotate your right shoulder toward your left knee. Without lowering back down to the ground, repeat on the other side.

Option: To reduce the intensity, place your feet flat on the floor and march your alternating knee toward the rotating shoulder.


The move: Start in a strong hand plank position, keeping the ears, hips, knees and heels in straight alignment. While maintaining this plank, bend one knee into your chest, followed by the other.

Option: This movement can be done in slow motion with a strong focus on abdominal contraction, or it can be sped up. However, as speed is added, the strong plank should be maintained.


The move: Begin in a high-plank position with the core and backside tight and in alignment. With minimal movement or rotation, drop down to the right forearm, followed by the left. Again, with a tight midsection, return to the high plank, one arm at a time.

Option: This move can also be performed from the knees.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨