From FAT to FIT again – Transformation Challenge

YES, I did it and I achieved my goal. In just 12 weeks of this weight loss challenge, (January 4th-March 29th  2015) I lost 10.3 kg (23 lbs) of unwanted weight and I trimmed my waist circumference with 14 centimeters (5.5 inches)

In fact those are my results week by week:

Date Section Weight Waist
January 4, 2015 Start Weight 92 kg       (202 lbs) 106 cm
January 11, 2015 Week 1 86 kg       (189 lbs) 98 cm
January 18, 2015 Week 2 85.3 kg     (188lbs) 97 cm
January 25, 2015 Week 3 85 kg         (187 lbs) 97 cm
February 1, 2015 Week 4 84 kg         (185 lbs) 96 cm
February 8, 2015 Week 5 83.5 kg     (184 lbs) 95 cm
February 15, 2015 Week 6 83.5 kg     (184 lbs) 95 cm
February 22, 2015 Week 7 83.5 kg   (184 lbs) 95 cm
March 1, 2015 Week 8 83.5 kg   (184 lbs) 95 cm
March 8, 2015 Week 9 83 kg       (182.5 lbs) 94 cm
March 15, 2015 Week 10 83 kg       (182.5 lbs) 94 cm
March 22, 2015 Week 11 82.4 kg   (181 lbs) 93 cm
March 29, 2015 Week 12 81.7 kg   (180 lbs) 92 cm


RESET March 29 2015

Why I decided to do this challenge?

On my previous blog from January 2015, entitled ‘From Fit to Fat – My Transformation Challenge’  I wrote how stress, medication for pain and nervous tension, affected my life, my health and my physical fitness. And as a result of those stressors, my blood sugars elevated, my blood pressure rose to unhealthy readings of over 140/90, my weight gain move up from 84 kg to 92 kg in only few months, and my waist measurement increased to 106 centimeters (42 inches). This constellation of symptoms made me a candidate for developing a pre-diabetic state known as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X.

Having personal experiences and knowing that Usana Health Sciences is a True Health Company with clinical studies in Reversing of Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, I decided to restore my health and lose some unwanted pounds by participating into their Usana Reset Nation weight Loss Challenge and follow their protocol. See some clinical trials at the end of this blog.

And I have to admit that even with my knowledge in functional fitness and holistic nutrition, achieving this ambition and losing 10 kg, was not an easy task without exercising.

Yes, due to some re-occurring back pain and muscular stiffness (as a result of a car accident in 2009) I was not able to exercise during the first 8 weeks of my challenge, yet I was able to lose 7 kg of my weight just by changing my nutritional habits, as recommended in the USANA’s RESET™ Nation Challenge.

But when 4 weeks ago I also started to workout using a combination of moderate intensity weight training and functional bodyweight exercise program I personally designed for my recovery, I was able to achieve my goal and to lose an additional 3.3 kg.

RESET March 29 2015 -2

Why I set my goal to lose 10 kg?

And if someone might ask why my goal was to lose 10 kg and not six, eight or 15kg, I can surely affirm that before 2009, this was my ideal weight as a fitness professional and martial arts athlete. This was the weight that in the years 2005-2009, kept me extremely active, strong and in great physical condition despite my age of 47 (in 2009).

But what motivates me to participate into this challenge NOW was mostly a combination of many personal choices.

  1. First, I needed to restore my health which in the last year started to decline at a considerable speed and I wanted to win the big prize: The Usana Health Sciences all inclusive trip to Sanoviv Medical Institute (May 2nd-May 7th 2015)
  2. On the same time, I wanted to prove again and again that Usana Health Sciences is a True Health Company. In the past, as a Registered Holistic and Sport Nutrition Consultant in Canada, I was able to help many friends, athletes and other clients to improve their wellbeing using a combination of healthy nutrition, regular physical exercises and the use of Usana Health Sciences nutritional supplements.
  3. My next reason to win this challenge was to raise awareness to my fellow Romanian friends and compatriots, and to point out that Usana Health Sciences is indeed the True Health Company.

Once one of the top karate athletes in Romania (and than in Italy) I grew up as an eyewitness to the effects of malnutrition in many orphan children in Romania. And at that time I was unable to help at all. But in 2002, thanks to Children’s Hunger Fund (a Charitable Organization) and its long-time partner Usana Health Sciences, I have heard how they restore health to thousands of Romanian orphans for many years. This is why in 2012 I decided to ‘return the favor’ and to compete (at the age of 50) in the 2012 Karate BC Provincial Championships to raise funds for Usana True Health Foundation and Children Hunger Fund to be exclusively used for children in desperate need of food and medicine. For me as a USANA Associate, giving to Children’s Hunger Fund was more than a donation — it was a fight. And I would like to thank Usana and their True Health Foundation for recognizing me as one of their “Champion”. In fact in 2013, the management of Usana Health Sciences and True Health Foundation invited me in Salt Lake City to present to me the ‘Champion for Change Award’

4. And NOW the year of 2015, become my time to restore my health and bring back my well being. And thanks to Usana Reset Nation Challenge, I am on my way to get healthier and better physically, emotionally and financially.

And to conclude I would like to tell everyone:


More information about Usana Clinical Studies on Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome:

From Fit to Fat – My Transformation Challenge

Many friends call me Mario-Fit.

But I have to admit that I am Fat. I am not kidding. Many of my friends are still following my nutritional advises and fitness tips to get healthy and in better shape, because I am qualified as a Fitness Instructor and Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant – expert on cellular nutrition. But in the last few years, too much pressure in resolving unexpected problems, which were out of my control, and too much medication for pain and stress, affected my life, my health and my physical fitness.

IMG_5496  IMG_5497IMG_5521

As a result my blood pressure rose to unhealthy readings of over 140/90 and recently I gained much weight that now I am 10 kg (22 lbs) extra-flabby. My waist measurement is now 106 centimeters (42 inches) and my height is still 1.77 cm (5’8’’). Considering the Body Mass Index (BMO) ratio weight to height, I am 29% chubby. This number, place me on the category of an extremely overweight person (30% is the starting limit of obesity).

And I refuse to accept this realty. I must do something. But what can I do? Problems are still unresolved and stress is still part of my daily life.

From trying to manage my re-occurring pain, and dealing with an ICBC claim (a car accident that occur in 2009) to many other frustration and disappointments related to my business loss and my personal relationship with my family and friends, indeed affected much my health and wellbeing. IMG_5614

Only in the last few months, because of accumulated nervous tension, and taking many prescription medications for pain and stress, I was diagnosed with a major digestive problem which affected also the absorption of nutrients. This medical condition is on top of my stress-related muscle tension (myofacial pain syndrome) I was diagnosed earlier, after the 2009 car accident.

Recently, I have had a reoccurring sudden pain to my lower back and to my cervical area, and much frustration on my ability to be functionally fit the way I want it to be, created even more disappointments and tension. It is like a circle of destruction.

IMG_5441No matter that my 2014 winter ‘Happy Holidays’ were not so happy for me. I also spent some time on the St. Paul Emergency room with a sharp pain starting from the neck and down to my lower back. And guess what? I just tried to put my socks and my shoes onto my feet, preparing to go to work. What a nasty day December 29, 2014. I got intravenous injections with Fentanyl, a potent, synthetic opioid pain medication. It works a little, but not the best. And after few hours I get two more shorts of Morphine and Ketorolac, that makes me able to walk with the feeling that I am already  “in paradise”.

For sure those medications, will sooner or later affect my liver as well. I must do something.

In the past trigger point injections (prolotherapy) relaxation techniques and anti-inflammatory nutrients such omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine with turmeric extract also help, but just for a period of time.

What to do?

Well I already booked my prolotherapy session and I just decided to start the USANA Health Science – Reset Nation Challenge.  This 12-week “regain your health” – weight-loss challenge—running January 5–March 29—rewards winners with an exclusive trip to Sanoviv Medical Institute in Rosarito Mexico, which utilize cutting-edge “Functional Medicine” and detoxification using alternative and integrative programs to help maintain a good health and to treat a wide range of diseases. And I really need a vacation in a luxurious setting, for a full detoxification, healthy nutrition, and functional medicine treatments that might restore my health.

Walnuts could be “Drugs” – Instead eat Frito Lay for Health

There are enough evidences on the health benefits of the phytonutrients found in walnuts, and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Some phytonutrients found in walnuts such as the quinone juglone, are unique and not found in other commonly eaten foods. Other phytonutrients like the tannin tellimagrandin or the flavonol morin—are also rare and valuable as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients also help explain the decreased risk of certain cancers and their protective properties against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, and type2 diabetes.

DiamondWalnutsOmega3Label2[1]But be careful how you legally promote the health benefits of walnuts, without getting in trouble with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).The FDA sent a warning letter to Diamond Foods telling them that the claims they were making for their walnuts place the walnuts into the category of “drug”. Based on the FDA review of the label and website of the “Diamond of California Shelled Walnuts” products, they have concluded that the walnut products sold by the company are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), because the walnuts are

“…promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease…”

frito-lay-jump-r[1]Strange as it looks, the FDA has no problem with Frito-Lay® – a subsidiary of the Pepsi-Cola company – who sells $12 billion a year chips made products. Frito-Lay® made claims that their products are made with ingredients that help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart. Even salt, according to Frito-Lay® website, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, is essential for the body.

What I see is that FDA allows Frito-Lay® to pretend there are heart health benefits in ingesting fat-calories and loaded fried carbohydrates, while censoring the ability of walnut companies to make some scientifically-proved claims.

acrylamide_foods[1]And beside “healthy chips”  don’t forget the acrylamides formed when carbohydrate foods such potatoes are fried at high temperatures in sunflower oils to make potato chips,  increases the risk of cancers of the large bowel, bladder, or kidney.

This is how food business and unscrupulous people in search for profit, are getting advantage of many people’s ignorance.

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Easy to Prepare a Healthy Meal

Kids are a big inspiration sometimes. Lara (my 7 years daughter) wanted spinach, while Cora (my 5 years old kid) is hungry for eggs. And my time is limited. What to do? Go out and eat at a fast food restaurant? Or cook individually for each one of them? I don’t think so. And as I search my own library,  I founded many inspirational dishes, which can be served anytime: at Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. They are healthy, easy to be prepared and not so much time consuming.

photo 3
Cora and Lara tasting my Italian Frittata Spinach Omelette.

There are many good and tasty recipes to choose from, and the internet is full of knowledge and choices. But as a nutritionist consultant, and particularly as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, my search is for only healthy but nutritious foods. Same is true for nutritional supplements. The market is full of baloney, and products that claim to do miracles.

Don’t believe them all. Since I am always interested in healthy foods and proper nutritional supplements, for me and for my family, I become my own experiment. And I decided to share with everybody the best of my personal experience, and the great tasting of nutritious foods.

Recently, I was inspired by the famous cook George Mateljan, who has had a lifelong devotion to using the power of food as a key to controlling and maintaining vibrant good health and longevity. s original recipe: Mushroom, Tomato, Basil, and Frittata. I called my meal:

The Italian Frittata Spinach Omelette

Since I didn’t plan in advance for my meal, I eliminated from the original recipe: the broth, the crimini mushroom and the fresh basil, and I improvised with other ingredients including spinach. Me and my kids love it and from now on, this meal will be part of my family healthy eating. For your convenience, I will post the Original George’s Recipe: Mushroom, Tomato, Basil Frittata, so you can adapt the meal to your convenience.

Preparation and Cook Time: approximated 20 minutes


  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 TBS +1 TBS chicken broth
  • 1 cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium tomato diced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Mince onions and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health benefits.
  2. Heat 1 TBS broth in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté onion over medium low heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 TBS broth, tomato, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute. Stir well, and gently scrape pan with a wooden spoon to remove any slight burning.
  5. Beat eggs well, and season with salt and pepper. Mix in chopped basil. Pour eggs over vegetables evenly and turn heat to low. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until firm. Cut into wedges and serve.

And now I want to give the right credit to the right people, who inspired me. As I mention before, today’s meal was a variation of George Mateljan’s healthy recipes. After George studied the cuisines of over 80 countries to learn the secrets of healthy, flavourful cooking, he created the George Mateljan Foundation and the Healthiest Way of Eating, as a non-profit organization dedicated to help make a healthier you and a healthier world. And indeed George’s organization helped many folks, (including me) not only to prepare easy and healthy meals, but also to educate them on the power of foods and their healing properties. You can learn more about George’s organization visiting his foundation website: ttp://

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We all know that biologically, the gorillas are similar to humans. And if they are in such similarity, both they need the equivalent nutrition. Would you agree? How come then, for their cardiovascular health, monkeys in a zoo, are getting vitamin C supplements, in a daily dose that is 20 times more than what is recommended for humans?

pic_2[1]A recent epidemic of heart disease among captive gorillas in zoos proved to be related to a lack of large amounts of vitamin C in their diet. And there is no disagreement, that gorillas need large amounts of vitamin C, to put them in a better health. While animals such as dogs, cats, cows, chickens, tigers, bears, lions or elephants, make their own vitamin C, in high quantities every day, both, gorilla and the humans don’t. And they share another characteristic; they do not suffer from cardiovascular diseases the same like humans or gorillas.

They both (gorillas and humans) have the inability to make in the liver, an enzyme (L-gulonolactone oxidaseoxidase) that would allow converting the glucose into ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This defect is called by geneticists GLO mutation. Many studies have determined that the minimum daily vitamin C recommendation for primates is minimum 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. If you apply this calculation to a person of 70 kg, (25 mg x 70 kg) the daily requirement of vitamin C should be a minimum of 1,750 mg per day, which is many times higher than the 60 to 75-mg RDA.

In fact, in 1989 Dr. Burton Kallman – Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology at the National Nutritional Foods Association – presented in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, statistics that indicates that the standard zoo diet for monkeys is supplemented with 23 times the Recommended Daily Allowances levels of vitamins and minerals.


Other reports suggest that the gorillas in captivity need more antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, which helps to recycle vitamin C in the body, as well as more amino-acids, particularly the amino acid proline and lysine. The amino-acid proline is one of the twenty DNA-encoded amino acids – while the amino-acid lysine is necessary to stabilizes collagen and elastin – known as cholesterol binding inhibitors, who can reduce the atherosclerotic plaques.

An interesting article published on “The Free Library by FARLEX” titled “Save the Gorillas” starts with a citation from the book “How to Live Longer and Feel Better” written by  Nobel prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling in 1986. Quote:

The Committee on the Feeding of Laboratory Animals of the US National Academy of Sciences–National Research Council recommends far more vitamin C for monkeys than the Food and Nutrition of the same US National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council – recommends for human beings.” In his book, Linus Pauling discusses also the vitamin E research showing that this vitamin in humans prevents and lowers the risk of heart disease. In addition, Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that helps to recycle vitamin C in the body.

The recent epidemic of heart disease among gorillas in zoos, confirmed that providing “our monkey cousins” more vitamin C and vitamin E on their diet, and by eliminating sugary foods will improve their cardiovascular condition. Since Vitamin C and glucose are both molecules that share a common insulin-mediated absorption into cells through the lipid cellular membrane, higher levels of sugar in the blood may interfere with the absorption of vitamin C.

In his 1972 book “The Healing Factor: Vitamin C against Disease”, Irwin Stone – a biochemist and vitamin C expert – pointed out that:

From the “Committee on Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals” (1962) we find some startling figures. The recommended diet for the monkey–our closest mammalian relative–is 55 milligrams of ascorbic acid per kilogram of body weight or 3,830 milligrams of ascorbic acid per day for the average adult human

VitaminC-content[1]According to these reports it is more obvious now that for optimum health, humans need 20 – 50 times more vitamin C per day, than the Recommended Daily Allowance.

If your goal is only to prevent scurvy – a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans – than the RDA of 75 mg/day is probably what you need. And in this case “a balanced diet” including few oranges or some kiwis, might give you enough supply of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. On the left chart you can find some sources of vitamin C.

On the other hand, if your goal is to have optimum health, and a sound cardiovascular system, then you better consider your options:

The RDA for Vitamin C is 60-75 mg per day, enough to prevent scurvy, but not enough for antioxidant protection against chronic diseases which might be needed in a range of 1.500-3.500 mg/day. In this case you might want to eat 20-30 kiwi or mango per day, or take a nutritional supplement such as USANA Poly C – a highly absorbable multi mineral ascorbate supplement providing 600 mg/tablet.

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