Special Guest May 2012

Our first guest on jennpipe.com is a young man by the name of Mateus Santos. I had the pleasure of meeting him while I was assessing the nutritional status of a group of local youth soccer players. I took note of Mateus’ amazing biophotonic scan score, his story, and his commitment to optimal health. Mateus takes much better care of himself than most people his age (actually, better than most people at *any* age). His diet consists mainly of the lean protein, fish, and nutritious fruits and vegetables that he prepares himself. He also debunks the popular myth that it is “too expensive to eat healthy,” with his food costs averaging only $4 per day. Read Mateus’ story and prepare to be inspired! Cheers to you, Mateus, for treating your body so well, and for your commitment to good health and longevity!

Please tell the readers a little bit about yourself. How old are you?
My name is Mateus Santos. I’m 23 years old, live in Worcester, MA, and I work full-time for Herb Chambers Hyundai of Auburn, MA.

What are some of your interests?
I love to work, go out with my friends and family, meet new people, interact with successful people in their trade/lives. I love sports — especially soccer! I have a passion for cars and motorcycles. And, I love to work-out and maintain good health and fitness.

You take very good care of yourself, both nutritionally and physically. When did the foundation of good nutrition become so important to you?
I think the foundation of good nutrition became important to me when I was around 20 years old. I’d say this is the time where all your bad habits start catching up to you, and you really have to start watching what you eat because your metabolism starts slowing down. I was always a slim/healthy/active person, but I started to feel less energy/strength in my day-to-day activities because of my eating habits!

I believe that being fit and having good nutritional values should be instilled in you when you are young! My mother always educated me to eat correctly, maintaining a healthy balance, and prepare for a longer, happier life! On very rare occasions, I was allowed sweets and sodas as child. But a solid 90% of my meals were always well-balanced and nutritious! I believe that this really instilled those values in my subconscious for greater use later on in adulthood!

Your biophotonic scan score was in the “optimum health” level (a 54,000), and you shared some of your secrets for staying healthy with me during that scan. Can you share some of the secrets about your dietary habits with the readers? When you fill your plate at mealtimes, what does that typically look like for you?

First off, when looking to get healthier, I did some online research and spoke to a few experts to better educate myself! It’s a proven fact that if you don’t know/understand what you’re doing, you will not stick to it!

What I basically did was cut down on “Man-Made” products and substitute them for natural items! I limited myself to 1 small intake of “natural” carbohydrates per day (breakfast or lunch time only), and basically incorporated mostly protein and vegetables into my diet. I also created an eating schedule for myself, which I believe is the most important aspect of my well being. I eat a meal rich in protein and veggies every 3 hours. I intake about 4-5 meals a day, minimum, and I do not eat past 9 p.m.  I built a routine for myself and worked with it —  by making it fun, easy, quick, and enjoyable! Remember, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing in any aspect of life, you will not stick to it!

My typical plate looks very colorful! I eat plenty of broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, squash, peppers, and
cauliflower with a choice of white meats (grilled chicken breast or tilapia).

What would you say to the people who feel that eating healthy is too expensive? Or too time consuming? Or impossible?
I’d say that anything in life worth doing will be somewhat time consuming! I’ve found that building a routine on paper and then putting it into practice saved me a lot of time when it came to shopping and cooking.

Is this too expensive? No! I am actually saving a lot of money eating this way! I average about $4.00 dollars a day in food. That’s food from the time I get up to the time I go to bed at night (and remember – I eat every 3 hours)! Think about it, that’s 4-5 meals for the price of two medium coffees at your local Dunkin Donuts!

Is this impossible? Absolutely not! I believe nothing in life is impossible, but you do need to take the correct steps at a slow pace in order to achieve your goals efficiently and correctly. You cannot just jump into something full-on. You have to take it easy and take an extra step as each day/week goes by. Everything takes time – but you have to be willing!

You indicated that prior to making changes in your eating habits, you felt and looked differently. Can you share a little bit about your transformation, how you have been impacted professionally/personally/physically, and what positive things you have noticed?
When I first started, I lost 6 lbs in my first week by eating 4-5 times a day! I dropped a solid 20 lbs in the first 4-6 weeks! This was the excess fat that my body did not need.

What people don’t realize is that fat is the body’s self-defensive mechanism. Eating and drinking acidic foods will harm your organs, and your body’s natural reaction is to cover your organs with layers of fat so you survive. Once you eliminate bad food and start eating correctly, your body will automatically sense the changes and eliminate the fat. And yes, you lose weight by EATING, not by starving yourself! Notice the people who “diet” and starve themselves: they either never lose weight, or if they do, they gain it all back when they stop the diet! It’s by eating correctly that you find your balance!

Take it like a car:  you need gas to drive. If the tank is on “E” – you’re going nowhere. You body is the same way! You need to properly fuel it for it to start working properly! If you’re hungry or malnourished, you’re going nowhere.

Initially, I spent 1-2 months just teaching myself how to eat properly. By losing excess weight, stabilizing my vitals, getting adequate minerals and nutrition, sleeping a minimum of 8 hours a night, and drinking about 1-2 liters of water daily, my life has changed drastically! I have more energy and am more alert. My immune system is stronger, and now I hardly get sick. On the rare occasion I do, I am on the mend in less than 24 hours. I have the energy and stamina for a regular gym routine. Remember, 80% of your body is what you eat, 20% is from working out!

You seem really close with your coach, Francis Okaroh. How has his philosophy on good nutrition resonated with you?
Coach Francis was always an example of a well disciplined/successful professional! Take 5 minutes of your time to speak to him, and you will see that he has his values, goals, and priorities straight. He knows what he wants, and he will figure out how to accomplish that by any means necessary.

It’s funny because I have never had the opportunity to share an actual meal with Coach, but the word on the street is that he always eats a well-balanced meal with plenty of fish or chicken. He is constantly teaching his players about nutrition, exercise recovery, and steering them away from energy drinks and soda. I have taken his discipline to heart and made it my own!

You spend a lot of time with young athletes. What do you think some of their worst habits are? Any recommendations for changing them?
I believe that they take their youth and good health for granted — I know I did! My recommendation is to listen to the coaches, parents, and club nutritionists. Always educate yourself on being healthy, because preparing for a game/season or even a career starts at home when nobody is watching. Without good health, you will not perform to your full potential!

If you had to recommend just one change that people who are struggling with health and wellness could implement – what would it be?
Take the time to educate yourself and then build an enjoyable routine to achieve your goals!

Anything else you would like to share?
First and foremost, I want to thank my Mother for her building blocks, and my good childhood friend, Joao Paulo Leite, for educating me on the science of eating. I would also like to thank both Coach Francis and Jennifer Pipe for encouraging me to share my story. I owe great thanks to many people who helped me to be at the level I am today!

Remember you have to be extremely disciplined with your goals and plan to have fun with what you’re doing. If not, you will not see any changes or be able to stick to your goals.

Everything worth the prize is worth the fight! Everything worth the fight takes time and focus!

Thank you,
Mateus Santos