Friday Fab Foodie Friend: Alina De Maria

I am super excited today because I get to introduce you (well, virtually at least) to my amazing and gorgeous friend, Alina De Maria. I was fortunate enough to meet and get to know Alina through our mums, who have been friends for years. Before we met my mum would always tell me about how similar Alina and I were, so I guess it was no surprise that we get along like a house on fire. In my opinion, Alina is the very definition of a truly beautiful soul. She radiates with inner peace and beauty and as such is an absolute pleasure to be around. Alina is a qualified Hatha/Vinyasa and aerial yoga instructor and teaches classes daily in Mildura (check out her Facebook page for details and info). I am absolutely honoured to count Alina as a close friend of mine, so from here it is over to her! Enjoy the interview, Erica x


The gorgeous Alina!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently doing in life?

Hi! Well, my name is Alina and I am a Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga instructor and Anti-Gravity Aerial Yoga Fitness instructor! At the moment I am keeping myself busy – I am actually in the process of opening a new yoga studio in Mildura so it’s a very exciting/hectic time for me!

2. What are your passions? What do you love to do/talk about?

I guess you could say I am quite old fashioned! I absolutely love old books, poetry, painting/drawing, my vegetable garden, and I have a strong passion (let's not state the obvious) for yoga! I love to travel, to see new parts of the world, to experience what different cultures offer, and to try different things. I love learning from people. I learn everyday something new. I love food! I love being in the kitchen trying new dishes, experimenting and playing around with different flavours! I am extremely family orientated, and absolutely adore my family.

3. What kick-started your interest in health, wellness and yoga? Was it a turning point moment or a gradual transition?

Growing up, I’ve always had a strong influence from both my parents when it comes to looking after and loving the body from the inside out. I have always loved yoga, meditation and mindfulness, but it wasn’t always what I had planned on doing! Even before completing my teacher training, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into making it my full-time job. When I completed my teacher training in Bali I fell more in love with everything yoga, the history, the philosophy, the types of people you come to meet. I was quite adamant about going to uni however, and studying law, which I had worked extremely hard to get into. It was a hard time for me to make a decision to leave Mildura and to leave my family, but I decided to stay. Mind you, I am so pleased I made this decision, as I am in love with what I do everyday, and can’t imagine doing anything else at this point of my life. In also saying that I have kept my uni offers deferred. I am very content, and enjoy every moment I make of life.

4. In your opinion what is a healthy lifestyle? 

I think it’s important to create a balance. Don’t be too strict/harsh on yourself. A healthy lifestyle must include self-love and acceptance. I think it’s important to listen to your body, to get out in nature, and give your body the fuel it was designed for (I don’t think a lot of people know how good their bodies were designed to feel!) Knowing where you food comes from is an absolute must! I try to stay as far away from anything in a can or packet, try to only purchase certified organic produce, and buy a lot of local produce from the farmers market as well.

Anti-Gravity yoga in action

5. Describe your average day - what do you do, eat, wear, create?

My day begins in my garden! I wake up around 7.30am. I’ll spend a couple of hours watering, weeding, planting, talking to my chooks, rather telling them off for eating my veggies! Ha ha – before heading off to my first yoga session for the day, 12.30pm. I teach between 3-5 classes a day at the moment, so in-between classes I’ll start to get dinner prepared, catch up on my book, or write up class plans! I love to get creative with food, so I’m always making something different, experimenting with different spices or playing around with foods from other cultures.

6. What is your favourite way to move and be active (is that even a question!)? 

Let’s not state the obvious here – ha ha! I can’t go without my practice of traditional yoga. I love getting out in the sun, listening to my body, and starting my day fresh with some movement and meditation! I love to run or go for long walks along the river.

7. What do you like to do in your down time or to relax?

There is nothing I love more than sitting in front of the fire with a good book or movie and cup of tea! I have a strange obsession for peppermint tea…

8. What is a quote that resonates with you at the moment?

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of good luck.”

9. What is your philosophy or approach to life? Do you have a personal motto or mantra?

Definitely. Go slowly. Eating, talking, even housework. I may be a yogi, but I am still human. The last few months have been rather intense, as you know I’m opening a new studio. So I’ve found that when I have been super-stressed out about things, I have a tendency to run around like a lunatic, doing several things at once, trying to get everything done, often times having to re-track my steps because I was so distracted that I left several things out. Now, whenever I feel like I’m rushing to just get things done, I slow down my pace, take a deep breath, and take my time with whatever it is I am rushing to do.  When we slow down, we can taste all the flavours in our food and we digest our meals better. We are better communicators when we talk slower, and we become better listeners. Take your time – the world can wait.

10. Top 3 favourite foods?

Pizza. Curry. Hazelnut chocolate.

11. What is one health/wellness/spirituality film

or book that you would recommend to everyone?

Hrmm.. I could go on for a while with this ha ha.. Anyone reading this would most likely be familiar with the documentary ‘Food Matters’ and the follow on, ‘Hungry for Change’ - they are fantastic. David Wolfe and Andrew Saul are huge inspirations of mine. I would recommend these films to anyone/everyone! It needs to be put in schools.

12. What is your advice to someone who would like to make positive health changes in their life?

It’s all a bit of a mind game! Don’t let those tim-tams, calling your name, lure you into their devious trap! Stick to your goals, stay dedicated and focused. Keep the vision lit. We often associate positive health changes with cutting out certain foods/drinks/habits/even people out of our lives. Just remember that any type of detox of these things will always be an initial challenge, but the body mind and soul will reap the benefits.

13. What is the best thing that has happened today?

Well! It’s 10.13am, and I just received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from one of my closest friends who lives away! Definitely made my morning!

14. Other than a healthy lifestyle, what do you think are three keys to health and happiness?

1. Self love and acceptance is number 1. 2. Maintaining a close relationship with family and friends. 3. KEEPING CREATIVITY ALIVE !

Alina's incredible veggie garden (just part of it!)

16. You also have a fabulous veggie garden, can you tell us a bit about that and why you love gardening?

Sure! I’ve been growing my own vegetables for about 4 years now. Growing up, I would watch my grandmother grow her vegetables and I wanted to be just like her! So that’s where it started really. From there, it turned into a bit of an obsession, digging up half of my back yard to have more room for more vegetables! Begging my dad for just a few more square meters that I needed and then a few more! Ha – ha. At the moment I have peas, red Russian kale, green kale, rocket, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, onion, silver beat, brussel sprouts, capsicums, chillies, lots of fresh yummy herbs as well, basil, coriander, parsley and mint. Getting out in the garden is so refreshing; I love getting away from technology as much as I can. I spend a few hours in my garden every morning so it’s another way to start the day. The quality of the vegetables from the garden is so pure and fresh, you can’t beat it. Especially picking your vegetables and including them in your dinner that same day.

So there you go! Another Friday, another fabulous foodie friend. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Keep healthy & happy,

Erica xx