Pumpkin Pie Shake for breakfast! It’s tasty, seasonal, very filling and even gives you a serving of vegetables!

Pumpkin Pie Shake

1 cup water
1 cup ice…
1 serving vanilla shake of your choice – I like Isagenix
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling, that has added ingredients you don’t want)
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Blend and Serve!
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Italian Farro Salad

October 22, 2013


Italian Faro Salad

I bought faro.  Now what do I do?

I love the Trader Joe’s line of 10 minute whole grains.  I’ve already tried bulgur and made some tabbouleh, but this was my first time with faro.  It’s more hearty than brown rice in my opinion and held up really nicely in this impromptu salad I put together.  This is your basic, “what do I have in the fridge?” kind of recipe I love.  I added steamed broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes and had this for lunch today.  It was really delightful and filling.  I suspect I could eat faro in place of pasta in many dishes and not even miss pasta!

I call this salad, “Italian” because it’s the colors of the Italian flag! Plus sun-dried tomatoes are definitely Italian food in my book.  Enjoy!

Italian Faro Salad

Cook time: Follow directions on package of faro. 

Yields: 8 servings


15 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

4 cups Faro, cooked

10oz Broccoli, steamed

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Cool farro according to package instructions. Set aside.

Steam broccoli, then chop into bite sized pieces and combine with faro and extra virgin olive oil.

Chop sun dried tomatoes and add to faro mixture and stir to combine.

Add 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve room temperature or warm.



Alphabet made of many fruits and vegetablesIt’s the never ending battle with every meal I serve to my 2 year old son, Dylan.  How do I get him to have more vegetables?  I want to make sure and get him interested in these foods early so that he will love them and always have them as a part of his diet.  But even for me, a health coach, it’s hard to figure out how to add in all the good from vegetables.  This is why I came up with 5 easy tips!

I’m speaking mostly of adding in vegetables (vs. fruit), because in my health coaching practice I encounter many people who have 2 servings of fruit a day but practically zero vegetables.  Adding in vegetables is one of the easiest and quickest ways to better your health, and it’s a tip I give a lot of health coaching clients when we first start working together.

I find most people don’t eat as much veggies as they should for 3 reasons:

1) vegetables are more expensive

2) vegetables are boring / I don’t know how to cook them

3) I don’t like salad

All of these fall under the umbrella of “I don’t know why vegetables are important”.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve eaten and served my fair share of meals that are vegetable deficient.  Sandwiches come to mind, countless bowls of pasta with meatballs, even pizza.  I love all these foods, but they are seriously lacking in the vegetable department.

So why are vegetables so important?

The make you feel full, they provide fiber and countless vitamins and minerals.  Plus they are a non-animal derived food which makes them more sustainable to the environment than eating meat.

I always do my best to buy organic vegetables because they taste better and if I’m going to eat and serve veggies I want the best!  The definition of organic when talking about food is, “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (Taken from www.organic.org).

But, sometimes there aren’t organic versions available in the grocery store or your budget won’t allow for it.  This is a handy guide you can use when shopping that outlines what’s called the “Dirty Dozen” – the list of the MOST contaminated fruits and vegetables (so you know to always buy those organic) and the “Clean Fifteen” highlighting the LEAST contaminated crops.  Take a look here! You can even download a wallet guide or an app for your phone here: (download a copy of the wallet guide).  With these handy list’s you can have the knowledge to decide which produce you can buy the regular version of and which you should really try to get organic.  Of course the best organic vegetables are the ones you grow yourself!  If you have a garden, think about planting your favorite vegetables next time.  They will be the best you’ve ever tasted!

Sadly, I live in Brooklyn where I don’t have a garden, but not to worry, here are the tips!

5 Easy Tips for Getting More Vegetables  into Your Family’s Diet

1)   Incorporate vegetables and/or fruit at every meal.  Add in veggies at breakfast and you’ll notice how much fuller you feel.  You may not need that 11am snack anymore!  Also, adding in vegetables at breakfast with your usual 2 egg omelet often means you can have 1 egg and still feel as full as when you’d have 2 without the added veggies.

2)   Buy organic where possible because it tastes better and is better for you.  I always tell clients a story about the first organic banana I ever tried.  It was literally the most delicious banana I’d ever had.  Before then I didn’t even really LIKE bananas!  When you buy organic vegetables they will be the best you’ve ever tasted and that makes you want to eat them more often, it’s that simple. 

3)   Swap your boring old potatoes for greens like kale or spinach.  Yes, potatoes are technically a vegetable, but they are a starchy one and they are also delivery vehicles for some very fatty toppings (sour cream, butter, oil, cheese) that can really derail your health and weight loss goals.  Try a new green vegetable instead.  Spinach is very easy to sauté with garlic and olive oil for a nice side dish or try kale, everybody is doing it! 

4)   Try Meatless Mondays so you can build your vegetarian repertoire of meals. The best thing Meatless Mondays has done for me has made me think about vegetarian dinners once a week.  I’ve gotten to try so many new recipes that I otherwise would never have made.  I’ve roasted eggplant, stuffed mushroom caps and made a traditional Middle Eastern egg dish called Shakshuka.  It’s become a fun thing we do together every week rather than eating more of the same old boring stuff. 

5)   Use fruit and vegetables as the base for snacks throughout the day.  The most filling snacks are ones that give you both protein and fiber.  The fiber component can definitely be a fruit or vegetable.  Think about dipping an apple in peanut butter for a more satisfying snack than peanut butter on a cracker or piece of bread.  Another favorite in my family is pepper slices or cucumber slices with hummus for dipping. 

Try these tips for incorporating more vegetables into your diet and share your favorite vegetarian dishes in the comments section below!

One of the biggest motivators to lose weight is a wedding or a class reunion. It just so happened that I had both coming my way this past September. My brother was getting married and I had a 10 year college reunion. This coupled with some indulgence in Las Vegas back in August really got me motivated to get back on the weight loss train. I came back from Vegas and immediately got serious about watching and tracking my food. I detoxed, I cleansed, I ate a lot less. I didn’t have time for exercise, but I still managed to take off 10lbs. The first 3 were Las Vegas weight and the next 7 were pounds I really needed to lose. I’d been at a weight loss plateau for 17 months.

The good news was that I got to pull out some old clothes that haven’t fit since the pre-baby years. On my birthday I got to wear a dress that I bought on my honeymoon 4 years ago! That was quite a thrill. I really felt good, those 7 lbs were the difference between me being OK with my weight and being happy with it.


Marie and her husband Ran at the wedding, Sept 2013

When the wedding came around, I was feeling good and was happy that my dress was even a little big.  I got many compliments from my family that I looked great!  It was a triumph over food!  I lost weight and felt great.  Good for me.

Then, I went to the reunion a week later.  Now the at the last reunion, I was also in the midst of losing weight in preparation for my wedding.  I wasn’t at the lowest weight I’d ever been, but I was also in weight loss mode, so I felt good.  From then till now I was probably only 7 or 8 lbs heavier.  Plus, I had a baby and aged 5 years, so I didn’t think it would be subject to condemnation by my friends.

The biggest change was not my weight, or the baby, but the new career.  Now, I have a business card that says I am a health coach.  Now, my weight is up for discussion.  Well, not to me, but to other people what I weigh is up for discussion because I call myself a “health coach”.  The majority of people I’d be chatting with at the reunion don’t know the intimate details of my life and my weight.  They’d just know that I was parading around as a health coach and was a certain weight and pants size.

I mentioned my new career to a former teacher, and his reaction was to look me up and down like a piece of meat.  What I saw in his eyes was, “YOU’RE a health coach?”  Disbelief that someone who looked like me could have credibility to help people lose weight?  It was like he looked through me.  He also confirmed one of my biggest fears.  “Who the hell am I to coach people on health?”

Good question.  But I didn’t have an answer.

The next day a friend/advisor also mentioned to me that I “need to lose 10 more pounds” for health reasons.  She said, “you look beautiful, but you need that weight off your feet.”  Ouch.  I thought I was really doing well and then this double whammy.

Marie and family at Muhlenberg College reunion 2013

Marie and family at Muhlenberg College reunion 2013

The truth was, that I WAS doing well, and I DID lose 10 lbs, and yes, I do need to lose another 10.  But man, I wasn’t expecting to here it from other people in such a blatant manner.  I remember thinking, “Well you don’t know where I started.”  This is also something I often think in yoga practice when a teacher I don’t know very well starts giving me a hard time on a pose.  They don’t know where I started, so they don’t know that what I’m doing might be the furthest I can go.  It’s not their fault, they just don’t know – but I do.

I also know that losing 10lbs was a big accomplishment for me after my 17 month plateau. Since then I’ve lost another 5, so I’m really gaining (lol) momentum here.  My weight, my cup size, and my pants size are really no one’s business but my own.  But maybe purposefully I have chosen a career where my health is front and center.  I am my own walking billboard.  No doubt, THIS will force me to stay the course and keep my health a priority in good times and in bad.

I actually think the answer to the fear based question, “Who the hell am I to coach people on health?” is simple.  I can do it, because I have been there and I have walked in those shoes.  I have struggled with my weight, I have tried many different types of diets.  I have worked with a health coach.  I have avoided myself in the mirror, I have felt dread when someone tags me in a picture on Facebook.  I have felt all of the emotions associated with my weight being up and down and somewhere in between.  Simply put, I have been there.

I am always reminding my clients that no one is perfect, not me, not them, not even Oprah (who has famously also battled with her weight).  We strive for 90% perfection, not 100%.  We allow ourselves 10% for fun.  Wine, chocolate, birthday cake, pasta, whatever that is for you.  Because not me (Marie the “health coach”) and not you are ever going to be perfect.  But, we are in this together.  We can support each other, we can share delicious recipes, we can encourage each other to fit in exercise, we can commiserate when things don’t go well. This is what the hell makes me a health coach, not my weight and not my pants size.

Having said that, I’d really like my pants size to be one size smaller.  So, hey, I’m working on it.

Let’s get started together to fill YOUR plate with something GREAT! Schedule a free initial consultation with me today!

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