Starting the New Year off right doesn’t have to include lofty goals or overly complex changes to your everyday routines. Especially when it comes to eating better, Marni Wasserman – culinary nutritionist, certified chef, personal trainer, and owner of Marni Wasserman Food Studio – believes in making subtle, yet impacting changes to compliment, not deconstruct, your current lifestyle.
“I think it’s ideal for people to take baby steps and approach changing over their diet over time so that it will last longer,” she told me in a recent interview. “People tend to make many short-term resolutions and I believe just setting an intention to eat better is a lot more realistic.”
Sage advice from the young Torontonian who conducts workshops, cooking classes, and nutritional consultations on a daily basis out of her midtown studio and retail space.
Marni began her healthful approach to the everyday as a 13-year old, opting to ditch meat and embracing a plant-based lifestyle – not something she recommends for everyone. As she developed her knowledge base, both personally and professionally, she’s built a business model that focuses on helping individuals integrate plant-powered nutrition, whole grains and super foods into their diets. Compromising on taste, protein preference, and variety are generally not in Marni’s repertoire. “There is a focus on adding in as opposed to taking out,” she says.
I had the privilege of attending one of her workshops in early January on alkaline and acid balance. Regulating pH levels in your body is key in weight control, eliminating toxins and increasing energy. If you’re like me – a lover of meat, believer in butter, and Toronto restaurant junkie – moderating your diet at home is essential to a healthy lifestyle. As Marni put it, “At the end of the day all we want to do is feel good!”
Often most people’s lifestyles are extremely acidic; smoking, drinking, eating meat, dairy, sugar and refined foods all contribute to being too acidic.
“When one is acidic, they are likely to feel unwell and have constant headaches, skin problems, repeated colds and recurring infections,” Marni explains. “The less acidic and more alkaline foods we eat can help to reduce symptoms and improve overall health and vitality.”
Though there is no golden rule to balancing out pH levels and becoming more alkaline Marni suggests eating more leafy green vegetables (at least 2-3 times per day) as a great way to start. In her opinion you can never have too much. You can get them in the form of a green juice, adding greens to a smoothie, a dark green salad, putting greens into a soup, stir-fry or pasta, and experimenting with different sprouts and other vibrant vegetables.
Again, simply adding these foods into your diet serves to supercharge your overall health. Don’t bother with eliminating carbohydrates – just take care to consume the right whole-grain carbs. Measuring your foods and creating rules around them is also problematic and takes away from the enjoyment of eating.
“The more people can compliment their existing diet with alkaline foods from green leafy sources, the better and more balanced they are likely to become.”
Of course, persistence and understanding are equally important when balancing out one’s lifestyle through diet. There are many ways to get familiar with making plentiful meals that are balanced. “Getting some new books and going to a cooking class (wink, wink) are some great ways to get started and can make it more approachable,” says the Plant-Powered Guru Gal.
“The more educated people become the better and the more of an understanding they will have to create habits that will stick around for a lifetime and not just a year!”