Friday, September 30, 2011

Off the Beaten Track: We Are What We Eat

Our guest today is food coach Susan Marque. Resolving her own health issues gave Susan a wealth of knowledge, as well as a deep reserve of compassion that led to 15 years of coaching. Susan makes nutritional-based modification fun with her easy recipes and hands-on approach. She created Revitalize, Slender Living and UPLIFT seminars along with Beyond Weight Loss. She lives in New York, speaks around the world, and is working on a memoir.

I did not set off to become a food coach, which seems to be the way with most of the great coaches I know. Food coaching was barely a profession when I started. I had grown up ill and almost died in college. I had to quit school and find a way to be well, and I also needed to do something with myself. Living in L.A., I chose to become an actress. While working hard on getting auditions, I spent far more time on researching, taking classes, and finding out about the connections between food and health. It was working. Everyone who saw me noticed the difference in my body, energy, and outlook. I was getting lighter inside and out, radiating so much vibrant energy that people were drawn to ask what I was doing or how could I possibly eat so much and stay so slender.

That was how it started. I began to teach those who were pestering me with questions. Even my teachers told me to go and teach. But I didn't want to give up on my dream of acting, so many years passed before I took the coaching more seriously than a side gig.

The acting taught me about human behavior, and I found I was adept at unhooking people from their stuck places. It made for a great combination because most of us with food issues have other, related issues. My clients began to find that not only could they start letting go of the obstacles they had with their bodies, but they could also start thriving in every other area of their lives. For myself, I find that my own life just gets better and better. I am continually amazed that there is no limit to how great you can feel if you practice things that take you there.

Now that the weather is starting to turn cooler, we get to enjoy a wonderful variety of produce - both the tail end of summertime veggies and the beginning of winter ones. I'm currently enjoying the last of the wonderful peaches and can't wait to go apple picking!

Apples contain acids that inhibit fermentation in the stomach. This makes apples one of the easiest fruits for us to assimilate, and like all fruits they digest quickly. Green apples are especially nice for helping cleanse the liver. Apples can also ease thirst. I always like to have an apple during or after airplane travel, and since they reduce fever, apples will help keep you cool.

Now is also a perfect time to enjoy sweet, organic corn. (Please get organic as all other corn is GMO – genetically modified.) Corn strengthens overall energy and can be useful in the treatment of heart disease. It's the only grain that contains vitamin A, and according to Asian theory, corn brings out joyfulness. Not bad for something that is so much fun to eat.

Another good source of vitamin A and potassium is the persimmon. I love this seasonal fruit when it’s fully ripe. Persimmons are terrific for those who live in dry climates as it helps to counter dryness and also can curb bleeding, helping those who suffer from bleeding hemorrhoids. If you have persimmons that have become overripe, don't fret. Slice them in half and freeze them for a wonderful and easy treat. The skin becomes the cup, and the flesh of the fruit turns into something very much like sorbet.

While you can find dandelion greens all year round, at this time of year they seem less bitter to me. With their incredible health benefits for just about every organ in the body, I'm enticed to find ways to utilize them in salads, stir fry dishes or where ever I can. Dandelion greens reduce inflammation, improve digestion and are anti-viral. So they can keep you from catching a cold or even ease that back pain. High in Vitamins A and C, they also have more calcium than broccoli, and that's saying a lot!

What would fall be without all of the fantastic, sweet winter squashes that come into season? They are some of my favorites. Filling, sweet, and satisfying, these warming vegetables are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, and pancreas. They help with energy circulation and digestion. I am particularly fond of kabocha squash, sliced and steamed. It's the only variety where you can eat the skin for an enjoyable, satisfying experience. Winter squashes are also great in soups, roasted, and tossed into many dishes from casseroles to desserts.


  1. I've always been interested in the varying benefits of different whole foods. Thanks so much for this information...

  2. Thanks for sharing this very informative post with us, Susan. I do find that I feel much better and have more energy when I eat a lot of vegetables and whole foods. And Kabochas are also my favorite squash. But I didn't know the skin was edible.

  3. Great post, Susan, thank you! I'll be referring to your list next time I go grocery shopping. I've always wanted to try out dandelion leaves, in particular, so you've motivated me to give it a whirl now, while they taste the best. What an interesting journey you've had. Can't wait to read your memoir.

  4. Thanks for such an informative post, Susan! I had no idea apples helped reduce fever. Very interesting! It just goes to show, an apple a day...

  5. Figs have been so yummy lately you might want to try this recipe: For a how to water fry video see

    Fig and orange dressing on wilted Greens

    Fig and orange dressing

    1-pint fresh figs
    Juice of one orange
    Large pinch sea salt
    One splash balsamic vinegar (about 1 tsp.)
    Two splashes Mirin (a rice cooking wine)
    About ¼ Cup Olive oil

    Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer without a lid for 10 or fifteen minutes. Turn the heat off completely and cover to cool. You may strain the dressing if you like and keep in the fridge for up to a week. I like to use the fruit in it for the extra sweetness.

    Water fry Dandelion greens with other veggies like red onion slices and carrots or fresh peas. You may want to mix wilted greens with fresh lettuce when cool enough to not wilt the lettuce. Assemble the salad on a plate pouring the dressing over the top.

  6. Thanks for these great recipes, Susan! We'll be trying them out. They sound delish.