In the world of raw foods and nutrition, I’ve met a lot of really amazing people. Marlena is one of them. Check out my interview with her below!
Q: You’re a sexy twenty-something certified clinical nutritionist and detox coach with your own practice! How did that come about?
A: Well I used to be a high school English teacher and was very dissatisfied with that “system”. Most of my life I had a host of health issues be it weight issues, body image issues, depression, anxiety, I could go on forever. My vulnerability was at it’s peak while I was teaching (probably due to the fact that I was extremely unhappy and stressed out), and while I considered myself a bit of a health-nut already, I felt at that point that I was at rock-bottom and desperately needed to find a new way to live.
A friend suggested Natalia Rose’s books to me when I asked her if she new of any really good sources on raw foods that didn’t require dehydrating trays, soaking and sprouting, etc. I just wanted to feel light and free within my own body. Once I got into juicing, raw vegetable salads, and food combining, it was the first time in my life that I did not feel burdened by my body. Now I feel light and free in my body, not a imprisoned by it. Natalia’s work (and especially once I integrated daily juicing and regular colonics) supplied with the most beautiful foundation for health I could ever ask for. It didn’t take me long at all to discover that I really had great passion for this work. So I attended some seminars of Natalia’s, got a nutritionists’ certificate, and worked for a couple of months at a holistic healing space in Manhattan that I used to go to. There is no home base for a cleansing lifestyle outside of New York City, so I’m hoping that my practice will help people who otherwise would have to go without infrared saunas, gravity colonics, or hand-held guidance for nutritional counseling. This has already proven to be true as many of my clients drive over an hour or two to come see me from Delaware or from western PA.
Q: What do you wish people knew about the foods they put into their body?
A: I wish people understood that virtually nothing we eat on a standard American diet is really food. I once had a friend comment to me that all I eat is different variations of salad. Well my response to that is that all most people eat is different variations of white flour or other grain, GMO corn and it‘s byproducts, and refined sugar!
Vegetables are what the modern humans diet would ideally be centered around for optimum health. When it comes down to it, I wish that people knew that when you put something into your body that isn’t a fruit or vegetable (this includes polluted air, medications, toxic lotions and make up), it sticks to your tissue and that this is what causes aging, bloating, weight gain, and disease. All disease occurs for the same reason: toxicity. What determines different diseases is simply how the toxicity has manifested in the body, depending on the inherited toxicity and on what toxic substances the person has consumed the most. For example, a serious meat -eater will not suffer the same way a pasta and cookies eater will because these substances overwork different organs. Yes the entire body is suffering, but specific organs are the epicenter of deterioration.
Q: At your holistic health practice you offer a gravity colonic service. Most people are scared at the very idea of a colonic and think it’s crazy that others get them. I know I was one of those people before I had one. Now I think they are fabulous! What is a gravity colonic and why is it so important?
A: Gravity colonics are an irrigation of the large intestine. It removes matter and gas that the body is unable to eliminate on it’s own. When you walk into a gravity colonic room you will see a massage table with a 5 gallon tank about three feet above the table on the wall. The water slowly moves into the body via a speculum using the power of gravity only. Waste leaves the body via a waste tube that is also attached to the speculum. The tubing goes right to the plumbing so this is a closed system, meaning no waste is exposed. What makes the gravity method the best is that it is a simultaneous in and out flow of water and the constant presence of a therapist (preferable a therapist who is integrated in a healthy lifestyle). This is unlike the machine method. I do not recommend using machine method colonics. You have to ask therapists about this and be careful of who you listen to. Most machine therapists will tell you the gravity method is “outdated” or not as effective, this just isn’t true. The gravity method is safe because only the force of gravity allows water into the body, and there is no machine attached to your body, which I would assume most would find undesirable. It is effective because while the water and therapist help assist the colon to release old matter, the work isn’t done for the body, so the gravity method actually strengthens the colon.
With that being said, colonics are not for everyone. It’s not convenient, it’s relatively pricey to get periodic colonics (such as weekly or bi-weekly colonics), and it requires deep personal responsibility as in the absence of a clean diet, colonics are useless. We need to awaken the old waste with a hydrating alkaline diet, and release the waste either on our own (which is pretty much impossible at this point in time given the heinous nature of the foods we’ve been raised on and the standard American diet), or with the use of old fashioned enemas and/or gravity colonics. But like I said, this isn’t necessarily for everyone. I know of people who are very happy and consider themselves healthy even though they do not get professional colonics, I’m just not one of those people.
Fun fact: I’ve read that before big pharmaceutical companies took over, enemas and gravity colonics were first in order in hospitals. I also have many clients who were given enemas by their mothers when they were little whenever they had a cold. This isn’t some new gimmick or trend!
Q: Owning your own practice, you consult and coach many different types of people on a daily basis. What is the most common thing that you hear?
A: It really depends on the age group. I have a lot of clients who are over 45 and they mostly just want to feel young again, and this lifestyle (juicing, salads, colonics, exercise, saunas) will do that for them if they can commit to it on a level that works for them.
Most of my clients are closer to me in age (I’m 26), and they have been suffering their entire life because they feel they are a prisoner in their own bodies. Michael Pollen has said, all of America went on a carb-binge for about a decade during the low-fat craze. I think he’s pretty right on because most girls my age have had years of too many processed foods, tons of white carbohydrates, plenty of pharmaceuticals (especially years and years of birth control which is highly toxic), add to this the amount of pressure that girls feel to look and act perfect, and you have a hot mess on your hands! I feel incredibly passionate about helping these girls see the truth: that they do not have to be a prisoner in their body, they can look and feel beautiful without starving themselves and actually enjoy food more than they ever imagined they could, and they can get away from yo-yo diet hell. It’s so sad that so many girls have been suffering for so long, but this is the way out!
Q: If you could give the world Marlena’s Guide to Healthy Living, what would it say?
A: TRANSITION. Do not try to go raw overnight. It won’t last, and you’ll only beat yourself up about it when you cave in and eat a brownie. Eat a baked yam or steamed broccoli with some marinara sauce. It digests seamlessly and it’s delicious. I think it’s important to learn how to enjoy food and leave the days of restriction and strict adherence to dietary dogmas behind. It is so destructive. It’s not beneficial in any way.
Nature is the future! Eat mostly plants, try your best to buy locally and organically, get outside and breath the fresh air DEEPLY, get as much sunshine as you possibly can, be nice to yourself- ALWAYS, and make time every single day to play…as in do something that is creative and fun. This something should make the time fly and remind you of being a child.
I would also recommend seeking out somebody who is moving at your pace in the transition process. It helps tremendously. I am incredibly fortunate that the work that I do attracts such amazing people. It’s unbelievable! My friend Casey and I email nearly every day (which inspired us to start an online detox program where people can meet, buddy up, and support each other all over the world through the interet), and I have several other friends that I email a few times a week. It’s so important to not be isolated and to remember that we are a human family and we all want to be happy. Supporting each other is paramount.