nourish newsletter

Hello sunshine!

Do you know how smart your body is? Pretty darn most cases, I'd argue that your body is actually smarter than your "mind". When you're hungry, your body is usually asking you for something - some nutrients it needs to do its incredibly amazing job.

Do you know what your body is asking for? Take a deep breath and listen carefully. Experiment and listen again, and learn from what you hear.

Maybe this sounds a little crazy, but it is also true - you can learn a lot from listening to your body. And I can help. I can guide and support you in understanding what your body is telling you. I can help you reach your health and wellness goals - gain energy, reduce weight, reduce stress, smile more, and eat better - and we can do this all in ways that are suited to your unique lifestyle and needs.

So what are you waiting for?

Contact me for a complimentary nutritional power session, and while you're at it, check out my current specials!

Kitchen Cleanse
$93: 75 Minutes in-person*
$73: 75 minutes on phone/Skype with a list provided by you in advance
What better way to get and stay on track then to have delicious and healthy choices right at your fingertips? Together we'll take a look through your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what stocks your shelves and feeds your family. We'll discuss your choices and challenges, and I'll share some recommendations that fit your day-to-day lifestyle to support you in fueling yourself and your family with healthy options.
Contact me to coordinate a date and time. (*within 45-mile travel from Boston)

House Party: Healthy Start Seminar & JOOS tasting - FREE!
I'll come to you!* Gather a group of friends, family, colleagues and I'll join you for a one-hour group seminar sharing tips on shaking off the cold and warming up for a healthy spring! To fuel the conversation, we'll have a sampling of energy-packed, fresh, organic juice from JOOS.
Contact me to coordinate a date and time. (*within 45-mile travel from Boston)

3-month Health Coaching Package
Winter Special Pricing: $275 individual; $190pp for groups of 2-5
Commit to a healthier and happier you with focused and dedicated support and guidance to jump-start your nutrition and move you more efficiently towards your health and wellness goals. Let me help you feel better, reach your ideal weight, find the lost energy, reduce your stress, and find joy in every day. You can do this and I will show you how.

Package includes:
  • Two, one-hour sessions per month
  • E-mail support between sessions
  • Handouts and other materials in support of your goals
  • Food samples and self-care products
  • Access to a lending library of health and wellness books
Sessions can be via phone, or in person at a convenient location.
Contact me to discuss your goals and schedule your 3-month package.

Nourish also now has a Facebook page! Check it out here: Find us on Facebook

Live abundantly!
marissa signature
Marissa Dana

In This Issue
Simply Inspired
Tempting Tidbits
What The...?
Simply Inspired 
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant, we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."  
-Albert Einstein


 A friend and teacher, Cat Kabira, posted this on facebook a few days ago.

So interesting how we have come to mistrust our intuitive - or gut - instincts and often second guess what we ultimately know to be the truth.

Sometimes we are doing due diligence exploring the different options to what our gut is telling us, which can be really valuable in keeping us safe and preparing us for possible outcomes.  But sometimes, let's be honest...we just don't want what our gut is telling us to be right! Our mind thinks there is a better option and grabs on to the idea of what it wants and just won't let go.

This is human - and we are all in this journey together.

 So, be honest with yourself, and be open to the wisdom of gut instinct and intuition. They will rarely lead you astray when you truly listen and don't allow your mind, ego or judgement to take over.

Some more food for thought... 

Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links
Nourish Website

Institute for Integrative Nutrition


Email Marissa

Tempting Tidbits

Sunflower Seed Avocado Spread
 Sunflower Seed Avocado Spread 

1/2 cup sunflower seeds 

1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup tahini
1 avocado
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice


In a blender or food processor, blend together all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Makes approximately one cup. Keeps in fridge for 4-7 days.


This recipe is from "How it All Vegan", and while I am not vegan, I love exploring recipes and food of all kinds. A dear friend brought this cookbook over this summer and this recipe jumped out at me. I finally made it the other day and it did not disappoint. Here I sprinkled some fresh dried basil on top - delicious! 

What The...?

When Choosing Dairy...

Fat, Low-Fat, or No-Fat? 

So I was thinking, "What is the story with low-fat/non-fat dairy? Is it good for you? Better for you? How is it made low-fat?"

So here is a little look at some of the nutritional considerations when it comes to dairy. I encourage you to listen to your body and do what feels best for you.

Some support and guidance navigating these nutritional waters to find what works best for you can be really beneficial - so don't hesitate to drop me a line or give a call to schedule a complimentary nutritional power session to learn a bit more about how I can help you exceed your health and wellness goals.

The Skinny on Fat
For some reason "fat" has become a dirty word. So I want to be clear...fat is actually necessary for optimal health. Fat is an essential macro nutrient, and while some fats are unhealthful (including heated, bleached and deodorized oils, and hydrogenated fats such as margarine and shortening), others are quite healthy (including extra virgin olive oil, unrefined sesame and sunflower oil, unrefined flax seed oil, walnut oil, organic butter and clarified butter or ghee). And some quantity in your diet is necessary:
  • Fats are necessary for absorption of fat soluble nutrients
  • They keep us warm, as the breakdown of fats creates heat
  • Healthy fats facilitate proper hormone function, especially for women
  • They keep our cell walls strong
  • And consuming healthy fats deliver a feeling of satiety and fullness. If there is no fat in the meal, we can keep on eating and eating until we're truly stuffed, ending up with many more calories than we would have had if we consumed some healthful fat in the meal.
Just as excess can cause problems, so can a deficiency, and it is entirely possible to become fat deficient. Among the health problems associated with a lack of fatty acids are dry skin, eczema, low energy, impairment of kidney function, slow wound or infection healing, vision and learning problems, depression, even miscarriage.

Even saturated fats have a role in our health: according to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, good quality saturated fats enhance the immune system, protect the liver from alcohol ingestion, have antimicrobial properties, and play a major role in bone modeling. However, it is important to note that high and excessive saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease.

Some of the greatest health benefits of milk and milk products are naturally conveyed by the milk fat, which contains critical fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, and K.  However, much of conventional dairy is made low fat by skimming the fat off the natural milk before homogenization and pasteurization and these nutrients need to be added back in.

Calcium is a mineral that the body needs for numerous functions, including building and maintaining bones and teeth, blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of the heart's rhythm. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1 percent is found in the blood and other tissues.

The body gets the calcium it needs in two ways. One is by eating foods or supplements that contain calcium. The other is by pulling it from bones. This happens when blood levels of calcium drop too low, usually when it's been awhile since having eaten a meal containing calcium.

Bone is living tissue that is always in flux. Throughout the lifespan, bones are constantly being broken down and built up. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production.

Much as we tout milk and dairy for a primary source of calcium, the most healthful calcium sources are actually greens and beans. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and other greens are loaded with highly absorbable calcium and a host of other broccoliessential nutrients. The exception is spinach, which contains a large amount of calcium but tends to hold onto it very tenaciously, so that you will absorb less of it. Beans are also loaded with calcium, and greens, and beans and whole grains also contain magnesium, which your body uses along with calcium to build bones.

Note on calcium depletion: Calcium in bones tends to dissolve into the bloodstream, then pass through the kidneys into the urine. Sodium (salt) in the foods you eat can increase calcium loss through the kidneys.

Vitamins D & A
Vitamin D plays a critical role in maintaining bone health and is necessary to absorb calcium from the small intestine, as well as in the assimilation of phosphorus. Optimum levels of Vitamin D in the body are also associated with protection against a number of common diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, MS, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon.

When blood levels of calcium begin to drop, the body responds by converting vitamin D into its active form, which then travels to the intestines (to encourage greater calcium absorption into the blood) and to the kidneys (to minimize calcium loss in the urine).

Vitamin D from food sources, such as fish oils, wild ocean fatty fish, caviar or fish eggs, and flax, is absorbed through the intestines in the company of essential fatty acids. There are also vitamin D precursors in plant foods and leafy greens; parsley and mushrooms are particularly rich sources.

Vitamin D is also made by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight in the summertime. But not all sunlight is created equal. Above 40 degrees latitude (north of San Francisco, Denver, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia), the winter sunlight isn't strong enough to promote vitamin D formation. Sunscreens also prevent the formation of vitamin D. Don't get me wrong - don't stop using sunscreen to reduce risk of sun-induced skin cancer and skin damage, however, based on your sensitivity, it can be really valuable to allow for short periods of skin exposure to store valuable vitamin D - for example, partial arm and leg exposure when you go for a walk, etc.

The Vitamin D added to milk can be one of two synthetic forms, however, according to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991 and 1993, seven out of ten samples of milk contained less than 80% of the amount listed on the label, five didn't even have 50%, and 14% of the skim milk samples had no Vitamin D at all. Something interesting to keep an eye on.

Vitamin A, associated with good vision, has also been found to direct the process of borrowing and redepositing calcium in bone. However, too much preformed vitamin A (also known as retinol) can promote fractures. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor, does not increase one's fracture risk. When fat is removed from milk, vitamin A is removed, too. That's why low-fat and fat-free milk are most often fortified with this vitamin.

Milk & Animal Protein
The body also needs protein to build healthy bones. Interestingly enough, as your body digests animal protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the milkbones to encourage its passage into the urine. Plant protein-in beans, grains, and vegetables, does not appear to have this effect. Maintaining a high-animal-protein diet for a long time could weaken bone. This area of research is still controversial, and findings have not been consistent. Some studies suggest increasing protein increases risk of fractures; others associate high-protein diets with increased bone mineral density. While I'm not suggesting you eliminate animal protein from your diet - this is definitely an individual decision based on many factors - I would suggest moderation in consumption of animal protein. Remember, even if something is good for you, it is not always true that more of it is even better!
Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones caused by an imbalance between bone building and bone destruction. People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health. Along with ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamins A and D to support bone generation and minimize depletion, it is important to get moving - especially with weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise. Physical activity that puts some strain or stress on bones causes the bones to retain and possibly even gain density throughout life. Cells within the bone sense this stress and respond by making the bone stronger and denser. Such "weight-bearing" exercises include walking, dancing, jogging, weightlifting, stair-climbing, racquet sports, and hiking. Each physical activity doesn't strengthen all bones, just those that are stressed, so you need a variety of exercises or activities to keep all your bones healthy.

Organic Milk & Dairy
The mass-production of milk could be a whole dialogue on its own. In a nutshell, the conditions that have been created for the mass-production of conventional milk are not sanitary or natural. The result is a decrease in nutritional value of the natural product as well as an increase in harmful bacteria, necessitating the processes of pasteurization, homogenization and fortification.
When the cows are grass-fed and naturally roaming, the milk is infused with more beneficial nutrients and less harmful bacteria and antibiotics.

Pros and Cons to Fat-Free & Full-Fat Dairy
So with all this info, what choices should we be making when we purchase and consume dairy?
My thoughts? Every body is different - but I think it is worth exploring the option of consuming high-quality, organic, full-fat dairy in smaller portions, thereby gaining the valuable nutrients and delicious flavor without excessive fat. And be sure to consume lots of dark leafy greens and beans to ensure you are getting lots of good quality calcium in your diet (along with all the other powerful nutrients in them!)

And once again, reading labels is really helpful in making mindful choices. When choosing low-fat and fat-free dairy products take a look at the ingredient list. Replacements for fat and flavor can include gums and sugars and starches and the consumption of those products may be unsatisfying, so listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel when you try different options. Your body knows a lot and wants to run at its best.

Ready to reboot, renew, and rejuvenate? Give me a shout to set up your complimentary nutritional power session, or to schedule your Kitchen Cleanse, House Party, 3-month Health Coaching Package, or other customized health and wellness program!