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JewishJournal.com

January 4, 2012

Kosher coaching fuses spirituality, nutrition

http://www.jewishjournal.com/health/article/kosher_coaching_fuses_spirituality_nutrition_20120104

Do women and food always have to be locked in a complicated, co-dependent relationship? Not if Shimona Tzukernik and Miriam Wiener have anything to say about it.

Tzukernik, a kabbalistically oriented “spirit trainer,” author and speaker, recently led a live seminar with Wiener, a nutrition consultant, herbalist and mother of six, called “Nourishment of the Soul: Uncovering the Hidden Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss.” The event drew nearly 20 women to Wiener’s La Brea-area home as well as nearly 100 others watching via Webcast across the country and as far away as Germany and Israel.

Miriam Wiener’s Superfoods Weight-Loss Smoothie Recipes
Superfoods Fruit Smoothie
4 ounces almond milk
2 heaping scoops raw sprouted rice protein
1 teaspoon raw coconut oil or coconut butter
2 tablespoons sprouted chia seed powder
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (optional)
1 banana (or frozen berries)

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding water as desired.
You may add additional superfoods and herbs, such as spirulina, maca and ashwagandha, according to your unique needs and taste preferences.

Vegetable Smoothie
8 ounces water, cranberry juice (no sugar added) or 4 ounces almond milk
2 heaping scoops raw sprouted rice protein powder
1 teaspoon raw coconut oil or coconut butter
2 tablespoons sprouted chia seed powder
1 green apple, cut in pieces
1 stalk celery, cut in pieces
1 handful fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, adding more liquid as desired.

The two-hour coaching session on Dec. 5 was billed as a way for women to learn how to heal their relationship with food, eliminate cravings, achieve weight-loss goals with ease and purpose, learn about the kabbalah of nutrition, and “joyfully manifest your desires.”

It was a tall order, but Tzukernik’s message clearly resonated with the mostly Orthodox crowd. They nodded in agreement when she said that the right focus on food can serve as a means to elevate the soul and create a stronger bond with God. Underscoring that point, she quoted a verse from Deuteronomy: “A person doesn’t live by bread alone, but rather by the utterance of God’s mouth.”

“We can control our hearts by controlling our mouths, which involves both speech and food,” she said. “Not only is kabbalah a blueprint of reality, but there is also a kabbalah of food. In our society, people often look at food as entertainment, when we should focus instead on food as a way to connect our souls to our bodies. There are godly sparks inside food, which allow us to know God intimately.”

After Tzukernik laid the spiritual framework for eating and nutrition, Wiener followed with a rapid-fire delivery on such topics as superfoods, supplements, setting goals and body type testing to discover what may be triggering food cravings and food sensitivities. The session was designed in part to encourage attendees to sign up for Wiener’s S.T.E.P.S. (Superfoods, Testing, Energy, Planning and Supplements), an individual assessment and coaching program. “Women need to know not only the foods they love, but the foods that love them in return,” she said.

Wiener also explained that women often get tripped up on the road to better health by conflicting and sometimes confusing diet and nutritional advice, as well as an abundance of family and professional obligations that prevent them from making a plan and sticking to it. She added that natural spikes in estrogen levels and other endocrine changes in women can also elevate insulin levels, which in turn increase fat, and can make women feel discouraged.

Boosting cellular health and energy through the right supplements, diet and superfoods can remedy those problems, Wiener asserts. (Her exceptionally healthy glow, extremely trim figure and energy make it easy to believe that the almonds she had soaking in a bowl in her kitchen to make an almond-milk base for her morning smoothie did not appear as a mere prop.)

The women scribbled their notes even faster as Wiener listed thermogenic (fat-burning) foods,  including cayenne pepper, dandelion, ginger, turmeric and fennel; her recipes for superfoods morning smoothies; and the benefits of water therapies, such as breathing in steaming water with essential oils.

One attendee asked Wiener how it was possible to recommend supplements and superfoods in general, if people’s body types make them respond differently to the same foods. Wiener clarified by saying, “My emphasis is on understanding your nutritional uniqueness and how it is connected to spiritual and emotional wellness. You can’t lose weight permanently using nutrition alone. You must always look to balance the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of yourself.”

With far more information than could possibly have fit into the morning session, the Nourishment of the Soul program has since been expanded into a six-week teleclass; the next course is scheduled for Jan. 10. As part of the program, Wiener and Tzukernik show how to add specific foods, lifestyle tools and techniques one at a time.

“This doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to involve pain, deprivation or starvation,” Wiener said. “This can be fun!”

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