Nicolette Richer is an awe-inspiring woman who wears many hats in the health world. She worked for 10 years as an environmental educator and health consultant, which lead her to become well aware of how connected our health is to the environment around us. She now is a guru at preventing and healing chronic disease and cancer through a plant-based lifestyle and the Gerson Therapy. ‘Richer Health’ is all about preventing pollution within ourselves. Not only does Nicolette do talks, online coaching, workshops, and retreats, but she also started the much-loved Green Moustache! The Green Mo is a live food and juice café well-known for it’s delicious eats and airy atmosphere. I always walk out of there feeling more vibrant than when I stepped in.
**If you enter the code ‘JulesFuel’ you’ll get 20% off.** (Thanks Nicolette!)
Let’s learn all about Nicolette…
Hooked on Plants: What are your top 3 tips for plant-based newbies?
1) Eat clean real food. Living a healthy, nutrient-dense, plant-based lifestyle means you love eating out of the produce and grain section of a grocery store, or you source directly from your local farmers market or farm. Ditch the idea that packaged food and plant-based healthy living mean the same thing, because it doesn’t. Organic vegan Oreo-cookies, most fake-meat products, or even simply cheap pasta and canned tomato sauce may technically be plant-based, but it’s really just fortified food chalked full of sodium, dyes, preservatives and other unwanted chemicals. Stick to clean real food (like Jules Fuel 😉 to nourish yourself daily.
2) Eat in abundance! The beauty about diving into a plant-based lifestyle – or as Dr. Joel Fuhrman says, a ‘plant-rich’ lifestyle – is that if you are eating a variety of nutrient-rich, whole-plant-based foods, prepared in healthful ways, such as baked, blended, juiced, slow-cooked, slightly steamed and raw, then counting calories becomes an out-dated and useless practice of the past.
3) Keep It Simple. It’s fun to pull out the recipe books and make complicated decadent dishes and sauces that require exotic ingredients. But in reality – all of those ingredients can be one-time-use expensive, and who has time for that on a day to day basis? For a plant-based dessert, eat a mango, a few dates, and a bowl full of chilled grapes – mmmm. Love popsicles? Blend the mango with the grapes and a bit of water and freeze it. Want a delicious plant-based soup? Cook onions, garlic, leeks and squash. Blend. Enjoy… No oil, no veggie stock, no spices. After a week of keeping your plate simple, your taste buds will grow to appreciate the complex flavours that already exist in the nutrient-dense produce.
HOP: Why did you get into a plant-based lifestyle?
NR: Thanks to my mom and our African and East Indian background, I grew up loving the crunchiness and freshness of salads, warm baked potatoes and okra, and curried veggies and whole grain rice. We always had a garden and I detested eating meat. But I wasn’t always plant-based. In my teens, when I started earning my own money to buy food at school, I wavered over to a Skor Bar, Pepsi, Big Mac, and Poutine diet. Intense PMS and acne quickly followed and noticing the effects of my diet on my health, I ventured back to my plant-based roots. However, what really sealed the plant-based deal for me was witnessing my friend heal himself of stage IV cancer using a nutrient-dense plant-rich diet therapy. That experience kicked off my thirst for knowledge about the relationship between food and disease and a result, my businesses are built around educating others about how to Eat Real to Heal their chronic health conditions.
HOP: As a Gerson home trainer, you must have an abundance of success stories. Can you give a quick overview of what the Gerson Therapy fundamentals are?
NR: My clients have incredible healing stories based on them taking the steps to swap out the SAD (Standard American Diet) for a whole-foods plant-rich lifestyle. Ultimately the Gerson Therapy is all about restoring nutritional deficiencies, caused by the SAD way of life, which then prompts the body to kick start its self-healing regeneration systems, dump toxic build-up, and ultimately reverse chronic disease including cancer. The Gerson Therapy is named after the German medical doctor, Max Gerson who spent his life researching how organic, whole plant-based foods actually work to heal the body and he found that the fastest way to nutrify and detoxify the human body was through the consumption of:
- cold-pressed juices (think IV therapy)
- cooked and raw breakfast lunch, dinner and even desserts
- high dose nutrients in the form of key primary supplements to support organ functions
- a liver detoxification protocol to support the expulsion of metabolic waste and other toxins
- rest and minimal exercise are also important aspects of the therapy.
HOP: Your kids must be some of the healthiest around! What is your favourite trick for feeding kids more fruit and veggies?
NR: Haha! I love this question and I often get asked it by parents. Yes, teachers and parents often state that they are amazed that my kids eat everything and that they love fruits and most veggies – my youngest has yet to find a love for mushrooms though.
I have 3 tools to help parents:
- The trick is to not trick your kids into eating more fruits and veggies – if you get your kids involved in shopping, washing, chopping, and making real food plant-based meals, beverages and desserts, their brains will be turned on to the textures, flavours, aromas, and sensations received from living this lifestyle and they’ll crave it, just like most adults would
- The key is that you can’t have competing foods in the house. If there’s a bag of salt and vinegar chips in my house, I’ll always choose those over the healthier more satisfying options. So imagine, what it’s like for a child to be presented with a scrumptious home-made plant-based dish when there are cheese strings, goldfish crackers, and mac & cheese in the cupboards
- Don’t pressure, bribe or bully your kids into eating their veggies and fruits. Most kids won’t starve themselves. Simply prepare your meals or snacks and present them on the table as you would normally do and mirror the joy and love of eating healthy food
Do these things day in and day out, and if your child eats even a little of what’s on the table – great – don’t make a big deal about it, just do it again the next day. If they eat a lot – again, wonderful…but you really don’t have to celebrate it though you can do a little jig of joy and relief internally. If your child claims they are still hungry after dinner, present them with other just-as-healthy options so it’s a win, win all around. And give your child time to adjust their brain, habits, and taste-buds to the new healthy textures, colours and aromas on your table of goodness.
HOP: Great tips. How did you come up with the name Green Moustache (it’s the best)?
NR: I love the name too! We were sitting around our kitchen table with friends and I had made a yummy blueberry and greens smoothie for my daughter – she was 2 years old at the time – and the berries made the smoothie congeal in the glass so when she went to tip the glass up to drink from it, the entire smoothie slid out of her glass and onto her face giving her a beautiful big Green Moustache, and not to mention a very angry but cute pout.
HOP: Too cute! The Green Moustache is spreading like wild fire! Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver and Revelstoke are all lucky enough to have one, and the Dragon’s gave you some great exposure too! What is the next exciting project you’re working on?
NR: Our two major projects are 1) supporting our franchisees in Squamish, two in North Vancouver and Revelstoke with more being announced soon … and then 2) working with the Provincial Health Authorities to get the Green Moustache into BC Hospitals in 2018! This is our dream at the Green Mo to get our food and beverages into areas where people need it most.
HOP: You do 4 retreats per year with Yoga, Cooking classes and Nutrition talks! So awesome. When is the next one coming up?
NR: We’ll be hosting a 3-day retreat at the end of August in Whistler to launch our train-the-trainer program. Students who want to dive deeper into the art and science of using food as medicine to reverse disease so they can teach other people how to Eat Real to Heal can further their studies with us for 3 months after the retreat is over. Dates and location will be announced soon on FB and on our websites.
HOP: Can you share your favourite recipe with us that means SUMMER to you?
NR: I love recipe books but rarely follow a recipe…I’m a sort of a free-style chef, so to speak…so I’ll take you through how to make my favourite go-to summer dish, inspired by Oh She Glows, Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad. You can adjust the quantities and ingredients based on the flavours you are craving when you make it, or by what is available in your fridge.
Nicolette’s Go-To Grain & Bean Summer Salad
Serves: 7 cups approximately
- 1 cup dry wheat berries cooked and drained (substitute: brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.)
- 1 cups/500 ml cooked navy beans (substitute black beans, kidney beans, white beans, chick peas, etc.)
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 cucumber or zucchini, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 cup fresh parsley or 1 cup cilantro, diced
- 3 green onions, diced
- black pepper to taste
- If you desire a salty flavour, add 2 stalks celery, diced
- 0-3 tbsp flax oil or extra virgin olive oil (oil is optional)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard, hot mustard, or ground mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In separate bowls, soak the grains and beans overnight in cold water.
- The next day, drain and cook grains and beans separately until tender. Drain water and cool.
- In a large bowl, add diced vegetables and mango.
- In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk or shake the dressing ingredients together.
- When the grains and beans are cooled, add to large bowl of veggies and mango.
- Add dressing to taste.