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Marcie Goldman: Feminist Nutritionist and Herbalist

Marcie Goldman: Feminist Nutritionist and Herbalist

{4/5 minute read}

Meet Marcie Goldman, a feminist nutritionist and herbalist. She teaches food skills, not obedience — because she wants us to flourish. Glowy-good-health comes from nourishment, not deprivation.

Marcie has had a lifelong passion for nutrition. At just eight years of age, she made the connection between nutrients and quality of life. This revelation was partly the result of growing up in a dysfunctional-eating environment, where the young Marcie was exposed to compulsive eating and addictive behaviours. Around this time, she also witnessed a close family friend prolong her life after a cancer diagnosis by switching to a macrobiotic diet.

These early experiences left a profound impression, and at this young age, Marcie made a decision — to understand the impact of nutrition {and lack thereof} on LIFE.

She trained early on in the Wise Women Tradition and learned practical applications of herbal medicine and feminism in healthcare. This model of self-healing and trusting our inner cues resonated deeply with what she already knew.

Marcie also attended the Institute for Integrated Nutrition in New York City, which she described as a more conventional alternative school. And she studied Nutrition for addiction and mental health through the Alliance for Addictions Solutions. 

These days, Marcie works with women to help them achieve wellness through nourishment rather than restriction.

Through her programs and coaching, Marcie helps women move past the misogyny of dieting. She advocates avoiding diets that rely on cutting out, or reducing the consumption of, food groups. Her advocacy is based not only on theory, but also on personal experience. As a self-described born-perfectionist, Marcie was not immune from the promises of Diet Culture:

“I was exposed to dieting early on, and as a perfectionist, I tried to perfect the diet. And because that’s impossible, I failed and failed and failed. And I really, really tried. I was like - I'm going to eat the perfect diet - but no diet made me Flourish.”

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But what about the recent trends towards cleansing and detoxing? Aren’t these practices good for us?

Marcie explained that cleansing is based on the premise that your body doesn't know how to eliminate.

“It assumes that your body is inherently wrong and not able to function correctly. When we start with that belief, that our body doesn’t work well, we don't get wellness out of that, we get an accomplishment, we get a trophy, but we don't get wellness because there's nothing wrong with our bodies to begin with.”

 “What makes me really mad”  she says “is that women are being led to think that cleanses are the answer to a whole range of problems ... and it really bothers me to watch us try to heal grief or partying and excess, or emotional hard times with a cleanse. I've seen cleansing used to try to deal with such a broad range of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, not to mention the false “feeling fat,” and it is bullshit.”

Instead of these harsh methods, Marcie suggests a simple approach she calls nourish to flourish. Essentially, the idea is for you to listen to your body’s needs and feed it accordingly.

It’s a feminist approach that involves learning to trust your body and recognizing your internal wisdom. Your body knows how much, what and when to eat. This, however, is easier said than done in a culture where ‘health’ has been co-opted to mean ‘thin’ and learning to diet is a rite of passage.

Even if we do maintain a particular weight or aesthetic through dieting, it comes at an emotional and lifestyle cost. Dieting keeps women busy. We can get so focused on our bodies and eating behaviours in a bid to achieve a homogenous form that we become distracted from our life’s goals and our cultural impact. Dieting sucks our time, energy and money. It’s exhausting and confidence-destroying. It’s also punitive, and it denies us the immense pleasure that food can provide.

Marcie sums it up beautifully: 

“What I'm really after is peace with food, liberation, trusting my appetite, trusting my body, and those diets are not going to get me there. They're going to keep me on a diet."

I was curious about how women’s monthly cycles impact our eating and nutrition patterns; how we respond to things like being hungrier or having cravings at different phases of the month, or in different life-stages?

“This is another example of Diet Culture’s misogyny. It treats our menstrual cycle by trying to hide it. As if it doesn’t exist. Hide our symptoms, hide our blood, hide the changes we go through each month. As if life was a straight line, Diet Culture drives us towards sameness. To feel the same every day of the month as well as to look the same. So, when we have these NATURAL phases of our cycle we think there's something wrong with us. We internalize sexism when we get angry at our monthly changes.”

On the topic of organic versus non-organic, Marcie says, “A non-organic vegetable is better than no vegetable at all.”

With the end of the year in sight, many women feel a sense of shame about not meeting the weight loss goals they set for 2018. I asked Marcie if she had any helpful advice to share?

“Firstly, to women who are feeling ashamed of not meeting their 2018 weight loss goals I would tell them this:  Thank goodness! Yay! Not meeting your goals is what’s healthy with you! The wisdom inherent in us is anti-diet. It's not the truth you’re looking for. So, not reaching that goal is everything that's right with you and you should thank yourself and congratulate yourself.”

Marcie also has some great advice for women feeling anxious about navigating the holiday festivities. For many, there is a fear they will lose ‘control’ of their appetite or food choices, that they will eat ‘too much’ and gain weight as a result.

“Let the fear of abundance at the holidays be a WAKE UP call. A recognition that you still equate eating with body size. And that Diet Culture is controlling you - you yourself are not out of control!

The holidays are no time to restrict.* Focus on what’s most pleasurable and if you can, feed yourself that. It’s pleasurable to be hungry, and to satisfy that hunger. It’s a practice.

Following diet tricks to suppress your appetite, like eating the peppermint candy cane before the party, is the opposite of nourishing. It’s the problem. Come hungry! 

It’s not pleasurable to go home so full your body hurts. But it happens, so don’t beat yourself up. Novelty foods are hard to pass up, ask to take them home if you’re too full or ask for the recipe. 

Make the holidays a guilt-free eating zone. Without guilt, you’re able to listen to your body’s cues. Your body will tell  you when you’re satisfied. 

The holidays are actually a good time to practice listening to your body because an abundance of food reduces the deprivation-trigger that causes overeating. That’s the opposite of what you’ve been taught! Lots of food doesn’t cause overeating, deprivation does.

As for New Year’s resolutions?

Marcie says, “If you want to be part of the resistance, don’t go on a diet in January.” Nourish to flourish instead.

{*Unless you're recovering from a severe eating disorder and are on a meal plan}


Marcie offers group programs and also works one-on-one with clients.

If you’d like to stay in touch and have a list of her favorite foods and recipes, you can grab that at www.marciegoldman.com

You can also find out more about Marcie’s group program at Nourish to Flourish

Welcome to Issue 03!

Welcome to Issue 03!

Encouraging Emerging Leaders {and what won’t cut it anymore}

Encouraging Emerging Leaders {and what won’t cut it anymore}