Maria’s Raw Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad

I have known Maria McEvoy for many years – first as an amazingly fit and head-strong athlete and soon after as a deep, thoughtful, and intelligent friend.  I admire Maria’s balance between focusing on her health and the strength of her body and her ability to enjoy life and connect with those she loves around her.

As a pastry chef, Maria’s sweets have always knocked my socks off.  She is also an amazing cook and food blogger, and I have started following her healthy and easy recipes on her site, Flycakes Kitchen.  This Raw Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad is particularly healthy and easy, and it’s perfect for the spring weather that’s finally arrived.  Try it — You’ll love it!



The recipe I’m sharing with you today was inspired by the pudgy feeling I get after a summer of little too much indulgence in CO;  my happy place . Whether you’re feeling this way after a European vacation, an injury that has sidelined your from working out, a long and very social summer in the Hamptons, or a long winter of hibernation this salad will make you feel lighter, well fed and well maybe just a little bit smug for making yourself.

Hugs, Maria

Raw Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad

  • 1/2 head cauliflower or 1 small head chopped into fat chunks
  • 3 or 4 small carrots peeled and sliced (or 10-15 baby carrots to save time)
  • 1 clove garlic or 2 scallions roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric (if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more to taste) or 1/2 a serrano roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt if you have it
  • 4 tbsp currants (or raisins, or dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (Note: I only had basil and cilantro today and that’s what I used)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds (or pine nuts, or pistachios)

For the dressing: combine 2 tbsp light miso, 2 tbsp tahini and the juice of one lemon. If it’s too thick add a little bit of water or more lemon juice to thin.

Maria2 copy

Place the cauliflower, carrots, garlic or scallions, and serrano (if you’re using it) in the food processor and run until the veggies are minced and resemble couscous.

Maria6 copy

Put the contents of the food processor in a bowl and add the turmeric, cayenne (unless you really love spice, exclude the cayenne if you’ve used the serrano), pepper and salt and stir to combine.

Maria5 copy

Place all the herbs and your nuts of choice (not your spouses’) in the food processor and run until they are finely chopped.

Maria4 copy

Add herbs, nuts and dried fruit of choice into the bowl and stir to combine and finally pour the miso dressing into the couscous and stir again. Refrigerate.

Maria3 copy

So simple right? Have this for lunch and snacks for three or four days and you will start feeling less spongy. Promise.

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar!



Maria McEvoy’s blog, Flycakes Kitchen is about living life in balance: Finding it, maintaining it, and coming back to it when we’ve lost it.  The recipes she shares with her readers reflect that balance: healthy, nutritious and simple meals followed by a little indulgence. In her words, “My diet is far from perfect (I have a profound love affair with m&m’s and Nestle Crunch) but I try every day to take a long term view on my life, health, diet and the choices I make. I try to make my recipes approachable, unpretentious and always fast because who the hell has time to spend a lifetime in the kitchen?”

Maria has been a freelance pastry chef for over a decade (after she “recovered from working on Wall Street”) and while she still very much enjoys that work, she believes that  sweets should only be a small part of her family’s diet. “When we eat that dessert it better be the best tasting, explode-in-your-mouth-with-flavor sweet, made with the purest, and least processed ingredients. Ingredients that our bodies will recognize. Bring on the butter, sugar, eggs, and flour but deliver it in such a way that ONE serving will scratch that itch.” Part of finding balance for her is exercising every day, and she considers it a non-negotiable appointment she makes with herself. She is thankful she’s married to a man who feels exactly the same way!

Should I Do The BoCo Spring Challenge? Yes!!!

So – we’re about to launch our first official BoCo Spring Challenge! I’ve been thinking about fitness challenges a lot these days, and I felt like it was important to talk about their benefits here. After all, when people can take fitness classes and try to get healthy every day, why would they want to enter a challenge? What makes a challenge more effective than any kind of “resolution?” And what are we offering that might help people see great results?

Why a “Challenge” this time?

Since its inception, Body Conceptions has run a semi-annual “Intensive,” a 6-week program involving extended classes 2-3 times a week that everyone takes together. This format is great for creating a sense of camaraderie and obtaining results together BUT those of you who can’t come to our two extended classes during the week lose out on the experience. So many of you have work and other obligations during the day.

We recently expanded our schedule and welcomed lots of you to our classes who work during the week. We also decided to try something different for our spring fitness event. This time around, we decided to give you unlimited access to our class schedule. And unlike our last Intensives, we will be measuring your progress with objective data on top of providing you with some amazing perks. Now you’ll see that you’re truly making progress and getting healthier just in time for your summer beach days – and you’ll be having fun along the way, too!!

Why Is a Challenge Effective?

We’ve all made promises to ourselves to get fit. The problem is that we seem to be ok with breaking these promises to ourselves. We’re too tired, too busy, too distracted – we give up just as quickly as we start. …But what if suddenly we’re provided real evidence of our effort? What if we become part of a team that checks in on one another? And what if we can win contests? Suddenly the game changes.

We will be putting you into groups and giving you team leaders who will coach your progress. We all know that group camaraderie helps keep you focused. It makes you feel supported and encouraged. You tend to feel pressure to perform for the group and do what you can to help the whole group succeed. Also, if there is measurable data that shows you how you are doing, you start seeing the direct connection between your efforts and your progress. You start taking control of the process and also holding yourself accountable for that effort in a group setting.

Signing up for a challenge commits you to a program with a beginning, middle, and end. You are not promising to make a vague and endless promise to yourself to get healthier. You are essentially saying to yourself, “I am committing to this specific, finite program that will involve a bunch of other people in the same boat and will have very specific and doable steps I have committed to follow. I will do it!”

What if I Don’t Have Time to Take Tons of Classes?

Honestly, you’ll be surprised. We have classes that satisfy every workout schedule, and you can take your classes any way they work for you. You might find that you want to take all of our classes in a row one week, or perhaps you prefer late nights, lunch, and weekends. You can do whatever works for you. Use your results to motivate you to intensify your approach. Challenges like this help you cater your experience to your lifestyle, increase your power and stamina, and potentially inspire you to make fitness a more frequent part of your schedule.

What if I’m Worried About Doing the Workout Correctly?

Don’t worry – We have you covered!! We will be running a workshop to teach you how to perform BoCo exercises effectively. Our team leaders will also be on-hand to answer any questions or concerns, and our instructors value technique above all else. Even if you have never taken a BoCo class before, you will find yourself learning quickly with lots of support, correction, and encouragement.

Whether or not you decide to join our challenge this time around, I hope this helps you consider the benefits of joining a group fitness program. If you ever find yourself having trouble committing to your own personal goals, perhaps becoming part of a larger group effort will help you shed your worries and excuses. Who knows? You might also see some amazing results, make some great friends, and win a fabulous in-home vegan dinner for 4!! (Just saying…)

Join our Spring Challenge, sign up though the Classes page at and select the Event tab on the scheduling page!

Simple Form Fixes that can Prevent Injury and Increase Results

When people ask me about excellent trainers in the city, Brooke Marrone comes to mind over and over.  Brooke has a huge roster of private clients in the city, and she is incredibly thoughtful in her approach to each person.  She is exceptionally good at addressing injury and is known for her injury-prevention expertise.

Like Brooke, I am also obsessed with injury-prevention.  I felt like a great way to approach injury prevention in my blog was to ask Brooke for her thoughts on the best ways to execute some basic exercises more safely and effectively.  You’ll see many versions of these exercises in my own classes and in many others across the city.  Hopefully Brooke’s suggestions will help you approach them with more knowledge and care – and will help you get the most out of your overall fitness routines, wherever you go.





Simple form fixes that can prevent injury and increase results

– by Brooke Marrone

Proper form is vital to staying injury-free and keeping your body fit – not just for right now but for the rest of your life. Working hard will not get you as far if you’re not working intelligently. Some of the most basic exercises are often the ones most commonly done wrong.

Here are some simple form fixes that can help prevent injury and allow you to get the most out of your fitness routine.


One of the best ways to tone your lower body. I am a big fan of both the front and back lunge. A proper lunge engages everything from your glutes, quads, and hamstrings to your core.  It increases hip flexibility and can also improve your balance. Unfortunately, when done wrong, the knees, neck and low back can sustain unnecessary stress. Try doing a set in front of the mirror or with a friend to see if you are doing the exercise correctly.

  1. Think 90-degree angles! Step forward or back with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about 90 degrees
  2. Make sure that you look forward, keeping your shoulders back and abs pulled in while maintaining a straight spine
  3. In a front lunge, make sure not to lean your upper body forward.  This causes the front knee to go beyond the toes and puts strain on your knee, low back and neck. While performing a back lunge, follow a similar protocol. Make sure you step back far enough to allow your hips to get a proper stretch and avoid straining the knee

Tricep Dips:

Tricep dips are a great way to work your triceps that you can do just about anywhere! Common mistakes with the tricep dip include bending the elbows beyond a 90-degree angle and also bending the elbows out to the side rather than behind the body. Doing this puts strain on your elbows, causes your shoulders to rotate forward, and ultimately takes the work away from the muscles you are targeting.

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a chair or bench
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you with both feet on the floor (or if more advanced, with the legs out straight)
  3. Slide your butt slightly off the chair, slowly bending your elbows to about a 90-degree angle. Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the exercise, and make sure to keep your elbows straight back instead of angling out to the side
  4. Straighten your elbows, and return to the starting position. If you have trouble maintaining proper form, begin with a more shallow angle and work your way into the 90-degree bend


My favorite exercise! Planks are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your core, and they can also help reduce back pain when done properly. The most common mistakes include shifting your body weight forward, putting too much work on your already overworked shoulders, keeping your hips too high or too low, and bringing your elbows too wide (which puts a great deal of stress on your rotator cuff muscles).

  1. Think belly button to spine! Make sure to always keep a straight line from your head to your toes
  2. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders with your weight shifted out of your neck and back into your heels
  3. Keep your legs strong and straight with your head a natural extension of your spine
  4. Form first always! Work your way into your plank starting with 30 seconds and gradually increasing your time as you become stronger

* One of my favorite tricks is the water bottle plank. Have a friend place a water bottle on your low back in line with your spine. If you keep the bottle from falling you are most likely maintaining proper form.


I am not sure how this rumor got started, but it’s widely believed that a proper push up means that you need to get your body as close as you can to the floor… period. The truth is that a proper push-up involves going as close to the floor as you can WHILE MAINTAINING GOOD FORM. Push-ups are meant to work your chest, shoulders, triceps and core. They are not meant to hurt your neck, low back and shoulders. Push-ups can be an amazingly effective exercise to tone your upper body, but they can also do serious damage when done wrong.

  1. Work your way into your perfect push-up, and begin on your knees if you need to. Start by going a few inches towards the floor while maintaining proper form until you feel strong enough to go a little further
  2. Remember when the kid from Jerry Maguire said the human head weights 8 lbs? Well you don’t need those 8 lbs stressing your low back! Make sure you keep your body in a straight line for the duration of your push up
  3. Similar to the plank, you want to make sure that you don’t drop your hips or pop them too high up to the sky. Sagging your hips will stop working your core and will directly stress your low back. Popping your hips will take the work out of your core and will put too much strain on your shoulders. In a proper push up, your weight should be evenly distributed
  4. Make sure to keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulders right outside your chest, keeping your shoulders down and back
  5. Inhale as you go down, and exhale as you come back up



Brooke Marrone launched her highly regarded private training studio in 2008.  She is known for creating unconventional fitness programs that are fun and manageable.  In fact, has noted that Brooke can “cure gym junkies of treadmill addiction.”  Brooke has an extensive knowledge of musculoskeletal health and injury prevention.  She collaborates with New York City’s top physical therapists to develop sustainable systematic approaches that allow her to train clients recovering from injuries that would otherwise impede the ability for exercise.  Brooke also “understands how to keep clients from injuring themselves while encouraging them to do more than they ever thought possible.”

Brooke hails from Worcester, Massachusetts. She was a three sport Varsity athlete, played Division 1 NCAA field hockey at the University of Rhode Island, and served as a group instructor at Arizona State University. She also trained under one of Boston’s most acclaimed personal trainers. Brooke’s certifications include Personal Training, Pilates and Group Fitness.

How Do I Make Fitness Happen as a Mom – and a Busy Woman?

This entry also appeared on this week.  I am honored to be a guest blogger for their site and to be part of a national Mommy conversation.

I think you’ll find that many of these tips for making fitness happen as a mom also ring true for busy women of all ages and family situations who are struggling to find time in their lives to engage in fitness.  I learned many of these tips from my clients, and I’m hoping they show you that there are many ways to make fitness work and to make it something that you can do – and love – regularly.



As a trainer specializing in pre- and postnatal fitness, I have heard these questions many times:

“I WANT to get back in shape, but how can I possibly make it happen with my new baby? How can I possibly find the time??” 

Many new moms know that exercising will help them regain their pre-baby strength and tone…and possibly sanity!  It will certainly help them boost their mood and give them much-needed personal time.


Photo by Mike Baird

Exercise is vital – but can new mothers possibly make it happen?

I have observed mothers who have managed to balance exercise and motherhood pretty well. Here are some tips based on these observations. And frankly, ALL busy women can benefit from knowing the secrets to making fitness work in their crazy lives!

1) Go with friends. Scheduling classes with your friends can help give you the motivation you need to get out of the house. Especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to please or take care of others, you will not want to cancel and let your friends down.

2) Make big Sunday dinners with leftovers you can eat before you head to classIf evening meal preparation time is deterring you from giving yourself time to exercise, having leftovers available can be a great time-saving solution.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do you have friends or relatives close by who can watch your baby? Ask them! Chances are they will cherish the opportunity, and you’ll be refreshed by having that time for yourself. (Just an hour away may be all you need!)

4) Lacking energy and motivation?  Make a playlist of your favorite music. Music can be so energizing. Playing your favorite music when your motivation is starting to fade can turn everything around and make you feel like you NEED to move and sweat!

5) Lay out your exercise clothing the night before – Or wear them to bed! Deterred from morning exercise by the effort to get ready in the morning in addition your baby’s morning feeding, diapering and entertaining? Make it easier for yourself. If you’re already wearing your exercise outfit, you are literally 5 minutes away from being ready to go!!

6) Hire a trainer. This is a luxury, but it’s an investment in yourself that could make all the difference. A trainer saves time by coming to your home and working around your schedule, and he or she will tailor the workout to your needs. On top of that, you may not even need someone to watch your baby during your workout. I use music in my sessions, and I find that my music puts babies to sleep – an added bonus!!  If an ongoing trainer seems like too much of a luxury, allocate a set number of sessions to get yourself on track and learn some great exercises you can continue on your own.

7) Give yourself credit. That sticker chart you are using to encourage your child…make one for mommy! Finding the time for fitness is a huge accomplishment and you deserve a pat on the back. Never forget how much you do every day and give yourself the credit you deserve. Perhaps all those gold stars should result in a spa day reward? Yes?


Photo by Bob Whitehead