Marissa Vicario: Teaching Her Clients to be “Holistically Hot…”

Through my work with Body Conceptions, I spend lots of time getting to know the wellness community in the city. I’m always looking for ways to connect our Body Conceptions clients with the best and most respected wellness professionals around (and I’m also always looking for ways to broaden my own horizons!).

Marissa Vicario was one of the first such people I met when I launched Body Conceptions 2 ½ years ago. She caught my attention because she had made a big change in her professional life from working in Public Relations to becoming a health coach. Similarly, I had left a graduate program in clinical neuropsychology to dance in the musical theater world many years ago — and I had never wanted to go back.

Marissa has become known for her articulate advice for women on achieving healthy relationships with food. She works with at-risk families, and she’s a great inspiration to other women looking to change their careers. She’s also a major force in the city’s female entrepreneur community.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Marissa to you now. Enjoy!!


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1) Could you talk a little bit about your work as a health coach? What do you do on a daily basis?

I’m a board-certified health and nutrition coach who helps women change their relationship with food. Through blogging, speaking, my online programs and one on one coaching, I inspire women to deliciously fuel their bodies to turbocharge their health and look their best without resorting to starvation, diets or calorie-counting.

2) Do you only talk to women about food? If not, what else?

Yes, I primarily work with women in the areas of food and nutrition. I also mentor women who want to make career changes like I did. I help them get on the right track to making that change.

3) You are so busy, and you’ve been featured in so many great articles and blogs. How do you find the time to be healthy?

Being healthy is a priority for me. If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t have the energy to do it all. I think there’s a misconception that being healthy has to take a lot of time. It doesn’t; only a commitment. When the commitment is there, you make it happen.

4) What made you decide to get into health coaching?

I’ve always loved fitness and I got to a point where I realized that if I wanted to be fit and healthy, it meant changing how I ate. So I started eating a whole foods diet and it changed everything for me. I was working full time in Public Relations for a tech start-up at the time and everyone on the office was around my age. They were all more interested in what I was eating for lunch everyday than my PR strategy. When I discovered health coaching, I knew that I had found my calling and dream job.

Marissa making smoothies

5) What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love speaking to groups about nutrition and inspiring as many women as possible to make healthy changes. It’s the best feeling in the world to make healthy living accessible to someone who is feeling overwhelmed or offer a new perspective to someone who may be struggling. I also love bringing this work to charity. I work with families in the most at-risk areas of NYC to teach them to make healthier choices.

6) What do you think makes you different from other health coaches?

The honest answer is that I’m me.

7) I always enjoy asking: Is there anything fun or interesting about you that most people don’t know?

At 13, I declared myself a vegetarian. I was a little activist and little did I know was paving my way in the world of food and nutrition early on!

8) How does someone get in touch with you if they want to use your services?

There’s an online form on my web site or email me at .


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Founder of Marissa’s Well-being and Health, Marissa Vicario is a NYC-based board certified health coach and healthy living expert who helps women transform their relationship with food. She shares her health secrets, get-fit tips and the cooking expertise that has inspired countless women to ditch the diet mentality and turbocharge their health to become holistically hot in a way that’s fun and fearless. Click here to download her e-magazine, How to Be Holistically Hot: A 30-Day Guide to Making Men Swoon and Your Friends Want What You Have.

Meet Lauren Rust and Her Truffle Roasted Vegetables!

I really like to bring attention to great friends who are doing important work in the wellness world.   Lauren Rust is one of those people. She is a health coach – but she specifically works with women who have been diagnosed with HPV and cervical dysplasia.  Lauren is developing a program to support women in this situation and to help them make health- and immune-boosting lifestyle choices.

I am happy to introduce Lauren’s work here. And I’m especially looking forward to trying this fantastic recipe!!




By: Lauren Rust, CHC

I’m pretty cold right now. How about you? Being raised in Georgia did nothing to prepare me for the kind of winter we’re having. When I moved to the city five years ago, my idea of a winter coat was a light jacket. Needless to say, I’ve upgraded my wardrobe since then!

When it’s cold outside, my body craves warm, nourishing foods and there’s nothing easier than roasting veggies for dinner. (HEALTH COACH CONFESSION: Contrary to popular belief, when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen emulating June Cleaver). So when I’m in a pinch for time or need a fabulous side dish, this is my go-to recipe. It’s so simple and it’s always a crowd pleaser!

And what kind of health coach would I be if I didn’t tell you about all the glorious health benefits of this delicious dish? In my practice, I work with women who have HPV or cervical dysplasia, teaching them how to support their immune systems naturally, and one of the best things women can do for strong immunity is to add lots of cruciferous vegetables into their diet! We all know vegetables are good for us, but cruciferous vegetables are the powerhouses of the vegetable world! So today, let’s talk about one of them – Brussels sprouts!

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain compounds called ITCs that promote the elimination of carcinogens from the body. ITCs also help reduce DNA damage that could potentially lead to the development and proliferation of abnormal cell growth! Plus, sprouts are full of vitamin C (for immune system support), folate (for healthy cell growth) and vitamin K (which helps regulate inflammation).

So next time you’re craving a warm, delicious dinner that’s also super nutritious, do yourself a favor and start roasting!



  • 1 small bag (or heaping handful) of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 (8 oz.) pack of mushrooms
  • 1 onion (red or yellow)
  • 1 (13.75 oz.) can of artichoke hearts
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil (I recommend Trader Joe’s brand!)
  • 1 tsp. (divided) of truffle oil (this is optional, but gives them that extra delicious flavor!)


  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease 2 baking pans (I’m a big fan of leftovers, but if this is too much for you, cut the recipe in half).

2. Finely chop the garlic and cut the onion into long strips.

3. Wash and chop your mushrooms into smaller pieces (there is no wrong way to chop these veggies, by the way!).

4. Wash and cut your asparagus into thirds (discarding the tough white end of the stalks).

5. Wash and chop your Brussels sprouts in half. Then with your knife, make a tiny slit into the “tree trunk” looking end of the sprout (this helps them cook more evenly!).

6. Wash and break your cauliflower into smaller pieces (you can use your hands!).

7. Now drain your can of artichokes and break the hearts into smaller pieces.

8. In a large mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients and drizzle with just enough coconut oil to give the veggies a light coat. Mix well.

9. Give the veggies a generous sprinkle of the spices listed above, then spread the mixture evenly onto the baking pans.

10. If you’re using truffle oil, drizzle ½ tsp. per pan over the veggies and bake for 40-45 minutes (flipping halfway through) until the veggies are cooked through and slightly browned. Enjoy!


Lauren Rust Bio Pic

Lauren Rust is a Certified Health Coach based in New York City. She works with women who have HPV and cervical dysplasia, giving them emotional support and simple tools for supporting their immune systems through food and lifestyle modifications. She received formal training in nutrition and innovative coaching techniques at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Lauren is a travel junkie, a big fan of her trusted bicycle and a great listener who would love to connect with you in person or by phone! You can learn more about her programs at Lauren Rust Wellness.


Sweet Potato and Lentils:
Warming and Healing in Winter


It’s been cold!! This week, I asked Joanie  – one of my instructors and resident health coach – to give me one of her favorite healing winter recipes to help us get through the season. Not only has Joanie’s clients seen amazing results, but her food is also incredibly tasty.  Try this recipe, and you’ll be a happy camper!



Warming Sweet Potato and Maple Lentils

The winter months are known for bringing on colds, coughs, sneezes and sniffles. That makes it more important than ever to eat healthy, mineral-rich foods to keep your energy up and your immune system strong. This simple recipe is flavorful, packed full of nutrition and warms you up from the inside out.

2 cups dry lentils
1 medium, red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet apple, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small
14-oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
2.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp regular mustard
1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Rinse and drain lentils. In a large oven-safe pot bring lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring often. Cook until lentils are tender and a majority of the water is absorbed.
2. Add onion, garlic, apple, sweet potato, tomatoes, maple syrup, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper to the pot with the lentils. Stir well to combine. Add apple cider vinegar.
3. Cover and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake for additional 8-12 minutes, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste
4. Serve over toasted multi-grain bread, whole wheat pita or on a salad of dark, leafy greens.

Makes 4-6 Servings

Joanie Johnson - Certified Pilates instructor, TRX trainer, health coach and trained professional dancer.

For more recipes or information about Motivated Nutrition’s 6-month coaching program, visit

Joanie – My Wonderful Instructor and Health Coach


I knew as soon as I heard about Joanie that I wanted to include her in my business. Words like lovely, devoted, holistic, empathetic, hard-working, and knowledgeable were some of the qualities that were used to describe her. And not only did she have extensive experience in fitness, but she had her own health coaching business and a philosophy about wellness that closely matched my own.

I pursued Joanie for a while until I wore her down (ha!) – and I’m thrilled to have her now as the senior member of my team!

It’s so important to me that Body Conceptions represents more than just fitness. We promote health and happiness in all of our clients in all stages of their lives. We also believe that nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and emotional health are all too interconnected to address separately.

Since Joanie’s business, Motivated Nutrition, represents one of the first wellness businesses we have welcomed as a partner, I thought it was important to include her here so that you can get to know her a little better. Plus, she’s just a really cool and fun person (even when she’s inflicting pain on you in your training sessions with her!).



Health coaching is kind of a mysterious term. What does it actually entail? And how did you get into it?

I get this all the time!  “What the heck is a health coach?”

I like to describe myself as a life coach that specializes in fitness and nutrition.  I help my clients set sustainable wellness goals and then we work together to transform those goals into action.  I set them up for lifelong success as they learn to listen to their bodies, become informed consumers when navigating the “health world” and strive to live each day with optimal energy and positivity!

Do you have a general coaching “philosophy?” If so, what is it?

My philosophy is rooted in the concept of “bio-individuality”.   There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter solution to our health.  We all have different background, likes, passions and goals.  There’s no such thing as one diet or lifestyle works for everybody.

Do you work with different people differently?

The bio-individuality approach means that every client is a new challenge.  And I love a challenge!  I try to understand each client as a whole person.  What foods do you love?  How much time do you have?  What workouts excite you?  How well do you manage stress?  There are so many factors that go into figuring out what lifestyle changes are going to help you reach your goals!

What have been some of your biggest challenges as a health coach?

My biggest challenge is teaching clients not to blindly follow whatever the health “trend” of the moment is.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a mean, green juice, but the juicing fad at the moment is driving me bonkers!

You are a knowledgeable and talented trainer for Body Conceptions, and the results you have gotten with our clients have been nothing short of amazing. Without mentioning names, could you talk about some of the accomplishments you’ve seen?

Aside from loosing weight and gaining strength, the biggest accomplishment in my clients has been the transformation in the way they feel in their bodies and view themselves.  There is nothing more beautiful than a woman totally in love with the way she feels in her body.  All my clients are gorgeous that way!

Part of my own philosophy establishing Body Conceptions came out of my interest in helping people lead healthier and happier lives and also connecting them with a bigger wellness community in the city. What are your thoughts about combining health coaching with fitness training?

They are one in the same.  Being physically fit is essential to good health. You want to be able to run with your children, enjoy nature’s beauty on a long hike, and not have to worry about aches and pains when you are doing things you enjoy.   My tag line has become “The healthier we are, the happier we play.”  Health coaching isn’t just about food.  It’s about becoming healthy and happy enough to “play” through life!

Ok – now to the fun stuff. Do you have any vices? What are they?

A glass of red wine and semi-sweet chocolate chips before bed.  It’s my worst, and most cherished, bad habit.  I’ve tried to cut back to just once a week but after a long day of exercise, there’s really nothing better.

You like to work with children, right? What kind of work have you done with them?

Can you remember how boring health class was growing up?  With childhood obesity on the rise, we can’t continue to make children memorize the food pyramid and expect them to eat healthier because of it.  We’ve got to get them moving and make nutrition fun!  I’ve developed a creative movement program that builds confidence in children as movers, gets their heart rates up, enhances creativity and the end of the session they are telling me things like “Sugar is whack!”

I also have a family health-coaching program that helps families incorporate better nutrition, meal planning, exercise and wellness habits into their busy, everyday lives.

And what’s something fun about you that no one would ever guess?

I took 7 ½ months off and backpacked through Southeast Asia with my fiancé a few years ago.  We walked 6 miles of The Great Wall of China, climbed 3 volcano’s in Indonesia and nearly died in a sulfur mine at the bottom of one them (!), learned to drive Elephants in Laos, slept under a million stars in an Indian dessert after riding camels for 8 hrs, and hiked through a blizzard in the Himalayas in Nepal for 8 days…All while wearing the same 2 T-shirts and 3 pairs of underwear.   AND I made some pretty awesome travel videos along the way!