We spoke with Caterina Marchese, registered holistic nutritionist and owner of March Essential Foods. According to Caterina, the most powerful, sustainable and bioavailable therapy is Evidence-Based Food Therapy, her main area of focus. We found out what her therapy is all about, what we should all be looking for on food labels, and why we should never ignore our gut.
You offer Evidence Based Food Therapy. What is that?
Evidence Based Food Therapy takes the latest health research and uses that information to formulate protocols that are food based. The food based protocols focus on nutrient absorption, synergy, dosage and bio-availability. Protocols can include juicing, blending, elixirs, tonics, medicinal ghee, probiotic foods, alive foods etc. Each protocol is customized based on personal needs.
Can a couple or family thrive on the same diet, or does each person need a customized nutrition plan?
I am all about customization. I do think there are certain things all people would do best to avoid like refined sugar and processed foods. I also think that a variety of foods like some raw, fermented and enzyme rich foods should be included in all diets. That being said we are all biochemically unique and have different dietary requirements.
Do you recommend your clients take a lot of supplements?
I don’t. I recommend functional foods instead, foods with a health purpose. Foods can be therapeutic if you know how to use them properly. This is what I recommend and this is what I teach. Treating your food as your medicine also helps you respect your food and increases your chances of making a whole foods diet a lifestyle.
What are probiotic and enzyme rich foods and how often should we consume them?
Probiotic foods are foods that contain beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are found naturally in many fermented foods and have been recognized for their ability to aid digestion, increase immunity, relieve constipation and to heal leaky gut, just to name a few.
Enzymes are nutrients known as catalysts for carrying out virtually every metabolic function. The enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to produce digestive enzymes taking away the strain from the pancreas. The result of these added enzymes in your diet is a longer lifespan, better health and increased immunity. You can consume probiotic and enzyme rich foods daily, in fact I recommend it.
How do we know if we have a leaky gut?
When you have a leaky gut things like undigested food particles, toxins, microbes etc. can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your bloodstream.
Symptoms can range anywhere from digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), seasonal allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mood issues, mind issues, skin issues, candida overgrowth, food allergies or food intolerances.
Whether you have leaky gut or not, the best thing to do is to eat foods that strengthen your digestive health. This way you can heal or prevent, keeping your gut healthy.
Have you always had a good relationship with food?
As a little girl I just wasn’t that interested in eating and was forced to stay at the dinner table until I had eaten more than what I had an appetite for. I am and have always been naturally very thin and as I grew to be a teenager I went on what I called a “get fat” diet. I wasn’t too impressed with how skinny I was and wanted to have what I thought was the more ideal curvy body type. In my attempt to gain weight I ate when I wasn’t hungry, ate processed foods and foods high in nutritionally void calories, clearly a very unhealthy way of trying to gain some mass. Now instead I to do weight bearing exercises and eat nutrient dense foods.
Instead of just teaching and educating, why did you also choose to make products?
Besides the level of joy I get from making food and feeding people, I wanted everyone to be able to eat high quality functional foods that are also delicious. I have very high standards when it comes to quality and flavor and I feel like this is something that is lacking in the market place. People need options if you want to afford them the opportunity to move away from the low quality processed foods. March Essential Foods can function as a digestive aid, immune booster, liver cleanser, probiotic supplement etc., depending on the product.
What should we look for on labels of the food we buy?
Ingredients. People are trained to read the nutritional content but ingredients are most important. It is key to learn what ingredients are good for your health and which are detrimental. That’s much more powerful.
Your favourite ferment?
I would have to say sauerkraut. It’s so versatile and highly functional. Raw unpasteurized sauerkraut that is made properly is extremely high in Vitamin C, Fiber, Vitamin K1, Probiotics, Glucosinolates, B vitamins and Vitamin U. I also love the depth of flavor you can get from sauerkraut, so delicious.
How did you choose the name March Essential Foods?
March is rooted in my last name Marchese, and I love the feeling of determination and support that is present in the word. March Essential Foods is committed to serving the highest quality functional foods and will never stray from it’s purpose.
I remember when I first started studying Holistic Nutrition and how whole foods eating was an unknown, obscure and not respected topic. I believe that if it wasn’t for the soldiers that marched together at the beginning, this knowledge wouldn’t have become common and attainable. We all need to March for what we believe in and March Essential Foods is an embodiment of that.
Can anyone start a food company from their home kitchen? Where do you produce your products?
No you cannot. You have to produce your products from a certified kitchen. I chose to produce my products from Public Kitchen which is owned by Chef Doug McNish. He is someone I respect in the community and I know that his kitchen is vegan and so is March Essential Foods.
Where can we find your products?
At the moment you can find them at The Health Shoppe on Charles St, The Raw Chemist in the Junction and Public Kitchen on Marlee with new locations and farmers markets coming this spring. New locations will be updated on the website.