suzanne weaver-goss

Certified holistic health coach Suzanne Weaver-Goss of

The eggnog was really good at last night’s Christmas party.

So were the spreads of homemade cookies, the little cocktail meatballs, the ambrosia salad and the macaroni and cheese with extra crumbs sprinkled on top. And the holiday punch with a little extra something added — did you have three or four glasses?

And boy, are you feeling the impact of every single one of them today.

‘Tis the season of overindulgence for many of us, a time when temptation in the form of gingerbread, chocolates, brownies and cheese dip has met us at every turn. How can we avoid waking up Jan. 1 feeling like a slug — or, if we do, how can we clean up our act and feel better more quickly?

Suzanne Weaver-Goss, a Lancaster-based certified holistic health coach, has a few answers. She and her daughter, Maia James, run Gimme The Good Stuff (, a site that sifts through products and information so consumers can make health-conscious choices and “navigate the confusing world of ‘natural’ products.” It’s a family affair: Her husband John does research for the site, and son Graham, a local artist, does the artwork and graphic design.

She knows that the occasional overindulgence is inevitable, and she knows how to get us back on track after the dreaded “food hangover.”

How can we prepare now to stay healthy and on track?

I’m not a fan of the “splurge” idea... it can be a slippery slope, and it goes along with our culture of dieting, as splurge/deprivation. I believe in eating what you want, when you want it — but thinking about balance.

If you’re in your “splurge head,” you end up eating more. So just have some (of the indulgent food). Slow down. Eat with all your senses; mindfulness eating (and it can be hard!). Food should be enjoyed; It’s something to take pleasure in ... If you’re going to enjoy a cookie, enjoy a homemade cookie that has four or five ingredients, not a processed one with hydrogenated oils.

What else can we do at parties?

If you’re drinking alcohol, alternate with having water. It helps fill you up and rehydrates you, and you’ll drink less (alcohol).

Despite our best intentions, we’ve overindulged. What now?

Try a fast for 12 to 14 hours. After the party ends and you’re home, fast for the rest of the night. Just have water. In the morning, have water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. (Taking the break from eating) gives your body a chance to recover.

Then the next day (after the fasting period), go for dark greens. We don’t normally eat enough of those anyway. They’re good for the liver, and it will balance out the previous heavy foods. If you can eat dark greens three times a day, you’re doing great. You can add them to a smoothie; chop them up in eggs; steam them and add a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Eating probiotic foods is important for sugar cravings and for gut health after eating sugar or too much rich food. They help balance the bacteria in your gut.

And Lancaster has great choices: sauerkraut, kimchee and yogurt (always buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fruit or honey or maple syrup). Lemon Street Market is a great place to get fresh probiotic foods.

You’ve been invited to a potluck holiday party. What do you bring?

It depends on the season, but it’s something I think will balance out the meal. In winter, I’ll often bring a kale salad (see because there usually are no greens, or few greens. If I bring a dessert, if often will be something with nuts, or that uses dates as the sweetener.

How do you recommend cutting back on sugar?

It goes along with “upgrading” your foods. Start by going with natural sweeteners; white sugar is highly refined. Make sure you’re getting enough rest; you may be craving sugar because your body’s craving more energy.

Next, you can upgrade to using other things as sweeteners: dates, applesauce, fruits.

Sweets are addictive. Sugar is addictive. If you can get yourself off sugar for three days — no added sweeteners of any kind — the craving will ease.

What’s your food weakness?

I’ll go to an event and see these foods and think, ‘Oh, I bet I could make a healthier version.’ And then I’ll go home, and make a healthier version, and eat it ... so healthy junk food, I guess!


No-Cook Chia Seed Pudding

  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract or cocoa (optional)

Pour coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Add chia seeds and maple syrup. Add optional ingredients. Stir well. Divide between two serving bowls, and let mixture sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerated.

Raw Kale Confetti Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

-- From "Clean Start" by Terry Walters, a fellow health coach

  • 2 bunches kale or 4 heaping cups of chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (I add a whole avocado; you can never have too much avocado in my opinion)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (I add more)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper (I add more)
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds (I toast raw ones in a small, dry cast-iron frying pan and double the amount)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Remove stalks from kale and discard. Chop leaves into small pieces and place in mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and, using your fingers, gently massage oil into leaves. Sprinkle with sea salt and ginger, add avocado and continue massaging until leaves are evenly coated. Add onion, red pepper, carrot and sunflower seeds, and toss. Drizzle lemon and lime juice over salad, massage juices into leaves and toss to distribute ingredients evenly. Season to taste with salt, massage one last time and serve.

Serves 4 (I think it serves way more than 4)

Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables

Tender, long-leafed Lacinato kale works especially well in this recipe, but any variety will do.

  • 2 12-ounce bunches of kale, stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips or chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (I don’t use canola oil, so I would substitute another vegetable oil like avocado oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and grated (1 cup) — I have substituted radishes: red, watermelon or daikon
  • ½ medium rutabaga, peeled and grated (1 cup) — I have substituted beets
  • 1 medium carrot, grated (½ cup)
  • 2 green onions, cut thin on diagonal


  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar (you could substitute maple syrup or honey)

To make salad: Place kale in large bowl, and pour olive oil, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt over top. Massage mixture into kale 2 to 3 minutes by hand, or until kale starts to wilt. Let rest 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss together pecans, maple syrup, oil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cayenne in medium bowl. Spread nut mixture in single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until pecans are brown and fragrant, stirring often. Cool.

To make dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Toss together turnip, rutabaga, carrot, green onions, kale mixture and dressing. Garnish with pecans.

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