Making America great again means making America healthy again, according to Ivanka Trump’s onetime health coach Maria Marlowe. Don’t know what a health coach is? Marlowe is planning to fix that when she heads to the Hill on Monday to trumpet the booming profession, with numbers close to 35,000. Before briefing members and their staffers on healthy eating habits, the certified health coach talked to us about working with the first daughter and changing the way the country eats.
Okay, so how exactly does one become a health coach?
I was going to college for finance, but along the way, I developed a laundry list of health problems. I thought I was cursed or something because I couldn’t figure out why I had all these ailments. When I changed my diet, I lost 20 pounds, my acne went away, I stopped getting sick as often, and this lightbulb sort of went off and I was like, “Why doesn’t anyone teach us this?”
How did you and Ivanka Trump connect?
I met her many years ago and coached her briefly. One of the things I had done with her is a grocery store tour. You lead someone through a grocery store for two hours as their guide. She had then asked me to take on her entire office and become their corporate wellness coach.
Are you still shadowing the first daughter in the aisles of Safeway?
The personal coaching was never a long-term thing. The thing about health coaches is we want people to make their own decisions, so once you know how to eat healthily and what choices to make, you don’t need someone there all the time. I think [Ivanka] has a pretty good handle on her healthy eating habits.
How important is having someone with good eating habits in the public eye?
In working with her, it was clear that Ivanka takes her health seriously. It’s important that we see positive influences, including those in the spotlight, who work hard to also balance work and family with an emphasis on staying healthy.
So should say President Trump, who is a fan of Big Macs, be trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
I think everyone should be healthy. There are three pieces of advice that I give everyone. Number one is eating more vegetables. Just making your plate 50 percent vegetables at every meal can improve your health. Also, drinking adequate water. I know these are two simple things, but remember, knowing and doing are two different things. And the third thing is reducing sugar. We know refined sugar isn’t great for us. It’s linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and this laundry list of health problems.
Is your client list all high-profile?
Absolutely not. I’ve worked with ballerinas, business executives, college students, nurses, moms, and everyone in between. It’s not something that’s just for the 1 percent. Health is the right of everyone.
Former first lady Michelle Obama made healthy eating one her major initiatives. Would you like to see Melania Trump continue that push for the next four years?
Definitely. I think it’s incredibly important for first ladies to take on health initiatives, and I applaud the “Let’s Move” campaign. One thing I would love to see more of is a focus on healthy eating specifically, vs. just exercise. I would love to see a “let’s eat real food” campaign that would highlight and teach people how to make vegetables taste good and include them in their diet more regularly, no matter what their budget or how busy their life is. If the vast majority of Americans were consuming adequate amounts of produce, I think we would see a huge shift in the health of our nation — less obesity, less chronic illness, and lower health-care costs. I know it sounds so simple, but the results of that switch can be profound.