January Cleanse Details and an Interview with Hadley Seward of Spark! Wellness

Hey guys!

I continue to get really terrific responses to the Spark! Wellness + Choosing Raw January cleanse. While I can’t answer every question in detail, Hadley and Andrea and I have posted a sample day from each level of the cleanse on the Spark! website. This should give you a good sense of how the program will look at each level. Keep in mind, of course, that the meals and recipes provided will vary quite a bit from day to day. Check it out, and if you’re still wavering on which level to choose, please join our free conference call on January 6th (details TK)!

In the meantime I thought I’d give you all a chance to get to know the lady behind Level 1 a bit better. Hadley, who blogs at Hadley’s Holistics, is a Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in helping women to regain a sense of self-worth and to actualize their goals. In our own ways of eating, she and I differ somewhat (Hadley emphasizes moderation, and doesn’t exclude any food groups, while I fly the vegan flag), but we both agree that Pure Food and Wine rocks, that stuffed squash is a beautiful thing, and that vegetables are everybody’s best friend. Choosing Raw readers, meet Hadley!


1)   Many of us who work in nutrition are motivated to help others because of personal struggles we’ve faced, either health or food related. Does your passion for wellness emerge from personal struggle, and if so, can you share your story with us?

Growing up, I always equated ‘health’ with ‘thin’. In my late teens and early 20s, I didn’t focus on healthy eating as much as I did the latest fad diet that would keep me thin. About four years ago, all that changed. I was misdiagnosed with a pretty serious disease—and it took doctors about six weeks to realize the mistake—so during that time, I was faced with the prospect of a life filled with hospitals and drug regimens that had serious side effects. I was absolutely terrified and felt so stupid for not taking my health seriously beforehand.

As you can imagine, it was a very difficult period in my life, but it opened up so many new and exciting paths for me professionally and personally. As soon as I found out I was in the clear, I vowed that I would pay more attention to my overall health; however, I was absolutely terrified of the medical profession and couldn’t even go the dentist—much less a doctor’s office! I started working with a fabulous holistic health counselor named Melissa, who helped me regain balance in my life and taught me everything she knew about natural medicine. I was so inspired by the work that she did—and the impact that it made on my life—that I decided to become a health counselor myself.

2)   If you had to sum up your dietary perspective in a few sentences, what would you say? What’s your basic dietetic vantage point? What philosophies (ie, Ayurveda, macrobiotics, raw, vegan, blood type diet, McDougall, the list goes on) have influenced it?

So many things have influenced my dietary perspective! I’m very lucky because my school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, trained us in every dietary theory imaginable—everything from South Beach and Atkins to macrobiotics and Ayurveda. I use bits of many of them in my daily life, but try not to get hung up on any one theory. My overriding food philosophy is not to restrict entire categories of food from my diet. I spent the first twenty-four years of my life doing that and it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I believe in guilt-free moderation. I eat healthfully most of time, so don’t feel bad when I indulge in foods that aren’t as healthy.

3)   In my experience, it doesn’t take long for a nutritionist or health counselor to find a strength that is uniquely their own. Oftentimes, this strength emerges as a particular kind of empathy or insight. For instance, I’ve found that much of my strongest work has been in helping women with eating disorder histories regain a love of eating and body image through whole, plant based foods. What would you say your unique talent is as a counselor, and how do you market it?

I was overweight until I went to college, so I know what it’s like to feel like you’re at war with your body.  It’s so hard to overcome that feeling! My strongest work has been helping women call off the war with themselves. My goal for each client is to get her to the point of trusting her body, trusting herself around food, and trusting the choices she makes about food.

4)   What do you think are the most common pitfalls that keep your clients from achieving their goals? How can they work around them?

For most women, the biggest pitfall to achieving any goal is negative chatter. It’s like the TV in the background that you can’t turn off–even if you’re not focusing on it, it’s distracting. The most common culprit is the ‘as soon as…’ mentality.  We all create agreements with ourselves: “as soon as I lose weight, I’ll buy clothes that I love” or “I’ll start dating”; “as soon as I go to business school, I’ll feel worthy of respect”; “as soon as I get a new job, I’ll have time to eat more healthfully.” We all have our own version. This mentality creates excuses, drains us of energy, and ultimately creates barriers to success and happiness. Instead of making your goal conditional on something first, instead make it happen now! Buy clothes that you love, sign up for online dating, learn how to respect yourself, eat more healthfully . . . whatever it is, you can work on the goal now instead of waiting for something else to be fulfilled first.

5)   You talk a lot about emotional eating. How do you define emotional eating? Where does it emerge from?

Emotional eating is using food (or the act of eating) to fill a void. We all eat emotionally sometimes. It’s a primordial urge that stems from our earliest instincts to nurture ourselves by drinking our mothers’ milk. As we grow older, we repeat this pattern by turning to food for comfort, support, nourishment when we don’t get it elsewhere. We eat to fill a gap in our lives.

When a client comes to me to explore her emotional eating, I see it as an invitation to delve deeper into her life to see what’s really going on. Generally there are one or several elements that are consciously or unconsciously causing her distress. What’s missing from her life? Are there any uncomfortable feelings she’d rather not acknowledge? For example, the most common reason for sweet cravings is a lack of sweetness in your life—defined broadly, that can cover everything from a romantic connection to friendship to an adequate support system in you life.  Over time, I work with each client to balance her diet and her life so cravings aren’t as strong and the compulsion to eat emotionally decreases.

6)   This fall, you and fellow practitioner Andrea Moss opened a holistic healing center, Spark! Wellness. Tell us more about your vision for Spark! Wellness.

Spark! came out of an idea I had last year after reading The Four Hour Work Week, which is all about how to avoid duplicating services. I realized that I knew so many health practitioners who were doing the same thing for our clients—teleclasses, workshops, blogging, tweeting, etc. I thought it would be terrific if we could join forces and provide much more value for each client. We currently offer nutrition, acupuncture, personal fitness, pilates, yoga, and massage therapy.

Right now we’re a virtual wellness center—we don’t have a physical space, rather we see our clients all over the city. Every Spark! client gets access to monthly teleclasses, special in-house referral rates, and—starting January 2010—can participate in a health food store tour. Andrea and my nutrition clients also have access to an online community where they can ask questions and get additional support from their peers.

It’s been a great journey so far and we’re excited for the future. I’m particularly excited for a group cleanse we’re going to do in January.

7)   OK, Hadley, time to get honest: how do you feel about raw food?

I love raw foods, but don’t think I could be 100% raw year-round.  Though I love green juices, I do crave a steak every now and then. That being said, my favorite restaurant in New York City is Pure Food and Wine. Everything there is so good and amazingly satisfying. I especially love their raw ice cream sundae. Sometimes in the summer, I’ll make a meal out of it!

8  )   Any raw recipes you love to make?

I think the last raw recipe I made was your banana soft serve, which was delish! I made it for a friend who is lactose intolerant and she was in heaven. I also enjoy zucchini pasta with pesto. My goal in 2010 is to make the coconut macaroons from the Pure Food and Wine cookbook.

9)   A question I get asked very frequently is whether or not I recommend taking dietary supplements. I think that this question depends 100% on the health of the person who’s asking, but I do think that most vegans should consider a B-12 or D supplement, a calcium supplement if needed, Omega-3s if needed, and chill out about everything else. I’ve spoken to other counselors, though, who really recommend a multivitamin daily. What’s your take on this?

I think multi-vitamins can’t hurt and for most people they can definitely help. Studies have shown than 92% of Americans are deficient in a vitamin or mineral. Our bodies are finely tuned machines, so any imbalances can slow down the thousands of chemical reactions that happen every second. So unless you’re eating 100% local and organic, living a stress-free life, drinking 100% purified water and breathing 100% unpolluted air, a multi-vitamin will probably benefit you. If you’re going to take one, make sure it’s high quality. My favorite brands are Metagenic’s Multigenics or Trader Joe’s Women’s High Potency.

Another essential supplement is fish oil (or, if you’re vegetarian, flax oil). I don’t eat fish, so I take 3,000 mgs a day. I’ve also been taking D3 since daylight savings time (to help with seasonal depression) and ashwaganda, an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb that helps with low-level stress.

10) What are some of your favorite recipes to share with your clients, Hadley? Could you share one with us? My clients would love, I’m sure, to see some cool, non-raw recipes.

I love to cook but rarely follow recipes. I usually use them as inspiration and then improvise as I go along. I recently made a terrific roasted winter squash filled with a tempeh-mushroom stuffing. It’s perfect for a cold winter night!


1 winter squash of your choice

2 c mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, chopped

6 oz tempeh (half a block), cut into 1/4-1/2 in cubes

olive oil

salt and pepper

dried rosemary

1/4 c white wine (optional

1/8 c Roquefort cheese (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 345 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove any seeds. Rub lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake cut side down for 40-45 minutes. (This will vary on the size and type of your squash–Keep checking it to see when the flesh is very tender).

While this is baking, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add wine, if desired, and cook down for approx. 3 more minutes. Add a bit of salt, pepper, and dried rosemary and cook 1 more minute. Put into bowl and set aside.

Add more olive oil to pan and saute tempeh until crispy and browned. (The smaller the pieces, the crispier they’ll get).

Once squash is very tender, remove from oven, add stuffing to the middle and serve immediately. Sprinkle the roquefort cheese if desired.

Serves at least 2, depending on the type of squash. This stuffing will be a generous serving for 2-3 people.


Wow! What a terrific interview. I love Hadley’s description of a woman being “at war” with her own body: this, I’m sure, hits home for so many of you. I also love that Hadley encourages her clients to focus on the “now” mentality—begin change today, not tomorrow! It’s a very good dictum, and one that we all need to take to heart once in a while.

And as a special gift for Choosing Raw readers, Hadley is offering $25 off of her January “realize your resolution” two-part program. Details of the program can be found here, and you can also email Hadley at Hadley@sparkyourwellness.com  if you’re interested in more information, or if you’d like to join.

Have a great Thursday!


This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Visit my privacy policy to learn more.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I am very interested in the programs offered. I am unable to view the sample plan on Spark because I am at work right now. But, I can’t wait to look into the three levels!

  2. Great interview – and yummy recipe – I’m the same way in the kitchen. What do I have? What can I do with that? My philosophy can be summed up: “Add more veggies.” 😀

    Also, I too love the description of women being at war with their bodies – I’ve definitely felt like that over the years. It’s a hard place to come out of.

  3. Great interview by two lovely ladies! I appreciate the mutual respect you so clearly have for each other even though you have different dietary visions. Well done!

  4. amazing interview I loved reading it beacuse I am new to this area of raw eating, I love reading about it and your approach, its refreshing! the emotional eating Q was hit right on the nose, it usually stems from a MUCH larger issue, and food is a coping mechanism, just like you said!

    delicious recipe too!!

  5. Love it! I also checked out the Cleanse’s sample menus and they sound just delicious. It would be hard to encounter either of you ladies without coming away loving veggies just a little more. 😉

    Treating myself to a coconut shake right now. Sending you happy thoughts of crack (finger-quotes).

  6. Love the interview. Great job, ladies! And after reading your interview Hadley, I am even more proud that Gena asked me for her support with this partnership you all are doing. Excellent!

    Things I love:
    D3-Gena you probably have no recollection of this but about a month ago I remember writing a long (my typical style!) comment to you about most Americans IMO being D3 deficient. Have no idea what post I wrote it on but yeah, I know I did b/c I remember thinking, how did I get off on that tangent. And then Hadley talks about it. LOVE that 🙂 you’re bringing awareness to this.
    Ashwaganda-what a rockin’ ayurvedic adaptogenic herb. When I was nursing my daughter in the very early days of nursing, not like she is now (almost 3!) but I was having some challenges and ashwaganda is a lactogenic herb, too. It’s adaptogenic just like you said and helped me alot 🙂

    Great post!

  7. Great Q&A. It hit a lot of great points. I believe everyone needs to find their own balance of food (raw would be great), supplements, exercise, etc. Everyone is different, but I do believe when you find your balance, you may no longer need supplements. Isn’t that the goal??

  8. Great interview! I think my own views on eating behavior is similar to Hadley’s. I believe in enjoying everything in moderation and while it may not work for everyone, I find it perfect for me. Thanks for sharing!