Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Diet for our Second Lives

In her first life, Ruth Gantman was a wife twice, mother once and an English teacher who wanted to teach film. She put herself through NYU Film School where her course work culminated in her winning a student Academy Award. She spearheaded a TV and film program at a high school where she was teaching. But it was the construction of that TV studio that sent her “home to die,” which of course she didn’t. Instead it started her on a new midlife course where she found her second life. 

2nd life turning point: The curriculum at the high school where I loved teaching was deadly so I convinced them to start a film and TV program. It was the construction of the studio that exposed a lot of dust and mold and I became so ill that I had to quit. At the same time I contracted Shingles and was experiencing a very difficult menopause. I wanted to die!

Choosing a new pathway: I didn’t have to look that far. I had to take care of myself first. When my gynecologist suggested taking out my uterus, I couldn’t run out of his office fast enough. I started becoming acquainted with different holistic doctors and created a web site on menopausal symptoms and solutions. So much of it has to do with diet, so I studied at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and became a health coach. My new company, Nurtured By Nature, is a year old now.

Midlife body change: You develop a hormone deficiency and because estrogen moderates your fat and you have less of it, you put on weight. Fat attracts fat typically in your abdomen, hips and throat. We become more sensitive to foods with sugar and white flour. We have to change our diets.

Midlife health advice: You are your own mother. Take care of yourself first. If you need help with that, you can consider hiring a health coach. An initial consultation is usually free. Depending on your goals a personalized nutritional portrait is then worked up and a series of follow-up sessions recommended. From there a number of different services can be provided, such as various support materials, menus, recipes, shopping lists, market tours, kitchen setups, cooking demonstrations and of course exercise programs.
(See Ruth’s Quinoa and Arugula salad recipe at the bottom and watch the 50 second video for her secret ingredients.) 

Breakfast recommendation: Whole egg, avocado…. protein, protein, protein.

A well-stocked pantry: Greens, avocados, frozen shrimp, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, beans and grains like quinoa.

Faster than takeout: After a long day and I don’t want to cook, I get some slices of a crusty whole grain bread and fill it with kale, avocado, tomato and a bit of horseradish or ginger, something pungent to give it some zing.

Family dinner table adjustment: When I first served my husband Shrimp with Bok Choy, he called it a “guppy in greens” and ran down to the taco truck that was still parked on the street. He’s now getting used to not eating as much meat although I still buy it for him. He loved the mushroom raviolis I made the other night.

Restaurant menu ordering advice: Limit your animal proteins, which is what restaurants promote because that’s where they make their most money clearly. Give more consideration to vegetables and grains. Soup is always good too.

Diet taboos: hot dogs, French fries, pizza, bagels and cream cheese

Biggest shock: Not making any money starting out on my own business. My husband is very supportive. I think women who do it on their own, who run against the wind, are the real heroes.

Biggest regret: I would loved to have had a shoebox full of children.

Biggest fear: Cancer, maybe tied with your body outliving your mind.

Biggest fashion change: comfortable shoes

2nd Life image plus: When I walk into a room, I no longer worry about looking attractive; I focus on looking confident.

2nd Life image minus: It’s harder to get a waiter to fill my glass of water!

Next big project: I’m working on a cookbook with my mother and daughter titled “Recipes of Survival out of the Holocaust to Harvard”

Real superfood: Is love. That’s my parent’s secret to longevity and happiness. My father always says he married his true love and they are both survivors having lived through the Holocaust. Even in their 90's, they do for each other.
Abe and Fanny


Ruth's Quinoa and Arugula Salad

1 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1 lb chopped cherry tomatoes
½ sweet onion
¼ cup diced chives, or scallion
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped arugula
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Splash of Balsamic vinegar

To Cook the Quinoa:
1. Heat olive oil and sauté chopped onion
2. Add quinoa and mix until you smell the nutty flavor.
3. Add 1 cup vegetable broth
4. Add 1 cup water
5. Bring to a boil and cover for 15 minutes

For the Salad:
1. Sauté chopped onion and set aside
2. Wash and rinse arugula, use a paper towel to squeeze out the moisture
3. Chop parsley, slice tomatoes, slice scallion, add cucumber
4. Transfer to a bowl and combine the salad ingredients

For the Salad dressing:
1. Use ¼ cup olive oil
2. Splash of Balsamic vinegar
3. Season to your taste
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper

1. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss again.
2. Add a splash of sesame oil or truffle oil
3. The salad should be served at room temperature

Contact: Ruth Gantman 917- 881-1448 for a free consultation


  1. Replies
    1. Doesn't she look beautiful! And the quinoa salad is really delicious. Love it all.