Eat Healthy and Drink Smartly at Nourish Kitchen
As the ferociously cold first month of 2014 comes to a close (good riddance, January), you might be considering a new fresh start by amending those New Year's resolutions that seemed so alluring on the 1st. Perhaps you want to reinstate your nightly wine ritual but aren't sure whether your vino habit fits into a balanced diet, particularly if you're trying to maintain a stricter standard than you did during the holidays. We asked Marissa Lippert, author, nutritionist, and owner of West Village cafe Nourish Kitchen + Table (95 Greenwich Ave, 212-242-6115) why wine, in moderation, not only deserves a place at your table, but pairs nicely with whatever kale/spinach/farro/beet/ancient grain concoction you've dreamed up.
How did you become interested in nutrition?
I don't recall specifically, but I've always had an interest in food and culture (I majored in history in undergraduate), which eventually evolved to incorporate health. I knew there was rift in how people perceived "eating healthfully" -- I wanted to help change the conversation about how many of us eat and work to elevate the idea that healthy, fresh food can actually be delicious and satisfying.
Why did you decide to open Nourish Kitchen and include wine into the concept? Most people think of healthy eating and automatically assume alcohol has no place in the concept. I personally love wine and spirits and I didn't want to simply open another "healthy café." I wanted to create an experience around eating really well...and often times that can include a glass of wine or beer or a really well-crafted cocktail. We aim to tell stories through our food -- and alcohol -- at Nourish. We only have a beer and wine license, but seek out small artisanal producers, many of whom are organic or natural, and makers that are doing interesting things with their product.
The beginning of the year tends to ignite people to make changes in their diet and fitness. Sometimes, however, too much restriction leads to failure later. How can wine be incorporated into one's diet and lifestyle in a healthy way? Like with most other things, moderation is definitely the key. I've never been able to cut alcohol out of my routine completely in January, but that's me. It works really well for others to be ultra-focused and have a strategic goal for month-end. Alternatively, being too restrictive can just lead to full-on over-indulgence. I do sort of "check myself" if I've had a long week of social events and dinners where the alcohol was flowing. Taking a break is a good thing sometimes and will definitely help improve sleep and energy levels, and of course if you're seeking to drop a few pounds, it'll make an impact.
Do you find wine can pair just as easily with healthy food as anything else?
Absolutely. The food we serve at Nourish, and what I'd cook at home, lends itself to really great wine. Our food aims to be beautiful and flavorful using fresh, seasonal, and locally-sourced ingredients. When you've got that equation going, the health value becomes automatic. A simple, fresh meal with the best quality ingredients...paired with an incredible glass of wine: I can't think of much that would be better.