By Sharon Jonas
For her mother Maxine Cohen’s 69th birthday, Terri Lieberman of Merrick thought it would be fun to go into the city to see a taping of the Doctor Oz TV show. When filling out the online ticket request form to appear at the taping, Lieberman answered ‘yes’ to the question: Would you be willing to be a participant? The decision unexpectedly resulted in her and five other Merrick women being given the opportunity to appear on the popular daytime show.
Contacted by the show’s producer, Lieberman next agreed to appear in a segment focusing on four specific foods that naturally detox the body – ginger, artichokes, beets and garlic. She was also asked to find a group of friends to join her, so Lieberman reached out to Loretta Watstein, Lori Rosen, Shari Weissbach and Aimee Markowitz.
Short one person, a chance conversation in Suburbia Meat Market in Merrick with Susan Kaden’s husband, who mentioned that Susan was a professional corporate health coach, resulted in Lieberman asking her to join the group. With the group now complete, they embarked on the first part of a homework assignment as part of the show – make three dishes using fresh garlic, which Dr. Oz would taste and judge on the show.
“My dish was a kale salad,” said Lieberman. “I used the ingredients in a salad I used to buy when I was working, and tweaked it for my own taste.” Kaden made a bean dip and Watstein prepared a bruschetta-style garlic bread.
They were also asked to record themselves preparing the dishes, with the aired segment including the short video clips of each cook describing and showing her creations.
On show day Dr. Oz sampled each dish before declaring Lieberman’s kale salad the winner.
Keeping it Together
Selected to represent the group on stage and interact with Dr. Oz was Aimee Markowitz. “I was so nervous, it was an out-of-body experience. I wish I could do it again without being so scared.”
Each was also asked to bring items found in their home pantries, which were on Dr. Oz’s scavenger hunt list, Markowitz listened as Dr. Oz reviewed the benefits of adding different forms of the four detoxifying foods to everyday diets. Despite her anxiety, Markowitz gracefully represented the group, even managing a playful comment after sampling some ginger tea. “I can feel it working already,” she remarked with a smile.
A week after the taping the adventurous group gathered at Weissbach’s house in early November to watch the airing of the show. They excitedly chatted while eating an impressive array of colorful salads Weissbach had created for her new friends. Promptly at 2 p.m. they resettled in the den to watch their episode and relive the experience.
The group whooped, giggled and commented while watching themselves. Rosen, whose role in the episode was smaller than the others, laughed about how she held up an artichoke when prompted by Dr. Oz. “I mastered the artichoke hold!” she boasted with mock pride.
Merokeans were aptly represented by the manner of the women, who all looked great and performed like pros. Even though they arrived dressed and made up for the taping in a SUV limo provided by the show, they all were still given hair and cosmetic touch-ups by stylists.
During a commercial break, Markowitz shared her past connection to Dr. Oz. She said that nine years ago her mother suffered a serious heart attack at the age of 59. “I started to read all of Dr. Oz’s books, then to learn about how to be healthy. His first books were about the heart. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me.” Not only did Markowitz gain knowledge from the books, she lost 100 pounds, which she has managed to maintain through the years.
Kaden, who studied nutrition, said she, too, was influenced by Dr. Oz, as he taught courses at the school she attended.
The TV Dr. Oz that women see daily and adore – a smart, handsome and sincere doctor – is the real deal, according to the women. “He puts you at ease. He touches your shoulder or arm and reassures you,” said Markowitz.
At the end of the episode, a rapid-fire succession of texts chimed on the ladies’cell phones, as friends started calling in with comments about the show. “I haven’t had this much fun in years!” exclaimed Kaden.
Even birthday girl Maxine Cohen had her fun. At the show’s end she got the birthday hug and kiss from the lovable Dr. Oz she had requested.