What inspired you to become a dietitian?
It all started with one of my favorite books as a young girl called the Edible Pyramid by Loreen Leedy. When I would play “school,” this book, which outlines the 1991 Food Pyramid for kids, was a part of the core curriculum for my classroom of stuffed animals. Needless to say, I developed an interest in food and nutrition at a young age. It wasn’t until college, when I took an elective course in Nutrient Metabolism, however, that I realized I wanted to pursue it as a career.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist has allowed my personal interests to intersect with my career goals. For example, I’ve always enjoyed being active, whether it’s going for a long trail run, skiing, or hiking with my dog, Ru. As a dietitian, I know how to properly fuel my body for those activities and can share that knowledge with others who are looking to be active as well. Being able to help others make healthy changes in their lives is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
What have you learned most from your experience in this field?
Though I am an educator at heart, making a health-related change often requires much more than simple education. As you may already know from personal experience, just because someone tells you to do something does not mean you’ll do it. So while I enjoy being an educator, I’ve learned that my job is not only to disseminate knowledge, but to be an ally and coach for others as they work through the process of making healthy lifestyle changes.
What do you find to be the most interesting nutritional fact?
Chocolate is rich in flavanols, a substance that protects the body against oxidative damage and may help improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Enjoying an ounce of dark chocolate (made from at least 70% cacao beans) once in a while is something I get excited about!
What’s your favorite Medifast tip?
Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients, so we need to make sure we are getting enough. Water helps remove toxins and waste from the body and keeps our organs and systems, including our metabolism, working properly.
If you could have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chili: Just think of all the variations you could have and the different food groups (and thus nutrients) you’d be getting! I’d load mine up with lots of vegetables and lean protein. If I could pick a second food, it would definitely be chocolate chip cookies—yum!