“What we choose to eat has a lasting impact on our life and how we live it.”
What was your path to becoming a nutritionist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My path to nutrition started with a love for and fascination with the human body. While I trucked through biology and physiology classes in college, I found myself interested in exploring not just the body itself, but outward feelings and responses to biological changes and treatment. In other words, I wanted to explore how physical changes impact us emotionally and socially. And then came my love for food. The color, the texture, the taste… all of it! This passion most likely stems from hours spent in the kitchen cooking with relatives and early exposure to all kinds of wild spices and flavors. In wanting to combine my two interests, I began my career in clinical nutrition and knew from the start I would be sticking with it for the long haul.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
In our first session, we'll establish a comfortable environment where you can feel free to openly discuss your concerns and address all your needs. We will start by understanding what your goals are and how I can best support you in meeting them. From there, we will lay out a plan for our next steps, be it meal planning, grocery lists, recipes, or food journaling, and establish a structure around meeting times or phone check-ins going forward.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Teaming up with other care providers only makes our work together more meaningful. A deeper understanding of your medical and emotional history will help in creating the most individualized and practical plan for you. I shape each person's unique nutrition plan according to their blood values as well as their emotional and psychological changes and triggers. Putting together each piece of the puzzle will help to set you up for success on your nutrition journey.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
The healthcare industry is finally moving past the one-size-fits-all approach to treatment and healing. Management of certain symptoms might look completely different for different people, and ideal meal plans might appear drastically different from one family to the next. It is important to remember that your healthy eating plan does not have to look like someone else’s. Regardless of picky eating, finicky taste buds, and hesitations in the kitchen, your nutrition needs are worth addressing and are valid. Together we will give attention to all of your concerns. Ultimately, personalization and attention to your specific needs is what will elevate the experience.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
What we choose to eat has a lasting impact on our life and how we live it. So why not make the best of it? Now more than ever, the medical community is taking notice of nutrition as a true mechanism in the treatment and management of chronic disease. Research shows that our attitudes and experiences around food when we’re young can shape our relationship with food as we get older. Much of my research is focused on specialty diets in the pediatric population, including gluten-free diets for celiac disease and dietary restrictions for inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel disease. Creating a positive atmosphere where both child and family can grow and experience positive emotions around food, even in the setting of a restricted or specialized diet, is of the utmost importance.
“Creating a positive atmosphere ... around food, even in the setting of a restricted or specialized diet, is of the utmost importance.”