Where do you live? I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and decided to leave California to attend Arizona State University for college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, I stayed in Arizona and fell in love. I spent most of my undergrad in Downtown Phoenix, then I moved to Scottsdale, where I currently live with my fiancé, Mark.
Why do you blog? The best way to describe my love for blogging is with my favorite quote - "We write to taste life twice" by Anais Nin. I love talking about food, travel, and creating recipes. Having a blog helps me relive my favorite life memories, connect with others, and inspire!
What blogging advice would you give to someone? Start blogging! The only way to find your voice, niche, website design, or photography style is to jump right in. Use your specialty and talk about what you know, not what you think people will want to hear. Authenticity is key and write about things that you would want to read about. I put my heart and soul into each blog post, so write about something you love just as much.
What are some of your pet peeves: I strongly dislike extreme dieting and inaccurate health advice. If you are looking for quick ways to get thin or think the only way to be healthy is through a juice cleanse, then I might not be the best blog for you to follow. While studying to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I learned what it truly means to be healthy - and it's not through crazy diets. What I have found is that the more you know about nutrition (real nutrition, not online faux research), the more you learn about how amazing the body is and how eating normal foods in the right portions is better than any supplement, super food, or raw food cleanse.
Since you are a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, are you a member of any professional groups? I have been an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2010 and am part of the following Dietetic Practice Groups: Weight Management, Food & Culinary Professionals, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine, and Nutrition Entrepreneurs. I have also attended every Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) since 2010, if you are a nutrition student or are in the field and are looking to get more involved int he profession, I highly recommend attending! I am also a member of the Central Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where I serve on the Board and put together their newsletters.
I also have received the following certificates from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management, and a Certificate of Training in Food Allergies
Are these really your photos? Yes! Every photo on my website had been taken by me or very rarely taken by a friend with my camera.
What camera and lens do you use? I shoot with a Nikon D3000 usually with an 18-105mm lens. I've had this Nikon for over 5 years, it is my pride and joy! Someday I will upgrade to something better or higher tech (it doesn't have any of the modern bells and whistles), but for now I love my camera and am happy with my Nikon. I also occasionally shoot using my iPhone, depending on the circumstance and location.
What is your photo policy? I kindly ask you to not use or redistribute my images for your own website or publication - unless you Pin a photo, I would love that! If you would like to use any of my photos for your own use, please email me at [email protected] for permission and I will require that I am given full credit for the image. It takes me so much time to create and publish images for my website, please respect my photo policy. Thank you!
What kinds of things did you do before your blog? I have always been super busy, even in my 'college summer downtown', if there every was such a thing. In 2014 I was the Culinary and Nutrition intern for EatingWell Magazine where I spent my summer in Burlington, Vermont learning recipe creation, magazine worthy photography, and writing from the best Dietitians (and some non-dietitians) in the field! Also in 2014, I worked as a Line and Prep Cook at the Bohemian Grove, which was my first and only real paid culinary job. I never intended to work in a commercial or restaurant kitchen when I started culinary school, but when a one week position opens up at one of the most secretive and prestigious clubs in the world, you take it!
After college and while attending culinary school, I worked as a Nutritionist for Sun Devil Dining (Aramark) at ASU where I helped students who had food allergies and other health conditions eat in the dining halls. In college I worked for Kind Bar Healthy Snacks as a Brand Ambassador, was a Recipe Assistant and Webmaster for Michelle Dudash, RDN, and Nutrition Educator for a Preschool Garden Program. In college I also chaired a few committees including the Student Advisory Committee with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Universal Health Board at Arizona State University. Like I said, I was always kept myself super busy!
What is your food philosophy? My food philosophy is constantly evolving and although the specifics of my diet might differ from year to year there are some consistent pieces I live by. My view on food is a mix between Michael Pollan "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants", and Julia Child "Everything in moderation, including moderation". I incorporate fruits and vegetables into my everyday meals and recipes, usually ending up with about half a plate of vegetables! I also believe that small bits of desserts and sweets are important because sometimes happiness is more beneficial than a plate full of kale. The key to healthy is pretty simple, keep everything in the right portion, eat a variety of colorful vegetables/fruits, and cook at home. I try to incorporate these philosophies into every recipe I create here because I truly believe that is the way we should all eat for our health and lifelong happiness.
What does it take to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?
To become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, you have to first receive a four year undergraduate degree in dietetics, then complete a full-time 9 month dietetic internship, and sit for the national exam. Dietetic internships are extremely competitive but allows you to get hands-on experience with patients and apply your classroom nutrition knowledge under the watchful eye of a precepting dietitian. After completing your dietetic internship (I made it sound so easy and fast but the internship is very intense!) you have to sit for the national registered dietitian exam, which gives the RDN letters behind your name! As a practicing medical professional in a field that is constantly changing with new research and updated guidelines, we also have to complete continuing education hours to maintain our credentials.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are licensed medical practitioners that work in a variety of settings including hospitals, school food programs, government nutrition programs, private practice, academic research, and many, many other places! Whether we are tube feeding an ICU patient or implementing a new federal school nutrition guideline, dietitians can work in a variety of settings, all related to food and nutrition. After completing my 9-month dietetic internship with Arizona State University and passing the national RDN exam, I couldn't believe my long road of becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist was finally a reality!
My commitment to you: I only base my content on evidence based practice, research articles from peer reviewed sources, and what is taught in my nutrition classes. I research all facts through research search sites, like EBSCO, and I will always link the research article I use at the bottom of each posting. I only use the USDA Nutrition Database to calculate nutrients and maintain as accurate of calculations as possible. All pictures I post are photos I have taken on my own for the sole purpose of providing you with a better idea of what a perfect meal should look like, including proper portion sizes. I create my own meal postings and pairings just for Eat Me Meal, never copied from other websites.