Why did you decide to pursue a career in nutrition?
I was always involved in sports growing up. During high school and college I had a growing interest in the role that nutrition plays on athletic performance. Combine that with a general interest in science, and I chose to pursue a degree in nutrition and dietetics. Upon completing my dietetic internship, and realizing that sports dietitian jobs are few and far between, I shifted my focus to how diet influences longevity and chronic disease risk. After years of working as an inpatient clinical dietitian, my current position as an outpatient cardiac rehab dietitian aligns more with my personal/professional interests.
What is your overall philosophy toward nutrition and a healthy lifestyle?
Although the mainstream media portrays a nutrition world that is in utter chaos, research on the subject has been fairly clear and consistent for decades. The more whole, plant-based foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts/seeds) we include in our diet, the healthier we tend to be. Combine this diet pattern with regular exercise, stress management, adequate sleep, and social support and you have the recipe for a long, healthy life.
What are your top 3 bits of nutrition advice?
1) The diet most associated with good health and longevity is a diet centered on whole, plant-based foods.
2) Eat more home-cooked meals shared with friends and family.
3) Find little ways to “upgrade” your diet (e.g. choosing beans over meat, swapping whole grains for refined, snacking on nuts/seeds over chips, etc).
What is your favorite…
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
In the face of climate change and the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, it is imperative that we take into account how our diet choices impact the environment. Climate experts clearly and consistently recommend that we shift our diet away from animal products to one where plants predominate. Although necessary for environmental health, this just so happens to be good for human health as well. This topic may be outside the scope of WWAD, but it’s always worth mentioning.