What is your health philosophy?
To me, health is the ability to live the life that I want from a bodily and mental/emotional standpoint. It is feeling strong, full of life, and able to go and do! It is also the freedom to indulge in foods that I love without guilt or fear, because I believe that food is both for nourishment and pleasure. I have experienced the power of food as medicine first hand through therapeutic diets, and that completely changed the way that I practice as a dietitian. Finding the balance between prioritizing healthy food and movement and also living to the fullest is the essence of health!
What inspires your cooking?
Nutrient density is my guiding concept! I like to pack as much nutrition onto my plates as possible by adding things like micro greens, herbs, ferments, tons of veggies, healthy fats, etc. I also love color, and creating a meal that has lots of colors, textures, and flavors is a dynamic and fun eating experience. Most of the time I tend to keep my meals pretty simple, but I do also love to get creative with new dishes! Traveling and experiencing local cuisine always leave me with plenty of inspiration as well.
If you could go back in time 10 years, what piece of advice would you tell yourself?
Gosh, 10 years ago I was still eating tons of processed foods and pulling all nighters in college. If I could go back, I would tell myself to chill out, create some routine, protect my sleep, and eat some real food! I would also tell myself to be more judicious with antibiotics. I relied on them a lot (and even requested them) growing up for things like simple respiratory infections, and my gut health has taken a toll because of it!
What is a regular struggle you face, and how do you overcome it?
One life struggle that I encounter regularly is creating work/life balance. I'm ambitious, and it's hard for me to say no to things that I see value in! It's easy for me to overcommit myself and end up feeling stressed or not getting enough rest, which I can always identify because I lose motivation and have a hard time actually getting things done. To help overcome this, I have created some boundaries around not working during certain hours of the day or while eating, as well as taking weekends off. I prioritize hiking and going to the farmer's market every weekend, and cooking and going on a date with my husband. Protecting my weekends has really helped me balance out the hustle of my work week! I'll also mention a health struggle that I deal with on a regular basis, which is managing my digestion. My gut has never been the same after a particularly potent round of antibiotics a few years ago, and I am continually experimenting to find how I can most effectively support my system. I LOVE good food, but I have to be judicious with my choices and how they will impact me. This is something that I'm still practicing, and is part of why I answered the first question the way that I did!
Who are your role models, and what do you admire about them?
I don't know that I have a specific person in mind, but I love the Italian and French cultures. In particular, I appreciate how mindful and attentive they are with their food, their emphasis on quality, and my perception (whether it's reality or not) of their slower pace of life! I have an upcoming trip abroad, so I've got travel on the brain :) Also, I don't know if I would call it a role model, but my celebrity girl crush would definitely be Emma Watson!
What's your favorite flavor of Naked Bacon and favorite way to eat it?
Original! It's the first one I tried and I've been hooked ever since. Honestly, I like it all by itself so that the flavor can really shine! I'll have it as a side to some soft scrambled eggs and a piece of GF sourdough toast with butter and cherry jam or some avocado and roasted sweet potato! However, I've also really been enjoying it as a BLT lettuce wrap with avocado, tomato, sprouts, and green onion.