What led to your career in nutrition and dietetics?
My passion for nutrition stems from the ability to help people achieve health and wellness with food, something that has always been a part of my life. When my mother underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2007, she never followed up with a dietitian and therefore never learned how to eat properly. After I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, I noticed that the others in my treatment group were unsure how to eat on the low-iodine diet. With a background as a chef, I was able to give myself the foods I needed, but I started to think more about how food is used as treatment for various medical conditions. I then began applying for master's degree programs and, after my first semester at New York University in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, I fell in love with the profession!
Tell us about your work and how it fulfills a need in your community.
The-Sage.org is not a search engine. It is fact-based, unbiased, un-marketed and true. I receive a lot of different types of questions and people need answers. This pushes me harder to strive for more ways to help and educate the community. It is my passion and what drives me every day.
I've also recently published a diet manual called The Slice Plan: An Integrative Approach to a Healthy Lifestyle and a Better You (The Sage: Nutritious Solutions 2013). These materials give the community a way to access accurate and research-based information in a realistic way. It is important that any dietary modifications fit easily into a person's life to ensure compliance and long-term success.
What do you find most rewarding about your efforts?
The website has been a great way for me to get my feet wet and see if my efforts aligned with what people desired. Knowing that I can use my knowledge and experience in culinary arts and clinical nutrition to help people achieve health and wellness is the only reward I need.
Looking ahead, how would you like to see your project develop or grow?
I want to continue to add content to The-Sage.org (the site already features weekly recipes, educational videos and news updates on current research in the field of dietetics). I work with nutritionists and dietitians in various cities to submit articles to keep the content fresh. I also would like to add cooking demonstrations to show people the basics of cooking techniques.