Like many dietitians my interest in nutrition started because of my own struggles with food…
As the oldest daughter of first generation Italian-American parents, I spent a lot of time in or around the kitchen and food. We ate a healthy Mediterranean diet but I was intrigued with all of the processed foods the sixties heralded in. Attending a strict Catholic school where I felt stressed and anxious most of the time made treats like Hostess Pies, Devil Dogs, Trix cereal and Tang a welcome and comforting diversion.
At the young age of 8, food was already my solace. I will never forget the humiliation of shopping in the “chubette” department for my clothes. This was especially painful with outfits for special occasions. While all of the other girls twirled around in their pretty white communion dresses looking like princesses, I hid in the one husky dress available in my size.
It wasn’t until third grade when I was sent home from school with a note saying “your daughter is too fat, put her on a diet!” that I was finally motivated to do something. Luckily, mom was also a great cook and really believed that food could make you well. She worked patiently to teach me how to eat healthfully while still enjoying great food.
Learning how to create healthy recipes that I loved and that helped me lose weight gave me a sense of freedom and satisfaction I’d never known.
That thrilling revelation hooked me and I knew I wanted to do the same thing—teach people how to improve their health with food. I had traditional nutrition training in school but knew prescribing diets to sick people in a hospital was not what I wanted to do. I made a point to get cooking and journalism experience while I was at school and was lucky enough to live in a publishing mecca like New York at a time when people wanted to learn about food and nutrition. I worked in the food departments of some major magazines and honed my cooking skills under the tutelage of some great chefs.
Now I love to train people in the food basics since so many people don’t have the necessary skills to cook well enough to take care of themselves. Nutrition is still changing and evolving and I’m always trying to learn how it can make us live healthier, more fulfilling lives and then share that with you.