“Energetic, Funny, Sensible, Science-based, Trustworthy, Deep Insight, Brave, Unflappable Communicator, Unique Perspective”
When I asked my colleagues what came to mind when they thought of me and my work, they sent me these words. I was so glad they said ‘funny” because facts are way more fun paired with humor.
I like knowing, not guessing. I’ve always relied on science and research before making recommendations or coming to rash conclusions….and this fact-finding mission is what birthed my Chew the Facts® blog and brand.
Energetic and Fun
Rust never sleeps. Well actually, I do get a good night’s sleep, but I’m never short on ideas. I bring the same energy to helping you solve problems. I like to have FUN. I love food, entertaining, good conversation and the outdoors. I love al fresco dining. I can’t decide which I love more the mountains or the beach, but it’s leaning towards the beach. Science is cool, but it really boils down to your behavior. My goal is to help you figure out how you can easily consume healthy foods that you enjoy.
A treasured part of my work is showing people how they can fit fun foods into their diet and still have a healthy balance. I was fortunate to learn about this from my mother. She always had a small candy dish on an end table filled with Hershey Kisses® in our house growing up. I believe this candy dish is a great symbol of how to keep balance and moderation in perspective – with a well-portioned treat. Eat good-for-you fruits, veggies, beans, grains, cheese, milk, yogurt, and lean meats first, but allow the occasional fried foods or sweets too – in the right portion.
I don’t ban any foods from my household, so why would I ban them from yours? I love coffee and sweet rolls. And French fries and martinis. Clearly I can’t support my health with those foods, so there must be balance. Yes I want you to eat more vegetables, but life is too short not to eat the chocolate or enjoy a birthday dessert.
Of course sleep, stress reduction and physical activity is an important part of a balanced life too. Schedule it, or trust me, it won’t happen. Find what you enjoy, and what works for you! It’s something you have to keep modifying throughout your life as your schedules change and your body ages.
Don’t believe every news headline you read about the latest study. Studies are important, but they don’t paint the whole picture. I continually review the latest research and methodology on diet, food and health, and weigh it with the totality of the available evidence to determine sensible recommendations. Nutrition science can be challenging to design since it’s difficult to do human RCT trials. However there are some clear and well-established links between diet and disease (my focus on diet’s impact in cardiovascular risk stemmed from my strong family history of heart disease).
A Trustworthy, Unflappable Communicator with Deep Insight
I honor deadlines, and I offer insight and new perspectives to any situation. I love change, and it’s a good thing, because one thing is certain when is comes to life: Change is inevitable, and flexibility is crucial. Remember that.
I’m resilient and I handle most stressful situations in a calm and unflappable manner. Someday I may tell you a story about the time when I accidentally locked myself out of my hotel room, only wearing a towel…like, literally. Only a towel. I kept my cool and found a solution to the situation, and still made it to my morning book signing.
The Fun is in the Storytelling
For me, there’s no better way to spend my free time than around good people, good food, and good stories. I am married and raised three sons. All four of these people are private, introspective and mostly introverts. It can be a little frustrating living with quiet, private, people when you are a writer, storyteller and a fan of words. I like to talk, help, and share. That’s what fuels my passion to create great content.
Food has always been central to my core. I developed an early understanding that what you eat impacts your health and well-being. Growing up in an environment where food was central, I’m passionate about making healthy food an enjoyable part of everyone’s life. My perspective on food, where it comes from, and how it’s prepared goes back to my grandparents – Italian immigrants who lived through the Great Depression. One grandfather made wine, grew fruit trees (fig, peach, cherry, pear, apple, plum) and had robust vegetable garden. The other grandfather was a butcher, passing on his meat cuts and kitchen knife sharpening skills to my father. My mother was an excellent baker and cook, and she and my grandmother canned tomatoes and froze vegetables from the garden for later use. We ate beans and greens, polenta and other “peasant food”, and had a simple green salad after every meal (in Italy, salads were traditionally served after the entree). I basically grew up on a Mediterranean-DASH-style diet, and we celebrated every special occasion or holiday with wonderful food.
In addition, when I was about 12, I began getting hives and experienced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As my IBS symptoms got worse in college, I was eventually diagnosed with mild Crohn’s colitis. It was very clear diet and lifestyle impacted my health. I managed the disease with diet modification, stress reduction, and medication. I later became a Food and Nutrition Major who sought to understand more about diet modification in disease, nutrition, food and health, so that I could help others with their diet and lifestyle.
All of these experiences keeps me grounded in seeking out facts and nutrition science, and also the importance of bringing it to the family table.