My mission is to help people enjoy a delicious but sensible diet, regular exercise, and a reasonable weight, while still enjoying indulgent food and fun beverages from time to time.
I like facts. 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.
When I asked my colleagues what they though of when they thought of me and my work, (I was so glad they said “funny” because facts are way more fun with humor), they sent me these words:
“Energy, Funny, Sensible, Science-based, Unique Perspective, Trustworthy, Deep Insight., Brave, Unflappable, Communicator”
Rust never sleeps. I do get some really good night’s sleep sometimes, but I’m never short on ideas or wanting to go out and do something. I bring the same energy to helping you solve problems. I like to have FUN. I’m not a bikini model. I love coffee and sweet rolls. And French fries and martinis. I love al fresco dining. I love to laugh. I can’t decide which I love more the mountains or the beach, but it’s leaning towards the beach. I love food, entertaining, and the outdoors.
Clearly I can’t support my health with nonstop martinis and fried food, 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. A treasured part of my work is showing people how they can fit fun foods into their diet and still have a healthy balance. We always had a small candy dish filled with Hershey Kisses® in the house growing up, and I believe this candy dish is a great symbol of how to keep balance and moderation in perspective.
I don’t ban any foods from my household (Are you kidding? With teenagers?), so why would I ban them from yours? We eat good-for-you fruits, veggies, grains, cheese, milk, yogurt, and lean meats, with occasional junky higher fat choices, fried foods, and sweets. It’s all balanced out by scheduling regular physical activity into our daily lives.
Exercise is important and it’s something you have to keep modifying throughout your life. It’s gotta be scheduled or it doesn’t happen. I’ve always engaged in some sort of physical activity but I don’t “love to exercise”. I’d rather be sitting and thinking and writing instead of exercising, but I was an active kid, and played tennis is high school and college. When I hit middle age, and that familial arthritis set in, I began weight training. I now life weights twice a week, fit in a yoga class, and get my cardio through walking, easy jogs, or swimming, at least three days a week.
Whenever possible, I take advantage of my favorite outdoor activities – a walk on the beach, a hike in the mountains or on a nature trail, kayaking, skiing, or bike riding (I used to “cycle” but now let’s just call it “bike-riding”). Fresh air does wonders for my mental health and helps me keep things in perspective.
I’m the sort who is always looking for answers. How did I end up with a career in food and nutrition? Well, I developed an early understanding that what you eat impacts your health and well-being. When I was about 12, I began getting hives and experienced irritable bowel symptoms (IBS). As my IBS symptoms got worse in college, I was eventually diagnosed with mild Crohn’s colitis. I managed the disease with diet, stress reduction, and medication. Some things are just genetic, and family history matters. GI issues ran in the family, and my parents and grandparents all had some form of heart disease or diabetes. At the same time, they managed to live long relatively healthy lives with their diseases. Nonetheless, I became a Food and Nutrition Major, and sought to understand more about my gut and heart health; later being able to help others with theirs.
Perspective. Food has always been central to my core. 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 in the states. 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 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.
A Trustworthy, Unflappable Communicator with Deep Insight
I honor deadlines, and I offer insight and new perspectives to any situation. If I say I’m going to do it, I do it. 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.
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. Some may call this bravery. I’m resilient and I handle most stressful situations in a calm and unflappable manner.
The fun is in the storytelling
I am married and raised three sons. All four of these people are private, introspective, and mostly introverts. Perhaps this fuels my passion to create great content. I like to talk and share. It’s a little frustrating living with quiet, private, people when you are a talker, writer, and a fan of words.
Thanks for listening and let me know how my words impact you.
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EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
I am a registered dietitian, licensed in Pennsylvania. I have a Master of Science degree in nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition/Dietetics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I did my internship at the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh.
I have a wide variety of experience spanning over 30 years in both clinical and outpatient nutrition settings, long term care, teaching, and consulting, and I have over 25 years experience in freelance writing, have authored textbook chapters, journal articles, and have been quoted in magazines and newspapers. I’ve authored several diet and nutrition books in the For Dummies® consumer book series.
I am a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Past-Chair of the Nutrition Entrepreneur Dietetic Practice Group, have held numerous positions on the boards of Local, District, and National Nutrition and Dietetic Associations.