Brief bio: I was born and raised in a small town in Maine. After high school, I attended the University of Vermont. I was excited to study dietetics and nutrition in Burlington, where the food culture is so robust. After graduating from UVM, I attended the University of Maine at Orono, where I completed a dietetic internship and obtained a Master of Science degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. I moved back to Burlington in 2015 and took the exam to become a dietitian in 2016. I have been practicing dietetics ever since.
Health related life story: I did not grow up with any particular knowledge about healthy eating. I remember loving Ramen noodles. My sister and I used to take big forkfuls of noodles, raise them high above our bowls, and chomp down on the hanging ends. We called this method of eating “giving haircuts”. I share this anecdote to illustrate something important to me: the development of food traditions and culture. It was traditions like giving haircuts to noodles that helped shape my appreciation for food long before I started formally studying the science of nutrition.
I became interested in the impact of nutrition on health towards the end of my high school career. With a bit of uncertainty, I chose to study nutrition at the University of Vermont, and it did not take long for me to know that I had made the right choice for myself. Food and nutrition are integral parts of our daily lives, and proper nutrition is essential in supporting health, functionality, and happiness. During my time at UVM, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study food systems in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is a beautiful state that is teeming with delicious food and vibrant food culture. My experience there served to strengthen my love of food and emphasized the importance of food traditions as a way of life.
Now, I aim to practice dietetics laden with the knowledge of science, while always remembering that food is important to us for many reasons, both obvious and not. I hope to empower others to use food as the important tool that it is in order to live the best lives that we can.
Favorite recipe and why:
One of my favorite recipes is modified from the book The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. I love this recipe because it offers a healthy serving of vegetables and is loaded with delicious spices. It can also be easily changed to have less spice or be vegetarian and vegan friendly. Here is the recipe:
Spicy Cauliflower Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp chile powder
¼ tsp tumeric
¼ tsp dried chile flakes
Salt to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
6 sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 large head of cauliflower (leaves removed), coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
For the garnish:
Plain Greek yogurt
Chopped cilantro or mint
Fresh lime juice
Directions: Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion, carrot, coriander, cumin, chile powder, tumeric, chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir together over medium heat. When the onions and carrots are soft (but not brown), add the cilantro, cauliflower, chicken broth, and water. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes. Stir vigorously with a spoon or whisk to coarsely puree the soup. You may need to add more broth or water to thin the soup if it is too thick. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve hot. Garnish each bowl of soup with yogurt, cilantro or mint, and lime juice.
To make a vegetarian or vegan friendly soup, replace chicken broth with water.
Where are you most likely to be seen on a Saturday morning?
My ideal Saturday morning would start with a leisurely cup of coffee followed by a slow meander to and through the Burlington farmers’ market with my dogs. A good cup of coffee, the Burlington farmers’ market, and the company of my dogs are three of my very favorite things.
If you were on a desert island, what is one food you couldn’t live without?
I would have a hard time living without eggs. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and offer many important health benefits. Eating eggs makes me feel strong!