A layout of how my brain works (LINK).
I’m just a kid with an interest. Well, that’s how it started anyways.
I never really gave any thought to nutrition or fitness until my senior year of high school, despite having wrestled since elementary. In retrospect, I’m pretty damn happy that I had 3–4 hour practices 6–7 days per week, because my diet was atrocious.
How did I get an interest? Girls, wanting to look good naked, disordered eating and weight cycling between the 145 and 164 lb weight classes in wrestling. It wasn’t pretty. But I’m thankful for my past because I enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
The cliff notes version is that I attended Washington State University from 2010 to 2013 and completed my undergraduate degree in
the exciting field of accounting. Although my academics were focused on business, every moment of my spare time was dedicated to soaking up health and fitness information. Oh, and philosophy — I got my minor in philosophy and ethics.
I spent the second semester of my junior year studying business abroad at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. It was amazing. When I returned, I completed a finance internship at The Boeing Company. It too was amazing. And then I decided I didn’t want to be an accountant.
So I spent a year after graduation completing some prerequisite courses at a local community college and then entered into the master’s didactic program in dietetics at Bastyr University in 2014 with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out.
No, not the degree — I graduated in 2016 with my masters in nutrition. The becoming a dietitian part never worked out. I applied for dietetic internships twice, once upon graduating and again the following year, and I was rejected twice. I guess I wasn’t what they were looking for, which upon inquiry was someone who had experience working in a hospital serving food to patients — you know, stuff completely unrelated to nutritional science and dietetics. #makessense
I could always try again, but I don’t really care about being a dietitian anymore. As this door closed, many others opened. Take my job at Examine.com, for example. I started working for Examine.com as a writer for their Examine Research Digest when it first launched in 2014 (the same time I began at Bastyr). I was hired to be a full-time researcher in 2016 and loved every second of it — something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had to complete a 9-month, full-time, unpaid dietetic internship.
I also started working as part of the teaching staff for the Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine masters program at the University of Western States. Again, probably wouldn’t have happened if I pursued the RD route.
My point being — there are a bazillion ways life can play out and no one knows what the future holds, and the future certainly doesn’t care about what you plan to happen. It isn’t necessarily about what happens, but more so about how you respond.
Currently, I maintain my position at UWS and work as a free-lance nutrition researcher and writer. I love the freedom it provides and, even more so, the diversity of topics I get to investigate.
And that’s where I’m going to end this for now. Maybe I’ll come back later and add more stuff. Who knows.
Important tidbits about my nutritional philosophy:
Whether I am working with a client or writing an article, my goal is to educate. I promote self-efficacy and teach clients how to apply critical thinking skills in their daily life. As the saying goes, give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
I am a huge advocate of a non-dogmatic approach to nutrition and I believe that every nutritional plan needs to be tailored to the individual’s unique needs, goals, and lifestyle. A combination of science and common sense should always prevail over rigid, one-size-fits-all diets.
I use a holistic approach in nutrition. There is little doubt that diet plays a central role in determining our health, but, ultimately, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. We cannot overlook the importance of other lifestyle and environmental factors such as sleep, physical activity, and stress.
Finally, I don’t have all the answers and I don’t pretend to. What I do have is a drive to learn, the ability to find and communicate information to a diverse audience, and an open mind that is not afraid to question and update my beliefs in the face of new evidence.