I have always been fascinated with the field of nutrition. I've learned to view the human body as a machine that needs fuel like a car; And, where a car can get too much bad fuel and tend to have problems, so can the human body if it is fueled with the wrong foods. It's a hard concept to practice in the world we live in, but we need to eat to live, rather than live to eat. Growing up in the south, everything is celebrated or even mourned with food. It becomes hard to eat the right food at the right time when food is everywhere all of the time! Also, I grew up being told to make a "happy plate" where I was rewarded for eating everything on my plate whether I was hungry or not. It took a long time for me to understand that it is ok not to eat everything that is put on my plate. Additionally, through my own experience, I've realized that nutrition awareness is extremely important and much of the public is unaware of what they are putting into their bodies and the consequences it can have. Also, I realized it's never too early to teach children about the importance of nutrition; after all, the longer we wait to teach them, the more bad habits such as the "happy plate" habit will need to be broken. Furthermore, it's important to stay current with the new research involving food and nutrition as it continues to evolve, while also considering an individua'ls environment and cultural aspects when advising them. Eating right needs to be viewed as a lifestyle and should come second nature, rather than viewing eating right as a diet or a program only to last a period of time.
Although I obtained my bachelor's degree in education, my passion for nutrition only grew as I was in the classroom. Being in the schools gave me the understanding of how little our youth knows how to eat, and how the problem would only grow worse as they get older if they don't become informed. Furethermore, I saw firsthand the options from the cafeteria that students were given for lunch and this was even more of a concern! Rarely were vegetables a part of the "hot lunch" and the salad bar consisted of shredded ice berg lettuce, shredded cheese, bacon bits, and fatty dressings. I began to realize how important it is that something be done to change this!
After deciding to stay home and start a family, nutrition became even more important to me as I wanted to give my first-born son only the best/healthiest foods. I began researching the importance of vitamins and which foods contained what vitamins so I could be sure that I was eating a variety of foods, so that he could consume all that he needed. During my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and it was at that point that my interest for nutrition became my passion. It was during this pregnancy that I decided that I wanted to go back to school, not for a Master's in education, but in Human Environmental Sciences. I no longer wanted to be in the school setting teaching English, but rather a teacher of nutrition to anyone I can help. I learned the importance of eating right more than ever when it affected the health of not only myself, but my unborn baby after my diagnosis. Happily, I was able to control the diabetes by eating right and had a healthy boy weighing 7 pounds and 6 ounces. As my second son approached one year old in the fall of 2011, I felt ready to enroll in school to begin my journey to becoming a registered dietician. I must complete the DPD program as my bachelor's degree is in an unrelated field as well as complete the master's program in human environmental sciences before being able to complete the internship and the exam to become a RD, but I've never felt more motivated and passionate about doing something before in my life.