Growing up on a farm in a small Iowa town, where food and eating at home were an integral part of social and family life, my mother told me that by the age of three, I would be standing on a chair at the kitchen counter so I could help her prepare family meals. By ten, I was preparing French toast for my four siblings and making roast beef with potatoes and carrots, all from our farm, for dinner.
Even though the meals have changed since then, what hasn’t changed is my love of cooking and feeding family and friends.
As a teen, I had a part time job after school cooking dinner for the local Catholic priest. Father Joe had diabetes and needed home cooked meals–right up my alley! Working with his dietitian, I decided I wanted to become one too.
My degree in nutrition from South Dakota State University was followed by graduate work in a dietetic internship at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center.
After graduation, I worked as a clinical dietitian. A familiar refrain from my patients was “if only you could come into my home and show me what to do in the kitchen to change my eating.” So I developed an in-home nutrition makeover service. I educated families in their living rooms, cleaned out their cupboards, took them to the market, taught them to chop vegetables and make healthy desserts.
It was this passion for convincing people that healthy food could be simple to prepare and taste great which became the topic of my first book, Fast Food at Home, published by Simon and Schuster. Happily, from this, I was able to purchase my first home.
I also have an office practice which is now in Beverly Hills. My work with patients, echoing my time with Father Joe back in Iowa, led me to my second book, Simply Gourmet Diabetes Cookbook. After moving to Los Angeles, I had a child, which made me interested in raising healthy eaters. That brought a new dimension to my work, and I became involved in children’s eating issues, including picky eating, preventing obesity and having a positive relationship with food and body image.
When I’m not seeing patients, I consult for food companies, including Quaker Oats, Egg Nutrition Center, Planter’s Peanuts (I once went ice skating with Mr. Peanut!), Taco Bell (I rated their bean burrito healthiest fast food at the time) and Starbucks, among many others.
These days, I mostly work with children, teens and adults in my office with issues such as weight management, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, anorexia, bulimia, to name a few.
Cooking meals for friends and family remains a life passion. I love to entertain. My latest venture is my SmartEatingShow series on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. By subscribing to my channel, you can get the latest in nutrition research, practical guides to changing eating habits, including cooking tips from my kitchen–everything you need to keep on track with healthy eating.
I hope you’ll come and take a look, and I look forward to seeing you there