Hi, I’m Nina — a Registered Dietitian with a deep appreciation for real, good food and a mission to help people achieve optimal health and wellness through simple nutrition.
The last piece of creative writing I put out into the world was a 2nd grade assignment entitled “A Day in the Life of a Shoe.” Since then, I have written dozens — maybe even hundreds — of academic papers, including my graduate thesis, “The Effects of Sustainable Food Systems on Human Health and Nutrition.” Needless to say, as readers of Kelly’s blog, you are probably more accustom to eloquent, imaginative writing that paints a vivid picture in your minds of the struggles, triumphs, and life experiences this incredible woman so bravely shares with all of you. So please…….bare with me. I promise to be authentic, honest, and open in what I write here. I have a wonderful example in my friend, Kelly, and I’m very excited for this path we have chosen to explore together! Hopefully, at the end of the day, you'll feel my life is at least more interesting than that of a shoe. So here it goes!
Food. It is a beautiful, sacred part of our everyday lives. No matter how you slice it, marinate it, cook it, or eat it, food — and I mean REAL FOOD — is life-giving. One of the greatest challenges we face on a day to day basis is staying true to our values and sticking to our plan, when it comes to food. I believe our personal relationship with food is actually a lesson in authenticity. Sound over the top? Maybe...but think about your value system. Perhaps this is the first time you have. Let me say, it is a great place to start! Our values guide our decision, center us in a world of chaos, and act as our individual framework for authentic living (in other words, being the best version of YOU that you can be). So, when we consider how many of our daily decisions involve food, we may begin to understand the importance of outlining our values and seeing how they can point us toward better eating, greater self-respect, and a deeper sense of well-being.
To help you know me better, I’d like to share a few of my personal values: for life, food, and beyond.
I value sustainability… This reaches into more areas of my life than I could have ever imagined. Sustainability has been critical in the habits I create (or try to create), the food, clothing, personal care products, and just about everything else I purchase, and the amount of time, energy, and attention I give to the relationships and responsibilities in my life. This is where having realistic expectations comes into play. When I can keep my ego in check and be honest about what I can bring to the table, it makes for a happier, healthier, more productive me (not to mention a healthier planet).
I value quality… If it’s worth bringing into your life (or putting into your body), it’s worth the highest quality you can realistically afford. There is a reason 15-20% of our monthly budget is allocated for food. My husband and I are very conscious of the quality of the food we expect to nourish our bodies, and we are willing to pay more to support farmers and growers who share this value with us. In so many areas of our lives (in this country especially), we have sacrifice quality for convenience. I vote we bring slow, real, high-quality things back into our lives and our homes.
I value mindfulness… Some days, this is the hardest thing I do. Staying present and being mindful of what I do and say is a practice, and damn is it a tough one! Yoga, meditation, healthy cooking/eating, and other forms of self-care are a few of the practices I strive to maintain. Let me tell you, I fall short more often than I succeed in most of these areas. Mindfulness is a practice that can help us connect with our bodies and our souls on a new level (not to sound woo woo). Honestly, my wellness journey began with simply “paying attention” to the things my body was telling me. Turns out it was actually screaming at me, and I had hit the mute button. Cultivating mindfulness means unmuting and actively listening to what our bodies and souls are calling for...sometimes it’s sleep, sometimes it’s quality time with friends or family, sometimes it’s movement, right now...it’s a homemade spelt flour ginger cookie...yum.
Seriously, my husband just baked cookies, so that’s all for now!
Here’s to the monthly posts to come and the real foods, nutritious recipes, and wellness strategies we will explore together!