And now for a more formal introduction...kinda! I recently had the opportunity to share my story in the form of an interview. This seemed like a much more interesting way to share a little bit more about who I am, the tiny human behind all the food and why I believe in what I do. Enjoy!
Interviews & Articles & Podcasts
Question 1: Allie, you seem totally kick ass at this whole healthy lifestyle thing! Was this something you always knew you wanted to pursue as a career?
Nope! However, since high school, I have always been very health conscious. Being a typical high school teenager, I definitely cared about my body, its image, how I felt, and figured out very quickly that eating healthier was definitely the direction that worked best for me.
However, what I know now, is that my definition of “healthy” back then, might not have always the most accurate. I was very into calorie restricting, cardio, and stressing over a lot of the things I ate. I didn’t enjoy food the way I do now. I recently shifted my mindset from, how does nutrition keep me at the size that I want to be, to how does nutrition make me feel and serve my body to function optimally.
I was always very active as a kid. Whether it was gymnastics, cheerleading or running, if it involved fitness or movement, I was a fan. Still to this day, I love staying fit, becoming stronger and most of all, taking the same mindset of what fitness offers by challenging myself to stay mentally and emotionally connected to my body.
Question 2: Before you became a nutritionist, you were working as an interior designer. What was it that made you say, this isn’t for me and I need to follow my passion?
Talk about a career change! Ever since I can remember, interior design was what I wanted to do. I am good at it, I have an eye for things, and it is still a hobby that I will always love. The thing that started to change though was my WHY. I started to ask myself WHY was I doing this job? Why am I spending hours and hours putting all my effort, while subjecting my health, to something that I can’t picture myself doing 5 years from now? I knew that being stuck in an office, glued to a computer wasn't my destiny. I also started to listen to what my body was telling me, and apparently it was also just as unhappy.
Question 3: What big moment in your life made you pay closer attention to your health and was the driving force behind that turning point?
It was around 2013. I was working myself into the ground at an Architecture firm in San Diego. I was getting up at 5 am to workout, eating a fake ingredient protein bar for breakfast with 3 cups of coffee, ½ salad for lunch, and finishing up with almonds and wine with a side of stress for dinner. Clearly not enough nutrients to sustain any type of healthy focused concentration.
I had recently gone to the doctor for just a brief checkup, annual labs etc. The nurse practitioner called me back and said “everything looks good, except…..has anyone ever told you that your thyroid is under active? Are you tired, are you gaining weight, is your hair falling out, do you have brittle nails, do you like to nap?” Completely confused I said, “Ma'am, you obviously don’t know me at all. I am literally the opposite of all those things! I never need rest, I go a thousand miles a minute, I am bubbly, happy, energetic and I think my longest nap as a child was 20 min! There must be a mistake.”
Long story short, I was told I had Hashimotos, which is an autoimmune thyroid condition. For good reasons that I am now grateful for, my life hasn’t really ever been the same since then. I refused to immediately just go on some medication that was going to “fix” everything. I needed answers and I knew that I needed to take my health into my own hands to get them.
For the past 2 years, I have dedicated my free time and now career, to digging deeper into nutrition and its ability to support and heal the body. First step, I decided to go back to school. I needed to follow this new passion to see where it would go. The more I learned, the more I took action for my own health. I didn’t really have a game plan, but I have always believed that you can never learn too much about something that excites you.
I slowly started to position myself in my professional career to take on roles within the design industry that could be part-time and less demanding, so that I could focus on what I knew was calling out to me. Upon graduation from Nutrition school, I knew this was what I wanted to spend my life doing; helping people become the healthiest version of themselves. I support people to get to the root cause of what it is they are struggling with and educate them on how they can use food to strengthen, grow and thrive in their own skin.
Question 4: What would you say have been the biggest challenges thus far with the change in your diet and how do you stay on track?
This might sound bad, but because I have always been fairly restrictive, changing my diet was not hard for me at all. I always have been mostly healthy, so it was not a complete overhaul on my diet, but more of a shift in ingredients. Based on extensive research and schooling, I now understand what kind of foods work for me personally and how it constantly supports my efforts to be as healthy as I can be. The constant reminder of how I stay on track is simply by asking myself; “Is this going to benefit me or make me feel like crap?” Sometimes it's that easy!
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that the body needs time and nothing happens overnight. It is really frustrating to follow a very specific protocol and not see the results you want, when you want them. This experience has taught me a lot about patience and I would be lying if I said this is something I have mastered.
Rebalancing the body is a journey because everything is connected and you must address the whole as well as the parts.
Question 5: What big moment in your life made you pay closer attention to your health and was the driving force behind that turning point?
Besides learning about my condition that directly affected my health and the way that I ate, I also started looking at my future. At some point in the near future, my husband and I want to have a family and optimal health is of the utmost importance. Balance here is key and I still work every day towards achieving that. I also started to look at the big picture and where I saw myself in 10 years. I knew that I needed to be my own boss and make my own schedule. I also started to ask myself, what is my body telling me? What do I want? I realized that with a combined passion to control my own future, plus wanting more than anything to be able to heal my own health imbalances, that was my turning point. I followed my gut, quite literally, and marched full force ahead into what I knew was going to support my health journey and get me to where I want to be in life. My goal is to always live the healthiest most vibrant journey possible.
Question 6: Why is educating others about health and wellness so important to you?
There are so many inaccurate theories and misguided individuals sharing confusing information out there. My goal is to help people find out what works for them and the easiest way to accomplish it. When I first started this journey, I felt very confused. Nutrition is complicated. You would think that you could go to a doctor and feel confident that they are looking at every angle and giving you the best solutions. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. So many physicians out there are just trained to temporarily “fix” and chase symptoms. Rarely do they ever spend the time to look at the underlying cause of why something happens, let alone try and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. My goal is to help people look at the “why.” Why is something happening? Why do I feel this way? Why has something become out of balance? People need to know that what they are going through might not be "normal." Or what they have been dealing with since they were a kid, might not have to keep happening. Not feeling your absolute best is non-negotiable for me. One of my favorite quotes is, “when solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.” This pretty much sums up the purpose of my practice.
Question 7: What is your favorite thing to cook?
Ok to make……Coconut Milk Chia Seed Pudding, hands down. It is also one of my favorite things to eat. There is something about the texture and the opportunity for endless toppings that I go bananas for.....not to mention I love the nutritional value of good healthy fats and fiber for breakfast.
To cook, I would say a dish that is a combo of organic roasted vegetables and anything on the grill. My husband and I have a lot of fun cooking together and BBQ’ing. I think a good ol’ Grass-Fed Burger bowl is probably one of my favorites. I am not sure why I even own plates. Everything I make always ends up in a bowl. #barefoodbowls has officially become a hashtag.
And not that you asked....but favorite food in general? Avocado. Total California girl at heart.