My Food Philosophy

I believe in a way of living and eating that nourishes and heals the body. It’s not about following a diet - it is a way of learning to crave healthy food, but also feeling satisfaction in indulgence! There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet. Each of us are on our own journey finding the movement, meditation and food that makes us feel best. Being healthy is a fluid lifestyle. It is constantly evolving as you listen to what your body needs.

 

My food philosophy focuses on nutrient-dense and intentional food to lower our environmental impact, while focusing on specific body needs. I’m here to recommend a nourishing diet for someone struggling with an illness, looking to improve their health, or wanting to make more environmentally-responsible food choices. I focus on a plant-based diet to help those who are fully vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or just wanting to incorporate more plants into their lives (and make them taste good!).

My Health Journey

My wellness journey began with finding a love for cooking. I was in graduate school studying Environmental & Sustainable Engineering and had my first kitchen all to myself. Since then, cooking has been my hobby, my experiment, my meditation. My meals were focused on real ingredients and their environmental impacts as I planned around minimizing packaging and food miles, buying seasonal produce, supporting local farmers and using every scrap of food.

 

I had always struggled with problematic skin as a teenager, but a few years after graduating college, while still following a clean whole-foods diet, my acne became worse. And let me tell you, it is a HUGE bummer to be in your mid-20s, doing all the “right things” with a regimented skin care routine, a balanced diet and regular exercise, yet still struggling with embarrassing breakouts, an inconsistent cycle and low energy. No conventional treatments seemed to help, and I finally began to experiment with food as my medicine. I already had an interest in adopting a plant-based diet to reduce my environmental impact and took the plunge in hopes it would help my skin and overall health. Within weeks of following a plant-based diet, I noticed improvements and was amazed that something in my diet had been causing a reaction: what may have been a perfectly healthy and balanced diet for someone else was not the diet for me. My love for food and the desire to learn more about nutrition led me to begin my studies as a Nutrition Therapist – a perfect career path to combine my passions for sustainability, cooking and health!

 

Fast forward a year while on the same plant-based diet: my skin took a turn for the worse, I lost my menstrual cycle, and was exhausted of blindly experimenting on myself. I began working with a naturopathic doctor who specialized in hormone health. Turns out, my hormones were not the problem: instead, I was diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) – yes, a gut issue. Although my gut symptoms were minor (or so I thought), my body was speaking to me through my skin health, a common symptom of gut dysfunction. The improvements in my skin after several months of a strict diet protocol were incredible and yet another form of proof: nutrition is powerful!

 

I learned that the typical gut-healing diet protocol is far from plant-based, but I was determined to stick to my beliefs. Navigating a plant-based gut-friendly diet is a challenge because many plant-based staples are restricted – legumes, gluten, grains, corn, soy, seeds, some fruits and vegetables… But! The diet CAN be tailored to include plant-based nutrient-dense foods that make us feel good AND improve our health (and taste good, of course!). My SIBO journey has given me the tools to help others navigate a plant-forward protocol and achieve their best health.

Education & Credentials

Nutrition Therapist Master Candidate - Nutrition Therapy Institute

MS in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering - Arizona State University

BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Barre Instructor – Whole Body Studios

Hey! I’m Daina. I am currently finishing up my certification to become a Nutrition Therapist Master. I’m here to share ideas on integrating sustainable food in ways that are convenient, delicious and healthy!

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