From Southern Louisiana to Southern California
I grew up in South Louisiana. With a Cajun grandmother, Chinese mother, and Italian Aunt, I had the fortune to be exposed to a variety of cuisines at a young age. My Aunt’s homemade spaghetti sauce and my Mom’s chili shrimp stand out in my mind. Cajun food was my mainstay since my grandmother did much of the cooking for me as a child. It was red beans and rice, smothered mirliton, chicken sauce piquante, crawfish bisque, shrimp and okra gumbo, and potato salad. Lots of potato salad. I especially remember the potato salad, because, as a young child, it was the dish I was entrusted to make. I was very proud of my potato salad. I would not say that anyone in my family was “health conscious”, or cooked that way. I remember loving food as long as I can remember. I don’t remember that anyone ever had any issues getting me to eat.
I really didn’t understand how lucky I was. By the age of eight, I lived on an eight-acre horse farm with my step-mother, dad, horses, dogs, goats, 2 pigs, 1 cat, and gaggles of chickens. I have fond memories of egg gathering in the barn. Pastured eggs every day.
By the time I was 13, I lived on 33 acres with my dad, who had decided to raise cows and plant a very large garden. We had grass fed beef and fresh vegetables right in our backyard. During my teenage years, I’d be introduced to the idea of dieting. I struggled with my weight and first tried the low-fat diets, then the low-carb diets. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing.
As a young adult I started going to the gym and even started to teach group exercise classes. I still lived on quite a bit of fast food, Lipton Noodles & Rice, Hamburger Helper, and Lean Cuisine meals. You know, typical Southern Louisiana college kid in the 90’s.
Thirteen years ago, at 27, I moved to San Diego. I was slowly introduced to a new culture of “healthy living”. Between a blog I followed and my circle of influence, I began to learn about the Paleo diet, which sparked a deeper interest in nutrition. I finally decided it was time to stop researching nutrition on the internet and embark on a 4-year career change which led to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential. Between education, experience, and using myself as a subject for almost every diet out there, I have learned a lot.
I know there is still much more I want to explore and experience. I will never stop learning. My current nutrition opinion right now? It’s probably pretty boring to most. We are all such unique people with unique circumstances, some we can or can’t control. If I’m speaking in general to everyone, then my #1 piece of advice is to eat lots of vegetables and fruits that you can tolerate, #2 is eat as little added sugar as possible.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me. Please post any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you!