One thing I know for sure is that one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to nutrition and the journey to better health. Another is that a lot of us have skewed relationships with food. Those realizations, or my decision to advocate for individualized nutrition and balanced food relationships, didn’t happen overnight…
A Little About Me
I’m Carrie Dennett and I’m a Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist, newspaper columnist, blogger, enthusiastic home cook and baker, vegetable gardener, wife and caretaker to a golden retriever and three backyard hens.
I love to read, drink coffee, watch movies, do yoga, meditate, bellydance and go on long walks with my husband or dog (both, when schedules allow).
I enjoy traveling, and am as happy camping on the Washington coast as I am visiting New York or Paris (OK…maybe Paris wins that little competition).
I work with individuals and groups to help people cultivate better relationships with food so they can reach their health and wellness goals.
I know that having a healthy relationship with food isn’t always easy. Even when we think we know how to eat, life can get in the way of acting on what we know. For example:
- Crazy schedules
- The lure of the diet du jour
- What your spouse/friend/coworker/mother/neighbor/barista says you should eat
- The ghosts of diets past
- Minimal cooking skills or kitchen confidence
- The barrage of media messages about super (and not so super) foods
- Struggles with food allergies or sensitivities
- Battles with food cravings or addictions
- Pure habit (aka being stuck in a rut)
When your relationship with food is in balance, you don’t eat to live, but you don’t live to eat, either. You eat nourishing food that fuels your body for all you need it to do, but you also enjoy your food, making eating one of many pleasures in your life.
On a personal level, I have a long history of dieting that started in adolescence, when I would pore over weight loss diets in “women’s magazines.” While I wouldn’t say I’ve tried every diet out there, I did try a lot of them: meal replacement products, Weight Watchers, vegetarian, vegan, detox diets, low-fat, super low-fat (Ornish), cabbage soup, South Beach, Paleo and intermittent fasting.
For years, I viewed nutrition as little more than a means to control my weight. Today, I know that nutrition is so much more!
I have a background in journalism, and several years ago I found myself writing about health and wellness for a health management company. Writing about diabetes, heart disease and cancer, I had the big “epiphany” that eating well and moving our bodies often were key to preventing, and even treating, these and other serious health problems that, let’s face it, we would all prefer to avoid.
My interest in nutrition grew, and I made it a point to keep up with the latest nutrition research. Constantly reading “Eat this!” news stories followed a few months later by a “Wait…on second thought, don’t eat that!” story made me realize that it was no wonder that we’re so confused about what to eat.
That’s when I decided I wanted to do more than just write about how to be healthy and well. I wanted to work one-on-one with individuals to help them eat well, enjoy their food–and feel great.
I dismissed the voices in my head that whispered, “You’re a writer…not a science person.” I waded through two years of heavy science classes (anatomy and biochemistry, anyone?) so I could apply to graduate school and study to be a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). You can learn more about my bonafides on my “Credentials” page.
What I’ve Learned
I’ve learned, through personal, academic and clinical experience, that while the healthiest ways to eat have certain things in common, there is no one right way to eat. There isn’t a “magic” ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat. There’s no food group that must be avoided (unless you have a food allergy or sensitivity).
What works beautifully for your neighbor may leave you feeling tired, hungry and cranky. When you try to shoehorn yourself into a way of eating that doesn’t resonate with your tastes, your background and your body’s needs, you’ll find yourself unhappy, later if not sooner.
I’ve also learned that dieting, really doesn’t work. That’s why lots of people lose weight on diets, but few keep it off. It’s not a matter of willpower, either. The process of controlling calories in an artificial way is inherently flawed, and our bodies simply won’t put up with it for long! Relearning how to eat intuitively and mindfully, in tune with our body’s natural hunger and fullness signals, is a much saner and sustainable way to go (I say “relearn” because little kids know how to do this…until they are taught differently).
Plus…all that number crunching and record keeping takes time and energy that could be spent on much more fulfilling and satisfying activities.
The Good News: There is a Better Way!
I care about being healthy and feeling well, and I bet you do, too. This is what’s important to me:
I want to sleep well, wake up refreshed and have the energy to do what I want (and need) to do each day, whether that be work or play.
- I want to be fit and strong enough to walk for miles sightseeing on vacation, to dash for the bus if I need to, to lift my growing-like-weeds nieces and nephews, to haul Costco-sized bags of groceries and 50-pound bags of chicken feed from my car.
- I want to reduce the odds that I develop chronic health problems that will slow me down in future decades. (I think modern medicine is an amazing thing, but I don’t want to have a medicine cabinet filled with prescription drugs when I’m 75.)
- I want to enjoy the pleasure of eating food that satisfies my tastebuds, nourishes my body and sometimes even soothes my soul.
- I want to experience the joy of physical activity that makes me feel good.
Now it’s your turn!
What’s Important to You?
- Are you ready to let go of rigid or ever-changing food beliefs and food rules?
- Are you ready to cultivate a way of eating that’s perfect for you?
- Are you ready to feel more confident in the kitchen?
- Are you ready to care for your body, mind and soul with nourishing, delicious, real foods?
Where would you like to go now? If my philosophy resonates with you, I’d like to be part of your story by helping you reach your nutrition, health and wellness goals. There are many ways we can work together…which one is right for you?
- In-person nutritional therapy and counseling (at Menu for Change)
- Virtual nutrition coaching (via Nutrition By Carrie)
- Nutrition freelance writing
- Nutrition consulting for your brand or company
- Nutrition presentations for your workplace or organization
- Copy editing of your nutrition and health writing