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Unlike my co-founders, I wasn't always interested in nutrition. I grew up preferring fast food, sugar cereal and Sara Lee coffee cake. That changed in my twenties when I suffered from chronic fatigue without a clear cause. After years of unsuccessful doctor visits and declining energy, I decided to take a more active role in my health to see if that would make a difference. It did—and dramatically. Consciously focusing on an intelligent diet, managing stress and getting more sleep achieved what "medicine" could not.
The effect of nutrition in particular had such a profound impact on my well-being that I became inspired to pursue it as a career. In 2002 I earned a master's degree in nutritional science from Bastyr University and in 2005 completed my dietetic internship at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. I'm now a Registered Dietitian, and for the past seven years have been a nutrition counselor at the Seattle Healing Arts Center where I see patients with issues ranging from diabetes and heart disease to weight loss, food allergies and digestive disorders.
Creating Zing Bars was a natural outgrowth of my counseling practice as the bars embody the recommendations I give patients. Nutritionally, they provide the correct type and proportion of protein, carbs, fiber and fat. Lifestyle-wise, they act as a bridge between meals, encouraging smaller portions and smarter eating habits. And frankly, they make my job as a nutrition counselor much easier. Patients are more likely to embrace recommendations that taste good!
My husband, two kids and I all have Celiac Disease and have been avoiding gluten for years. The lack of wholesome, great tasting gluten-free options on the market was a primary motivation in creating Zing Bars. I'm passionate about healthy foods that taste good. Life is too short to eat things you don't like!
Professionally, I am a registered dietitian and educator with a passion for teaching and wellness. I earned a graduate degree in education from the University of Sydney in Australia and a master's degree in nutritional science from Bastyr University in Seattle. In 2000, I co-founded NutritionWorks Nutrition Consulting with my close friend and colleague Kathleen Putnam. After being in private practice for ten years, I now work as the Director of Clinical and Quality Support for Alere Wellbeing's Weight Talk Program.
Having struggled with my own eating habits and body image when younger, I developed a passion for health and personal growth and decided to pursue that as a career. I earned a degree in food service management and dietetics at Oregon State University, then completed a year-long nutrition educator internship at the University of New Mexico.
For the next eight years, I was the program coordinator of cardiac nutrition education in the Dean Ornish, MD Program for Reversing Heart Disease at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. In 2000, I received my master's degree in nutritional science at Bastyr University and co-founded NutritionWorks Nutrition Consulting with Sandi Kaplan later that year.
I provide nutritional counseling using a personalized, multi-disciplinary approach that includes medical nutrition therapy, emotional brain training, coaching and intuitive eating to support shifts to healthier lifestyles. I've contributed to numerous media outlets as well as hosted message boards for Regence Health Insurance, WebMD and VoiceAmerica.
Creating Zing Bars was consistent with my professional passion as well as my sweet tooth!
I've wanted to work with nutrition since the 8th grade and am grateful to have a career coaching others to live vibrant, healthy lives. I started with a degree in dietetics, and my professional internship, at Texas Christian University. Then I worked as a consultant, writer and speaker in the vitamin and supplement industry. Moving to Seattle, I earned a master's degree in nutrition with an emphasis on clinical counseling from Bastyr University.
Recently, I became a Board Certified Sports Specialist in Dietetics (CSSD), granted by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing organization for the American Dietetic Association. CSSD is recognized as the premier sports nutrition credential in the U.S. Nationwide, only 160 Registered Dietitians have earned this credential.
Currently, I see clients at two Seattle locations: NutritionWorks Nutrition Consulting and Seattle Performance Medicine. I write Nutrition and the City, a monthly blog for Girl Power Hour. I'm an active member of The Center for Mindful Eating and was recently elected by colleagues to serve on the Nominating Committee for Behavioral Health Nutrition, a practice group of the American Dietetic Association.
Zing bars represent everything I believe food and our relationship to food should be: healthy, balanced, enjoyable, and satisfying. I never get tired of seeing the astonished expression when someone tastes a Zing bar for the first time, realizing how good real nutrition can taste. It's a delicious moment for me as well.