Meet Our Team

Meet Your PreviMedica Nutrition Advisor: Natali

Throughout your PreviMedica membership, your nutrition advisor will play a key role in formulating your plan for success. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of the nutrition advisors on our team: Natali!

Natalie

 

Natali has been with PreviMedica since 2013. Her knowledge of all things nutrition is impressive and her enthusiasm to help her patients is contagious. We love Natali because she tells it like it is and is always genuinely interested in others. You can read more about her path to PreviMedica here. Today, I am chatting with Natali about what she loves about the field of nutrition, how she motivates her patients, and about Italian food!

Let’s get started! Natali, at what point did you decide that a career in the field of nutrition was for you?

My passion for nutrition began when I was a sophomore in college, when I realized that living a healthy lifestyle can improve the body, mind, and health, and that it can also have a positive influence on many areas of one’s life. This awareness inspires me every day to help myself and others live a healthier and more fulfilling life through exercise and nutrition. I love to be an advocate for good nutrition and protect people from misleading nutritional information.

Knowing you personally, I can definitely say that you practice what you preach! And I know that this shows through in how you counsel your patients. For the people who are reading this who are thinking about taking steps to be healthier, what is one change that they can make to their day-to-day life to get started?

Yes! I definitely practice what I preach because what I do is my passion and I want to share my passion and my love for nutrition and exercise with others. Counseling is not a job for me. It is what makes me happy. I have the heart for this kind of job; I have the passion and determination for nutrition and desire to help others.

As far as one change that someone can make to impact their health, it really depends. Everyone is different and responds to different things. It depends on how ready they are, and where they are with their health or lifestyle. Everything we do here is individualized and based on a person’s readiness to change and health goals.

Ok, ok that was kind of an impossible question, haha. Like you said, it all depends on the person’s individual situation, which is why it is so important to have the guidance of a nutrition professional!

What would you say to someone who is having trouble staying motivated?

I usually encourage people to stay motivated by telling them that it is okay to make gradual changes and work on one goal at the time. I’ve learned that making many changes at once can be overwhelming and frustrating. People who make too many changes overnight are less likely to stay on the right path. I also tell people that they need to think about their body as a temple, and what they are doing is making a long-term investment to help prevent disease.

Absolutely! There is a lot of misinformation out there about quick fixes, but it will always remain true that gradual changes have lasting impact. Last nutrition question before we get into some food talk. If there is one nutrition myth that you could dispel for everyone reading, what would that be?

Since gluten free is one of the hot nutrition topics nowadays, many people have decided to go gluten free because they think is healthier. I think it’s important to educate people on the best way to go gluten free. Just because a product is gluten free (cookies, cakes, desserts, sweets), that does not mean that these products are healthier and/or better for our bodies. Gluten free products typically contain either more sugar or more fat to compensate for the gluten properties. Also, gluten-free products lack many nutrients including B vitamins and fiber and often times more calories.

When we consult with our clients here at PreviMedica, we educate them on the best way to go gluten free by choosing naturally gluten free whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, starchy vegetables, proteins of high biological value, and healthy, high-quality fats.

Yes! This is definitely a message that a lot of people are not aware of. Or even thinking that gluten free means lower carb. Most of the time that isn’t the case.

Ok, now on to the good stuff:

What are 3 things that you always have in your refrigerator?

Vegetables, eggs, nut butters

Favorite food as a kid?

French fries, green grapes and…… I know is not real food but……. candy (yes, I was a candyholic).

You and I would have been best friends as kids! Or maybe enemies because I didn’t share my candy.

Best meal you have eaten lately?

Homemade seafood ramen noodle soup made by Frank. It was sooooo delicious. I think I’m going to ask him to make that soup again todayJ

(Frank is Natali’s significant other who also happens to be a chef and owner of an Italian restaurant. I mean… she is living the life. 🙂 )

Speaking of, Italian food or Colombian food?

Italian!! I love everything about Italy especially the food. I think I was Italian in my past life.

Puppies or babies?

Babies, and then puppies for the babies!

You didn’t fall for my trick question! That is correct. The answer is puppies with babies.

Thanks for chatting with me, Natali! Your passion for your job is evident, and we are so lucky to have you on our team. Now, if we could arrange to get some of Frank’s seafood ramen…


If you are interested in nutrition consultations with PreviMedica, please feel free to contact us at 855-773-8463 or by email at hello@previmedica.com.


Eunice Holmes, RDN, LDN is a regular contributor to this blog and assistant nutrition manager for PreviMedica. Her favorite things are pretty food, being a cat lady without actually having a cat, and of course, her family.

Meet Our Director of Nutrition Services: Amy Pieczarka

March is National Nutrition Month and today, March 8th, is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! To celebrate, we asked our nutrition director Amy Pieczarka, RD, LDN, CCN, CDE to chat with us about what led her to a career in dietetics, the favorite part of her job, and as always, food. We always talk about food.

Amy

If you ask anyone here what their favorite thing about coming to work is, you will probably hear how much we love the people we work with. Everyone is supportive, friendly, and dedicated to helping others. This is in no small part due to Amy and the working environment she has created. Read on and you’ll see what I mean:

First things first, how do you know so much?? Really though. Your knowledge of everything related to nutrition (and beyond) is impressive.

(That’s funny but thank you.)

I actually feel the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I need to learn!   There is so much to understand about the complex interactions of nutrition and lifestyle, and their impact on health and chronic disease.   And there is so much that is still not completely understood even by the research experts.  Nutrition and the advice we give to individuals continues to evolve.   When I entered the “real world” of counseling and applying what I had learned, I was quickly reminded that not only does one size NOT fit all, but so much of what I thought was  “carved in stone”, well accepted principles in the nutrition world, weren’t so! Great example….fat.   We learned fat was the enemy… recommend low fat this, no fat that.   No more! Now we know many fats are our friends.   Very early on, I knew that if I wanted to really make a difference in the lives of others in this career, I would have to be committed to be in a constant state of learning, not only from continuing education, certification programs, webinars, but also from everyone I interacted with to give guidance.   So I did that.   Beyond the book learning, certification maintenance, I vowed to learn at least one thing from every person I have contact with, both professionally and personally.   Turning to others for mentoring has helped me tremendously to stay current all throughout my career.    I’ve been very fortunate to be able to surround myself with brilliant people.

I love what you said about learning something from every person you are in contact with. What a great outlook to have when meeting new people. I think I will steal that from you (told you, you know everything!)

Can you tell us more about when you decided that nutrition would be your career? And did you consider any other career paths before that? I mean, you probably could’ve been a rocket scientist.

Haha, more hilarity.

My mom was a nurse so I considered nursing and I love animals so I also tossed around the idea of being a veterinarian.  Getting squeamish at the sight of blood and emotional seeing any being in pain, made me rethink all that.

My interest in nutrition started in college.   All I was sure about was that I wanted to be a counselor, I wanted to teach, I knew I wanted to be in the health field, and like most of us, I had high hopes and the desire to make a huge impact on the lives of others.

I took my first nutrition course and was hooked immediately- after learning that most of the chronic health issues we deal with in our country- diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer are actually preventable with lifestyle. It seems obvious now, but it wasn’t something I had thought about before that … the fact that nutrition is biochemistry and we really ARE what we eat (and digest, absorb, assimilate) and just because we cannot see what is happening after eating donuts and drinking soda OR the Brussels sprouts and carrots, does not mean it is not having some sort of influence on health, negative or positive.  Knowing that we could use food as therapy for those with chronic conditions and better yet, help to prevent those conditions in the first place, really inspired me.   I figured my chances of seeing blood on a daily basis were pretty slim and with the exception of a disappointed patient agonizing over the truth about his meat lover’s pizza, I wouldn’t have to witness much pain.

The pain of someone hearing the hard truth about their favorite food is real! But a good nutritionist can spin that around and tell them all about the foods they can enjoy, right? 😉  

Oh absolutely.  The “pain” is certainly short lived…especially when they experience the good taste of the health promoting versions of those familiar favorites AND the almost immediate realization that they feel so much better overall.    I think that’s the most rewarding part of being a nutritionist… that feeling when you find out that someone who took your suggestions is now hooked on leading a healthy lifestyle because of the noticeable benefit.

Moving on, when people think of a nutritionist or dietitian, they probably think of a person in a white lab coat counseling a patient at a doctor’s office or hospital (at least that’s what the stock photos show). But your job, and all of ours, are a little unconventional. Could you give us a brief glimpse into a typical day for you now? And what is your favorite part of the job?

Yes what we do is so unique and very exciting!  It is so gratifying to be a founding member of one of the first organizations to provide lifestyle guidance through the use of technology.

That’s a good question and a hard one to answer, because I don’t know that I have a typical day actually.   I know each day starts and ends the same way though.  What happens in between varies so much.

Every day starts with looking forward to the day ahead and giving thanks for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of talented, hard-working, passionate health professionals who are committed to supporting our top priority, the patient… to help the patient implement safe and effective strategies to promote optimal health and decrease the risk of chronic disease.

PreviMedica continues to evolve since our launch, so my focus changes often.   Since I am ultimately responsible for every aspect of the department -the programs we develop and implement, the procedures we put in place, the tools made available to consumers and practitioners, coordinating efforts with our sister company, and most importantly, the direction given to each individual we advise, my brief answer would be that my days are spent overseeing the initiatives to grow our company and reach as many people in need as possible.

So that means I am:

  • first and foremost, relying on the talent, innovativeness,  hard work, and dedication of every member of my team
  • planning, organizing, prioritizing, communicating, and coordinating the  details of the many programs we have established and those we have  in the works
  • counseling and giving clinical guidance to patients and practitioners
  • providing educational opportunities for my team to remain current and to continue to expand the expertise in functional nutrition
  • mentoring team members with regard to individualization of advice for their patients

Every day ends with looking back at the days’ events, being mindful of the learning that occurred from what might not have gone so well, and feeling grateful for the many positive patient outcomes resulting from our efforts that day.  That’s my absolute favorite part of the job…. hearing the success stories from the team I have been blessed with.  Hearing their enthusiasm, seeing their happiness, knowing how rewarded they feel from playing a significant role in improving the health of others….there’s nothing like it and that’s what it’s all about.

I am always in awe of everything you do for PreviMedica, but what stands out most is how you make everyone around you feel important. You always stop and listen and take the time to answer our questions, even with that long list of responsibilities you mentioned above. Thank you for that!

Ok, now that we’ve learned more about what you do, let’s get to some fun questions.

Best food/meal you’ve had recently? A meal specially prepared for me by my family- Orange Glazed Salmon, Baja Black Beans and Rice, Steamed Broccoli, and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake. Delicious, and they cleaned up the mess too!

(Can we borrow your family?)

Second best meal -brunch prepared for me by you and the rest of the staff of Previ, including Hummus and Peppadews! Yum!

Favorite food as a kid? Peanut Butter and Jelly

(That makes me feel better about my kid’s future.)

One thing you are currently watching/reading? The BEST show ever- This is Us!!!

(Our office is basically a fan club for This is Us. Team Jack!)

Dogs or cats? Dogs!  They DO make the world a better place.   Everyone needs to have a dog. 🙂

Coffee or tea? Coffee every morning.  One of the pleasures in life I look forward to!

Beach or mountains?  I used to prefer vacationing at the beach.  But now that I live at the beach, I still love it, but I miss the mountains of PA. So now I prefer vacationing in the mountains!

Wine or Tito’s Vodka?  I’ll take either 🙂 but these days, it’s usually Tito’s.

(Trick question because the answer is always both!)

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Amy. To anyone reading this, do yourself a favor and find a jar of peppadews, some hummus, and some chips. Best snack idea ever, courtesy of Amy.

You can learn more about Amy and her professional path to PreviMedica here.

Happy Registered Dietitian Day to all of our health food loving colleagues!

Happy RD Day!


Eunice Holmes, RDN, LDN is a regular contributor to this blog and assistant nutrition manager for PreviMedica. Her favorite things are pretty food, being a cat lady without actually having a cat, and of course, her family.

Meet Your PreviMedica Culinary Advisor: Megan

Our culinary advisors are the perfect resource if you are looking to expand your cooking knowledge or learn some new skills in the kitchen. Today, we’d like to introduce you to the other half of our culinary team: Megan!megan-bio

Megan has been with PreviMedica since 2013. She is a Chef RD (registered dietitian and professional chef) and a professional photographer.  If there was ever a Jack-of-all-trades (Jane-of-all-trades?), it would definitely be her! We love Megan because she always comes to work with a smile on her face and is the first one to volunteer to help out. Megan is the talent behind all of the photography on our blog and Facebook page, which we are truly grateful for! If you want to learn more about her professional path to Previ, you can find out more here.

Today we are chatting with her about her role at PreviMedica, tips for a healthier holiday season, and of course, food.

Megan! Long time no see! Let’s get started. Your title with us at PreviMedica is Chef RD and Culinary Advisor, but I feel like that doesn’t totally explain what you do here. Walk us through a day in the life at Previ, and tell us what your favorite thing about your job is.

What I love most about my job at Previ is that every day is a little bit different and I get to wear different hats. On any given day I could be in the kitchen trying out a new recipe for our blog, recording one of our cooking videos for social media, or talking to a client and giving solutions for how to implement their nutritionist’s recommendations in the kitchen. I get to develop and test new recipes for our recipe book, create culinary resources for our clients, answer general cooking and nutrition questions, and of course style and photograph all the delicious things we make.

As you know by all the snooping around we do when you are cooking, we love being the taste testers of your creations!

One of the features of the PreviMedica membership is that they have access to culinary advisors in between appointments through the Nudge app. What are some of the things that you hear most from our clients? And in your opinion, what is the main issue that people struggle with in the kitchen that could be preventing them from being successful?

I think many people struggle with how to get healthy food to taste great without frying it or adding loads of butter, salt, or sugar. As a culinary advisor, I spend a lot of time teaching clients about the flavor power of fresh herbs and spices, how to use them, how to store them, and what they pair well with to add fresh flavor to their bland meals. Using fresh herbs tends to scare people but it’s so easy and really does give you lots of flavor without added calories.

I think for a lot of people fear really prevents them from being successful in the kitchen. People are scared to try new things so they tend to eat the same things all the time- lots of plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies- and they get burnt out.  I also encourage them to try new recipes, try different cooking methods and prepare foods in a different way than they are used to.

Very true! And we completely get the hesitation with preparing something new. If you mess it up, you just wasted a bunch of ingredients! That’s one of the great things about what the culinary team does. We see you testing each recipe and making adjustments if needed, so that our clients can be confident that their recipe will work!

So there is this little holiday centered around food that everyone is talking about this week, and we would be remiss if we didn’t ask our resident Chef RD about it. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? And do you have any last minute tips for our readers who are hoping to make their Thanksgiving a little healthier?

Oh man, Thanksgiving food is my favorite! I am definitely more of a sides girl and could honestly skip the turkey altogether. My favorite Thanksgiving dish has to be stuffing for sure. I love a really good herbed stuffing with lots of sage and thyme, and I am a big lover of cranberry sauce (but only the homemade kind, not the canned kind that resembles Jello- can imprint lines and all!) If you are looking to make your Thanksgiving a little healthier, try substituting dairy free milk in your mashed potatoes and adding in some fresh garlic and herbs in place of added butter for flavor. Also, if you are using store brought broth/stock for your gravy or stuffing, make sure to avoid the ones that contain MSG.

A good stuffing can definitely make or break Thanksgiving dinner!

Over the years we have worked with lots of kids with food sensitivities or sensory issues. Thanksgiving can be a tough time for these parents because their kids are selective (or can’t eat) a lot of the foods offered. Any tips for these families or anyone else dealing with a selective eater this holiday season?

Holidays can be really challenging for picky eaters or kids with sensory issues for sure. If you’ve got a little kiddo at your table this holiday, try serving food buffet-style from the kitchen instead of family style on the table. Having large serving dishes full of food on the table can be very overwhelming for kids with sensory issues, in the way it looks and smells. For picky eaters use plates that have sections, that way you can serve them a little bit of everything and encourage them to taste it, but their foods won’t be touching. And while it’s tempting to constantly prompt your kids to try everything and eat everything, remember that you want to keep it positive. Encourage them to taste it, and enjoy your meal as a family without creating a meltdown.

Excellent tips that I’m sure will help lots of parents this holiday season! 

OK, enough about business, let’s get to know more about Megan. Speaking of kids, what was your favorite food as a kid?

Beef Stroganoff. I was raised vegetarian so it was rare that my mother made meat in our house, but beef stroganoff was always my favorite dish!

What is the BEST thing you have eaten lately?

Oh, my favorite kind of question…all about the food! I have been traveling a lot lately so I’ve had some really amazing meals in some great cities. A few weeks back I had the pleasure of dining at Blue Hill in NYC which was incredible! Blue Hill is a true farm to table restaurant. I got to visit the farm a few days before enjoying their tasting menu, which was really amazing to see. The entire menu is from things raised, grown, and produced on the farm. Everything from a farm fresh egg, petite vegetables, pasture-raised goats and homemade bread made from wheat they grow and grind. To eat a meal like that was truly inspiring. The egg was probably my favorite as it was a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg that was almost orange inside since the yolk was so rich. The taste was out of this world! When the animals that nourish us are being fed just as well as we are, it really makes a difference in the way everything tastes.

What a fun experience! We’re sure that everything you ate will inspire some deliciousness in the Previ kitchen too… at least that’s what we’re hoping!

My travel eats will for sure be inspiring some new recipes in the Previ kitchen in the coming weeks.

And last but not least… lightning round!

Coffee or tea? Coffee all the way

Dog or cat? If I had to pick I’d say cat, but I’m more a fish person 😉

Beach or mountains? Beach 100%

Thanksgiving or Christmas? Oh, that’s a tough one. Since my birthday is a few days after Christmas the holidays are a really crazy time in our house, so I would have to say Thanksgiving.

Christmas decorations: before Thanksgiving or after? Um definitely after! One holiday at a time please.

Eggnog or hot cocoa? Eggnog

Pumpkin pie or apple pie? Pumpkin

Home Alone or Elf? Home Alone

Mostly correct answers, except the one about the fish! Thanks for chatting with us, Megan. We appreciate all that you do for our team and we look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Something spiked, perhaps? It is the holiday season after all…


If you are interested in learning how to cook or about specific cooking concepts or techniques, we would love to help! Schedule an appointment with a PreviMedica Culinary Advisor by calling 855.773.8463 or emailing hello@previmedica.com.

Quick and Easy Dinners (Previ Style)

The weeknight dinner dilemma… Even for those who like to cook, putting together a complicated dinner meal after a long day of work is just not that appealing. Instead of eating out or eating a bowl of cereal for dinner (no judgement here; sometimes that will be the solution!), planning some quick and simple dinners is key.

Need some ideas? We sent out an email to our staff asking them to tell us their favorite, easy weeknight dinner suggestions, and here is what some of them had to say:

Idequiz: 

“My go-to quick meal is No Boil Pasta Bake where I cut up (already cooked) chicken sausage, zucchini, and carrots and I mix them in a casserole dish with gluten free ziti, a jar of pasta sauce, and a jar of water. Top with some cheese, cover, and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Its pretty much a builder recipe because you can really put anything in it, like onions and peppers. If you want veggies that are a bit more cooked, it helps to steam them just a bit before mixing in, especially the carrots.”

Brett:

bretts-dinner2

“I have one easy weekday dinner I make regularly: almond flour coated chicken, baked sweet potato fries and either roasted Brussels sprouts or roasted broccoli. It’s really easy to throw together and once all the prep is done everything bakes together in the oven so there isn’t much work involved. Lately, I’ve been roasting frozen broccoli which I always have on hand so it’s even faster. The ingredients for the chicken are: 1lb of chicken cutlets, about 1 cup of almond flour, seasonings as desired added to the almond flour (I usually do garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and sometimes rosemary). For the sweet potatoes: coconut oil  to coat, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, and pepper to taste. And for the broccoli: a little spray of coconut oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some garlic powder.  I’ll usually roast it anywhere from 400-420 degrees for 20-30 minutes.”

Jen:

“I usually just throw together a salad with beans or tuna. Why? Because I usually have chopped vegetables around and I always have beans and/or tuna. If I’m feeling fancy, I might even cook fresh fish as my protein source, or throw down a couple of hard boiled eggs on that bad boy.

Also, fitting for today (It’s National Taco Day!), I go for tacos some nights because they are super fast and delicious. I use beans or fish with homemade taco seasoning, lettuce, olives, salsa, cheese, and maybe guacamole all in a hard organic taco shell.”

Audrey:

whatweeat-3-of-19

“This is a good make once and serve twice! Thai Chicken Curry: in a large pot, brown 1 chopped onion and 3 smashed garlic cloves (optional any veggies). Remove mixture from pot and reserve. Add a small can of Panang curry paste (2-3 tablespoons) to pot and sauté; add 1 lb of sliced chicken breast and cook until chicken is cooked through. Add onions and garlic back to the pot. Add 1 can of coconut milk to the pot and let simmer for 10 mins, bring to quick boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, uncovered, and it will thicken.  Enjoy for dinner as lettuce wraps and/or with a side of rice.”


Hungry yet? We received lots of great ideas from our Previ team, so stay tuned for our next installment of Quick and Easy Dinners!

Meet Your PreviMedica Exercise Specialist: Shawn

When you enroll with PreviMedica, you have the option of meeting with one of our exercise specialists. Together you will design a workout program tailored to your fitness level, goals, and interests. To learn more about the program, today we are chatting with our very own exercise specialist, Shawn!

Shawn

Shawn has been with PreviMedica for just over a year and has led the design and implementation of our fitness program. She wins the contest for coolest office space and gets to come to work in sneakers every day. Living the life!

Hi Shawn! Thank you so much for chatting with us today. We have to say, your job as exercise specialist is one of the more unique roles here at PreviMedica. Meeting with a nutritionist through video conference is one thing, but doing an exercise session over video is a totally different ballgame! Tell us, what are the advantages to the client when meeting with you this way?

Hi Eunice, I am very excited to speak about the fitness program offered at PreviMedica.

The number one advantage to clients is accessibility. All a client needs is a laptop, space to back away from the computer, and enough clear floor space to perform a straight legged plank.

After a thorough assessment, a program is designed based on the clients’ preferences, also taking into consideration: exercise likes and dislikes, where one chooses to workout, available equipment, previous exercise experiences and individual goals.This allows our clients’ to receive the same exclusive programming one would receive when hiring an in home personal trainer.

Another benefit to participating in this program is the ability to take part from the comfort of your home.  No longer does working out at home mean popping in a mass produced DVD that doesn’t consider a person’s current fitness level. This often leads to injury, lack of results, frustration and ultimately quitting the program feeling as if one has failed and no exercise program will work.

Very cool! We can imagine that, for your clients, having their appointments with you from home also make things more comfortable. The gym can be an intimidating place, especially when you are first starting out! 

You mentioned doing an assessment for each client. What exactly does this entail? 

We pride ourselves in the fact that the fitness program we offer is 100% personalized.  Every plan is developed based on each individual’s current fitness level. To ensure we devise a safe and effective program an in-depth assessment which considers past injuries, postural dysfunctions, movement impairment syndromes, dynamic malalignments and altered muscle activation patterns is conducted.

There are many reasons people develop movement dysfunctions and inevitably they lead to altered mechanics and cumulative injuries. By providing our participants with a thorough movement assessment we can correct faulty patterns and help prevent future injuries. This also allows us to advance our programming in a tailored way ensuring clients have a strong foundation and understanding of correct exercise form, before progressing to more intensive fitness routines.

I’m sure you are thinking “this has to be a tedious, time consuming process”. Fortunately, all of the assessments performed take minimal time, while still allowing our exercise specialists to get a complete picture of where each client can safely begin their fitness journey.

I’ve seen you in action and it’s really interesting to watch you assess and talk your clients through the program. Definitely something that I think would be beneficial for all of our clients to experience. With the technology aspect of it, are there any challenges that you’ve had to work through?

The biggest challenge I have found working with clients via video versus in person is the constant unknown. Whether it is finding the correct camera angle or an enthusiastic exercise loving pet, every appointment is a new and exciting challenge! This has definitely enhanced my ability to “think outside of the box” in order to design personalized programs for every client.

Hmmm we could be on to something there… Maybe an exercising with your pet series! Only half kidding. 

Some of your clients may not be aware, but aside from being an exercise specialist, you are also a registered dietitian AND a chef. A bit of an overachiever, huh? 🙂

Tell us the story of how you got all those letters after your name. Which came first? Why did you decide to do all three?

Yes, I am an exercise specialist, Registered Dietitian, and a professional chef. I love all three disciplines. Each offers a different focus which I enjoy. Combining exercise and dietetics allow me to express my scientific side, while chefing allows me to express my artistic side.

I began my educational journey pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University this degree seemed to combine both the scientific and artistic aspects I enjoy. Upon completing my degree, I pursued my Registered Dietitian licensure. While utilizing both these disciplines I had clients’ asking about exercise so I decided to pursue Personal Training and then additionally Corrective Exercise. My licensure in these professions allows me to provide clients with a whole mind body approach to health and wellness which I strongly believe in. Ultimately, each of these occupations is about helping people become healthier and happier and that is why I love my job.

Yes! It’s amazing to see how those three disciplines come together to support and encourage our clients. I know that you are mostly focused on exercise as part of our PreviMedica team, but being able to offer all three of those services within our program is really an advantage to the patient.  

Moving on.. people are always curious to know how experts in different fields lead their own lives. For example, what does a dietitian eat? Or what is a chef’s favorite meal to cook? Along those lines, as an exercise specialist, what kind of exercise do you enjoy the most? 

That is very true often people assume dietitians eat only healthy foods, chefs eat only exotic foods, and personal trainers lift weights for hours.  As an exercise specialist, I often train people very early in the morning. Nobody wants a tired coach, so I must work out before I train to wake up and get my blood pumping. That is why quick high intensity training is my favorite. Minute drills or Tabata style training gets the job done offers as much variety as your imagination can provide and never gets boring. I am not a person who can run on a treadmill for an hour I find it too boring. Living in Florida I also love running on the beach or swimming (often with my dog), bike riding, rollerblading, really any outdoor activity.

We are also big fans of HIIT! Looking forward to seeing more of your quick workout plans on our Facebook page and blog. 

Well this being a team of nutrition nerds, you know that we have to ask about food. Let’s throw it back to when you were growing up, what was your favorite food as a kid?

Hmmm favorite food…. That is difficult. I grew up with a mother who was a fantastic cook and would make everything from comfort food to Classical French, picnics in the park to dinner parties. I loved all her food. Which is why, at age 7 I decided I could make rice pudding. Unfortunately I did not understand the term “water bath”-to put ramekins in shallow water to promote even heating- so I proceeded to pour the rice pudding into the pan of water and basically made rice pudding soup. It was a rough start to my culinary career!

Hilarious! It seems to be that many of us come from families of foodies. Must be why we ended up here! 

Absolute best meal you have had recently? 

Ceviche made by a Peruvian woman -it was spicy, slightly sweet, sour and slightly bitter –perfectly balanced and every ingredient was the epitome of freshness. DELICIOUS! That complimented by grilled peaches with a dollop of homemade mascarpone and a drizzle of reduced aged fig and balsamic reduction. YUM….you are making me hungry!

Um, remind us to find out where you got ceviche and those fancy peaches later. Time for the lightning round:

Spicy or mild? 

Spicier the better

Coffee or tea? 

Coffee in AM herbal tea at night

Beach or mountains? 

Beach

TV or book?  

Book

When working out: music or silence? 

Music -unless outside then I enjoy the peacefulness of nature. 

Pirate or ninja? 

Ninja

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Shawn! Ninjas are more fit and all, so I can see why you chose them. 

No dog or cat question?

Oh, we assumed you would say dog since you mentioned your dog twice up there. But ok… cat or dog?

I ride the fence- prefer dogs but all the cats I’ve had as companions to my dogs have acted like dogs. So, hard to say… Don’t say anything. I might get beat up! That’s like saying you like Yankees and Red Sox.

Oh no worries… We won’t tell!


If you are interested in learning more about our exercise program and how it can complement your nutrition plan, please contact us at 855.773.8463 or email us at hello@previmedica.com.

Meet Your PreviMedica Culinary Advisor: Stefanie

Our culinary advisors are the perfect resource if you are looking to expand your cooking knowledge or learn some new skills in the kitchen. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of the culinary advisors on our team: Stefanie!

PreviMedica culinary advisor- Stefanie

Stefanie has been with PreviMedica since 2014. She is amazingly talented, a hard worker, and truly a joy to be around! And we are not just saying that to be the first in line to sample new recipes. (Although…) You can read more about her professional journey to PreviMedica here. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview her for our blog, and here is what she had to say:

Hi Stefanie! Thank you for meeting with us today. We’re excited to chat about your role with PreviMedica and find out more about the program. Let’s dig in! (Get it? Because you’re a chef?)

Our video from earlier this week described the PreviMedica culinary program, but some readers may still have questions about what the culinary team can offer them. It is a pretty unique program after all. Could you explain to us in layman’s terms what a patient can expect when meeting with a culinary advisor?

A patient can expect to meet a rock star chef! Haha! Of course that’s true, but they can expect so much more.  When we meet with our clients, we really dive into the details of their cooking habits and their own goals.  We collaborate with their nutritionist and really try to lay things out for them so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed.  Usually this entails a lot of planning ahead, so we help organize these thoughts into doable actions.  We provide quick and easy ideas, solutions to recipe issues, substitution advice if they are avoiding food sensitivities…it’s really whatever the patient wants it to be!  That’s the beauty of these appointments.  They are structured around what the patient wants to talk about.  We will ALWAYS answer any questions that the client has no matter how big or small.  

Rock star, for sure! In addition to the appointments themselves, what other resources can they access to support what they are learning? And can they ask questions in between appointments? Because we would be those people who forget all our questions during the appointment.

We have so many resources that we have worked really hard on!  For example, we have plenty of cooking demonstration videos that you can watch in the portal – and we are constantly adding to the video library!  We also have a comprehensive Culinary Booklet that has tons of information that is essential to have on hand in the kitchen.  Those are just a few!  Of course we love when people contact us in between appointments with questions.  In fact, we have our own Nudge account, so you can feel free to ask quick questions when you think of them and you don’t have to set up an appointment!

The cooking demos look beautiful, by the way. We’re excited to start sharing those on social media!

Now your role here is probably quite different than what you used to do in your previous jobs as a chef. What do you miss most about being in a “traditional” kitchen setting and what is your favorite part about being a culinary advisor with Previ?

Thank you!  We are so excited to be able to provide those cooking demos and it keeps our cooking skills up to par being able to create them. Yes, this job is VERY different, but in a good way!  The thing I miss the most about cooking professionally is probably the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.  You are always moving around and doing something.  It can be such a high!  My favorite part about being a culinary advisor is teaching people.  I love answering questions that our clients have and having that sense of doing something good for someone at the end of the day.  And I also love that we have so many roles – we never get bored!  We teach, we cook, we make meal plans, we create recipes….it’s so much fun.

Let us take advantage of our time with you to ask a cooking question then! There are so many kitchen gadgets and utensils out there- garlic presses, apple corers, egg yolk separators; we could go on and on. What are the top three kitchen gadgets you think everyone should have? And what, in your opinion, is the worst one of them all?

Great question! I am not a huge fan of most kitchen gadgets, but I would say my top three that are incredibly convenient are: a spiralizer, a mandolin (to get those super thin slices), and I do love my gravy separator only because I hate skimming.  I don’t think I can choose only one gadget that is the most useless, but a garlic press and an onion chopper are up there.  As long as you have a knife, it is so much faster to just learn how to do it properly.  I promise you will spend more time cleaning those gadgets than you EVER would actually chopping them by hand!

Spiralizers are the best! Good to know that we have your stamp of approval.

Now that we know all about what you do for Previ, let’s talk more about you! What are the five must haves in your fridge/pantry?

1) Eggs (you can do so much with them!),

2) Mixed greens (a salad is a great throw together meal when you don’t have time to make lunch!),

3) Almond milk coffee creamer,

4) Canyon Bake House gluten free bread (because they have the BEST GF bread),

5) and of course…wine!

Our group sure does love their wine!

More food questions- what is the absolute best thing you have eaten lately?

Well we don’t go out much anymore since having a baby, and last weekend we decided to cook a five star meal at home.  One of the dishes we made was ceviche with fresh snapper and scallops.  It was INCREDIBLE.  You simply cannot beat the flavors of fresh seafood with the tang of lime and cilantro – and the heat of the fresh jalapeno!  Yummy!  It’s so refreshing that the best things in life are usually quite simple!

Deeeeelicious! The ceviche sounds good, but mostly we’re referring to that delicious baby of yours. Gah.

Speaking of kids, we always like to ask, what was your favorite food as a kid?

He is delicious, isn’t he!? I have always been a very adventurous eater and the same goes for when I was a kid.  I had escargot when I was 8!  As boring as it is I can honestly say I really didn’t have a favorite food…I just loved to eat!

Pretty sure we lived off of rice and Skittles when we were 8, so props to you and your parents for cultivating adventurous eating habits!  Time for the lightning round:

Coffee or tea?

Coffee

Dog or cat?

Dogs

Cake or pie?

Cake

Beach or mountains?

Mountains

TV or book?

Book

Baby feet or baby cheeks?

You’re going to make me choose between baby and feet and cheeks!?  Oooooh-kay.  CHEEKS!

Thanks, Stefanie! That last one was a trick question because the answer is most definitely BOTH. We’re looking forward to see what the culinary team has in store for us! 


If you are interested in learning how to cook or about specific cooking concepts or techniques, we would love to help! Schedule a video appointment with a PreviMedica Culinary Advisor by calling 855.773.8463 or emailing hello@previmedica.com.

 

Meet Your PreviMedica Nutrition Advisor: Basilia

Throughout your PreviMedica membership, your nutrition advisor will play a key role in formulating your plan for success. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of the nutrition advisors on our team: Basilia!

NOLA (38 of 314)

Basilia has been with PreviMedica since 2013.  Our office is a brighter place because of her! She comes to work with a smile on her face, and is always willing to help out when needed. You can read more about her professional path to PreviMedica and her role as a nutrition advisor here.

We recently chatted with Basilia about the usual- food, nutrition, food again, etc. Check it out below:

Hi Basilia! Thank you for chatting with us today! As one of our nutrition advisors, you are not only teaching people about nutrition, but also motivating them to stay on track. That’s probably the toughest part, but you do it well! What is your #1 tip to your patients who are having trouble staying motivated?

Start small & stay consistent! I regularly discuss with my clients that coming up with small practical goals will lead them to their ultimate wellness goals. I suggest working towards one or two things at a time. Otherwise, feeling overwhelmed is inevitable! Once those changes are put into practice consistently, it will become “second nature”. At that point I would recommend tackling  the next goal, and so on.

Small, realistic steps. Makes sense! As a nutritionist, you have worked in many different settings. The unique part about PreviMedica is that you are meeting with most of your patients via video chat (Vidyo). What are some of the advantages of meeting with your patients this way?

CONVENIENCE! So there are no excuses to miss appointments, haha! Using Vidyo facilitates holding our sessions. My clients can meet with me from the comfort of their own home or conveniently at work during their lunch break without having to leave or drive anywhere. The video chat also keeps our session personable, because I am able to see them and they can see me too.

Going to a doctor or a nutritionist’s office can be pretty intimidating, so we imagine this also helps to take some of that pressure off! Last nutrition question before we get into some food. If there is one nutrition myth that you could dispel for everyone reading, what would that be?

Not exactly a myth, but an assumption- calories are not created equal!! Count the colors on your plate not the calories. And by colors I don’t mean Froot Loops cereal or Skittles or Doritos. I’m implying adding different vegetables and fruits to your plate, especially if your plate is looking a little dull with beige and brown colored foods. Not only will it brighten your plate, but it will also brighten your mood!

Agreed! Brightly colored meals are always more fun. Along those lines, what are the five must haves that are always in your fridge/pantry?

  1. Eggs! My day is ruined when I run out of eggs! No joke!
  2. WINE- Can I say this?! Haha. Fiiiiiine cheese (which will typically be consumed with wine!)
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Greens-spinach, kale and/or swiss chard
  5. Quinoa

Does wine count as a bright-colored food? We say yes. Next two questions. What was your favorite food as a kid? And what is your absolute favorite food/meal today?

As a kid, I would have to say spaghetti-with either homemade meat sauce or meatballs. Growing up we always had it on Sundays and it was seriously my favorite day of the week because I knew it was spaghetti day! As an adult, I honestly don’t have a favorite food. I love all food that’s prepared fresh! Doesn’t matter if it’s Mexican or Italian or vegetarian or pizza- YUM. It’s probably the hardest question someone can ask me.

Ok, ok, you don’t have to tell us what your absolute favorite is. How about the best meal you have eaten lately?

Dessert counts as a meal right?  Canyon Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale has the most deliciously soft, sweet, vanilla-y bread pudding that’s served over warm berries. OMG, it’s heavenly!!

Why weren’t we invited? This interview is making us hungry, so let’s wrap it up. Lightning round:

Gym workout or outdoors?

GYM

Coffee or tea?

COFFEE

Dogs or cats?

DOGS!

That was fun! Thanks for sharing with us, Basilia. Aside from the dogs, we are completely on the same page. In all seriousness, your patients always have great things to say about you, and we are so lucky to have you as part of the team!


If you’d like more information about our PreviMedica Nutrition Advisors, take a look at our post from earlier this week. And if you are interested in a membership with PreviMedica, feel free to contact us at 855-773-8463 or by email at hello@previmedica.com.