During one of my treks I became fascinated by the difference in foods from around the world when compared to the typical Western diet. Having lived abroad in a small town in central Germany in my early 20’s as an Au Pair I found myself questioning why some foods tasted so different, and at times better, while abroad. It was refreshing that during a time of carb or fat-restricted fad diets imprinting themselves onto the American food culture that I was fortunate enough to be living in a culture where the words “food” and “guilt” were not synonymous.
As I began to learn more about other cultures- their food history and habits that may positively impact a healthy lifestyle- I felt that this was the common sense factor that was missing from many textbook standardized recommendations and from what was often displayed in the media. I decided to reach out to other nutrition professionals around the globe, primarily but not all dietitians, and discovered that there are food culture customs that we (Americans) can learn from and vice-versa. In a culture where people often were confused about what to eat I aimed to “bring it all back to basics” and hence, Indigenous Nutritionist® was created in December 2014, received its business license in New York in 2015 and became a US Registered Trademark in 2016.
For this venture, I sought to find a name that would embrace my passions within nutrition. Indigenous embraced the authenticity I sought to represent the food cultures I experienced during my travels, further highlighting foods that were native to regions around the world-some of which became known as “superfoods” in American culture. Dan Buettner’s book Blue Zones is also an inspiration for my focus on food and nutrition culture. Nutritionist was used instead of dietitian simply because it chimed nicely with “Indigenous” and tends to be more globally recognized. Please note: every dietitian is a nutritionist.
Unfortunately, in my recent travels I have seen a “westernization” sweep across the world, and we are now witnessing nutrition-related diseases arise in parts of the world that were once known for their healthy diets.
As an American dietitian it is a personal and professional mission of mine to stop this spread and help preserve traditional diets that are getting lost in a gamble of Big Food money, lack of information and education, and misrepresentation in the media.
We cannot be naive to this matter, however. In some parts of the world a woman who gives her child soda to drink may have nothing to do with her education level, but more to do with the fact that a can of soda is safer to drink than a glass of water due to contamination in the area in which she resides. In any problem in life it is important to find the root cause, and that root cause may have many branches. To quote an old physics professor, “you don’t have to be a genius, you just have to be curious.”
Curious, I am, and curiosity is a great way to start. It is how I started this brand.
Indigenous Nutritionist® aims to put dietitians & licensed nutritionists on the map as THE nutrition professionals to share their knowledge and skills with others around the world (starting here). I hope my brand encourages you to shut down your computers and go out and see the world (perhaps listening to my Podcast as you take-off), eat with and learn from others (read about my experience while visiting Armenia for some inspiration), move the body (check out my Pilates services), have fun, pave your own road, and simply improve your well-being.