I’m Alison and I’m a registered dietitian (RD)! Currently I work as an outpatient oncology dietitian. I work with cancer patients from the start of diagnosis all the way through treatment and to survivorship. As an oncology dietitian, I work with patients on healthy eating, weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance, symptom management, diabetes management…you name it! The focus is truly to help a patient through the treatment process by minimizing nutrition side effects. Following the completion of treatment, the focus switches to encouraging a healthy lifestyle to prevent reoccurrence and improving quality of life. Oncology care and nutrition are truly my passion. This blog is intended to help you live a healthy lifestyle focused on healthy recipes, nutrition topics, fitness, but also the enjoyment of food–whether it be vegetables or a satisfying treat!
With that being said, welcome to my blog! I decided to create this after starting to share the dishes I create on Facebook through images. I also have a passion for a healthy lifestyle. You might be sick of hearing “everything in moderation”, however, I truly believe in this approach to a healthy life. I enjoy healthy foods, but my list of “unhealthy” foods that I enjoy is long. Donuts. Ice Cream. Cake. Brownies. Cookies. Iced Caramel Lattes. You name it. But these foods, in my opinion, can truly be apart of a health lifestyle as long as they are consumed in moderation.
My husband encouraged me to start this to help share not only my recipes that many people ask for, but also other health related topics. Here you will be able to find my healthy recipes, recipes for treats, a discussion of health topics, and some fitness posts. I truly have no idea what direction this blog will take me, but I hope you enjoy my posts as much as I like sharing my passion!
I’m a 26 year-old registered dietitian living in southeastern Wisconsin. My amazing husband is a pharmacist and we constantly bounce ideas off each other. We are most definitely nerds in our own right. We have long conversations about diseases, constantly quiz each other on medical terminology or certain treatments, and tend to take blood pressure readings just for fun. Yeah, we are that nerdy. Although, I wasn’t always this way. I always had an interest in health and medicine, but it wasn’t until after graduating with a degree in business from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN that I knew I needed to pursue my true love–dietetics. Therefore, I went back to school in pursuit of a second bachelor’s degree.
I grew up in an athletic family, and sports constantly filled my family’s evenings and weekends. Sports were my life. My true passion: ice hockey. I started playing at the age of 5 following in my brother’s footsteps being the tomboy that I was. I played with the boys and continued until my high school graduation–yes, I was the only girl on the team most years. I also started playing baseball with the boys in 5th grade, but switched to softball a few years later. I even took up cross-country in high school to stay in shape. It turned out that I truly enjoy distance running. But surprising to many, I continued playing softball into college, rather than hockey. I played at St. Thomas–Go Tommies! I think its safe to say that it is obvious that my fitness experiences came from sports, off-season workouts, and weight lifting with strength trainers.
But after college, my workouts drastically changed. Not only because my era of organized sports was over, but due a back disease I was diagnosed with junior year of college. I had had back problems since the age of 13. I had pain every now and then, but the doctors never really said much about it even after several MRI’s and other tests. After heading to college and playing softball almost 4 hours every day, my back pain began to worsen. It was to the point that I had difficulty even brushing my teeth in the morning. It was then that I knew something was wrong. When I was diagnosed, my doctor told me that I could continue to play softball, but it would cause a lot of pain for me. Sports shaped me into who I was, but I wasn’t ready to end my career. So I played through it. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t even roll over in bed. But was it worth it? Absolutely. Athletics and UST softball especially, have made me the person I am today. I’m sure most of my teammates would agree it shaped them too.
On that note, my workouts vary day to day depending on my pain level. Somedays all I do is go for walks because it is all I can tolerate. My fitness approach is now focused on being active. We enjoy walking to the park for a good game of tennis, basketball, catch, you name it. My weight training workouts used to consist of olympic lifts, but today it consists of lighter dumbbells and body weight training. I’ve had those workouts that are so intense you just want to puke, and sometimes I miss the feeling of completing those types of workouts, but I know I have to be smart. So now I just focus on moving my body–making sure I break a sweat almost every day of the week.
Despite being an athletic and active family, my family has its own cluster of health issues. Obesity. Heart disease. High blood cholesterol. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Cancer. You name it. My interest in food is one thing that led me into the field of dietetics, but ultimately it was my concern with my family’s health issues. My family is all too familiar with cancer. Before getting into the field, I always wondered how a healthy diet and lifestyle could have altered the paths of the progression of cancer. Could it have prevented it completely? Could a particular diet contributed to faster healing? What about decreasing the chances of reoccurrence of those who successfully beat it? I truly believe that a healthy diet can help a patient feel better and thus provide the most important piece of cancer treatment–hope.
As I begin my career as an oncology dietitian, I am continuing with school and pursing my master’s degree. Apparently I can’t get enough of school! My current graduate work is focused on a master’s of science in nutrition with a concentration of fitness. I hope that through this blog I can share my knowledge, learning, and recipes we together work on living a health lifestyle, which is a life-long journey!