Wednesday, May 20, 2015

{working girls: lindsey}

This interview with Lindsey totally sets the stage for this new series. Not only is she my cousin, but she's one of the most inspiring and hard-working people I know. To sum it up: Lindsey is on a mission to make healthy eating more accessible, easier, and—most importantly—more enjoyable.

Among what you'll read below, Lindsey started Supper Club at Whole Foods Markets in Philadelphia—a ticket to which is SO sought after, my mom always buys four seats just in case. {Whole Foods locations across the country love the idea so much they're implementing it into their stores!} Philly folks should definitely attend. {FYI: Only 7 tickets left for the next one!!}

Lindsey is smart, hilarious, and compassionate about helping people. I'm so lucky we're related. I know you'll enjoy what she shared with me...


Tell me a little about yourself. Age // where you’re from // where you currently live.
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia (Collegeville, PA), I currently live in Philly and I am totally obsessed with my historic apartment in Washington Square West.  I am 27... 30 is coming in hot.

Where did you go to college? What did you major in? 
I went to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (nerd alert) and played on the women's lacrosse team.  I originally started as pre-med, but switched to Nutritional Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics after my freshman year.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
The People.  The people in Philly are real people. There's nothing stiff or superficial about us.  We may have a few quirks, but that's what gives us character.  Everyone is connected by this shared love and pride for the city of Philly.  We're all on the same team, and so much of where I am today both personally and professionally is because of this "one-city" camaraderie.  I also grew up outside of Philadelphia, and I come from a very tight-knit family.  Both of my brothers live in the city too, and now that were older it's fun to hang out and merge our groups of friends.  Being able to escape to the suburbs to see my parents, my dog, my grandmom, and extended family was something I missed tremendously when I lived in Buffalo and DC.  Now that I am with "my people," I'm way happier.  In all honesty, my intent was to only live in Philly for a year, and then move somewhere new every year after.  That was in 2013.  It's been two years and I can't imagine leaving anytime soon :)

Let’s get down to it: what do you do?  Walk me through a day in your life.
I am a registered dietitian and loooooove what I do!  This is a tough question since every day of my life is different...

I work for Whole Foods Market as their Healthy Eating Specialist, covering 3 store locations in the Philadelphia area. My job includes corporate wellness, employee training, product development, recipe development, marketing and merchandising, program development, shopping tours, cooking demos, nutrition classes, one on one meal planning, community outreach, the list goes on!

I also work as the nutrition coach for an integrative health center called The Wellnest, which specializes in nutrition for reproductive health. I work with mostly females and provide nutrition counseling for women with PCOS, women struggling with infertility, women with hormone imbalances, metabolic syndrome, as well as maternal health.  We are also starting to expand our services to the general population, so I have also been seeing some patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight management.

I am also on the nutrition team for Unite For HER, a nonprofit organization providing complementary therapy for women with breast cancer.  The nutrition team is committed to educating and empowering our women to regain control, promote healing, speed recovery, enhance treatment, reduce symptoms, achieve and maintain remission and promote overall well being through nutrition. I attend Wellness Days at local hospitals where I interact with and educate our newly diagnosed women, I provide 30 minute phone consultations with every patient we serve, and I also offer personal shopping and in-home cooking sessions for our women.  This is by far my most rewarding job.

I am also currently working on launching my own website and private practice...stay tuned!!!

Travel back to when you were a freshman in college. Looking ahead, did you see yourself doing what you’re doing now?
Absolutely not!  I had no clue what I was going to be doing.  And now knowing what I am doing, there's no shot I could have predicted this.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?  Or, what is most rewarding about your job?
No matter who you are, where you're from, your age, your sex, your race, or your beliefs - no matter what, if you are human, you eat!  We all eat. It connects us.  I love my job because it allows me to relate with anyone I meet.  The most rewarding part of my job is being able to witness the positive impact I make on other's lives.  That's why I got into nutrition in the first place.  I wanted to help people.  Seeing how food can transform someone, and not just their physical health, but their mental, emotional, and social wellbeing, it's something else.

What do you find most challenging about your job?
Three things come to mind...

A person's Diet Philosophy is a very personal, very strong, very rigid belief.  People can get very defensive if anyone tries to question their diet philosophy.  Being able to meet people where they are, regardless of their "religion" can be tricky sometimes.

Information overload: we live in an era of overflowing information.  The trouble is some of this is credible, science-backed information, and some of it is bogus marketing hype or simply someone's personal opinion that caught wind on Twitter.  It takes a lot of weeding through the BS and working hard to stay current on latest research to reeducate those who have been misinformed and misguided.

Unfortunately, the saying, "You can only lead the horse to the water" is true.  You can't make them drink the water, or eat the nutrient-dense food for that matter.  You are always going to have those individuals who want help, and want to change, but they aren't mentally ready to commit to the steps it takes to make change happen, and don't want to physically put the work in.  There comes a time when you want to help someone, but you can only make so many nutrition recommendations, suggest so many recipes, meal plans, and products, and provide so many lifestyle strategies and behavior change tips. They need to want it, and that comes from with in. That's something I can't control.

I’m always curious about what people wear to work, since it all depends on the industry they’re in, how they get to work (sneakers vs. heels), etc.  Describe your work style.
At Whole Foods I wear jeans everyday (tough life).  If I wanted to, I could wear a t-shirt or a hoodie everyday, but I generally wear a sweater or some kind of top. And of course, I have to wear our mandatory slip-resistant shoes.  Safety First!  Same thing goes for The Wellnest and Unite for Her - pretty casual. I definitely take this for granted!

Do you feel like you’ve nailed the work/life balance thing? If so, how?  If not, what's something that you do to help try to maintain that balance?
Definitely not!  But I am actively working on it and determined to get there.  I've always been an intrinsically motivated person, always wanting to go the extra mile.  But there is always going to be an extra mile to go for, and I am working on saving that mile for "tomorrow".  It's hard!  Especially because I love what I do. When you are lucky enough to have a job that you are passionate about, the line that divides your hobby from your job becomes gray.  Sometimes I don't know if I am working at night because I need to or if I am working at night because I want to!

Luckily I have great friends and an amazing family who try to pull me away from work as much as possible.  I also love being active and working out, which is a great outlet.  I am still on the hunt for a new hobby to balance things out a bit - with spring in full force, I am thinking about taking on gardening.  Time to discover my green thumb!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Either career, personal, or both.
I actually just attended a panel discussion with some of the top female entrepreneurs of Philadelphia.  They each shared a piece of advice that they would have given their younger selves if they were given the chance to go back in time.  I loved them all...

1.  Success is not a straight line:  There may be some missteps, detours, and wrong turns along the way, but that's part of the journey. You don't need to know all of the steps, you just need to know the next step.

2.  Relationships Matter:  Give thanks to the people that helped you along the way, show appreciation to those who work for you, and don't forget to give back, and pay it forward.

3.  It's okay to color outside of the lines:  If you don't fit into an already paved out career path, that doesn't mean you are doomed.  It actually means your are predisposed to be unique, one of a kind, and of high demand.

4. You deserve to be where you are:  Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed, intimidated, or in over your head, remember, you did your homework, you put your time in, and you are there for a reason. No one can take that from you.

5.  Be yourself:  Don't try to be the next Oprah.  Be YOU.  You are way better at being you than you are at being Oprah.  And you are way better at being you than anyone else who dares to try and be you.  You are the best at being you.

favorite workout song: I love running to mash-ups.  I also just went to a TBT themed spinning class and we were totally rocking out to Jock Jams. Classics!!!
best meal: Give me some sort of seafood, lots of veggies, some good wine, good company, and pretty and relaxed ambiance and I am one happy girl.
must-watch tv show: Yikes, sadly I am not a savvy TV person!  I watch Homeland, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Scandal but honestly nothing has been able to get me crazed the way I was about Lost.  I will throw on New Girl or Modern Fam for a good laugh, and I am always up for some throwback Friends episodes.  And of course, the Cooking Channel and the Food Network and Top Chef.  I also love watching Ted Talks on Netflix.
plane ticket to anywhere, you go to: Spain, and then I would bounce to Italy.  Unless it's the winter and I've had it with the cold weather, then I might change my answer to Bora Bora. Get me to the beach!

For healthy tips, recipes, or find out when the next Supper Club is happening, you can follow Lindsey on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or email her at


How GREAT is this interview??  I can only imagine how rewarding her job is — Seeing how food can transform someone, and not just their physical health, but their mental, emotional, and social wellbeing, it's something else.

Thanks for participating and for all you do, Linds! And thanks for not judging me when I get another scoop of ice cream!