The Beyond Broccoli Story

I’ll start this blog with the story of why I chose a career in nutrition – or more accurately, how it chose me. It all started when my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in 1995, he was only 52 at the time.  I was in Jackson, Wyoming, managing a bar and restaurant and he was in a suburb of Boston. With 2,000 miles between us I felt helpless. So, I did what I’d done to comfort myself since childhood – I read. I wanted to know what was happening to my Dad, and secretly I hoped to find a way to help him.

The theme that cropped up in relation to cancer over and over was nutrition. Nutrition’s link to cancer prevention, as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapies, and possibly even remission, inspired me. My path seemed clear. I’d worked in food and beverage through college and to support my skiing habit for a decade after college and suddenly I saw food as medicine.

Unfortunately my Dad and his oncologist didn’t share my enthusiasm. Dad’s insurance company wouldn’t pay for a single visit with a dietitian and the oncologist thought the supplement regimen he’d prescribed was the only nutritional support Dad needed. In fact Dad went to the emergency room three times for what he called “pancreatic attacks” before a nurse offhandedly suggested he cut back on the fat in his diet – that was the last of those “attacks.” Needless to say I was frustrated.

Dad died 8 months after his diagnosis and I was more determined than ever to pursue a career in nutrition. I couldn’t help my Dad manage his illness but I could learn how to help others. My undergraduate degree was in English so I faced my fear of chemistry classes and got to work. I chose to pursue a program that combined a Master of Science degree with the courses and internships I needed to become a Registered Dietitian. I also indulged my interest in alternative medicine and continue to stay open to learning in this realm.

My dream was to establish a private practice that combined my passions for writing, teaching, and counseling as ways to educate people about food and nutrition. I also wanted to connect people with food – how to prepare and enjoy it. Oh yeah, I also wanted to make it fun whenever possible. Beyond Broccoli is the realization of my dream.

I’m very sad that my Dad is not alive to see the career path he led me to and the incredible journey over the past decade or so. He used to tell me he thought I could do great things. After devoting 27 years of his life to public service with the Massachusetts State Police, I know that his idea of great things meant helping people. Thanks to my Dad I have discovered a career path I am passionate about and I strive always to do great things, one client at a time.


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