I have always had a passion for food. When I was a kid, I basically lived in the kitchen with my grandmother (Mamawl), a self-made homemaker, who taught me how to cook, process and preserve a wide variety of foods. Each year we would enter the open division at the Western Kentucky State Fair; we won the overall championship 5 out of the 6 years we entered, capturing over 250 blue ribbons. Mamawl’s homemade pie crust, divinity candy, and sweet pickles never received anything less than a blue ribbon. My secret self-made sour cream coffee cake recipe followed similar suit, not only winning the blue-ribbon prize each year, but also back-to-back purple grand champion ribbons at both the local and Kentucky State Fair. I used to tease Mamawl that my sour cream coffee cake was the only thing that could beat her homemade pie crust. Some things in life are just too good to totally eliminate from one’s diet!
I graduated high school with a passion for science and began studying at the University of Kentucky. Instantaneously, I fell in love with the field of food science and the technologies used to create a safer and more nutritious food supply in a world with a fast-growing population and diminishing natural resources. I became particularly interested in the functional properties of foods, how different foods affect human health, and how specific diet patterns can be used to prevent the onset of chronic disease. My doctorate research focused on the health-promoting properties of a group of compounds known as anthocyanins, the orange-red to blue violet colors in many fruits and vegetables. I often refer to anthocyanins as my second love in life, next only to my puppy, Princess. I still try to consume a bowl of dark colored berries daily. Today, much of my professional career has continued to focus on nutrition and lifestyle changes for preventing chronic disease. It’s this passion that motivated me to found Think Healthy Group, a food science and nutrition consulting firm dedicated to providing innovative research that informs policy development, education and advocacy campaigns and drives consumer relations.
I’m a total foodie and love being in the kitchen! After three years as a regular guest on the Dr. Oz Show my secret recipes and science skills are officially “leaked” in the cookbook, Sizzling Science. Ever wonder how food scientists and flavorists make foods taste so great? Now you can do it all in your kitchen with just a few simple skills and tricks!
See why Peter Rosenstein of The Huffington Post recently called me “the nation’s premier food and nutrition guru.”