Well, it's a bit of a winding one, actually!
I'm originally from the Bay Area, but have been living in sunny Los Angeles for the last 13 years or so (with a brief stint in Pittsburgh, PA).
I got my undergraduate degree in Psychobiology from UCLA and was super duper into research and education during my time in college. I volunteered in a functional neuroimaging lab and worked as both an office assistant and tutor for UCLA's student-athlete tutoring program.
After graduating, I was convinced that I wanted to go to grad school, get my Ph.D. and do research/teach for a living.
SO, after college, I jetted off to work as a lab manager for David Creswell's Health & Human Performance Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.
There, I spent 2 years helping design, run, and publish studies, with an emphasis on how mindfulness meditation impacts brain function.
But, long story short, during my time as a lab manager (and living across the country in a state that had SNOW), I realized that maybe I was working on the wrong end of the research continuum.
I felt a little stifled, working in the trenches of research, processing data and running participants all day. What I REALLY loved was reading and interpreting research. I could do THAT all day!
I also found myself gravitating towards reading nutrition research over psychology stuff. In fact, I had really been interested in nutrition for a really long time, but UCLA didn't have any nutrition-related majors, so I had just gone with my 2nd favorite love, psychology.
It wasn't easy… but a nagging voice in the back of my head was telling me I wasn't quite in the right career for me. I felt called to pursue nutrition, so, I did a complete 180 and changed career paths.
I decided to NOT apply to Ph.D. programs in psychology, and instead, packed up my stuff & moved back LA to pursue my masters in nutritional science & become an RD.
After becoming an RD in 2014 and dabbling in a few areas of practice, I found myself SUPER interested in functional nutrition.
BUT, it also seemed like the dietitian-run training programs were all pretty expensive, and I honestly didn't have the funds to invest at that point.
So, I dove into the literature and taught myself, basically by reading/watching/listening to any content I could find. During this time I started taking a whole bunch of notes & consolidating the information into easy to digest question & answer style notes.
From that, I launched my membership site, The Functional Nutrition Library (FNL), to share those notes/protocols/action tips with other dietitians who are dying to learn about functional nutrition at a more affordable price point.
That's been going really well, with over 185 active paying members as of October 2018.
I wanted to continue to expand the FNL, and move it away from my personal site and onto its own stand-alone website.
But I also knew that I couldn't just create a website that was 100% behind a paywall… I needed to create free valuable content for people as well, to help them understand who I was, the quality of my work, and how I could help them.
SO, this blog, Functional Nutrition Answers was born 🙂
Functional Nutrition Answers = a free space where I post answers to common functional nutrition questions.
Functional Nutrition Library = my membership site where people can learn MORE, and get more specific actionable tips and protocols that they can implement with their clients.
P.S. If you're interested in creating an online business like this one, you might want to check out my business blog, The Unconventional RD, where I document my journey and share helpful tips for building passive and alternative income. I also run a thriving Facebook community on the same topic, open to all wellness professionals!