What do you get when you combine a railroad, a PATH train, two extremely patient customer service representatives, one set of wrong tickets (oops), exactly 10,253 steps (according to my very trustworthy iPhone) and one clearly geographically-challenged twenty-year-old?
A morning that was so worth it you’d do it again in a heartbeat; an experience so amazing that the several (er, many?) times you almost got lost don’t even deserve to be mentioned.
On Wednesday I met Rachel Meltzer Warren, a registered dietitian and nutrition writer, for coffee. Basically, she’s kind of a big deal. She’s bigger than a big deal (yes, I’m still starstruck). She’s everything I want my future dietitian self to be and more.
Let me backtrack for a second and tell you how I even know who Rachel is…
It was a casual summer Sunday a few years ago when I was on my iPhone, scrolling through the free e-books my library offered. I was upstate, and though I was enjoying the solitude, I was in desperate need of some decent reading material. After a few minutes of scrolling, an e-book titled “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian” popped up on my screen. Being a girl and vegetarian, I figured it was about time for me to learn how to start doing it smartly. I clicked “download,” thinking I had nothing to lose, and proceeded to read the book cover-to-cover in no more than two days. Mind you, I was not a fast reader at the time, but nonetheless, I was hooked and determined to finish the e-book as fast as possible. And this was even before I became a full-blown nutrition nerd, just to give you a feel for how captivating the book was.
Rachel writes in an extremely readable way. Her target audience is teens and college students, so her writing is filled with humor, practical tips, and easy recipes (she truly understands how lazy us college students are haha). In my experience, all of the recipes I’ve made from her books have come out delicious! Reading anything Rachel writes is like reading an engaging novel while acquiring all the knowledge you would by reading a textbook – it is an entertaining experience, yet an informational one. She breaks down dense nutritional information into short, easy-to-process tidbits that anyone can easily implement into their lives. She makes nutrition fun and relevant in a way that seems so effortless. I’d highly recommend her books to any college student interested in living a healthy lifestyle (that’s all of you reading this, right? 😉 ).
*Disclaimer – I am NOT being paid to say any of this! I am recommending Rachel’s writing from a genuine place because it is that good. I truly believe it deserves to have a place on your bookshelf.
Anyways, sorry about that necessary tangent. I guess I couldn’t wait until the end of this post to tell you guys how much I love her work :). Back to the story about how all of this transpired…
Fast forward a few years. Specifically, to this past fall. During my first semester at UMD, I heard that Rachel was coming out with another book about gut health, which was also targeted towards teens. Although I (thankfully!) have no GI issues, I made a mental note to order the book anyways, since I am that much of a nutrition nerd that I genuinely enjoy reading anything to do with the topic.
Hearing about Rachel’s new book, “A Teen’s Guide to Gut Health,” also reminded me of my obsession with her first book about vegetarianism. I wanted to hear more about Rachel’s journey as an author. I wanted to know how I, too, could become a successful registered dietitian and nutrition writer. I wanted to hear about the path she took as a student and talk about our shared interest in nutrition. I wanted to know more about her life than could be contained in a small about-the-author blurb. Essentially, I wanted to have a conversation.
So, after a lot of encouragement from Hannah Kark (none of this would be possible without her! So major thanks ;)), I took a leap and sent Rachel an email. I explained how much of a fan I was, elaborating on how much I appreciated her work being a dietetics student who also loves to write. Rachel thanked me for reaching out, and told me that she would love to meet up. It turns out she was also a journalism major at the University of Maryland (she came to nutrition a bit later and she combines both skills in her current career). After a series of emails, we agreed on a date to meet for coffee.
And that’s exactly what happened at the Bluestone Lane Cafe in Hoboken this past Wednesday morning.
It was perfect, in every way. We spoke about our respective experiences at UMD (it turns out I may even have some of Rachel’s journalism professors down the line!), the fascinating and constantly evolving world of nutrition, the process of writing a book (wow, does that sound complicated!), why I want to be a dietitian (another whole post in itself), and so much more. We spoke for about an hour and fifteen minutes, though the conversation could easily have gone on for over a day. Life had to continue at some point.
Dietetics and journalism. Writing and nutrition. Science meets creativity. I finally feel like I am doing something right with my life, and Rachel is living proof and encouragement of that realization. I am so thankful to have met someone who is living my dream several years before me.
Oh, and about trying to kick that coffee addiction… this was definitely a fitting exception 😉 .
Fangirling over my signed book!