I knew I wanted to be a writer, much to the chagrin of my practical-minded parents, when I was a kid. Consider these highlights from my early “career”:
- I became an editor in junior high, assigning myself lengthy reports as summer projects. (Any wonder why my family called me a word nerd? Still do, by the way.)
- In sixth grade, I won the county spelling bee. (Okay, so the trophy was nice, but the $100 prize was even sweeter.)
- Four years later, I submitted my first novel to a young adult novel competition. The moral of this story? Always shelve your first novel.
Now that I’m all grown up, I write about fitness, health, nutrition, travel and pets for leading national publications.
You’ll find me in the pages (and on the covers!) of dozens of magazines like Cooking Light, Cosmopolitan, Delta Sky, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Eating Well, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Martha Stewart Living, O, Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Redbook, Runner’s World, SELF, Shape, USA Today, Weight Watchers and Yoga Journal. I recently ended an eight-year stint as contributing editor for Woman’s Day and in the past, served as Allure’s fitness columnist (also eight years, perhaps my lucky number?) and the Fit Tools columnist for Better Homes and Gardens.
My exciting news? One of my features for Dr. Oz the Good Life was awarded a prestigious Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons which I’ll receive in Washington, D.C., in April 2017.
Magazines, though, aren’t my only focus. In 2012, St. Martin’s published my first book, Understanding Your Food Allergies and Intolerances, which I co-authored with two Harvard physicians. (Check it out on Amazon.com.)
But do I really practice what I write? Absolutely.
I crave physical activity as much as I do, well, chocolate (Endangered Species, to be exact – love that it has Hoosier roots, too!). My favorite activity? Anything that involves snow (and the more snow, the better!), which may explain why I’m hooked on Nordic walking. It’s based on Nordic skiing, sans the snow, so I can do it year-round.
In 2007, I won the women’s division of the Marathon Distance Nordic Walking World Championship in Portland, Ore. (By the way, I came in second overall, only four minutes behind the men’s winner, an Olympic racewalker who competed in the 2008 Olympics. How cool is that?). I then repeated in 2008 to become not only the women’s winner but also the overall world champ and world record holder in marathon distance for Nordic walking (women)! In October 2012, I secured three more world records by winning the inaugural Nordic walking half marathon in Portland and repeated my win in 2015. Today, I hold six world records in the sport, including two for marathon distance, and am the #1 woman in the world in all-time rankings! And while I repeated my win in the Portland Marathon in 2016, I was no match for Mother Nature, who decided to send buckets of rain and wind. Rain and poles don’t mix, which is why I can’t even claim a PR in this one, but I did enhance a valuable life skill: Perseverance! Trust me when I say I thought about quitting on the course many times!
I’m also a cross country ski fanatic, triathlete, yoga devotee, kayaking and hiking enthusiast, cyclist (who’s pedaled for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training) and former competitive tennis player.
By the way, I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and literature from Miami University in Ohio (the real Miami, mind you) and a master’s degree in literature from Indiana University. I’m a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of American Travel Writers and hold certifications from the American Council on Exercise as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, both of which I used for over a decade in the fitness industry.
I’ve also earned Cornell University’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certification led by the esteemed Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, and will be helping spread the message that whole-food, plant-based eating rocks, something I’m now doing with Forks Over Knives! As an aside, a huge thank you to Sharon Palmer, the plant-powered dietitian, who recently featured me on her blog. Check out my interview (and snag one of my favorite recipes!).
As a fun aside, I’m a new Zenbassador for Sweet Earth Natural Foods (I’m addicted to the Kyoto and Curry Tiger burritos!) and an influencer for Hubba in health and wellness, pets, and sports and outdoors. Check out my page by clicking here. And if you’re into VegFests, I’m proud to announce that I’m on the organizing committee for the first annual Fort Wayne Veg ‘n Brew Fest, slated for April 2018. Stay tuned for updates (and if you’re a speaker or veg-friendly company who’s interested in participating, please get in touch!).
Just one more thing at the request of my “staff” who begged me to add this: I share an office (where I use a standing desk over 90% of the time – seriously!) with a sassy but sweet golden retriever named Jessie (and at one point, two cats, both of whom lived to 20). I was hoping Jessie would have a future as a therapy dog like my first golden, but she’s proving to be forever young at heart. I also volunteer at my local SPCA (note to fitness-minded animal lovers: volunteering as a dog walker is a fantastic way to rack up steps!) and am a strong advocate of plant-based eating and animal rights (that’s obvious, though, right?). Quoting George Bernard Shaw, “Animals are my friends … and I don’t eat my friends.”