The past year has been an utter whirlwind, each day a great adventure. A little over a year ago, I lived in Nashville and worked as the Associate Editor of Edible Nashville. I'd been in Nashville since the summer of 2014 and loved everything about it — the city, the people, the coffee culture and farmers' markets, not to mention my charming apartment in Hillsboro Village... After graduating from my residency in nutrition at Vanderbilt and passing the RD exam in July 2015, I began working with the food magazine a few months after its maiden issue. While this role allowed me to marry my degrees in communications and nutrition and dietetics, it also gave me the freedom to explore creating my own business.
As a newly credentialed dietitian, I started working with clients on the side and began building what I knew would eventually become a full-time nutrition counseling/consulting practice. Working for Edible allowed me to cross-pollinate with people from all walks, many of whom went on to become my clients. I pursued every opportunity thrown my way and, reflecting back, I now realize just how many doors opened by simply being in the right place at the right time. I was able to consult with the Nashville Ballet Company and a corporate wellness start-up called Foundation Wellness, among others. I taught cooking demos in the Nashville Farmer's Market and educated people on how to make tasty, wholesome dishes. I photographed farmers on their land and learned about the generations of farmers that came before them, how they grew their offerings, and gleaned new insight into the origin and cultivation of food.
Working with Edible and being mentored by Editor and fellow dietitian, Jill Melton, was nothing short of incredible. It was a blessing and great learning experience, but I knew a little over one year ago that Louisiana was calling me home and my next adventure was going to be in building a business from the ground up. After all, private practice was my dream from the very beginning. Even as a student, I knew I wanted to run a practice and be an entrepreneur, I just wasn't sure of what the path to getting there would look like.
Turns out, it happened more quickly than I thought it would. We packed up my Nashville apartment, and I moved home to Louisiana to start the next big chapter: establishing my full-time practice, Health with Hope, in a brick and mortar location! Health with Hope officially launched on June 1st at 1100 N. 18th St., and I'll never forget the feeling of actually having four walls to define and validate the business you've poured every ounce of your heart + soul into.
Before I knew it, things became a bit more steady and consistent. Luckily, I joined a physician's network of cardiologists (so my practice is located in a clinic) and referrals started rolling in. A women's health fair here, and a networking event for newcomers to the area there, and Health with Hope began having life breathed into it.
As I sit in my office writing this, I think about the countless faces that have passed through the door since opening. Often, you hear people who enter the medical profession say they did so to change lives. I'm no exception; my overall passion is people, and my mission is to love people well in the midst of helping them learn how to live well. But what I never anticipated was the magnitude of ways in which the people who sat across from me daily would inspire, teach, and ultimately change me. A mother exhibiting strength after losing a child and, in the process, losing herself. A pre-diabetic patient in search of answers, hoping to prevent chronic disease. A father and survivor of a heart attack hoping to improve his quality of life and get his whole family on a better track. A teenager wanting nothing more than to feel comfortable and confident in her own skin. A 30-something mom with small children trying her best to balance life, much less get in a workout, in the midst of being a stay at home mom. These four walls have hosted vulnerable moments, witnessed tears and belly laughs, seen a-ha moments, and have given me the gift of watching others (many of you!) blossom and grow.
I sincerely appreciate your encouragement throughout the last year. Taking the road less traveled is never easy or linear, but the end result is so rewarding and worthwhile. So thank you for your support and kindness — each of you has kept me inspired in the midst of taking risks and growing both professionally and personally!
Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs (preferably farm fresh)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
1.5 cups spelt flour
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg (~1/8 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temp
2 cups congectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
2-3 tablespoons beet juice (*optional)
Chocolate Coconut Glaze
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil (unrefined)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray doughnut pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt butter and coconut oil in glass bowl; whisk in sugar and milk. Add one egg at a time, whisking until thoroughly incorporated. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the spelt and all-purpose flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and mix until batter is well combined (but not overly mixed).
- Spoon 1/2 of the batter into a gallon ziplock bag (or a piping bag) and cut a 1/2 inch opening from one of the corners (or a tip) to pipe the batter into the donut molds, filling them 3/4 of the way to the top.
- Bake donuts 8 minutes or until done and passes the toothpick test (make sure to not overbake). Set aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prep the glaze. For the beet-colored option, whisk confectioners' sugar, milk, and beet juice together until thoroughly combined. For the chocolate version, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds and stir; then microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melterd. Dip donuts into glaze and enjoy!