Diana Rodgers, RD, LDN is a “real food” Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living on a working organic farm west of Boston. Click here to see a short video to meet Diana.
She runs an active nutrition practice where she help people with weight, metabolic, and intestinal issues recover their health through diet and lifestyle. She’s also an author, host The Sustainable Dish Podcast, and the mom of two active kids. She speaks at universities and conferences internationally about nutrition and sustainability, social justice, animal welfare and food policy issues.
Diana is the Consulting Dietitian to several gyms and also to: Nom Nom Paleo, Whole30, The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and is a board member of Animal Welfare Approved. She contributes regularly to several blogs and her work has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Outside Magazine, and Mother Earth News.
As a child, I was sick and underweight. My doctor thought my stomach pain was from a lactose intolerance and I was told to drink soy formula instead of cow’s milk. I was always hungry, suffered intense nose bleeds, and had low energy and muscle tone.
In high school, my first summer job was at Pike Farms in Sagaponak, NY working both in the fields and at the roadside stand. This began my passion of food and farming. I studied art education, art history and photography at UMass, Amherst, then studied fine furniture making in Easthampton, MA. In college, I met my husband Andrew, an English major (who also knew a lot about outdoor survival) with a strong interest in environmental issues. We had a large vegetable garden and even grew our own worms in the kitchen.
In 1996, Andrew and I moved out of our college town and to Portland, Oregon. It was the “dot com boom” and we both found corporate jobs pretty quickly. Andrew worked for a major market research company doing focus groups and I did brand strategy at an advertising agency. Every weekend, we would take road trips outside the city and explore. We discovered Sauve Island Organics, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The idea of CSAs really appealed to Andrew’s love of working outside and his environmental passion. At age 26, he decided that he wanted to become a farmer. We moved back to Massachusetts, Andrew quit his corporate job, and went back to Umass this time for a Master’s Degree in Soil Science. He also got a job working on a farm for $7 per hour, learning practical farming skills like how to drive a tractor.
Meanwhile, I worked in Boston as the Marketing Manager for WBUR (National Public Radio). My digestive issues were really starting to become a major issue. I mentioned to my new doctor that I had lactose intolerance and she asked me more questions about my digestion. I told her I thought it was nerves or maybe IBS, but luckily, she knew enough to run a blood test for Celiac Disease. I couldn’t believe it came back positive. I also had an endoscopy, which confirmed it. How could someone be allergic to WHEAT? I mean, I ate it three times a day. Toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. I decided to take one weekend to eat all the wheat I wanted, and have never intentionally consumed gluten since.
Two weeks living gluten-free changed my life. I decided to learn more about food and food issues. I left NPR and spent five years at Whole Foods Market, where I helped to approve new gluten-free products. The problem is, I was obsessed with gluten-free products. I ate gluten-free toast or gluten-free cereal for breakfast, a gluten-free sandwich for lunch, and gluten free pasta for dinner. I’d wash down dinner with a gluten-free beer. My car was filled with gluten-free snack bars. I was starving all of the time. If I didn’t eat every couple of hours, I was miserable. I had intense headaches, got shaky and saw red if I skipped a meal. I was addicted to food! I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with our first child and was certain I was destined for type 2 diabetes very soon.
Meanwhile, Andrew had secured a position as the farm manager at Green Meadows Farm, a 230 acre farm in the North Shore of Boston. He started a successful CSA, gained certified organic status, and turned the farm around from loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars to profitability. He also implemented an intern program, training other young farmers and an education program for school-aged children.
Through customers at the farm, I learned about nutrient dense food and raw milk. For my second pregnancy, I followed a Weston A Price diet, taking cod liver oil and eating unlimited butter. I still ate grains but soaked them first and really focused on increasing my animal protein and fat intake. I tested negative for gestational diabetes with that pregnancy. My desire to make sure my children received optimum nutrition motivated me to attend the Weston A. Price conference in the fall of 2008. I also quit my job at Whole Foods in order to be closer to my kids and became the store and kitchen manager of our farmstand. I stocked products like lard and real sauerkraut. I read every book I could find on nutrition and became overwhelmed and confused with all of the information.
In late 2009, I enrolled with the Nutritional Therapy Association and now hold a certification in Nutritional Therapy. Towards the end of my course, I read “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf. It completely changed my life. I learned how to balance my blood sugar and further reduce irritating foods. My food cravings and shaky feeling and headaches between meals disappeared. My athletic performance dramatically improved. I no longer felt like a slave to my next snack or meal. My food addictions were gone!
In early 2012, Andrew and I moved our family to Clark Farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts. The farm operates a vegetable and meat CSA program, a strong education program with the local schools, sells produce to restaurants and local schools, donates excess produce to a community to meal program, and sponsors low income shares to those who can’t afford our CSA. Andrew also oversees several international farm interns every year who live at the farm and learn about sustainable growing techniques.
I continue to learn more about nutrition and sustainability issues through conferences, books and some generous mentors. I’ve never felt happier or stronger, and I am so excited to spread the word about nutrient dense, sustainable nutrition and to bring to light some of the issues facing our food system today.
I love helping people learn how to better nourish themselves and their families, through one-on-one consults and workshops. If you’d like to learn more about how to work with me, click here.