Ask The Expert: Karen Vonderhaar, RD

Everyone can agree eating healthy is good for you; it can reduce your risk of certain disease, prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, promote growth and healing, and just make a person feel balanced. Based on my personal and professional experience – it is hard. I know if it was easy I would need to find a new line of work.

Karen VonderhaarHi, my name is Karen Vonderhaar, Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, and self-proclaimed food therapist. That is what I do 100% of the time; at work with my clients, home with my family, and always front and center for myself. My passion for healthy food and its impact on our bodies has been in the forefront of my life for more than twenty years. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with an awe-inspiring client base as a civilian Clinical Dietitian for our U.S. military and their families for most of my career. My days are filled with a variety of counseling challenges ranging from service members needing to meet their weight requirement, heart-healthy nutrition education to prevent worsening heart disease, or participating in a multidisciplinary team helping our inpatient population. My diverse client base goes from preterm infants to the elderly and everything in between. My strengths are found in the emotional side of eating. Why do we create unhealthy habits and how I can help someone find a new relationship with food?

My dear lifelong friend Alison asked if I was interested in sharing my knowledge, experience, and everything I have learned from raising a family with her blog friends. Our girl Alison is always inquiring about current nutrition developments and how to do best by her health while I pester her for fashion advice. We stick to the old fashion barter system.

All or nothing has never been my motto, but rather making gradual and sustainable adjustments to eating habits, lifestyle, and physical activity. I am an advocate for using research and evidence to build interventions which will help my clients become successful while understanding we are human, with human errors. Diving into the concepts of mindful and intuitive eating during a counseling session are the most useful in developing permanent change. These will make for great topics to address in the future.

yogaNutrition is the backbone of my success with fitness. It has allowed me to train and complete two marathons, countless half marathons, Ragnars (200ish mile relay race), and an ultra marathon. My doctor and I are pleased with my cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and healthy body mass index (BMI). I do have challenges – these come in the form of my children. They are not exactly perfect eaters and require daily encouragement to select an apple or yogurt instead of chips.

Like any 10-year-old boy or 12-year-old girl, they are exposed to the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to food. My goal is to teach them how to build a foundation of healthy food and fitness habits and learn moderation with the not-so-healthy habits.

Please reach out with any topics of interest you would like to see tackled here. I’m here to answer questions you may have about health, eating, exercise, and everything in between. Do you wonder if counting macros is the way to go? Or if the Keto diet is really good for you? Are you curious about how to train for a marathon or  how you will get enough protein if you go vegan? I’m here for you…so ask away!

Cheers to 2018, a year filled with healthy food, good fitness, and plenty of belly laughs!

In good health,