But I didn’t always knew how to navigate feeding my kids.
A bilingual girl who grew up in the border town of Mexico
I initially came into the nutrition world, not by choice, but rather sitting in a hospital bed with a blood sugar of 470 mg at 16 years old.
I was born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez. Because my parents valued non-traditional learning and raising bilingual kids, they drove to Mexico every day so I could attend an elementary Montessori school. I was lucky that they were ahead of their time.
At 16 years old I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was told by doctors what to eat, how to inject, how to count carbs, and yes even told I could not eat tortillas and be careful to wear high heels because people with diabetes are more likely to have amputations (sigh). Eating did not just happen spontaneously anymore. Instead, eating became measured, food was counted, given when low, and withheld when I was above target.
Society told me to avoid sugar, that insulin was bad, and asked which type of diabetes I had, “the good one or the bad one?”
But at home, my parents didn’t treat my diabetes as a disability. At the dinner table, everyone was eating the same as me. They stood by me in this critical moment of change in my life. I didn’t have diabetes, WE as a FAMILY had diabetes. Both of my parents are educators, which is where I feel I got the teacher side of me. They are family-oriented. My dad is into yoga, Buddhism, and is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. My mom is a strong woman who always instilled in me growing up doing something I was passionate to do.
“Mijita, si tu no te cuidas, nadie más lo va a hacer por ti. ”
My parents taught me the importance of self-love.
Moving across the country
Because of the support my family provided, both with learning to manage diabetes but also creating a mindset of possibilities for me, I chose to go to college across the country. I enrolled at Boston University at 17 years old, more than two thousand miles away from home (not to mention with a recent diagnosis of diabetes). Being on my own helped me understand my condition. I had to do my own grocery shopping, there was no one to remind me check by blood sugars, how to find a pharmacy or an endocrinologist. Not to mention handling social situations and obligations as a student, such as eating out, drinking with friends, going to parties, all-nighters studying.
Armed with the know-how and skillset my parents and doctors provided as a foundation, I was able to start making steps into living responsibly on my own. I could understand how my actions affected my diabetes.
My career in nutrition begins
After taking an elective class on nutrition, and seeing how valuable the scholarly understanding of diabetes was for my diagnosis, I could see it as life-changing. Being in Boston, home of the most prestigious hospitals and medical schools, physicians and medical scientists in the world, I saw the opportunity to specialize in nutrition and learn from the best. I was lucky to work at Joslin Diabetes Center, the number one center in the US, in their Latino Diabetes Center as a research coordinator while I was still a college student.
After getting my Bachelor of Science Nutritional Science I returned home to work at the University Medical Center of El Paso providing nutritional support for patients in life support at the intensive care unit. Looking to deepen my academic career, I moved to Florida to enroll in Florida International University to obtain a Master of Public Health. This is where I found a job as an outpatient pediatric dietitian at Nicklaus Children Hospital, a top pediatric hospital in Miami, and my love for pediatrics began.
Nutrichicos is born
I started to understand the gap in resources available for feeding struggles at home.
Working with hispanic parents I realized they were looking for so much more than a poorly translated one-pager pamphlet with general recommendations. Parents needed support and guidance that was meant for real families with day-to-day struggles that go beyond a hospital setting. So I decided to open my private practice to work with parents who wanted to transform their kids' nutrition.
Nutrichicos goes online
“If you’re not willing to say your message, somebody else without the same expertise will”
I quickly noticed the impact of sharing relevant information in Spanish and from an expert who has the experience and evidence to back the message.
I noticed that the most of the nutrition information I available at that time was meant for adults and mostly in English. This is when I started my blog and I opened my social media accounts to start sharing easy to follow resources, practical tips, and answers to frequently asked questions in Spanish so that my clients and others could further the work we were doing in my practice.
My first daughter is born
Having my first daughter made me realize that although I knew the theories and research behind feeding kids, the reality of having your own is different. I experienced feelings of overwhelm, guilt, and even confusion as to what and how to feed my daughter. Not to mention, going through pregnancy with type 1 diabetes was no joke!
I learned a lot about feeding kids and real-life challenges that often are not spoken about in a doctor's office. Becoming a mom, I learned how to be flexible, adapt to new situations, and let go of perfection.
Nutrichicos in the media
To further my message, I applied to become a media spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of nutrition and dietetics practitioners. I was chosen to represent and translate scientific information into practical information for the Hispanic audience. Here I was exposed to unique set of Dietitians (that are now my some of my closes friends) who shared their messages to nation-wide media outlets and appered in TV. I started to fine-tune my media and communications skills, not knowing that a few years later I would develop a love for commmunicating my message in my own voice. Download media kit
My second daughter is born
With My second daughter, I felt more confident and was able to enjoy both the pregnancy and the first months, which are often the hardest. My second pregnancy inspired me to write my first book. I felt there was a huge need for practical resources on how to manage type 1 diabetes during pregnancy. If I had doubts as a certified diabetes educator and expert in the field of nutrition and pregnancy, I can imagine how other women must feel. Purchase the book
“This book was a gift to me and other women going through pregnancy, encouraging them to continue pushing along! If I could do it, so could they!”
The pandemic hits
My private practice took a hit during the pandemic. I had to close my office with no alternative in sight. I was forced to move to a digital era by putting more effort into my digital channels, the only ones people were using to stay connected to each other. I realized that this is the moment I’ve been preparing by building my communication skills. The media was looking for people that were good at talking and presenting over Zoom.
Sharing more on social media caught the attention of purpose-driven brands and organizations looking to share their message with the hispanic community and peers. I started consulting with these organizations to support their message, events, conferences and producing educational materials.
Transitioning to digital, like the world did as a result of the pandemic, I permanently closed my office in Miami and expanded my reach by helping parents remotely anywhere in the world.