Last we spoke, I left you all with a mild cliffhanger.

Then I disappeared for dos semanas. To address this, I can do no more than quote the timelessly eloquent Stephanie Tanner.

how_rudeSource.

Rude, indeed, mis foodies. But I am here now, ready to unhinge that cliff.

So what’s this exciting news that involves comida and vida?

Drumroll, por favor…

I’m going back to escuela to study nutrition!

I don’t know how exciting that seems to all of you, but I am puppy-love-top-of-the-Eiffel-tower ecstatic about this “next step.” I know that, with the exception of my about me page, I’ve not discussed my employment status or career plans much on the blog. This is mostly because I’ve spent the past few months ping-ponging between various “life plans,” tirelessly contemplating which one would best silence the redundant and boisterous “what do you want to do with your life?” mental nagging.

So what do I want to do with my life? I can’t answer that with any semblance of certainty, but I am sure that I’m taking a step in the right direction.

I truly hope so, any way, because tengo hambre.

En ingles, I’m hungry.

Given my foodie nature, I realize that this is not much of a revelation. I’m always hungry. Always. But, for once, I am not referring to my ever-present appetite. I’m referring to a non-food-related hunger.

I am starving for a career, for a life, that allows me to do what I love. What do I love? You all know the answer to this one. But, in the spirit of Gena’s incredibly insightful and inspiring post, I’ll profess a love I’ve professed many times before.

My name is Sarah, and I love to eat.

Since the Travel Channel has yet to call to see if I want to be the next Samantha Brown, I’m not sure I can finagle getting paid to eat. This is okay (until they call, of course ;)) because this love affair doesn’t end when I put down my fork.

I love all things food. Cooking it, talking about it, writing about it, learning about the science behind the deliciousness—occasionally photographing and blogging about it ;).

I am hungry for a career that allows me to explore, expand and celebrate my love of food.

So scratch that part about my hunger not being food-related. It’s entirely so. For a while now, I’ve known that the elusive answer to the whole “what do you want to do with your life” conundrum would involve food, creativity and writing. These are my non-negotiables.

So how is studying nutrition going to be my gateway to a food, creativity and writing-laden career?

Knowledge is power, and enthusiasm pulls the switch.”

Steve Droke

(Don’t worry if you don’t know who that is. Neither do I. And, apparently, neither does Google.)

This quote isn’t particularly profound, but I’ve always found it very true. You see, knowledge itself is only potentially powerful. Enthusiasm and passion are what drive us to put our knowledge to use, to empower it.

For example, I received my B.A. in print journalism. I graduated well-trained in the ways of political, finance, hard news, features, you-name-it reporting. Knowledge? Check. What I lacked was enthusiasm. I had no desire to write about the economy, or political scandals, or the top ten ways to make your man’s toes curl. (I wish that last one was hypothetical, but an editor actually asked me to write that story during a summer internship. Journalism at its finest…)

All I wanted to write about were food and nutrition. These are the topics about which I’m enthusiastic, about which I’m passionate. In college, I found a way to do this by focusing all of my policy assignments on school lunch reform and nutrition labeling, all of my features on health trends, recipes and social issues involving food.

Post-college, food and health writing did not come as easy. While I have the enthusiasm, I lack the formal knowledge. I’m not a professional chef. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just a chica that loooooves to eat.

This is where studying nutrition lends a hand. Knowledge? Soon-to-be check.

I’m not sure I could turn my love for food into a career without further expertise. I’m not sure I’d want to. Whether I end up writing about food, talking about it for a living or consulting those who need nutritional advice, I need to know more. I’m hungry to know more.

Onto the details: Two weeks ago, I began a six-month immersion program at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC. At the end of the program, I’ll be certified by the AADP and SUNY Purchase as a holistic health counselor.

This is not an R.D. program. IIN emphasizes bio-individuality—the concept that each person has unique nutritional needs. Essentially, one person’s food could be another person’s poison. That said, IIN teaches a myriad of dietary theories—combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Zone and raw foods.

I know I’ve not divulged much about my personal health story (a separate lengthy story for a separate lengthy post), and I’ve only briefly spoken about my fascination with nutrition, but I am so excited to fully embrace geek mode and absorb every bit of foodie/nutritional knowledge I can.

My first weekend of classes was fascinating, invigorating, exhaustingly informative and, most importantly, reassuring. I’m so emphatically positive that studying at IIN is where I’m supposed to be right now. Am I certain where it will take me? Not at all. But, as I said earlier, I know it’s a step in the right direction.

Phew! That was a picture-less mouthful. If you made it all the way through, I commend you.

And I think you deserve some standard Foodie Diaries FOOD PORN :).

This batter here…

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…turned into these beautiful Cayenne Dark Chocolate Brownies.

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Recipe courtesy of Kristen, my fellow foodie and nutrition-loving amiga.

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Cayenne + dark chocolate = brilliant. Make. These. Now.

More on the chocolate front:

These ingredients joined forces with a little cream queso and bread.

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…which looked a little something like this.

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Until it got marinated in vanilla cinnamon french toast batter…

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…and ended up looking more like this.

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Cream cheese, barney butter and dark chocolate stuffed french toast.

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Oooooh my gah.

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With a side of leftover french toast batter scramble.

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I hate to repeat myself but make. this. now.

Since I just, uh, announced that I’m going back to school to study nutrition, I suppose I should show a little veggie food porn…

Loaded Eggplant Rounds

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I grilled eggplant rounds on the Foreman for 3 minutes on each side. Then, I topped half with hummus, and half with a cream cheese, garlic and sun-dried tomato mixture. That got topped with a garlic, spinach, olive and caper sauté. And then I topped the hummus rounds with more hummus ;), and the cream cheese and sun-dried tomato rounds with more sun-dried tomato. Next, I baked them at 400° for 5 minutes, and broiled for another 5.

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Veggie perfection. I usually make a variation of this recipe using eggplant “steaks”—but I liked this version because it was easier to mix up the toppings. Oh, and you got to eat more ;).

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Thank you all again for reading (or skimming, whatever ;)) my novel of an announcement. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts regarding my ambiguous career path! What’s your career story? Do you do what you love? Also, if there’s anything you’d like me to share more about, regarding IIN, what I’m learning in my classes, my career path, nutrition, etc., please let me know!

Amor,

Sarah

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