Who I am and what I do:
My name is Lori Taylor and I am a clinical dietitian and educator. My education and experience put me at the crossroads of nutrition, medicine, agriculture and sustainability.
I bring an integrated vision to the path of restoring health - one that encompasses both individual choice and advocacy for system change.
We have all been taught that our personal decisions about foods and physical activity are the major determinants of our health. That is true. And I spent my first decade as a dietitian believing that was the whole truth.
But as I learned more about the connection between environment and health, it became clear that our personal choices are strongly affected, and even limited, by the systems of health care, agriculture and economy.
I began to notice that:
It is quite expensive and difficult to purchase organic foods, or foods grown without chemicals, or even fresh fruits and vegetables. Unhealthy foods are quite inexpensive and readily available
We use 80% of our country’s antibiotics in the diets of feed animals, and are seeing more antibiotic resistance in our health care system because of it
The most basic processed foods contain allergens, genetically modified ingredients and pesticide residues that are not reflected on the label, or measured by regulatory agencies
The number of food and seed companies has been reduced to a handful, limiting our access to types of food, varieties of seed, and food raised without chemical inputs.
And, water systems and soils are increasingly contaminated with substances that make us ill.
Maybe you are aware of these issues, or not.
Likely you have noticed that everybody seems heavier, and sicker, with ailments that are hard to treat. That people don’t tolerate basic foods like they used to. That folks take more medicines than they used to, and at younger ages. That it just seems harder and harder to know what’s healthy and to make healthy choices on a regular basis.
That’s what I saw in my patients. Even when doing their best to make good choices, the choices available were not healthy for them. Improving health was an uphill battle as if they were having to work against an environment that was making them sick.
We no longer exist in the food environment of our forebears, where most of the healthy choices were affordable, accessible, diverse and relatively close to their natural state.
Our food environment is now shaped by disconnected systems of medicine, agriculture and economy, where information is limited, and we have less control over our food supply. It is becoming increasingly clear that this food environment is a danger to the public health.
What can we do about it?
It is not enough to only heal ourselves. Buying local, organic and healthful foods, filtering our air and water are time consuming and expensive endeavors that are only available to a privileged few, and that treat only the symptoms of a larger health problem, not its cause.
We have to heal our environment, to maintain the health and wellness of all who share this planet now and in the future.
To do that, we need to make regenerative choices – in what we purchase, and in how we decide to live. We must reshape our workplaces and communities, and advocate for system change. Economy, agriculture and health care all must be shifted to regenerative models that produce personal and environmental health.
My mission is two-fold:
Reveal the connections: Educate individuals, practitioners and professionals about the evidence-based connections between our food environment and personal health
Catalyst for change: Advise on practical and humane choices and inspire right actions that lead us toward regenerative systems of personal and planetary health.
Call to Action:
It is time for us to reclaim our food environment so that it does not take wealth or a degree in nutrition to make healthy choices, but rather the environment itself is healthy and naturally promotes the healthiest choices to its citizens.
This work is my passion, and I would be honored to assist you in meeting your goals for personal and environmental health.
I am a clinical dietitian with 16 years of experience in patient care, education and health care consulting. I have worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, universities, embassies, community organizations, and private practice.
I trained as a biochemist at UC Berkeley, and hold master’s degrees in education from Stanford University and in nutrition from Bastyr University. I am one of a handful of dual-trained dietitians who work in both conventional and natural medicine environments. I am board certified in oncology nutrition (CSO) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and have specialized training in the treatment of functional digestive disorders through the Institute for Functional Medicine. I also hold a Permaculture Design Certificate and am a graduate of the Ecology of Leadership program from the prestigious Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, California. In addition, I am a small-scale beekeeper and shepherd a burgeoning urban food forest at my home.
I have returned to my private practice of consulting, teaching, writing and patient care in Coupeville, on beautiful Whidbey Island. In 2016, I will be launching Save Your Plate, an educational initiative that teaches health care practitioners about the medical consequences of our larger food environment, and inspires them to work for change. I also teach in the Master’s Degree program in Integrative and Functional Nutrition at Saybrook University, and I am a team educator for CIGNA Onsite Health Promotions.
As part of my service work, I am the Vice-Chair and a founding member of Coupeville Farm to School, bringing local produce and garden-based education to Coupeville’s public schools. I am also a long-time Girl Scout leader and sit on the Planning Commission for the Town of Coupeville. I speak regularly with my local, state and federal legislators on issues of food safety and environmental health.
My mission is to educate individuals, practitioners and professionals about the evidence-based connections between our food environment and personal health, while giving practical and humane advice on how to make positive change. My goal is to mobilize people to work toward a regenerative food system, where clean water, healthy soil and healthful foods are abundant and accessible to all.