My dearest readers,
I had the pleasure of re-connecting with a beautiful soul yesterday – Ariana Rodriguez and I first met at the University of Ottawa during our undergraduate degrees and have kept in touch as we both moved to Montreal to further our studies. Ariana has always been a great inspiration through the joie-de-vivre that she exudes and through the passion and love that she has for her work, as a soon to be Registered Dietitian. I am very grateful for the time she took to share with us her story and adventures, as we discussed where she draws her inspiration and fulfillment from, among many other things, over a couple of green banana specialty lattes – very fitting for the wonderful foodie that she is!
Ariana is a true believer that everything in life happens for a reason – for example, she explains that pursuing a Masters in Nutrition initially started off as a “back up plan” when she had been applying to medical school, but then ended up becoming her true passion and calling. Ariana reflects on how nutrition and food have such a huge impact on our lives in more ways than one – “If we think about it, food brings us together, there is a special social aspect to food. I see cooking as a form of therapy, as a beautiful creative process. I love how I can feed my body and boost my energy based on the foods I choose to put into my body. I am grateful to be able to share this love and passion I have for food and nutrition with others.”
This love and passion for food and nutrition comes across in Ariana’s tribute to wellness – a wellness platform entitled Nutrionari. (Check out Nutrionari on Instagram at @nutrionari )! The name is derived from a play on words that is just as fun as the food puns and posts that are weaved throughout this lovely stage for health and wellbeing. The word “nutrition” is combined with the sound of the suffix “–ary” referring to a dispensary (a dispensary in this case of knowledge related to nutrition), all while featuring the three first letters of Ariana’s name “-ari”. Ariana explains that she aims for “Nutritionari” to inspire others to lead a healthy life, all while presenting evidence based information in an accessible, fun and quirky way! She not only shares delicious recipes and exciting food-lover finds, but also promotes balance through the incorporation of wisdom and wonder related to friendship, family, mental health, and fitness.
When it comes to achieving balance in her life, and work-life integration, Ariana engages in many forms of self-care and encourages her readers and clients to do the same. For fitness and as part of her spiritual health, she practices yoga at least 3 to 4 times per week. She shares that she also fully enjoys her group dance classes, which not only spark her creative side, but have also allowed her to connect with others and foster new friendships. Family also means a great deal to Ariana; family and friends keep her grounded and support her each and every day in achieving her dreams and staying true to herself.
When it comes to her favourite food, Ariana explains that she loves all food but would have to say that she holds a special place in her heart for arepas – a tribute to her Venezuelan heritage. Essentially a corn patty stuffed with anything your heart desires (Ariana’s favourite stuffing includes black beans, avocado and plantain), she grew up eating them at least once a week and continues the tradition now in her own home. Arepas touch home for this foodie; a connection to her roots. (Her local favorite for arepas is Bocadillo Bistro on St. Laurent in Montreal – authentically Venezuelan).
When I asked Ariana where she draws her inspiration from, she described that she has always been drawn to what is different – different cultures, different perspectives. Her advice to you, my dearest readers, is to not be afraid to question, to discover, to learn – she encourages us to embrace our curious sides. “Love yourself. You are so beautiful. We are all different. Find what makes you tick, what you are passionate about and go with it! Find what makes you happy and embrace it.”
What is next for Ariana? She is about to set off on a gastronomic adventure as she departs for Europe in a couple of weeks, a heart open to discovery and exploration.
Thank you Ariana for sharing your story with the positively profession-elle community – you are truly an inspiration!