Meet Lauren Comunale! Lauren is a Health at Every Size aligned dietitian who is passionate about helping her clients achieve food freedom. Read on to learn about her love of plants and how she got interested in nutrition!
Where are you from and what is your favorite thing about that place?
I grew up in Frederick, MD. My favorite thing about where I’m from … I would probably say going home and seeing my family. It’s very nostalgic. Oh! Also, another thing I love about Frederick. There is a restaurant in downtown Frederick that makes the best baked ziti, hands down.
What was your favorite food as a child and what is your favorite food now?
My favorite food as a child was pasta, specifically baked ziti. And it is still my favorite food to this day. It’s interesting because my mom is Ukrainian and my dad is Italian so my mom learned how to make a lot of Italian dishes. And she also makes the best baked ziti.
Are you a coffee or tea person?
Coffee. I’m a black coffee person. One cup of black coffee in the morning.
Do you like to cook? What are your go-to meals?
I love to cook! I definitely cook a lot of pasta dishes. I try to cook a lot more latin cuisine. My boyfriend is Cuban, so I try to cook some traditional things. But definitely a lot of pasta, Italian dishes. Although, I cook everything really.
Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
Yes! (laughs) I feel like this is partly my personality, but I’m a plant person. I am very into horticulture. I have about … I just say 70+ because I don’t know exactly how many plants I have. But I have about 70+ houseplants in my house. I also garden, so I’m getting my garden set up for this year. I’m planning what trees I’m going to be planting. I’m going to do a lemon tree, fig tree. So that takes up a lot of my time. I also like to read- I like to read a lot. I’m also into embroidery too.
What is your favorite plant that you have?
Oh! I have a lot, but my favorite is a Monstera Thai constellation. It’s a rare plant. There’s only a certain amount in the entire world. So that’s probably my favorite. Otherwise, I have a cactus collection that I’m obsessed with. Yeah … I feel like my favorite plant changes from day to day, but my actual all-time favorite is my Monstera Thai. It’s a beautiful, beautiful plant.
You’re working on your house right now, so what is your favorite house project right now?
Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s definitely my garden. (laughs) I’m planning on planting different flowers and I’m doing a bit of landscaping right now. My other favorite project right now is- we’re putting up a new fence. Because we have a puppy who is very close to being able to jump our current fence.
Do you have a favorite room in your house? Or do you know what your favorite room will be?
My sunroom. Yes, we have a sunroom. It’s why we bought the house. I’ve spent a lot of time, and money, curating it. I don’t know, it’s just my place. I’ve got my plants there and I’ve got a little reading nook. It’s also going to my office when I’ve fully transitioned to Courage to Nourish!
How did you become interested in nutrition?
So I grew up in a household- my mom was a personal trainer. So I was very exposed to exercise, nutrition, and definitely exposed to a lot of diet culture stuff. Definitely exposed to a lot of that. So that really sparked my interest in nutrition. After that, I definitely wanted to become a dietitian and be able to help people- just really become an expert in nutrition. Throughout college, maybe even my freshman year of college, I started to realize how harmful the world is in how the world talks about food, weight, bodies. I feel like I got interested in nutrition because of a lot of diet-culture stuff. But then when I actually learned about nutrition, I realized I wanted to be that person who actually helps people move away from this diet-culture stuff. So I got pretty passionate about that pretty quickly in college.
So far, what’s your favorite part about Courage to Nourish?
Oh my gosh! I really love to be able to sit and spend time with my clients. And really take a breath with them and just talk! I’m able to connect so much more with my clients than with any job I’ve ever had and I am so grateful for that. I really like that part of my job. And then of course, the team is amazing.
What is something that you wish you knew about nutrition when you were younger? Or what is something that you want people to know about nutrition?
What I wish I knew is that there’s so much more misinformation in the nutrition world than there is valid information. I wish I knew that when I was younger. And I wish that people knew that as well. I also think … growing up we constantly hear about “good foods,” “bad foods,” and I wish I knew that that’s not real. All food is real. I wish I knew that all foods fit. And I wish that that was the precedent that was set everywhere. I wish that going against diet culture wasn’t counterculture- I wish that was the culture.
Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in person locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Columbia, Maryland. and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.
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Leslie Bredehoeft, Student Intern
Hi! I’m Leslie Bredehoeft and I’m an intern at Courage to Nourish. I am currently an undergraduate student at the College of William & Mary, majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Human Nutrition and minoring in English. After receiving my B.S. I plan to go to grad school to pursue an M.S. degree and become a registered dietitian. As a registered dietitian, I hope to educate my clients on the science of nutrition and help better their relationship with food.