Timaree Hagenburger - The Nutrition Professor

Timaree Hagenburger is a Registered Dietitian, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a Master's Degree in Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles. She is a full-time professor at Cosumnes River College, in Nutrition and Foods and the Plant-Based Nutrition & Sustainable Agriculture certificate program, a professional speaker working in corporate wellness and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has had the honor of speaking to groups around the country, from Hawaii to Alaska, from Florida to San Francisco, and most recently in Grand Rapids, Michigan!  Timaree has regular segments on California Bountiful TV, writes a monthly column for the Lodi News Sentinel, is a frequent podcast guest, manages her resource-rich website (www.thenutritionprofessor.com ), transitioned her family to plant-based whole foods and is the author of the cookbook titled The Foodie Bar Way: One Meal, Lots of Options, Everyone’s Happy (http://foodiebars.com/). Timaree cherishes opportunities to connect with those around her to share her knowledge and passion for food, cooking, physical activity and good health. Her style is a marked by a blend of fun and practicality, as she offers strategies and inspiration for finding pleasure in preparing and partaking in nourishing meals, because life is better when you "love the food that loves you back."

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While I was raised as an omnivore, once I learned the truth about plant-based, whole foods 8 years ago, I never looked back! Not only did I change the ingredients I used, but I changed my approach to cooking (including no oil), and teaching! I supported the successful transition of my family to this way of eating, including my family of four (including my children, currently 12 yo and 15 yo), my parents (currently in their late 60’s and healthier than ever, most often found on a motorcycle adventure of some sort), my sister and many, many, many students, colleagues and friends.
— Timaree Hagenburger
I am beyond thrilled to become part of the PBNSG.org family and want to invite you into my world, the real world of being a mom and college nutrition professor with way too many jobs and responsibilities. While there never seems to be enough time and there always seems to be too many tasks, I am committed to feeding my family the most nutrient dense food possible, staying within our budget and time constraints and also keeping everyone happy.

My kitchen is one of my “happy places”... I want it to be a happy place for you, too — a place to relax and have fun! Nourishing food is soooooo much more than “fuel” or “medicine” — it is life and joy. It can give you energy, strength and peace. When you get it right, you’ll feel better in your own skin. That is how I want you to approach food, to eat with the goal of feeling energized afterward and to truly “love the food that loves you back.” I don’t want you to diet or count calories, grams of protein, carbohydrate or fat. I just want you to start with a few deep breaths and enjoy every bite, until you aren’t hungry anymore or the food doesn’t taste amazing anymore. Like a little kid who leaves half a cookie, not because it wasn’t delicious, just because she wasn’t hungry anymore. Honor your body’s innate sense of hunger and fullness, along with the accompanying cues, and provide the very best options possible for yourself and your family. I want you to live your life and not to obsess about food - keep it in its place! Simply ask the question, “Is this going to help me become a better version of myself?”

When I look out at my college students, I see the real threat that they will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. Not only are we sicker than ever before in history, we are getting sicker younger, and we are digging our graves with our knives and forks. While the statistics are staggering, this isn’t just about numbers, it is personal. We all know someone who is struggling with a scary, chronic disease, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or cancer, which limits their freedom to fulfill their potential and celebrate life with those around them. It breaks my heart when a 19 year old student writes in her class journal about how her 48 year old mother died of a stroke in her arms or how they just lost their 41 yo father to a heart attack. It doesn’t have to be that way!

These chronic diseases are not inevitable! In fact, we now know that a great majority of these diseases are preventable and reversible for those willing to change how they nourish their bodies. If you have been told that your health destiny lies in your genes, rest assured, as you can begin to change the way your genes behave (e.g. turning cancer promoting genes “off” and cancer killing genes “on”). You can also leave behind strategies from the diet and weight loss industry, which only perpetuate the cycle of losing and re-gaining weight, negatively impact our happiness and overall mental health, and are particularly dangerous in terms of promoting diseases like cancer. Though many people tend to become comfortable being uncomfortable and resist change, I am forever hopeful, as some of us are ready to stand up for eating well and feeling great!

The simple approach that I have found to be amazingly effective, both personally and with my family, students and clients, is to choose plant-based, whole foods. As Dr. Michael Greger describes, “As grown in nature, nothing good taken away and nothing bad added.” While it seems too good to be true, I am humbled by the miraculous power of the body to respond to vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Their phytonutrients “phyt” (fight) for us in so many ways, including building and supporting a strong immune system to keep us healthy.

If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it. I am in awe as those who have struggled with debilitating pain and disease for years, experience dramatic improvements in their quality of life and physical health within days of transitioning to a whole food plant-based way of eating. I was brought to tears when I received a “thank you” email from a gentleman in his sixties who watched a televised version of my college nutrition class on cable, explaining that despite a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, his HgbA1c had dropped into the normal range (5.3% for the past 2 years) since adopting this eating style. I was speechless when a student flagged me down on campus to tell me how her blood cholesterol plummeted into the normal range, her energy level shot through the roof and how good she feels, “I feel better in my own skin, just better being me.” That is the best outcome that I could imagine, and I see it over and over. And the science backs this up! The benefits of embracing a whole food, plant-based diet are real and the food tastes fantastic!

Every bite you take is an opportunity to feel great and become a better version of yourself, strengthening your body, fortifying your blood, supporting your immune system and protecting your brain. Make every bite count! “Love the food that loves you back!™”
— Timaree Hagenburger