Eileen’s Favorite Spinach Pasta Chickpea Salad
This month I want to highlight Eileen Stellefson Myers, MPH, RDN, LDN, CEDRD, FADA, FAND, an award-winning author and speaker who helps people “uncomplicate” science to help them live with more joy.
Today, I’m sharing Eileen’s Favorite Spinach Pasta Chickpea Salad. She loves this recipe because it is simple, filling and delicious either warm or cold. She can eat it alone as a meal or add the salmon or chicken or whatever else she desires. Eileen has also added a can of tuna while the noodles were warm, which was very delish too.
Who is Eileen?
Eileen is loving life on Amelia Island. She is currently experiencing the best balance she has ever had in her life. She wakes up every morning by drinking coffee, enjoying news with her husband, and then heading to her desk to write in her gratitude journal. She then gets on her workout clothes and heads out the door to run or a walk. She still typically spends a good part of the day at her desk working on projects or committee work but if it’s too beautiful outside to resist (and she has no appointments or calls), she will scoot out for a 10-mile bike ride. By 5:00 pm, it’s “Eileen and Gary” time again, getting ready for supper and enjoying a glass of wine.
What did you do before you moved to Amelia Island?
Prior to her move and now self-employment, Eileen had a career filled with 60+ hour weeks in leadership positions and was a pioneer in having positions and working for companies that didn’t traditionally hire dietitians. Most recently, she retired as a Vice President from The Little Clinic (a Kroger Co.), leading nurse practitioners and dietitians in retail health initiatives. Early in her career (the 1980’s) Eileen was the RDN consultant for Piggly Wiggly Carolina for over 20 years and was the Director of “Lifestyles,” a wellness department that came to fruition because of a proposal Eileen presented to hospital administrators. Eileen also was a pioneer in teaching RDNs about using motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral strategies for working with the eating disorders population. She wrote the manual, “Winning the War Within: Nutrition Therapy for Clients with Eating Disorders,” which is now in its 3rd edition.
How do you savor and enjoy your life?
Eileen starts each day with gratitude and allows time each morning to be out in the sunshine. She is so grateful to be living in a place where she can walk out the door and run, cycle, and walk the beach.
What is your empowering belief that gets you back in motion again?
Setbacks are for learning and growing and they move me forward.
What did you have to let go of or accomplish to get you to where you are today?
I honestly missed some later evening fun because if I stayed up late, I wouldn’t be able to get up early and be 100% the next day. And, I always wanted to be 100%.
Why did you become a registered dietitian?
My dad was the reason I became a dietitian. He learned he had diabetes after going into a coma when I was eight years old. He took a positive attitude, learned how to eat to control his sugar through balance and eating evenly throughout the day, understood the importance of moving, and yet, he never talked about should or shouldn’t; good or bad; It was just the way we lived and it was filled with good food and enjoying the sunshine. The early years made me realize that food is powerful. Dad lived to be 90 years old.
Do you have a favorite food and why?
Now, my favorite food right is shrimp. We eat it at least once a week. We get to buy it fresh and it is so sweet, whether boiled or sautéed.
What is your theme for the year and why?
My theme is JOY! I learned through Chere that you get what you focus on. It is so true!
What do you love most about being a Registered Dietitian?
I love that I know the science and the “art” of nutrition. I can translate science into simple concepts while using a patient-centered approach that helps people make positive changes.
What is your advice for someone who wants to get into this field?
I believe learning the core science is essential. Even if you don’t go in that direction, it’s that knowledge base that sets you apart from others who call themselves “nutritionists.” And then I suggest that the person pursue their dreams. I pursued and achieved my dream jobs throughout my career because I had a “why not?” attitude.
What is on your bucket list?
On my bucket list is to see one of my favorite performers in Red Rocks and to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden (in good seats).
This move to Amelia Island was also on our bucket list (we didn’t know what it was called at the time—we only knew our criteria for where we wanted to live).
Check out Eileen’s Book
Eating disorders are serious issues. This book is an excellent resource for counselors of clients with eating disorders. Totally updated, this has been a popular training manual since 1999. There are 16 pre-planned therapy sessions for use with individuals or groups, along with the 72 pages of camera-ready patient education forms.
You can get in touch with Eileen
Eileen creates her day with intention. We can’t wait to hear how you set up your day for success.