Six members, different countries and cultures: Puneet Misra, Kim Robien, Irmgard Jordan, Carla Vartanian, Ana Lucia Mayen, and Ariyo Oluwaseun
Isabela Sattamini reports: Nutrition is a field where personal and professional lives get mixed up, as always when people love what they do. It is hard to distinguish between if what moves you is emotional or rational. When we care very much about certain matters, it is a natural drive towards it. While reading the profiles published every month on our website, where members are invited to tell their personal and professional stories, it is often seen how this 'two aspects' of life influence one another. Here are some extracts of what they have to say:
Puneet Misra: 'India is a country where very diverse food practices are followed in different regions. It is not only a question of under- or overnutrition. A special aspect of Indian food is the use of a lot of herbs and spices in cooking and preparing food. Most of these ingredients have medicinal properties like anti-cancer, immune-modulating and anti inflammatory.'
Kim Robien: 'My research focuses on nutrition in relation to cancer prevention and survivorship. I am also interested in environmental nutrition and sustainable food systems, and the extent to which exposure to pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and other chemicals through food and water may contribute to risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. My husband and I are love cooking and exploring new foods where ever we travel.'
Irmgard Jordan: 'Growing up in a village in the northern part of Germany, my summers were characterised by strawberries from our garden which we shared with visitors who were astonished about the wonderful aroma and taste of these fruits only knowing tasteless strawberries from shops. In school we learned a lot about food consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals but nothing about taste.
Carla Vartanian: 'It has always been my philosophy that people's health and their ageing process was significantly affected by their various nutritional needs. By living in a culturally diverse country myself, it became very apparent to me that I needed to look deeper into the nutritional areas of their life to be able to understand that a well balanced diet alone is not enough, it's the combination of changes in habits and ways of life that will sustain long-term health'.
Ana Lucia Mayen: 'Even though nutrition is a large subject that covers numerous areas, the field of public health has always caught my special attention. The reason is that I believe that if I work in public health, with the appropriate experience and education, I can reach a job position where I can make decisions that support my country's development and progress, promoting the health of people who need it most. Furthermore, I can use Guatemala's example to support development and progress in other countries'.
Ariyo Oluwaseun: 'I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. My interest in nutrition started when my cousin was placed on special diets as part of treatment for tuberculosis. I saw several cases of malnutrition whenever I accompanied him to the clinic and based on that experience I was able to recognise obvious cases of malnutrition in several poor urban slums I visited. A nursing sister later encouraged me to study nutrition after a failed bid to enrol for medicine and surgery. My interest was strengthened when I learned about the importance of nutrition in child development and productivity, and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. Ever since, it has been a journey of pleasure, helping people and putting smiles on faces of the impoverished by preventing malnutrition and other health problems through advocacy, nutrition education among other interventions.'