There’s a special community of RD Food Bloggers out there and they’re on a mission to educate. They want to share the how’s and why’s of healthy eating so their readers can become their healthiest and happiest selves. Each blogger has their own shtick and I’m here to share it. This series will give you a behind the scenes look into the experiences and motivations of these influential individuals.
First up, Kristina LaRue from Love & Zest. Kristina greatly inspired me to start The Fresh Beet so it only seems fitting to interview her first. In addition to blogging at Love & Zest, she works at Tara Gidus Nutrition Consulting and serves as the Sports Nutritionist for the Orlando Magic and University of Central Florida Athletics. She also regularly appears on FOX television to discuss a variety of nutrition topics and to help dispel common nutrition myths. Blaze on Kristina – you’re rockin’ it.
What lead you to start Love & Zest?
I started writing my blog in 2011 when I was finishing up my dietetic internship. My husband and I were recently married and were gifted many kitchen essentials and equipment that I had no idea how to really use. I started watching cooking shows, and researching different recipes online to be a good housewife and have dinner prepared. This is when I discovered the world of food blogging. I had my grandmother’s recipes that my mom had always wanted them to be put in a digital format to share with our family, but many of the ingredients called for in her recipes were not foods that I commonly ate– lard, duck, and venison to name a few. So started adapting her recipes and decided to start a website to share these healthy recipes with my family and friends.
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is hard work. Do you outsource work, or are you running this show solo?
AGREED! And I am always learning and trying to figure out how to be a better food blogger. The truth is, life often happens and gets in the way of my blogging pursuits. I do have a team of rock solid interns that help me with behind the scenes with social media, research, and content creation.
Do you keep a weekly blogging schedule?
The goal is to blog according to a schedule, but that doesn’t always happen. Some weeks/months I’m good and others I’ve fallen off the wagon. No day is alike in my job—I wear many hats from day to day. In a typical week I work with athletes, sports teams, individual clients, develop written content for publications, develop recipes, food photography, and precept interns.
What kind of bumps along the way have you experienced?
Growing pains– publishing quality content consistently is challenging and it takes lots of time and determination. Site redesigns are not easy. I transferred my blog from blogger to wordpress and hired a designer to help with the transition and through that experience I learned the hard way about contracts and the importance of clear communication when you are working in an online space.
Has your blog brought you any unique opportunities that you feel you wouldn’t have had without it?
YES! This is one aspect of blogging that I didn’t see coming when I started writing. I had no idea there was substantial income to be made through blogging nor did I know about the amazing community of bloggers that can become the best of friends in real life.
Any advice for fellow RD bloggers trying to grow their blog?
Just do your thing, whatever it is that you do best and share it! Do this over and over and over again. If you’re on the fence between starting a blog…my advice is to just do it, and do it before you’re ready… it doesn’t have to be perfect and you’ll learn and grow along the way.
Do you have any projects coming up that you’d like to share?
I’m about to have (my first) baby in October. That’s going to be a BIG lifelong project that I’m sure will come with lots of messy dinners and kiddo recipes in the future.