“Let Your Clients/Patients Know About Success Stories To Help Motivate Them”
Words of Wisdom with Dr. Daniela Torchia, PhD
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Daniela Torchia, PhD, public health professional and dietitian with over 21 years of experience in patient care, public speaking, and writing. She received her PhD in Public health, and her double masters in public health and clinical nutrition along with a focus in exercise physiology from Loma Linda University, school of public health. She has put together multiple public health programs, helped implement them, designed community health programs which have been implemented throughout Southern California. Her expertise comes with an artistic flavor, as she also has a flare for performance and arts with an indie rock Flamenco Jazz Rock album, a few singles, has several film credits on her IMDB, will be doing a feature film in March shooting in Las Vegas, NV, and will we publishing her nutrition book (title surprise soon) by the end of this summer 2018.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
After coming to the U.S from Madrid, where my Austrian actress mother and my U.S. Italian father met, I fell in love with fast food as a 9 year old, and as we didn’t have fat food in those days in Europe, I delved delectably into fast food heaven. In between dancing, bike riding, and going to Catholic school, I ate my way through McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, and Burger King, oh, yes, and Shakey’s. After developing some crazy stomach problems from all that wild food, I met a holistic nutritionist from Australia who taught me about the art of food, and the health of your body. It worked, I got better, and became enchanted with nutrition. I received a Master Degree in Public Health and Nutrition from Loma Linda University, and a PhD in Public Health, and have been an RD for over 21 years serving low-income communities, as well as doing on-on-one consultations in the private sector, and for senior and recovery centers, providing group classes, community nutrition seminars, and corporate presentations on wellness and health. I love inspiring others to reach their best health with good food that is both healthy and tastes good!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company
The Cheeto’s ™ grow on trees day was a spectacular one. On this special Cheeto’s™ day, my client, a hard working woman struggling with her health had been presented with a whole slew of healthy food options to decrease sugar rushes related to diabetes, and options of yummy meals. At the end of the session I inquired, “So, what might you think is a good idea for a healthy snack?” She thought about it, and responded, “Cheeto’s ™, I can eat those right?” I wanted to be gentle, so I asked her, “One way to make sure a food we choose is healthy for us is to ask ‘does it grow from the earth, or a tree, or does it come from a factory?” She thought about it, and replied, “I don’t know… tree, I guess not.” I smiled, and “Well, that color orange, probably made in a lab.” We laughed, but it prompted me to write a book, which I wish I could title, “Cheeto’s ™ Don’t Grow on Trees, or Do They?” She was my angel, who inspired me to make things clearer for everyone regarding having fun with food, and staying healthy and energized.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
As a nutrition expert and public health consultant, I have seen so many wonderful changes for good in people of all economic strata and ethnic background who may have struggled with chronic or debilitating diseases or conditions which were altered and improved after minor changes in their diet. I walked into work today, and there was a letter from one of my patients. “The FODMAP Diet has helped immensely, I changed a lot of food out and the journal (keeping one) has made my choices for meals and snacks work for me. Great job…thank…see you at 3 on X.” This patient had been suffering from horrible digestive problems, chronic diarrhea and pain, and some dehydration, which affected his ability to work. That letter made my day today. FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) are short-chain carbohydrates that some cannot break down/digest, so they get horrible digestive issues. (Google FODMAP).
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There were so many people that were excited about higher education, that I used their excitement to help me go through the grueling hours, loss of social time, debt, exhaustion, tears, and accomplishments. By the time my PhD courses kicked in, my husband, Tony Kaye (Keyboardist for YES), became the prince of patience, because for five years, all our plans, and social time had to be put in the back burner. He was thrilled when it was over, proud and relieved. Neither of my parents received higher education, and both got to see me graduate with my Masters years ago, but both passed away years before the PhD kicked in. Maybe from the sky, they are toasting each other for a job well done.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
That’s quite a question. Inadvertently, I have been lead to work with low income communities, and in this way, I have brought goodness to those who might otherwise not afford an expensive nutrition consult. There are thousands of people whom I have seen since I started at the non-profit clinic in Southern California, and many of them have written letters, called, or simply returned with a better quality of life, a better outlook for themselves, improved knowledge to pass onto their families, and a smile and some hope. Hope is always the best thing to pass on to others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I got into Public Health” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
On a practical note: 1. Have a clear focus of the next year; 2. Set up your website and social media so you can reach out to more people (though 21 years ago it was different); 3. Take time for yourself too, and let your clients/patients know about success stories to help motivate them; 4. Write a book to share with others (sooner); 5. Smile, even if you are grumpy (some days!)
It would have been awesome to have gotten the PhD sooner, as now with it, more people feel confident about what I say. But, in life, the journey is as it should be, so who knows what those reasons are. I reached out to so many patients at the clinic. I would say, making sure I take care of my health too. Sometimes we want to help everyone all day long, and forget about ourselves. But, I have figured out, that if I tell my patients to exercise, that I do the same. In fact, last month, my patient and I both set goals to do a certain amount of steps per day, and we are going to compare notes! In this way, she is motivated to see me too!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I love music and arts, and a jam session with Ringo Starr, a fellow Cancerian (July babies), over a great paleo breakfast and a smooth Illy Espresso would be great. If a famous rocker can promote healthy food intake, then we are on our way!