Like many of us, Dahlia Marin, RDN, LD, did not grow up on a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. As a first-generation American with working parents, she found herself settling into an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle by high school. Despite her parents bringing healthy food customs with them from Egypt, Dahlia continued eating the standard American diet (SAD) until—when she was an undergraduate studying psychology—she found herself in a health crisis. After consulting with an endocrinologist, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), prediabetes, Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease causing an underactive thyroid), and gut issues. With those diagnoses came a long list of prescriptions she had to take. She was devastated to have so many health problems at such a young age, but she knew there had to be a way to live the full life she wanted.
“I was determined to live my life and lug my pharmacy around with me. I knew there was another way.”
That was the beginning of Dahlia’s healing journey, and of her career throughout which she has helped others achieve the same health improvements. After enrolling in a nutrition course in college, she began eating better, and her health improved. Her interests in food systems and environmentalism were also piqued, leading her to read the works of Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, and finally The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. The rest was history.
Eleven years later, Dahlia and her husband James (a registered dietitian and environmental nutritionist) cofounded Married to Health, the first 100% plant-based, gut-focused nutrition program. Together with five other dietitians, they blend Eastern and Western nutrition principles to promote healthier living and treat lifestyle diseases.
Dahlia doesn’t view the WFPB diet as restrictive. She says that this journey has opened up her mind, mouth, and gut to a variety of new foods, spices, flavors, and cuisines. Additionally, by adopting a WFPB diet, she has embraced seasonal eating—savoring the ebbs and flows of fruits and vegetables that our planet offers. Learning to be attuned to her gut health and continuing to read the research has not only helped her to feel better in her own body, but also made her more confident as an RDN.
“My journey to WFPB was my journey to my better health.”
Dahlia and her husband James are featured experts in our newly rebooted Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate with eCornell. Students are able to learn from their combined expertise in gut health and the wealth of experience they have gathered from working with clients for many years. Even though (or especially because) the microbiome is an increasingly trendy topic, and research about the effects of diet on the microbiome is published every day, it can be difficult to sort through misinformation and poorly conducted studies. Dahlia and James help students break down complex scientific concepts, offering along the way digestible takeaways, practical advice, and resources that students can apply to their daily lives.
In addition to Dahlia’s incredible work with the Center for Nutrition Studies, she’s busy working on several exciting upcoming projects. You can find free resources, recipes, and guides on the Marins’ website, Married to Health. You can also book consultations with Dahlia, James, or any of the five other specialists on their team. They have experience helping patients with gut health, environmental nutrition, disordered eating, metabolic diseases, and risk reduction. Later this year, Married to Health will be launching a campaign to promote their book Good Gut A-Z, which includes 100+ recipes and a guide to help people achieve a healthier, happier gut.
Dahlia’s personal health journey and career are still in full swing—we can’t wait to see what she will be up to next!
Enroll in the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate to learn about nutrition and the gut microbiome with Dahlia and James Marin.
Find Dahlia’s work at Married to Health.
Watch our interview with Dahlia on Youtube.
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