by | Oct 3, 2020 | Personal

Hi! Hey! Hello! My name is Chantelle.

Welcome to my blog, and home of The Visionary Nutritionist.

Before I officially introduce myself, I would first like to pay my respects and acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, past, present, and emerging. I acknowledge their stories, traditional food, agricultural, cultural, and spiritual practices created and embraced on this beautiful and sacred land – the Eora Nation, which has been deeply cared for over thousands of years. I wholeheartedly commit to building a brighter future, in partnership and friendship, together.

In a nutshell, who is ‘The Visionary Nutritionist’ and what does she stand for?

As previously mentioned, my name is Chantelle Vella, and I am not your typical nutritionist.

I am not here to write up individual meal plans (sorry, not sorry).

I am not here to lecture you about what you should and shouldn’t eat. (Eat your chocolate bar in peace. I’m not here to judge or get in the way of what you enjoy).

Nor am I here to over-analyse the nitty-gritty details of everything on the supermarket shelf.

No, no, no. Instead, I am here to dig deep, and look beyond a ‘surface level’ view of health.

I am here to help you see food and nutrition with a fresh pair of eyes.

I strongly believe food should be cause for celebration, not fear or punishment. Food is so much more than the nutrients they contain. Food forms an important part of our identity, our family, our values, our culture, our health and wellbeing, our social network, our natural environment and our world at large. Over-simplifying the intricacies of science and health does incredible disservice to each and every one of us.

While there is a very serious, hard-working, and professional side to The Visionary Nutritionist, there is most definitely a creative, fun and playful side I lean into, just as often, to try balance things out.

My mission and vision

As The Visionary Nutritionist, I am on a mission to positively disrupt the status quo. I want to create harmony in the world of food, health & nutrition, by initiating more empathetic, community-centred, and impactful conversations.

By working together, we all possess the necessary ingredients to reimagine, rehumanise and recreate a brighter and more fruitful future. We have all that is needed to lay down the nutrient-rich foundations that will help bring to life and sustain a thriving food, nutrition, and healthcare system we need and want to provide for ourselves, and our future generations, right now.

However, as a ‘visionary’, I am not here to always start the conversations that we want to have, but rather, to start the conversations that we need to have about food, health, nutrition, and wellbeing. Sometimes these conversations will be confronting, but mostly, I hope they will be reassuringly comforting. I hope they will bring us closer together as a community than ever before. I want to pave the way for lasting, meaningful, and much needed positive change we truly want to see in the world.

“Visionaries not only believe that the impossible can be done, but that it must be done”.

Bran Ferran

I understand trying to decipher complex nutrition information, amongst an endless sea of forever-changing food fads day-in and day-out, especially on your own, is emotionally taxing and mentally draining. Your ‘tiredness’ of it is all is completely valid.

If we do not take the time out to compassionately listen to each other, understand each other, and speak up for the greater good while demonstrating our support for evidence-based science, we will be stuck in this same predicament of finding disharmony in health and nutrition, until we endeavour to turn over a new leaf.

That’s why I’m here to share a refreshing alternative to the same old boring, top-down, didactic and uninspiring, and dare I say, ‘unhelpful’ nutrition education, which seems to be too freely available.

In a nutshell, my blog is a safe, experimental place where head meets heart, and science meets art.

This is my digital playground, blank canvas and creative third space.

You, my fellow visionaries, are invited to join me in this fun, and sometimes terrifying journey of learning and un-learning, feeling deep into our emotions about food, the real and the raw. And the dusty “unfinished” ideas sitting at the bottom of my tiny desk draw.

They will all be explored here. And much, much more.

Some of the topics and themes I will be writing about on the blog include, but are not limited to:

  • Food and nutrition literacy, education, health promotion, and public health
  • Determinants and disparities of health, nutrition, food security and food systems
  • Digital, physical, environmentally sustainable, adaptable, and culturally rich food environments
  • Food, nutrition and health policy, advocacy, and communication strategies
  • Women’s, children’s, and adolescent nutrition
  • Food and nutrition trends, food marketing, advertising, and health claims
  • Food psychology, sociology, health-related behaviour change
  • The health humanities and creative arts in health
  • Community, family, and school-based nutrition

Of course, I am always happy to take your blog topic requests! You are welcome to drop me your thoughts, feedback, and ideas, or just stop by to say a friendly, “Hello”! (Always appreciated).

So, what are my qualifications and training in?

After dedicating six years of blood, sweat and tears at university (so far), I’m glad you asked:

University Qualifications

  • Master of Health Communication, Distinction – University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) – The University of Wollongong

Additional Training and Courses

  • Certificate in Paediatric Nutrition for Health Professionals – Monash University
  • Working Effectively with Common Childhood Eating Challenges: An Introduction to The Satter Feeding Dynamics Model
  • Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Food Allergy Prevention e-Training for Health Professionals
  • Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Training (Dimitrios Papalexis – Soul Gen)
  • Practice Pavestones Motivational Interviewing 1: Core Skills and Spirit
  • Practice Pavestones Motivational Interviewing 2: The Power of Process and Change Talk

And unless the universe has even bigger and better plans for me in the coming months, I am beyond excited to be studying a Master of Speech and Language Pathology (2021 – 2022). I cannot wait to share more with you about my hopes and dreams of working in paediatric feeding, swallowing, speech, communication and sensory food play over time and creatively merge this with my interests and passion for nutrition, health promotion, health communication and public health.

A few personal tidbits and facts about me

I believe vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Here are a few things that I wanted to share with you, about me: 

  • I was a premmie baby who has thankfully overcome many early life challenges
  • To give you an idea of how petite I am, I only fit into kids-sized shoes, and trying to find a pair of high heels is a literal (and expensive) nightmare. However, what I lack in stature, I most definitely make up for with my bubbly, charming, and larger-than-life personality!
  • While I was born and raised on the world’s biggest island – Australia, my parents came from two tiny islands on different sides of the world: Malta and Mauritius!
  • Public speaking is something which has come very naturally to me since the age of about 5, where I fearlessly stood up and won the kindergarten poetry recital competition…in front of the entire school! (That’s a big deal for small kiddo!). In addition, some of my favourite school co-curricular activities included, speech and drama, debating, dance and musical theatre. Today I still love public speaking more than ever, sharing my nutrition and health knowledge with others.
  • I was a very fussy eater growing up but am proud to say that now I am a very adventurous and happy eater who loves embracing and tasting traditional cultural, and novel foods from around the world! I have no doubt that growing up as a “foodie” has positively influenced my career decisions, and growing interests in paediatric nutrition, feeding, swallowing, and health promotion!
  • On a personal note, I am not afraid to occasionally share insight into my own physical and mental health journey with anxiety, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (a.k.a PCOS). Sometimes, I think people forget health professionals are only human too and may be dealing with their own personal battles and struggles behind closed doors, because they aren’t always front-and-centre of our social media highlight reel.
  • In case you’re wondering, I have next to no interest in clinical dietetics! Don’t get me wrong, I think dietitians are great, but I honestly never felt like I truly belonged in the dietetics world. As much as I value the importance of health, I want to share my knowledge in the most fun, creative, colourful, interactive, and meaningful way possible!
  • Some of my hopes and dreams for the future: I really really really want a dog. I also want to be a children’s author, host a television show or documentary, start up my own podcast, give a TED talk, be a kids food museum curator, and eventually, work, live and play overseas. However, I am one of those people who truly has gratitude for making a small, but positive difference in one person’s day or one person’s life, and I hope I can be that someone for you.

So, that’s me, The Visionary Nutritionist, and this blog in a nutshell.

I am incredibly grateful for those of you who have already joined my little community and supported me over the years. I wouldn’t have been inspired to find my voice and mission as ‘The Visionary Nutritionist’, without you.

For those of us who have not yet been acquainted with each other, I want to say thank you for being here. Thank you for believing and trusting in me. I can’t wait to meet you and change the world together, one nourishing bite at a time.

Till next time,

Chantelle – The Visionary Nutritionist x

I’m Chantelle Vella a.k.a The Visionary Nutritionist. 

This is my fresh take on food, nutrition, public health, and health communications. 

Quals: Master of Health Communication. Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) (ANutr.) 

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