Kirsten Straughan received her undergraduate degree in nutrition and completed her internship at Loyola University Chicago. She is a registered dietitian with a background that includes five years of clinical experience at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago and four years of private practice nutritional counseling work, in addition to many nutritional educational experiences.
During her schooling, Kirsten interned at Children’s Memorial Hospital in the clinic for overweight and underweight children and later completed an internship at a Women, Infants and Children government subsidized clinic. These were her first-hand introductory lessons to real-life eating habits of children and their families. These early experiences solidified the importance of nutrition education for all members of the family.
Her career began at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center where she worked with a variety of patients from ICU to oncology to pediatrics, helping them to regain their health and to prevent any further physical deterioration. In addition, she spent time with cardiac rehabilitation patients, providing education on how to lower their lipid levels and control their blood sugars; and with outpatients for a wide variety of issues including weight loss education, prenatal nutrition and weight control for children and their families. Kirsten also provided nutrition education courses to the medical residents from University of Illinois at Chicago and Mercy Hospital, and implemented a dietetic internship program for UIC and Loyola University nutrition students.
The clinical experience was extremely enriching and educational, however, Kirsten’s true interest and passion has always been for preventative nutrition and for offering people alternative and integrative approaches to various illnesses. This desire, coupled with the education received from a more traditional setting, led her to begin a nutritional consulting business to educate and coach those people who are seeking a more holistic road to wellness. Kirsten works with a variety of clients that are referred to her from physicians, personal trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors and eating disorder specialists. The counseling she provides includes a specialized approach to weight management, working with families to provide education and coaching on ways to implement nutrition and lifestyle changes for the parents and the children, counseling clients on diet and supplement use for sports nutrition, maximizing heart health, irritable bowel disorder and insulin resistance. In addition, she leads nutrition seminars on topics that include prenatal nutrition, children’s nutrition, women’s nutrition, heart healthy nutrition and prevention of insulin resistance. Kirsten regularly contributes to e-mail newsletter and magazine articles and has recently co-authored a book entitled “Lean Mom, Fit Family” with Michael Sena, published by Rodale Press, 2005.
In 2002, Kirsten teamed up with Otis Wilson, former Chicago Bears player, for a combined fitness and nutrition after-school program targeted towards low-income children to prevent and treat childhood obesity. This resulted in an appearance on Fox evening news to discuss the childhood obesity epidemic.
Kirsten has also performed several nutrition segments for NBC morning news on topics such as Family Fitness and Nutrition and Healthy Holiday Eating.
Kirsten speaks from experience on children’s nutrition as she is mom to 6 year old Jack and 20 month old Sophie. She is an avid runner and has enjoyed competing in marathons and triathlons. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition in Complementary Care and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionist dietetic practice groups and has served on Loyola University’s nutrition internship selection committee for several years.