Although nobody in her family was in the field of medicine, Beth found herself studying nutritional biochemistry at Cornell. At this time, there wasn’t a platform for this major, yet Beth dedicated the next 25 years to helping clients understand their biochemistry in the diagnosis of their ailments. “Instead of just treating the symptoms, we address what’s causing the symptoms with less of a bandaid approach and more of a therapeutic, underlying, healing approach.” With clinics in Newton, Chestnut Hill, even in her home, and most recently joining VEGA, Beth’s initial, “misguided” interest in food science has blossomed into practices, certificates and a book to support the work she committed to from a young age. Meet the funny, fresh, fabulous, Integrative and Functional Nutritionist at VEGA, Beth Reardon:
How did you get involved in VEGA?
I was practicing on Newbury Street when a client came in late one afternoon without an appointment and I had her wait until I finished with my other clients. From there, she told me about Stephanie [Moore] and so I invited her to a webinar event, which she came to. That was just this summer and Stephanie immediately walked me over to show me the space at VEGA and it was just instantaneous. Here I am now…I go in four hours a week and I also see patients in Newton, Chestnut Hill and in my home as well.
What has been a highlight in your career thus far?
Two things. Most recently, this certification program that I just completed was enormous because it was the first certification in functional nutrition. It was the exclamation point at this time in my career. Also, my position at Duke as the Director of Integrative and Functional Nutrition was a big deal, not because it was a prestigious appointment but because it was a meaningful appointment. The fact we were able to get Duke Integrative up and running and on the map was huge for an institution like Duke, and for them to recognize the roles of functional nutrition was a big move forward for the field. It was just really meaningful and validated all my years in practice up before that point.
AND, the book was really cool! I wrote a book like everyone else, so that made me laugh, but it actually was really cool. The book tours were fun and neat. It was also painful, though, I talk about it as the longest labor pains ever but it was a big accomplishment and I learned a lot doing it.
Where did you grow up and how did you choose this path?
Nobody was in the field of medicine in my family. It started with a misguided interest in food science. I wanted to understand how food worked but didn’t want to go into dietetics. From that, my interest evolved into looking at an undergrad program in that realm and that was nutritional biochemistry. I went pre-med with the goal of teaching nutrition in medical school.
I didn’t have the platform to practice what I studied so many years ago, until 2010. I was on my merry way practicing what I needed to practice—and now, it’s really validating that this is where the field of medicine and medical curriculums has arrived at. People are expecting more, to be heard and to be listened to, so they get well and not just a diagnosis.
Do you live by a daily mantra?
The one I started with was that I feel very strongly that we are biochemical environments and everything that we eat, everything that we drink matters. Either moving us closer to our health vision or far from it, but it matters for the good and for the bad.
I also have a mantra for my clients, so they best understand my intention for them. It is a quote by Adele Davis, “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can, nevertheless, help us become much more than what we are.”
And my mantra that is absolutely for me, myself, my girls and my clients, is “Life begins just outside of our comfort zone.”
Going off your mantra, do you have any goals to remain outside of your comfort zone for the New Year?
Very much so. Having this certification over with, I see what lays ahead of me. I now need to get a website up and running, I need to put myself out there. I have had the privilege of working for an academic institution for the majority of my career but now I’m on my own so I’m responsible. This year will be huge. I’m not IT savvy and whether it’s web content or being able to do a practice digitally with telemedicine, this is all new and I’m so outside of my comfort zone, so I’m taking that expression to a whole new level. It’s a lot of pressure I’m putting on myself but I’m accepting it.
Describe the VEGA space in 5 words:
Multiple opportunities to achieve health and wellness