As a high school soccer player, One Drop health coach, Jackie learned firsthand the many ways in which food (or lack thereof) can affect your performance. With a demanding schedule that required her to go straight from school to her games, Jackie would typically have time for nothing more than an energy bar or a piece of fruit—that is, if she even remembered to pack a pre-game snack at all. “If we forgot food, we’d have nothing,” she says. “I was able to see the difference between when I wasn’t well-nourished compared to when I ate well and how it impacted not just my performance, but also how I felt.”
Plus, back at home, Jackie was helping her father manage a trifecta of chronic conditions—diabetes, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease—by preparing meals that suited his nutritional needs. “This sparked my interest in using food as a tool to help those living with chronic conditions eat a diet that supports their health goals and tastes good,” says Jackie.
Now, as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), and health coach at One Drop, Jackie not only provides personalized guidance to people living with chronic conditions, but she also leads One Drop’s recipe production team, developing creative ways to honor the foods that One Drop members love most as they manage their health.
Finding Her Passion for Food
Before coming to One Drop, Jackie worked for about five years as an RDN in a retail setting at a large supermarket chain, where she hosted consultations, cooking classes, store tours, and other nutrition-related events in her community.
“I was able to share my love for nutrition by cooking creative and nutritious recipes using a variety of products for the community to try and use in their everyday lives,” she explains. Whether she was working with children at libraries, athletes from nearby schools, adolescents with disabilities, seniors, or even support groups for alcoholism and narcotic addiction, Jackie’s goal was to help people feel empowered in their self-care.
“I worked with people from all walks of life, and it helped me learn about foods from cultures around the world,” she shares. “I gained a lot of my confidence in coaching, cooking, product knowledge, business partnerships, and public speaking in this position.”
Getting Personal with Chronic Condition Management
Jackie saw the daily ups and downs of chronic condition management in more ways than one in her own family. While her father lived with multiple health issues for the last 15 years of his life, Jackie’s brother also experienced addiction in the years following their father’s passing.
“Caring for a family member allows you to understand on a very deep level the implications beyond the chronic condition itself,” explains Jackie. “This is where the gaps and shortcomings in our current healthcare structure become painfully obvious to me, and I wanted to be part of the solution to help bridge those gaps.”
To be part of that solution, Jackie would host free diabetes support groups every year with a local pharmacist, covering topics like nutrition, medication, and the emotional side of living with chronic conditions.
“Every February, for National Heart Month, I would also partner with a nearby hospital to provide a virtual store tour and information to those living with cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and/or high blood pressure,” she adds.
Now, as a clinical health coach at One Drop, Jackie uses what she learned in both her professional and personal experiences with chronic condition management to help people reach their wellness goals, no matter what they may be.
Bridging the Gaps In Self-Care Solutions
Whether she’s developing new recipes or scheduling one-on-one calls with One Drop members, Jackie says her work as a clinical health coach provides something crucial that our current healthcare system lacks: individualized care.
“In my work here at One Drop, I get to know each person as a whole rather than solely by their diagnosis,” she says, noting that she often works with people who assume an “all or nothing” approach to healthy nutrition is the only way to achieve success. “But what I’ve learned most is that small steps can lead to great changes,” she continues. “You don’t have to give up the foods you love entirely; rather, focusing on small adjustments and adding in healthful habits can have considerable effects on overall health.”
When she’s not helping One Drop members adopt these habits or answering questions about their health data, Jackie spends her time creating recipes that are both inspiring and realistic (like this smoky-sweet salsa, or these crowd-pleasing party foods) for those living with chronic conditions.
“Our goal on the recipe team is to provide a variety of ideas that will inspire coaches and members, as well as simple, convenient recipes that will fit easily into everyday living for our members,” she explains. “Everyone is unique, so the foods and recipes need to be, too! The more information our members provide coaches with about the foods they truly enjoy and that are important for them, the more individualized support we can provide through the language of food, recipes, and nutrition.”
Through her work, Jackie hopes she can encourage people living with chronic conditions to find healthy habits that don’t just help them meet their goals, but also enrich their lives as much as possible.
“Food can bring so much joy, but it can also be a source of stress when the foods we eat can have such an effect on chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease,” she says. “I’m a true believer in making small adjustments that meet each individual where they’re at while keeping in mind where they want to be both physically and mentally.”