Ashley Carpenter, RDN, CDN

My fascination for nutrition began nearly a decade ago when my diet completely changed merely by chance. Out went heavily processed foods, and instead, I substituted an abundance of fresh whole foods. Over time, I was stunned to find my health ailments had completely disappeared. I had always assumed that with my genetic predisposition and family history, illness was inevitable. The novel idea that I had power over my own health and the way I felt, invigorated me. I wanted to share this revelation with everyone and to divulge myself into learning everything about preventative nutrition as possible. I began on a quest to learn about foods and supplements that deliver desirable effects on health and performance, also known as functional foods.

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I enrolled in the State University College at Buffalo’s Dietetic program where I completed their Bachelor's Didactic track in 2019. I volunteered in the community and participated in the Nutrition Club and Rotaract Club. Throughout undergrad, I always knew I wanted to work with treating the root cause of the illness as opposed to masking the issue. While obtaining my undergraduate degree, I also worked full time in the restaurant industry. I catered high profile events for prominent sports figures in a high volume setting and trained incoming servers. My role as a server helped me to further understand people’s connection to food. The sense of community, tradition, celebration, and the feelings food imparted on these moments. Food is ingrained in our sense of self and a source of enjoyment. I became ServSafe Manager Certified, so that I could handle food safely and appropriately.

 

In these kitchens, I saw innovation and unexpected pairings that complemented one another exquisitely. I was inspired to make food taste delicious as well as nourishing. Previously, I had worked as a kitchen chef where I gained many of the skills that I needed to be successful. I started developing inspired recipes that served as a creative outlet and felt equally productive throughout such a busy time in my life. I revel in converting people into vegetable lovers and sharing my favorite recipes with friends and family. Sometimes, one needs to taste it to believe it.

 

In 2020, I was accepted into Keith & Associates Distance Dietetic Internship located in Tulsa, OK. I was blessed to be afforded the flexibility of choosing experiences that would add richness to my personal professional goals. I gained nearly 1200 hours of experience in the Western New York Region working with a variety of populations including school children, geriatrics, intensive care, diabetes, sepsis, oncology, COVID, and many more. I contributed to a variety of initiatives including farm to school, SNAP, NY Thursdays, Taste NY, IDDSI, and created an institutionalized whole food and vegan meal plan and developed health articles for health professionals. While in my rotations, I saw many hospitalizations for illnesses that could have been prevented or better managed with nutritionally adequate diets. Direct imbalances like diabetes type 2, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, gastroparesis and heart disease were all treated with nutrition prescriptions as well as other treatments. It was rare to come across a patient that didn’t need any medical nutritional therapy.

 

In June 2021, I officially became a Registered Dietitian. The next day, I began working as a SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator. I taught nutrition classes and exhibited food demonstrations in areas with a high prevalence of health disparities to improve health equity. I collaborated with community initiatives such as the Farmacy program, MAP Mobile Market, and Veggie Van to improve food access and health literacy throughout the Niagara and Erie Counties.

 

In July 2021, I attained two Certificates of Training through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One in Integrative and Functional Medicine and another in Health Coaching. Throughout my research, I noticed similar recommendations to reduce risk or improve symptoms of most prevalent diseases, a mainly plant-based, whole foods diet. Therefore, my interest in the flexitarian diet was sparked. This interest paired with my interest in gastronomy, the science of amazing tasting food, led me to Culinary Medicine. With Culinary Medicine, many traditional foods are still incorporated but in new ways that are metabolically beneficial. Culinary Medicine combines food science, research, and culinary techniques to make satisfying, health-promoting meals. Food as medicine has fewer side effects than traditional medications and tends to be more affordable.

 

Food directly imparts health or disease. Food molecules break down or catabolize and become bioavailable, resulting in an array of complex hormonal, genetic, and immune modulating physiological impacts as well as directing the composition of our microbiome. Our microbiome, the bacteria residing in our GI tract, has immense influence on our health and well-being. 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut and is also where 70-80% of our immune system resides. It is crucial to evaluate environmental, sociological, emotional, physical, genetic, biological, and dietary aspects for a holistic, individualized approach. Integrative and functional nutrition directly addresses the underlying imbalances, known as STAINs (stressors, toxins, adverse food reactions, infections and nutrition), instead of masking them. With food as medicine, we can reduce inflammation, restore gut health and metabolic balance and so much more.

 

I meet my clients where they are and empower them to achieve their goals. I gather in-depth, detailed personal histories to identify and modify client-driven factors using a positive, strengths-based approach. I enjoy inspiring and cheering my clients on as they achieve their goals and build sustainable lifestyle changes. I am honored to be a part of the Buffalo Nutrition & Dietetics, PLLC team where I can utilize the most innovative and revolutionary technologies, labs, medical nutritional therapies, functional and integrative practices that work together to promote optimal health and performance. I welcome you to reach out today and see what Buffalo Nutrition & Dietetics, PLLC has to offer you.

 

MEDICAL LICENSURES:

  • Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

    • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Commission on Dietetic Registration

  • Certified Dietitian Nutritionist (CDN)

    • University of the State of New York Education Department, Office of the Professions

 

PROFESSIONAL AFFILLIATIONS:

  • Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND)

  • Dietitians In Integrative & Functional Medicine (DIFM)

  • Vegetarian Nutrition (AND Practice Group)

  • Nutrition Entrepreneurs (AND Practice Group)

  • Western New York Dietetic Association (WNYDA)

  • New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND)