ImpactHub Boston Host Sandhya Murali recently sat down with Kara Lydon, one of the Hub’s newest members, to learn more about her love for food, yoga, and travel.
My passion lies in the health and wellness space, and my philosophy is that the secret to being holistically happy is to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and also a registered yoga teacher. I do one-on-one nutrition coaching, teach Vinyasa yoga, and blog at The Foodie Dietitian, where I share seasonal, vegetarian, and vegan plant-based recipes as well as yoga-inspired wellness tips.
I also consult to food commodity boards, primarily in recipe development. Every type of produce has a marketing board, which is funded by the growers of that produce. I work with the Mushroom Council, which is based in California, and the Wild Blueberries Association of North America, which is based in Maine.
That’s fascinating! How did you get involved with food commodity boards?
I started my career in the clinical world, working at Tufts Medical Center doing outpatient counseling. During my dietetic internship in 2010, I started my first blog and realized it was a fun, creative outlet, but it initially remained a hobby rather than a professional endeavor. A fellow dietitian who was working at Chobani found my blog and mentioned they were looking to bring on a dietitian. I was hesitant to make that leap into the corporate sector because I had no marketing or business experience, but decided to go for it. I worked with them for two years and eventually left because I wanted to focus more on health and wellness. I did learn a lot during my time at Chobani and made many connections in the food industry, which ultimately led to my current consulting work for the food commodity boards.
Anything else you’re working on?
I also do food photography and styling, making healthy food look beautiful and delicious! I’m starting to do more photography for my recipe development clients.
Any tips on making food look beautiful in photos?
Using a DSLR camera is best but if using a smartphone, I recommend getting an app such as Snapseed or VSCOcam, and getting as close to a natural light source as possible.
What are some subjects you are passionate about?
I feel like my work life and personal life are really intertwined. Outside of my work, I love traveling and I’m passionate about exploring new places. I enjoy hiking and nature, and feel lucky to live close to the Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. I also love trying new restaurants.
What was your favorite trip?
My favorite trip was Southeast Asia – Thailand and Cambodia. I was immersed in this place of total beauty and simplicity that had a culture that was so inspiring. I went there soon after I left Chobani with another friend who had just left her job, so we had so many insightful conversations about what we wanted to do next, our goals in life, and who we wanted to be. Last summer, I did a trip to Europe, to Ireland, Paris, and Barcelona. I have Irish heritage from my grandmother, so I felt completely at home in Ireland, and felt my grandmother’s spirit there. I also loved the friendly vibe. I’m getting married later this year and our plan is to go back to Southeast Asia and visit Bali, Vietnam and Laos.
Congratulations! That sounds amazing. I have to ask, what’s your favorite restaurant – in Boston and outside of Boston?
In Boston, it’s a tie between Toro and Coppa, which are owned by same chef. Toro is Spanish-inspired small plates, while Coppa is Italian-inspired small plates. Outside of Boston, I’d have to say Ad Hoc in Napa Valley. The restaurant I want to try in Boston is Banyan in the South End.
What are some skills you are currently looking for?
My big project right now is to write an e-book on nutrition and yoga, because I’m very interested in the integration between the two. It’s called Nourish Your Namaste and will include functional recipes as well as thoughts on nutrition and yoga to facilitate holistic healing. For example, I have chapters on digestion, immunity, energy, and relaxation. Right now though I feel really clueless about e-books – how to design, market, and sell, so would love advice on that topic!
Why Impact Hub Boston?
My fiancé works for a local food startup called Fancypants Bakery that manufactures nut-free cookies, and used to work in this area, which is how I found out about Impact Hub. I used to work out of my house and it got lonely and old pretty fast. I was missing that connection to other people, and that energy that exists between like-minded entrepreneurs. I joined Impact Hub to create more of that separation between home and work life and to make some great new connections.
Chocolate (dark), brie cheese, sautéed kale.
Brené Brown’s books: Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong.
Last read book?
Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life by Rebecca Pacheco.