Tara Rochford is an Indianapolis based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, lifestyle blogger, and influencer! We featured her as one of the “10 Indy Wellness Influencers You Should Follow on Instagram.” Tara shows off her passion for cooking and travels through her beautiful blog www.tararochfordnutrition.com, helping people live their healthiest life. And now she is adding author to her resume, with the release of her new book The 14 Day Elimination Diet Plan. We sat down Tara to learn more about her passions, her new book, and all things wellness.
Did you have a personal lifestyle shift that started to gear toward health and fitness, or has you always led a pretty healthy life?
I always loved cooking, and food–the idea of healthy eating was interesting to me. In middle school, I led a project on the topic of childhood obesity that got me more interested in the subject. I helped form a group called the Snack Packers, who would bring healthy snacks to classrooms and teach children about exercise and nutritious food. This served as a great way to learn about healthy living and to continue pursuing that lifestyle. I studied arts administration and vocal performance while at Butler University and also taught fitness classes there. That allowed me to progress this lifestyle further and help get me to where I am today.
What made you go to school to become a nutritionist?
I graduated as a music major from Butler University but decided to pursue another degree in Nutrition Dietetics in 2013, at the University of Colorado. I wasn’t feeling fulfillment in the jobs I was in and knew that going back to school was the right decision. I just graduated from my nutrition program this past fall.
You recently published a book. Tell us a little bit about the book?
My new book is called The 14 Day Elimination Diet. It’s a tool to help individuals identify food allergies and intolerances without stress! The first part of the book digs deep into what a food allergy is, what food intolerance is, what symptoms you may be experiencing, and how food may be linked to those symptoms. The book then explains what foods are eliminated (we eliminate the top 8 major allergens plus some additional categories), how to read ingredient labels, and what foods should cause no symptoms. The second part of the book is filled with 75 delicious recipes that fit perfectly into the diet and meal plan, and are yummy enough for your friends and family to enjoy with you. The best part is that there is a 14-day meal plan included that features recipes from the book and foods that are ok to eat as well as a structured reintroduction schedule.
There are so many wholesome aspects to your blog with tips for cooking, fitness, and travel. Would you say these are primarily your hobbies? Is there anything that your blog doesn’t showcase that sheds light on your life?
I would say all of these are my top passions. I love being able to connect with people on these subjects, and love how accessible it is to do with social media. Social media is a cool tool to use to engage with the audience on all of these subjects– it’s a great way to engage with recipes.
Do you have a go-to workout, or do you like to mix it up?
I have workouts that I know that I like and can do on my own–being a fitness instructor taught me a lot. But I like doing a variety of things and love group fitness classes. I love the community it provides.
Is meal prep an integral part of making healthy food choices Any meal prep tips you think people are missing out on?
I’m a list maker and am known for my organizational skills. I look ahead at my weeks to decide how many and what types of meals to make (usually 3-4.) If you sign up for my emails, you can download my meal planner that provides a meal plan and grocery list.
What exactly did you do when you worked for Butler University?
I worked there as the registered dietitian meeting with faculty, staff, and students for one on one appointments. We talked about everything from how to get started on eating healthy to specific tips and tricks. These meetings entail a variety of different things, depending on the person’s needs. Some client relations are ongoing while others are short, and some organizations hire me to put on presentations. Once I did a DIY overnight oat class where I bought supplies for a cooking demo for a sorority, and the girls got to take home their own batch.
Do you see any recent, major shifts in the Indy health and fitness scene? If so, what?
Within the industry as a whole, I feel like I’ve seen a shift from short term goals to longevity and overall wellness. I have witnessed people genuinely wanting to feel good instead of tackling extreme plans that may leave them feeling not their best. I want healthy foods to be as accessible as possible for people. It’s essential for people to learn to take the initiative, and the best way to teach that is leading by example.
What would your advice be to people who want to dedicate their lives to health and fitness, but struggle with finding the time and energy to do so?
I know it can be overwhelming because there’s a lot of info out there. But my advice is to pick one thing, nail it down, then you will feel inspired to try another thing. There are a ton of options for what to eat and how to buy, but the bottom line is to focus on real, whole food. I am a big advocate for Vitamin P – the pleasure vitamin. Do things that make you feel good. Whether it’s watching Netflix on a Saturday or taking your dog for a walk on the Monon, do it. When it comes to what habits and things to keep in your life, do what sparks joy.
You can pre-order Tara’s new book, The 14 Day Elimination Diet Plan on Amazon.
Rachel is a freelance writer who focuses on mindful living, aiming to help people live healthier, more intentional lives.