The Kitchen Vixen Interview on Talk Jog Run

Interview on

TalkJogRun by WalkJogRun : 
Interview with The Kitchen Vixen, WalkJogRun’s recipe blogger
Caitlin Seick: TalkJogRun Host
Intro—Welcome to TalkJogRun! My name is Caitlin of  Today we’re here with Elizabeth Brown, the one and only, Kitchen Vixen.  You may know Elizabeth from the delicious recipes she provides for WalkJogRun members.  She has a high list of qualifications, and is a registered dietician. 
1.      Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for being on the show with us today! How are you? Hi Caitlin, I’m great thank you. And Thank you for having me on your show.
2.      It’s great to have you! Tell us what made you decide to go to school for nutrition? My first year out of high school I worked as a trainer at a local gym. I’d gotten into fitness when my French teacher, who was also the powerlifting coach, convinced me to join the powerlifting team. That was in 1986. When I worked at the gym, I heard all of the trainers giving different advice and I just didn’t believe any of them because they couldn’t explain the rational for their advice. I decided to go to school for nutrition so I could learn the science and educate the public. 
3.      You didn’t stop with just your dietician license.  Why did you see it necessary to get your diabetes educator certificate, and weight management certificate? To become a Registered Dietitian, or RD, you first get your Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Nutrition. I have both. After you get your Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, then you apply for a clinical internship to earn the hours to study and sit for your RD exam. So it’s typically a 5 year process. I got my Master’s degree while working fulltime and then I did my master’s thesis which made it 3 years total. When I became a Certified Diabetes Educator, I had to accumulate 2000 counseling hours working with Diabetic patients and I had to take at least 2 years to accumulate those hours. I actually had all of my hours in one year but I couldn’t take the exam until after the second year. Now it’s 1000 hours in 1 year. I worked at a Diabetes Center for 5 years and spent about half my time counseling patients with diabetes and the other half counseling patients for weight management and other chronic diseases.  But to be a Certified Weight Management Specialist, you only had to study for and take the certification exam. To get any of these credentials though, you must be a Registered Dietitian and not a Nutritionist. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist with little to no formal education. RD’s have at least a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in Nutrition.
4.      When did you start blogging at  Actually, the name came about in 1998 when I did a Men’s Health interview with Greg Gutfeld. He came up with the it. In 2006 I started writing for the Santa Monica Daily Press Newspaper as The Kitchen Vixen. That’s when I started posting my articles on my website. 
5.      Where does the inspiration for your recipes come from? Many of my creations have come out of necessity, to fuel my body and to use whatever fresh foods I have on hand. I always try to create recipes that are as nutrient dense as possible. I’m not a big supplement person and I do believe you can meet most of your nutrient needs with food if you eat foods that are nutrient dense and leave out foods that have little to offer besides calories. I have learned that I am severely gluten intolerant so the recipes I create nowadays are gluten free. 
6.      Your recipes contain a lot of organic ingredients.  In your opinion, is it necessary to buy the organic food and produce?  Why or why not? I read one study that said that if you tell people to only eat organic foods and they either don’t have access to organic foods or don’t have to money to spend on these foods, then they feel overwhelmed and are unlikely to make any healthful choices. So, with that being said, I would tell people to buy organic produce if it is local, accessible and affordable and if not, to simply choose as much fresh produce as possible and limit processed foods. If given a choice, choose local produce over produce from far away. If fresh isn’t an option, frozen is completely acceptable. If choosing processed foods, choose the option with the shortest ingredient list and with the list of recognizable, whole food ingredients. 
7.      What’s the best nutrition fact that you learned in school? That you need vitamin C to help you absorb iron. But if the iron is from red meat or dark meat chicken, for example, you can absorb it as is because it’s in the same form it will be in in the body. But overall, I’d say, just learning the science of nutrition which helps me to discern and disseminate the nutrition information that some people just spew out without thinking. With my understanding I have the tools to explain the science of nutrition to the general public.
8.      What are some of the best items that busy people can make that don’t have too much time to cook? I think soup is one of the best categories of foods that everyone should learn how to prepare. You only need a few hours once a week to shop for and prepare a delicious homemade soup that you can enjoy throughout the week or even freeze for future weeks. Also, juices and smoothies. Everyone should have a good blender. Because you can really bolster your nutrition and make quick meal replacement drinks by just literally throwing some things in a blender. At the very least, everyone should know how to make eggs, bake fish, prepare brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes and steam fresh vegetables.
9.      You’re a weight management specialist-and there’s so many people who are trying to manage their weight. Including myself, I’m not overweight or anything but I think weight management is sometimes hard to do for anyone.  What are some of the best tips you have for weight management-where does a person start? Start where you are. Know your weight right now. Don’t worry about losing weight, start by learning to maintain the weight you carry at this moment. Then start by looking at what you eat right now. Don’t make any changes until you have an understanding of your present habits. This is the hardest thing for people to do. I don’t do as much private counseling as I used to because I find that no one wants to write down their current eating habits and allow me to analyze them. They just want to be told what to do. But I have to understand where they are coming from and so should they. It’s much more realistic to gradually change current habits than to give them a whole new set of habits that may not coincide with what they are doing right now. Also look at your current activity schedule. Once you have this information about yourself, then start making gradual changes. Start replacing processed carbs with more vegetables and a few whole food carbs such as brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes, for example. If you drink soda. Just stop that completely. Cut out sweets and replace with fresh fruit or with herbal tea. Too many of us have a preference for sweetness that we really need to quell. The preference for sweets is a survival mechanism learned at birth. Mother’s milk is sweet so the baby will drink it. The milk is also high in fat so they will get the calorie density they need for their rapid growth. As we get older, we are supposed to crave sweets as a survival mechanism. Our bodies know that sugar is a quick energy source which is essential during high energy demands but most of us don’t have those same “physical” demands. We have emotional demands. That extra sugar is just doing our bodies a disservice by feeding the stress and growing our waistlines. So, in a nutshell, start where you are, learn your habits, cut out sugar and processed carbs, and eat more vegetables, as many you want!
10.   When someone is at the grocery store trying to buy healthy food-what food items should they be sure to steer-clear of? O-M-G…really? How about: Steer clear of the center isles completely. When I used to do supermarket tours, we would refer to the “isles” as the prison of the store. Once you start pursuing the isles your trapped and you begin to buy all sorts of “junk” you don’t need. Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where you will find the bulk of the foods that will fill your cart. Load up!! And I do mean “LOAD UP!!” on fresh vegetables and fruits. And if you buy more than you think you will use in a week then learn to make juices, smoothies and soups. You can even freeze your juiced greens in ice cube trays to use later. If the “healthy food” in question has a label on it, then it’s really not healthy. God made all the healthy foods we need. Man messed them up when he processed them. It takes so much more fuel to produce manufactured foods. If we want to save the world, literally, then eat more fresh, local foods and stop eating packaged foods.
11.  Are their any chemicals that we should be sure to steer clear of that are common in foods? Why? Again, really? There are soooo many. To be honest, not every 12 letter word on a package is poison. And here again, there are many people who will simply spew out all of those words and tell everyone how bad they are and make it sound like they have a degree in biochemistry so they know of what they speak. Some of these long words on food products are stabilizers. Polysorbate 60 or any derivative there of, is used in baked goods to keep them from going stale or in coffee whiteners to help them dissolve in coffee or in artificial whipped cream to keep the oil from separating out of the artificial whipped cream. The CSPI has an iphone app called Chemical Cuisine which allows you to look up such information and to see if the food additive is safe or not. They have different rating from “safe” to “cut back” to “avoid” to “caution” and “certain people should avoid.” CSPI deems Polysorbate 60 as safe. However, with that being said, the foods that use Polysorbate are not unsafe, but they also don’t contribute good nutrition to a society that is gearing towards being overweight and undernourished. So, again, if the food even has a label, steer clear. If it’s something you must have, do so on occasion, choose the item with the shortest ingredient list and if in doubt, download CSPI’s chemical cuisine and do some investigative shopping yourself. 
12.  If you could list 5-10 items that should be bought on every shopping trip, what would they be? Leafy Greens, Leafy Greens, Leafy Greens, wild Fish, some sort of citrus, nuts, at least one WHOLE grain or colorful starchy carb such as sweet potatoes or carrots. 

3 3.  Is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience today? Nutrition can be a daunting field. I have been studying and applying the science of nutrition to my life since 1988 and I’m still learning.
Don’t get frustrated when nutrition advice changes and don’t blame the RD. Not all of us jump on the current research bandwagon. When the advice came out to cut out eggs because of cholesterol, I thought about it and looked at eggs as whole. First of all, they are the beginning of life for a chicken. Everything a chicken needs to develop and grow is in this one little egg. How can that be bad?
In the end, God gave us the fuel to help us get through our days and achieve our life’s goals. Man came along and fouled it up. Dietitian’s are here to help clean up the mess and educate the public but we can’t know everything.  Be an educated consumer and simply use your intuition. If it is as nature intended then it is intended to optimally fuel your body.
Conclusion—Thanks for listening to TalkJogRun.  For more information, to read our blog and to start tracking your training, please visit  We’ll see you next week!


  1. Elizabeth is a true expert who walks her talk. This interview is full of great advice to help you eat better and be healthier.