Hi! My name is Katie and Lemons and I’m so happy you’re here!

I’ve been on a long and windy educational journey for the past 6 years, and at the time of writing this (July, 2020) I’ll be starting my job as a primary care physician assistant. But let’s go back to find out how I got here.

The year was 2014. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, psykaleogy if you will, from Loyola University Maryland. I was interested in health and writing, and was debating entering the field of health psychology. However, I knew I didn’t want my PsyD or PhD and realized I was far more interested in nutrition and healthcare. After being rejected from upwards of 50 jobs, I decided to pivot and began taking health science prerequisites at a local community college. My original goal was to get my RD (registered dietitian) and then go on to do *something* medical (at the time I just wasn’t sure what). Luckily the perquisites were the largely the same for both, so that’s how I started.

While doing this, I took a CNA course and began working at a hospital as a PCA in the float pool. This exposed me to a wide variety of patient populations, providers, and specialities, so was great background as I was still figuring out which medical route I wanted. I was debating between PA, DO, and naturopathy.

My job at the hospital confirmed my belief that diet is intrinsically linked to chronic disease, so I moved forward with an RD program after finishing my science prerequisites. However, after about a day of the program, I decided it wasn’t exactly the right fit, as I wanted to be learning exclusively about the link between nutrition and medicine. So rather than pursuing the RD, I instead began a Master’s in nutrition and functional medicine from University of Western States, finishing up in 2017. The program was perfect for me and allowed a ton of flexibility to continue working at the hospital while building my blog / Instagram. You can read all about my experience with the program here. There are also lots of different online programs that explore integrative nutrition! I did a whole blog post recapping those here. For all of the posts I’ve written dedicated to this experience, you can check out this tab.

After speaking to and shadowing a lot of PAs while working in the hospital, and calling those who had similar interests as me / jobs that I thought would align with my idea for my future, I applied to PA school. I was accepted to a program that I really connected with in the interview process (check out this post regarding PA school interview tips). However, it began before my nutrition master’s would have ended. I had the option to pause the master’s program to then pick it back up when finishing PA school, but I knew it would be extremely difficult to maintain that momentum after a grueling 2 years of PA school. And looking back, oh boy was I right. I can’t imagine having to get right back into more education after passing my boards. So I made the painstaking decision to forfeit my seat, knowing I could always apply again the following cycle.

I had one more interview for that year, and when I went I was really all over the place. I started second guessing if PA was right for me, and if I wanted to singularly pursue nutrition. I was gaining some momentum with my blog and social media channels and was making enough of an income to somewhat sustain myself. I felt confident I could keep up its growth, especially if I were to pursue it full time. I did a whole blog post pooling opinions from readers and it really helped me get my thoughts together. You can find that here. I was waitlisted at this last program, and so I took a deep breath and continued blogging. Again, I was thinking I could take a year to collect myself and then apply a second time around if it was something I still wanted.

BUT! Turns out I got off the waitlist! I took this as a *~sign~* (cheesy, I know) to go and wow I am just so glad I did. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. But certainly didn’t come without its challenges. I’ve written a LOT about the experience, and you can find all of those posts here. I even have a post dedicated to PA school FAQs. However, despite the trials and tribulations, I was firm in my resolution to incorporate nutrition into the practice, and with the support of faculty and preceptors was able to do this even as a student! You can read about that here.

I graduated from Northeastern’s PA program in August of 2019 and passed my boards shortly thereafter (you can find my study schedule for the PANCE here as well as a post with all of my end of rotation exam study guides here). I was once again struggling to decide which field to enter into because I enjoyed a few different things. I ultimately took some time off after graduating, did my yoga teacher training certification, and then landed my dream job as a primary care PA in a community health setting in the Boston area. You can read all about my journey to getting my job here. And some answers to some FAQ about life as a new grad PA here. I also pooled some responses from classmates about getting their first PA jobs here.

For a full set of all the posts I’ve written about my educational journey, be sure to check out my education index here. And what a journey it has been. 6 years of really hard work. But it is an absolute privilege to be able to be where I am now.

The goal I had for my educational background is to have necessary skill-set to prescribe a robust range of interventions – from nutrition to lifestyle to pharmaceutical when necessary. I plan to integrate nutrition into my medical practice, focusing on how food can be used as a preventative wellness plan, as well as a source of psykaleogical wellbeing and vitality. I was even recently accepted to a nutrition fellowship for PAs and will be beginning that in August, 2020. Excitement!!

What began as a hobby, this site and its associated social media fingerlings are now a pun-packed passion.  Since healthy food has been genetically passed on to me (see: last name Lemons), I use this platform to present all of my favorite recipes and habits with a twist – foods and behaviors that taste good and make you feel good; it should never have to be one or the other. I’m also using this site as an excuse to post my favorite food puns.  It’d be a KALEamity not to, you know?

Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about my education background and endeavors.

Interested in collaborating? Email kaila@smithsaint.com

This Website and its Content are not to be perceived as or relied upon in any way as medical advice or mental health advice. The information provided through our Website or Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your own physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, therapist, counselor, mental health practitioner, licensed dietitian or nutritionist, member of the clergy, or any other licensed or registered health care professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking professional advice because of information you have read on this Website, its Content, or received from us. Do not stop taking any medications without speaking to your physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, mental health provider or other health care professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical or mental health issue, contact your own health care provider promptly.  We are not providing health care, medical or nutrition therapy services or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure in any manner whatsoever any physical ailment, or any mental or emotional issue, disease or condition. We are not giving medical, psychological, or religious advice whatsoever. My thoughts and posts are entirely my own and are not representative of programs I have attended. 

18 comments:

  • Bridget

    I love this.

  • Morgan

    Hi Katie!!

    Love this site and all of your ideas! Thanks for giving examples of what brands you use and how you food pair for better absorption. Also love the “superfood spotlight.” And can’t forget the puns!

    I’m curious… where do you get your food from? Do you ever order anything online (like the maca or acai powders)? I want to eat well without breaking the bank! Thanks!!

    Just put my overnight oats in the fridge – excited to try them in the morning!

    Best,
    Morgan 🙂

    • Katie

      Hi Morgan! Maca powder I buy at Whole Foods (Navitas Naturals brand), but anything you find online that is organic would be just the same. The great thing about it is that a bag lasts me usually for 4ish months because the serving size is so small (1 tsp.). It really does improve my energy in the morning. I had given up coffee for awhile and found that I was just as energized after a smoothie with maca (computer just autocorrected that to caca…which brings my flighty attention to another point – it doesn’t taste great. Make sure to add it in smoothies / other meals with strong flavor profiles so as to mask its taste) in it. Acai powder honestly I bought once and probably won’t buy again. I mostly like to get my nutrients from whole food sources themselves, so if you’re going to splurge, get the Sambazon frozen acai packs (unsweetened!) and have it once in awhile as a weekend treat. They last in the freezer indefinitely, so you don’t have to worry about your money going to waste. Can’t wait to hear how your overnight oats came out, and hope this helps!

  • Michael Labonte

    Dont judge the sludge smoothies with sass

  • Audra Davis

    I just love your approach and your personality that shines through! Keep being authentic, it really is enchanting. Have a happy day!

  • Brooke

    Hey there Katie!

    I just found your Instagram page which led me to your website! As a fellow health food blogger it is so fun looking at new recipes and becoming inspired by my peers. I saw on Instagram that you are a medical nutritionist student, which is something I am actively pursuing myself.

    May I ask what your academic background was in/ what your program is? I majored in Psychology in my undergraduate studies but am looking for a nutrition program. Feel free to email me as well if you don’t wish to share your personal information!

    Thank you so much for any advice! Cheers from California. 🙂

    -Brooke

    • Katie

      Hi Brooke! I also majored in psychology in undergrad, and then took a lot of science courses post grad in preparation for applying to PA school. Since my passion is nutrition and I plan to integrate nutrition education into a future medical practice, I am pursuing a master’s in nutrition and functional medicine from the University of Western States before I enter PA school. It’s an incredible program and I am loving it so far! Hope this helps 🙂 Katie

  • Angela

    Love the new site, Ms. Lemons!

  • Demi Richter

    Hi Katie!

    Huge fan! I recently have partnered up with my local park district to create a blog/ site that incorporates nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle as well as connecting community members to amazing park district programs that keep them living a healthy lifestyle! As one of my foodie- health nut role models will you shed some light on how you created such a great blog/brand? Specifically how did you build your site?

  • Megan

    Love love love this website and your IG feed! Your insta stories are always funny and informative!

    Keep KALEing it in the health world!

    xox Meg

  • Michael

    We need more health care providers on a path like you! Good luck with your journey. Food is medicine!

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