We thought it was about time you found out a little about the people behind those bylines. Introducing the Diet Column contributors!
Brandi Koskie has a love for life that extends to living healthy. While it’s not always easy, she enjoys finding new and interesting ways to make her cooking and recipes healthier and more nutritious. As the lead researcher for Diets in Review, and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Journalism, Brandi puts her writing talent to use providing Diets In Review visitors with detailed and relevant information about dieting and weight loss.
She has a firm belief in giving back to her community. Brandi currently sits on the board of directors for Child Start Inc., a non-profit organization that provides Early Head Start and Head Start programs for children in Sedgwick County, Kansas. She’s also been a mentor to a young girl for the past three years, often dropping by the school for lunch and spending time together on weekends.
Brandi currently calls Wichita, KS home, where she lives with her husband and her little dog, too.
Matt Johnson is the resident fitness and nutrition expert for DietsInReview.com. He has been involved in the fitness field for many years and has been a personal trainer for six years. Matt has a B.S. in Exercise Science from Wichita State University, where he is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science. He is the Director of Personal Training for Genesis Health Club in Wichita, is a Certified Personal Trainer with NASM (the National Academy of Sports Medicine) and has a CPR certification. Matt has committed himself to helping others increase their overall level of health and fitness as well as help them to feel better about themselves.
Kinsey Lowrey is a professional in the diet and nutrition field who has a passion for counseling individuals in regard to nutrition and working one-on-one with clients to achieve their personal nutritional goals. She holds a Masters of Science from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida. She is in the process of becoming a certified Registered Dietitian. While at FSU, Kinsey studied Clinical Nutrition, with an additional emphasis on Nutrition Education and Health Promotion. During her time at UF, she was a member of the university’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Club; she continues to be an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Dietetic Association (ADA), and Florida Dietetic Association.
Kinsey is a Louisiana and Florida native, where she grew up the youngest girl of six children. Active in sports all her life, she ended up playing Division I softball at the University of Delaware for two years, where she was pre-med studying Nutritional Sciences before transferring home to Florida to pursue her Dietetics education. Kinsey greatly looks forward to working with individuals in order to improve their lives by adapting to a healthy lifestyle that incorporates all aspects of health: the mind, body, and soul.
Jason Knapfel spent more than 6 years as Senior Editor at eDiets.com, a leading online diet and fitness plan provider. In 2007 he founded Chapter Two Media, which offers content, graphic and web design solutions. Jason earned his B.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University in 1994.
Heather is a writer specializing in nutrition, wellness and health. She received a Masters degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. Heather has written for a number of health publications and magazines around the country including The Detroit News, NY Spirit and Smart Woman Chicago magazines.
Heather has also been a dedicated practitioner and instructor of Ashtanga yoga for the past six years. She has also been studying Ayurveda medicine, the ancient form of Indian health and healing for the past three years and edited the book “The Power to Heal” which is an introduction to Ayurveda.
She currently lives with her boyfriend and their daughter in Michigan.
Naturally curious, you can often find Gretchen Wilcox reading an encyclopedia for fun. When not spending (the majority) of her time raising two young sons, she is also a 20+ year food/wine professional, and has been married to her husband Graham, a professional chef, for 16 years. As a former pageant contestant and sometimes model, Gretchen has spent a lifetime trying to figure out how to “have it all”; a lifestyle that includes gourmet food and wine, while still allowing her to fit into her wardrobe.
After the birth of her first son, now age 14, Gretchen embarked on a career with the weight loss giant, Jenny Craig International. While helping thousands of men, women and teens lose millions of pounds, she learned first hand that weight loss happens not just in the body, but more importantly, in the mind.
Now 40 years old, Gretchen is looking earnestly towards the second half of her life, and how to help people make the body/mind connection. Now studying psychology with a minor in criminal justice, she is looking forward to a career in working with juveniles at risk, and teaching them to focus their mind’s eye on a life that is productive, rich and rewarding.
“Bernie” Bernardo Salazar resides in Chicago. He recently received his Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. You may recognize him from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” season 5 where he was fortunate enough to be the at home winner by losing an amazing 130 lbs. He feels extremely fortunate to have had the incredible opportunity to improve his health by learning how to incorporate healthy eating and exercises into his daily life. He is dedicated to sharing his newfound knowledge on leading a healthier life with others in the hope that we can all get healthy together.
Brooke is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, practicing in Indiana, where she works with adults and children as a personal therapist, life coach and educator. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Anderson University and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Ball State University. Her career has allowed her to serve individuals in many capacities, and she’s also experienced with eating disorders in pre-teens/teens, adoption preparation, providing mental health therapy during disasters, stress management and other professional services. At DietsInReview.com, Brooke will help educate readers about the connection between mental health and nutrition and exercise.
When not working closely with her clients, you can find Brooke burning up a dance floor! She’s a wildly talented dancer, teaching and performing salsa; she is also trained in belly dancing, cha cha, mambo, swing and others.
Barb Crews contributes to the DietsInReview.com blog, sharing her experiences with the Biggest Loser Meal Plan and other diet-related findings. As a diabetic, she doesn’t take her health for granted and enjoys sharing the healthy lifestyle lessons she finds with others.
Barb is more notably recognized for her position as the About.com Collectibles expert, where she has been a contributor for more than ten years. Barb’s experience is broad and she has been featured on A&E’s Incurable Collector and many trade publications like Antique Trader. She is also the founder of the American Cookie Jar Association and was invited by eBay to participate in their four Collectible Summits.
Amy Vermeer is a Holistic Health Counselor accredited with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is currently pursuing her Masters in Holistic Nutrition through Clayton College. Amy works with individuals educating them on health-promoting foods and achieving better health. *Eat* healthy food, *Live* an energetic life and *Laugh* along the way.
To see more about Amy’s view on dieting and nutrition visit her
Jim is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma’s prestigious journalism program. He has written for many online as well as offline publications. One of his recent passions is writing about health and nutrition. Jim loves the challenge of finding new ways to cut fat and unnecessary high calorie content foods. He believes that as a group we are moving in the wrong direction with weight gain and while large cuts and dramatic dietary changes work for some, small steps in the right direction make a huge difference for most.