The success of the Health and Fitness Total Refresh Group back in January 2022 was a great indication that we are starving for good fitness moves and good nutrition guidance. Alex Brandy of Ascend Experience, LLC and Kara Pachniuk, MS, CNS, of Nourish and Nosh Ct., make up a great team to get you covered in all areas of fitness and nutrition. We thought it would be fun and helpful to get to know each of these pioneering ladies and how they inspire us to tune in to their enthusiasm and expertise, all for our benefit. Here is an intimate look at how Kara got started and where she is heading.
Question: Did you know right out of high school that you wanted to be a nutritionist?
Kara: No, not at all. I’ve always loved science so after high school I went to Wheaton College and majored in Neuroscience. During my high school and college careers I worked for a local farm, and I think that is where I started to fall in love with nutrition.
It was the personal relationships that I built while working there that helped me gain a strong appreciation for whole foods. After college I worked at a school in Rhode Island for children with developmental disabilities. I gained a strong desire to understand the role nutrition played in their growing years; how nutrition works in growing bodies. From that job I went on to pursue a masters’ degree in nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and I have never second guessed myself. It was a perfect mix of science and food.
Question: At what point did you decide to start your own business and become a solopreneur?
Kara: When I became a mom my realizations changed. I wanted to have more control over my schedule. I had, up until this point, worked to help run a nutrition company for 5 years, but becoming a mom really impacted me in ways I could never have predicted prior to that life event. When my daughter turned 11 months old, on that day, I opened my doors to Nourish and Nosh. I love owning my own practice. I am a hard worker and by hanging my name outside my own business door my already high commitment level has become more laser focused and meaningful.
Question: Is your practice mostly about helping people who want to lose weight?
Kara: Yes and no. It is a large portion of what I do, but I help people with very specific ailments as well such as autoimmune diseases, low energy, menopause, etc. I work with children and young adults to teach them about nutrition and balanced meals.
Photo by: Anna Pelzer
Question: What are your thoughts regarding supplements?
Kara: Supplements are a wonderful tool. We can try our hardest to stick to diets but sometimes, due to genetics, we need a little help getting everything we need. People with dietary restrictions need supplements to help their bodies feel and function at their best. Health.harvard.edu suggests, “that staying healthy requires a multi-faceted approach to self-care. Being aware and knowledgeable about ANY supplement is part of that care.” Having a nutritionist to guide you through the weeds of supplements can be extremely beneficial.
Question: In what ways does Nourish and Nosh play out at home?
Kara: I am always in recipe development and trying new techniques. I am not a chef, but I try diligently to push myself and experiment in the kitchen. Working with foods I know my family will eat and creating new ways to eat those foods is fun for me. If you were with the Refresh group this last round, you were able to get a nice variety of foods to add to your recipe list that are nutritional and healthier than before I got my hands on it.
Question: Who is your toughest client?
Kara: You would think I would say a picky eater is my toughest client but really, my toughest client is someone who is not ready to commit to make healthy changes. It takes conscious decision making to go beyond the consultation and do the work that needs to produce the results you want. I have to say that in most cases, the changes do happen but if you know that after the first day of trying you will likely fall back to old habits, check in with yourself and with me, let’s talk about what you are feeling and how to help you over the hump.
Question: To date, what is your greatest success story?
Kara: Years ago, I worked with a very busy mom. She worked A LOT. Over the course of one year, she slowly took off 80 lbs. and began running. Short runs at first until she built up to running triathlons. I still see her running around town to this day. She did nothing miraculous. She took her time and made changes that fit her at each moment she felt ready. It paid off!
Photo by: Bruna Branco
Question: Where do you want to take Nourish and Nosh going forward?
Kara: More groups! I am not sure yet what that looks like, but I love the idea of groups and the added accountability they bring among all the members. We help each other and it is so beautiful to experience.
Question: How has working with Ascend Experience, LLC benefited you and the clients who are into the fitness portion of your team- work?
Kara: My perspective is, you are ½ way there if you are owning the exercise portion of your best life. Now let’s add the food component. Alex is my go- to for anyone who needs more accountability in the nutrition arena. The bonus is that she can work with the fitness clients virtually or in their home just like I can, so it puts people more at ease and shows them how accessible fitness and good nutrition can be. Many people struggle with going to the gym or making good food choices. Using what you have at home and/or just your own body and working within your routines, creates deeper accountability to the results you are looking to achieve.
Question: What is the one take-away you want your clients to know for sure about you and your business?
Kara: I am a realist. I believe in the process of good nutrition, and I want to be your support system with each and every client. I know how and when to push my clients but also know when enough is enough. My goal is to have my clients walk away with tools and knowledge to last a lifetime.
If you have nutrition questions for Kara, please take a minute to reach put to her at: