Monica Marcello, MS, RD

When pushing the grocery cart with one wobbly wheel through the grocery aisles we are bombarded with colorful packages bearing catchy slogans imploring us to choose one brand over another. Monica Marcello, MS, RD, a new addition to the RVNAhealth BeWELL team, wants us to forego the gimmicks and follow what many of us heard at the childhood dinner table, Moms finger wagging, eat your vegetables. But what we choose to fuel our bodies can feel overwhelming with so many packaged choices promising health and ease designed to simplify mealtimes. Effective marketing, Marcello asserts, has circumvented consumer connection with science and the evidence that whole nutrition is the backbone of healthy living.

Marcello knows from personal experience that what we put in our mouths can be more complex than simply avoiding boxes and crinkly packages with colorful logos. Eating is often a source of celebration, community, even comfort. A competitive gymnast as a child, Marcello was derailed from a decade of success by a crippling injury, a heartbreak she nurtured with thrice-daily bowls of ice cream and other unhealthy choices. Her dad encouraged her to take control of her circumstances by empowering her body back to optimal health through good plant-based nutrition. Discovering she had autonomy over her own body was the guiding force behind her return to competitive sports and while at University of Connecticut, Marcello excelled as an all-American Division I NCAA competitive diver. The experience, though, did more than restore her athletic glory, it transformed her life. Determined to help others, she studied nutrition science formally, and is eager to share her expertise with those in RVNAhealth communities. “I want to help people create a positive health cycle in their own lives,” she said, “Creating intention around food choices results in more energy and productivity and increased quality of life. Things can always be improved from where they are now; it’s about personalized health promotion rather than one-shortcut-fits-all propaganda.”

The academic work for her master’s thesis — the dietary impact on ACL repair and recovery — demonstrated the close relationship of all body systems and the importance nutrition has on avoiding illness and injury, as well as optimizing overall health. This is what interested Marcello most about joining RVNAhealth, an organization that provides comprehensive healthcare services to aid patients in recovery as well as those looking to achieve optimal health. Small changes can have big impact, Marcello shared, pointing out that American Heart Association suggests that most Americans don’t reach the recommended daily fiber intake of 25-30 grams per day. It’s not just the cardiovascular system that’s affected by fiber; recent increases in adult diverticulitis, intestinal inflammation, can easily be remedied by increasing fiber consumption. Not all fiber foods are to be dreaded, either: air popped popcorn boasts over 1g of fiber per cup.

“Active dietary changes, even small ones,” she said, “can contribute to a positive cycle. I want people to experience how quality nutrition can be easy, quick and affordable.”

Monica Marcello, MS, RD, is available for in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations, and is preparing cooking class schedules for adults and children. These interactive group events teach hands-on healthy meal prep and are held in the RVNAhealth teaching kitchen in Ridgefield. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nutritional Science at University of Connecticut and has since worked with diverse populations to promote optimal health through nutrition. Marcello recently returned to the Middletown family farm where she was raised surrounded by organic gardens overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables as construction nears completion on her new home in Southington. For more information about nutrition services at RVNAhealth, visit rvnahealth.org/nutrition, or contact Monica at mmarcello@rvnahealth.org or 203.438.5555 x 1152.

Monica Marcello, MS, RD, applies her diverse nutrition background to best serve the individual needs of those in the RVNAhealth community of care. Her expertise includes wellness restoration following injury or surgery, community and individual education and program creation, strategies for athletic performance optimization, and interactive healthy cooking classes for all ages in the RVNAhealth teaching kitchen. A former competitive gymnast, Monica earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nutritional Science at University of Connecticut where she was an all-American Division I NCAA competitive diver.

Monica Marcello, MS, RD