Meet Pendulum Dietitian Tara Karr MS, RD, LDN, CDCES
Tara is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes and Education Care Specialist at Pendulum. She completed her Bachelors of Science with an emphasis in nutrition and went on to obtain her Masters of Family and Consumer Science degree. Prior to working at Pendulum, Tara has over five years of experience in the clinical setting where she provided education for people with diabetes, obesity, and several other metabolic disorders. Tara has provided education via the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Self Management and Education Support Program, as well as is a trained lifestyle coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. She is also a certified trainer for several diabetes technologies such as continuous glucose monitors.
Tara is passionate about helping people reach their personal health goals through nutrition education. She enjoys walking alongside customers and helping empower them to make sustainable changes to live their healthiest lives. She believes healthy eating doesn't have to be complicated or restrictive - eating can and should be fun and enjoyable!
Tell me a little about yourself!
Hi! My name is Tara Karr and I’m a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator here at Pendulum. I live in Tennessee with my husband, 7 month old daughter and sweet doggie Faye! My family keeps life busy and fun! On the weeknights, you’ll probably find me in the kitchen trying out a new recipe while enjoying a glass of wine. On the weekends, I try to spend as much time outside as possible walking, hiking and biking on local trails!
You’ve got a lot of credentials behind your name, what do all those mean?
Great question! MS, RD, LDN, CDCES - it does kind of look like alphabet soup doesn't it? I have a Masters in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in nutrition. I am a registered and licensed dietitian as well as a Certified Diabetes Education and Support Specialist!
All of these credentials come with several hours of tests and continuing education requirements to keep them up! I love staying up to date on the most current research and recommendations for our customers!
What motivated you to pursue this career? What was your earliest memory or turning point to decide to become an RD?
I love this question! As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in food and nutrition. My family tells stories of my going around in preschool eating the veggies off others plates and I have early memories of learning how to cook from my grandmother.When choosing my major, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could help people, so I was drawn to healthcare. The field of nutritional sciences was a natural fit for me!
You have a Masters of Family and Consumer Science degree, what did it take to get that?
In order to become a registered dietitian (RD) , you have to complete a dietetic internship with a minimum of 1200 supervised practice hours in addition to coursework. I completed my Dietetic Internship and took Masters levels classes at the same time at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After completing my internship, I knew I wanted to obtain my Masters degree to further my education. I opted to complete my masters degree online while working full time as a dietitian on a general medicine floor! It was a busy season of life that’s for sure! I’m so glad that I prioritized continuing my education because it’s so important in this ever changing field! In fact, in 2024, it will be a requirement to have a Masters degree in order to sit for the RD exam!
Can you tell us a little more about your knowledge of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs)? What are they and why do people use them?
One of my favorite topics! Prior to my role at Pendulum, I worked as an Educator in a Diabetes clinic where I got to see first hand the value these devices bring to people. CGMs are a tool that help people fully understand their blood glucose trends. Here’s an analogy I like to use: Using a glucometer and checking your blood sugar 1-2 times a day is like reading only the first and last sentence of a book. Once you wear a CGM, you start to understand the full story!
I am passionate about empowering people to improve their health through knowledge and understanding of their personal glucose responses to food, activity and more!
There’s so much going on in the world now, does stress have any connection with your gut and microbiome?
It’s well known that stress can affect blood glucose levels. Our bodies make stress hormones when we are in periods of stress whether that be physical or emotional. These hormones can make your blood glucose go up!
Stress and its changes to the microbiome is a newer studied area. There does seem to be a positive correlation between certain bacterial strains and decreased stress. In humans there is science to suggest a relationship among stress/mood, diet, and the gut microbiota! For many reasons, learning how to manage stress is very important. Talk with a friend, go on a walk, find time to prioritize the things that are important to you and get professional help when you need it!
What are some ways you have been navigating your work-from-home life? What are some of your go-to’s for relieving stress?
For me, I’ve loved the work from home life. As a new mom it’s been amazing to get to spend what would have been a morning commute sitting down for breakfast with my family or grabbing a quick workout before I jump into my work day.
When I get overwhelmed, I like to take a quick walk around the block or make a cup of tea!
What is your role at Pendulum? What are some of the most common questions you get from your customers while taking Pendulum Glucose Control?
I’m a Diabetes Educator! During the day, I’m typically chatting with our customers about nutrition and the microbiome, leading Zoom Healthy Start Bootcamps and working with our amazing team on new resources for our customers. Currently, our team is working on something exciting, a Pendulum Glucose Control + CGM Education Program!
Once people learn about how important fiber is, people always want to know how much they should eat! While I always like to help people individualize their goals, this blog post is a great resource!
Being a new mom, I’m sure you have a lot on your plate! What are some of your best meal preparation hacks to save on time and make sure you don’t miss a meal?
My plate is full, that’s for sure! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Some of my go-to time savers are making sure I have fresh fruit and veggies washed and cut up in the fridge that I can add as a side to our meals or pair with hummus/nuts for an easy snack. I also like to have overnight oats or chia seed pudding made ahead of time to make mornings easy. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. Find what makes sense for you and your family!
Speaking of saving time and meal hacks, what’s your take on fresh vegetables versus frozen vegetables? Are fresh vegetables better?
As much as I love fresh fruits and vegetables, sometimes it makes more sense to purchase frozen! With frozen fruits and vegetables they are usually harvested and then flash frozen at their peak which preserves their vitamin and mineral content! You can usually save money when buying frozen as well.
Spring is here, and so are all the in-season vegetables and fruits! What’s your favorite seasonal food?
This spring I’ve been loving pickled radishes for a yummy crunch that can be added to almost any meal! Asparagus is another springtime staple high in prebiotic fiber!