Mari-Chris is a licensed and registered dietitian/nutritionist. She holds a Masters Degree in nutrition from the University of Mississippi. She is also a certified personal trainer with certifications in pre and postnatal fitness.
Hi ladies, Mari-Chris Savage here from Nashville, TN. A wife and mom of two, one baby boy and one fur baby, is my main identity today. Being a farm girl from the Mississippi Delta, I left home to pursue a dance degree. ex-Disney dancer here. Currently, I am specializing in women’s health during the reproductive process. That means prepping women before pregnancy to help them return to a new balanced state post birth and everything in between. Pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrition are my jam. I’m obsessed with the wondrous capabilities of the female body, and so passionate about assisting women not just to survive this period of life but to 100 percent nail it.
I became passionate about nutrition at some point during my college years. During this time, I could not quite reconcile two very distinct world views. First personal history point: I grew up on a large farm in west Mississippi; and, honestly, I did not know what a fresh fruit or vegetable looked like. Green beans always came in the can, right? There was only one kind of lettuce, and that was iceberg. We had the occasional corn field, but that was it. So much land, nothing to eat.
The next phase of life, I spent in leotard and tights, studying dance, and analyzing every inch of my body in the mirror. Hating some parts of it, not minding others, but definitely not loving any. I was not alone in the dance world. We all thought the same way: If we wanted to make it as a dancer, how your body looks, and moves is your gig. You either did what you had to do, or you were cut. No questions asked. Anorexia was too hard of a game for me. I was lucky that I never crossed the line to having a full-blown eating disorder; however, it was just around the corner. Soon, I became to understand my passion and it was food! Not just food, but really the food that can nourish every part of your body, mind, and soul. I went back to school to earn by Masters in Science in Nutrition and have worked with many patients throughout the spectrum of life since then.
When my husband and I were ready to begin the parenting journey, I was beyond stoked to jump in and get pregnant on the first try. I had longed to be a mom. Unfortunately, God had other plans. I was not able to conceive for about 12 months. Now, I often talk to friends about how unimaginably frustrating the “trying to get pregnant” phase of life really is. The marriage usually takes a hit while your confidence as a woman takes a beating. The hardest part for me was how isolating it all felt. My friends, left and right, were magically becoming pregnant. While I was so happy for them, I was secretly crushed too. I became pregnant with my beautiful baby in the spring of 2016.
Pregnancy was thankfully an easy journey for me. To be honest, I loved being pregnant. That all changed, at my 37-week check-up. We discovered my son was franked breeched. In addition, I had very low amniotic fluid levels. This translates to urgent cesarean section. By no means was this in my birth plan. The night after he was born, our pediatrician came in to tell us our son had a condition called hip dysplasia. His left ball joint was complete dislocated from the hip socket. My husband and I had no idea at the time the implications this would make in our lives. My son ended up having 3 various procedures and spent 3 months in a full body cast. We are so fortunate to say that today, his little hips are healed, and he is running laps around the house!
The first year of my son’s life, I was completely consumed with two struggles: hip dysplasia and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was something I had really looked forward to. With my background as a nutritionist, I was just plain excited for this intimate journey with my son. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for how hard it was. I went through times of low milk, times of difficulty latching, and buckets, upon buckets of tears. To put it mildly, breastfeeding was the hardest job I had ever completed.
After taking some time with my family over the past year, I realized my passion for nutrition was slowing morphing to encompass this passion for the child birthing process. Arrogantly, I thought of myself as a highly educated, highly motivated person. Arrogantly, I thought that this whole pregnancy process would be a walk in the park. Oh girl, I was wrong. I desperately needed to deepen my knowledge in nutrition to develop strategies in order to thrive during pregnancy not only for myself but for others. My goal is to help women find manageable ways to take control during conception, pregnancy, and beyond. I am passionate about making evidence based adjustments that provide the greatest impact for any woman and her family. I am equally passionate about clean simple foods that nourish both mom and baby.