Bio

Great to meet you and thanks for stopping by. So I’ve had the writing bug in me ever since I was a kid, as I was born a bookworm and word lover (Boggle has always been my favorite game). Now that I’m all grown up, I write about fitness, health, nutrition, travel and animals for numerous leading national  print and digital publications.

Magazines aren’t my only focus, though. In 2012, St. Martin’s published my first book, Understanding Your Food Allergies and Intolerances, which I co-authored with two Harvard physicians. My second book, Anti-Aging Hacks, was recently published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Order it now.

A few more interesting tidbits:

For eight years each, I was a contributing editor for Woman’s Day and fitness columnist for Allure. Regular gigs now include handling companion animal content for Better Homes & Gardens, serving as the contributing health editor for TheBeet.com and contributing writer for VegNews.

My work — a feature in Dr. Oz the Good Life, another in Prevention and new in 2020, an O the Oprah Magazine feature – has won three prestigious Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Awards from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

My career-related travels have allowed me to do some pretty cool things like … skydive from 15,000 feet over the Swiss Alps (I had such a blast that I would do it again! find my video on my Instagram feed), complete two 10Ks on the same day on two different continents (Australia and North America – thanks, Nike!), tandem paraglide off the top of Rendezvous Mountain in Jackson Hole, harvest grapes at a vineyard in Italy, swim with penguins and sea lions in the wild in the Galapagos, hike into Machu Picchu, do yoga on the world’s largest observation wheel in Las Vegas, drive a real race car solo on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and cruise to places like Russia, Estonia, Norway, Portugal, Alaska, and the Danube and Rhine Rivers.

I’ve been a panelist, speaker, even a judge for various organizations and events, including the Public Relations Society of America; American Spa Magazine’s Women in Wellness Awards; the National Publicity Summit; and the Global Wellness Summit.

I’ve also been honored to be a guest on many talk shows and podcasts (I love talking about veganism and healthy living!). Examples include:

  • Vegan Pulse (watch here)
  • Fat to Fit Wellness (watch here)
  • SHEVega Talks (listen here)
  • Longevity Power Summit (watch here)
  • Talk Vegan (listen here)
  • United Intentions’ Good Intentions show (watch here)
  • Just Ask David radio show (listen here)
  • Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy (listen here)
  • Delicious Living Magazine’s webinars (watch here)
  • WebMD’s Health Now podcast (listen here)

Two of the stand-outs, though? Being a guest on Chef AJ Live’s show, which aired in March 2021 (watch here) and Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan podcast (listen here).

And a fun fact: I was a finalist in PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest in 2019. Although I didn’t snag the win, I was honored to have been selected a finalist in this international contest — besides, it was a great way to own turning 50!

ACE-certified
plant-based-nutrition-certificate-program-graduate
fear-free-shelters-graduate
But do I really practice what I, er, write? Absolutely.

I crave physical activity as much as I do chocolate (Endangered Species, to be exact – love that it has Hoosier roots, too!). My favorite activity? Anything that involves snow (and the more snow, the better!), especially cross country skiing, which may explain why I’m hooked on Nordic walking. It’s based on Nordic skiing, sans the snow, so I can do it year-round. I’ve won five Nordic walking world championships (two marathons and three half-marathons) and at one time, even held six world records and was ranked #1 woman in the world. Several of my records still hold.

Exercise is only part of the equation, though, and diet is equally, if not more, important. That’s why I follow a plant-only diet and vegan lifestyle. I’m certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and recently became a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. I’ve been a vegan mentor with PETA and currently mentor through Vegan Outreach (request a mentor here). I’m also an ambassador for ABillionVeg (sign up at abillionveg.com to review vegan food/products for free using my code KARENASP; for every review you post, you get $1 that you can donate to animal sanctuaries and eco-focused organizations), Meatless Monday ambassador and member of the Switch4Good coalition, a group of athletes and influencers working to encourage people to ditch dairy for a healthier life.

I’ve even served as a board member for Uplands PEAK (people, earth and animals living in kinship) Sanctuary in Freedom, Ind. It’s Indiana’s first sanctuary for farmed animals.

By the way, I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and literature from Miami University in Ohio and a master’s degree in literature from Indiana University. I’m a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of American Travel Writers and hold certifications from the American Council on Exercise as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, both of which I’ve used to train clients and teach everything from step to Spinning. I also recently became certified in TRX, one of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment.

Just one more thing at the request of my “staff” who begged me to add this:  I share an office (where I use a standing desk over 90% of the time – seriously!) with Toby, a Maine Coon rescue, and a sassy but sweet golden retriever named Jessie. I was hoping Jessie would have a future as a therapy dog like my first golden Katie, but she’s proving to be forever young at heart. I also volunteer at Humane Fort Wayne through which I’m now fostering my first dog, a paralyzed pittie mix named Macy, and am a fervent animal rights advocate. Quoting George Bernard Shaw, “Animals are my friends … and I don’t eat my friends.”