Nutrition, epilepsy and youtube: BU’s Stephanie Smith
By Brooke Jackson-Glidden
BOSTON, Mass. – For Stephanie Smith, a 21-year-old student at Boston University, nutrition is not just important. It could change someone’s life.
Smith began working with the organization Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) after she discovered she was epileptic. Although she’s always found food and science fascinating, her diagnosis allowed her to delve into new territory – and find the connection between her disorder and her passion.
Smith recalled interviewing a young woman whose epilepsy became almost unbearable when she started suffering from multiple seizures per day. After starting a ketogenic (fat-heavy) diet, the young woman did not have another seizure.
“Nutrition is at the core of almost any illness,” Smith said in an interview. “People don’t realize, or like to admit, what they’re eating affects most of their lives.”
Although she finds the relationship between nutrition and quality of life undeniable, Smith also understands the need for people to have control over their own lives and diets. For this reason, she said, she would like to become a health journalist as opposed to a nutritionist, providing information to readers without judgment.
“I want to help people,” Smith said, “but I hate telling people what to eat!”
Growing up in an Irish-Italian family, Smith rarely found her inspiration for healthy eating at the dinner table. Her family’s love of pasta and bread failed to deter Smith from her pursuit of nutrition as a field, and her parents and brother have always been supportive of her goals. She attributes her desire to help and respect others to her close-knit family and small-town upbringing.
“She’s a great listener,” said Queena Liang, a senior in Sargent College and friend of Smith. “She remembers the details and actually loves to help people.”
In the future, Smith said she would love to help people on a larger scale, maybe even with a Youtube vlog dedicated to answering nutrition questions. Wherever she ends up, Smith is bound to keep people well, inside and out.