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Wendy & Jess of Food Heaven discuss their new project Diabetes Digital + culture and purpose driven work

Many know Wendy Lopez and Jessica Jones from their previous business venture, Food Heaven – a multimedia nutrition platform co-founded by Wendy and Jess – two Registered Dietitians and Diabetes Educators. 

The US-based, BFFs have made a significant impact on the nutrition landscape through their top-rated podcast, which boasts 5 million downloads. They’ve also been featured in countless publications including Today’s Dietitian, The Huffington Post, Oprah, Essence, and more.

In January, the duo launched a new trailblazing venture called Diabetes Digital. The virtual company is dedicated to reshaping the landscape of diabetes care through accessible online nutrition counseling. 

For over 12 years, Wendy and Jessica dedicated themselves to helping individuals achieve their nutritional goals by promoting sustainable and intuitive eating habits, exploring the intersection of food and culture, and fostering body acceptance. Now, they embark on a new chapter with Diabetes Digital.

Read on to learn more about Wendy and Jessica’s mission, why they decided to pivot to Diabetes Digital, how culture has shaped their work, and their advice on tapping into your passion to find success…  

Tell us about Diabetes Digital and why you decided to expand into this arena beyond Food Heaven, which many of us know you for. 

Wendy & Jessica: Whew, chile, how much time do we have? Lol. If you want the long answer, listen to this podcast episode (and if you’re intrigued by this, we actually did a whole “pivot” series about why we decided to walk away from Food Heaven and pursue this new venture). In short, we ran a successful multimedia nutrition company for 13 years. At the heart of our brand was the Food Heaven Podcast, which amassed over 5 million downloads. We also managed over 150 food and nutrition brand partnerships, working as spokespeople, recipe developers, and content creators. We did a lot of public speaking, wrote a cookbook, and even hosted sold-out international nutrition retreats every year. 

We were making good money and working for ourselves full-time. But the truth of it was, we were burned out and sick of being in front of the camera. We also wanted to get back to our roots of having more of a 1:1 impact on people’s lives. In addition to being dietitians, we are also certified diabetes educators and have over 20 combined years of experience providing nutrition counseling for people with diabetes and prediabetes. 

We decided to create an insurance-covered virtual nutrition counseling company called Diabetes Digital that focuses exclusively on diabetes and prediabetes. We are in network with most major insurance plans and have a team of 8 all-star dietitians working with us. This company is a dream come true for us and we absolutely love the work we are doing and the positive impact it is having on people’s lives!

We know one or both of you have Caribbean roots. Tell us about your Caribbean heritage and how this has impacted your drive and work generally, and with Diabetes Digital, specifically. 

Wendy & Jessica: Being from the Dominican Republic, where food is intricately woven into the fabric of our culture and identity, I understand firsthand the importance that cooking has in Caribbean cuisine. Our dishes, bursting with spices, fresh produce, and seafood, are not just meals; they are a reflection of our heritage, history, and community.

However, for many individuals with diabetes, there’s often a misconception that they must completely eliminate their favorite cultural foods to manage their blood sugar levels. This can be disheartening, especially for those deeply connected to their culinary traditions. But it’s crucial to understand that this belief is not necessarily true.

In fact, there are ways to enjoy our Caribbean dishes while also maintaining blood sugar levels within a target range. It’s about making informed choices, understanding portion sizes, and finding balance in our meals. For example, instead of completely cutting out rice and beans, staples in Dominican cuisine, one can opt for smaller portions and pair these carb-rich foods with protein and fiber.

In addition to nutrition changes, we can also incorporate physical activity, monitor blood sugar levels regularly, and seek support from healthcare professionals. By taking proactive steps and making mindful choices, individuals with diabetes can continue to enjoy the foods they love while prioritizing their health and well-being.

How would you say Diabetes Digital is positively impacting culture and community? 

Wendy & Jessica: We started this journey aiming to make a difference in a space that often feels impersonal and daunting. Our approach isn’t about reinventing the wheel; it’s about listening, understanding, and adapting to real needs—ensuring that managing diabetes doesn’t mean giving up who you are or the foods you love.

By accepting most major insurance plans, we’re opening doors for those who might find this level of personalized care otherwise out of reach. Our goal is to make every client, from every cultural background, feel seen, understood, and valued. Our team also mirrors the diversity we see around us, with many of our dietitians speaking Spanish. 

At the end of the day, our goal is to provide genuine support, not just healthcare.

Many within our Caribbean and African communities, both in the home countries and across their diasporas, suffer from diabetes. What are three self-care/wellness tips you can share with the women in our community who have diabetes? 

Wendy & Jessica: First, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t enjoy your cultural foods and still improve your diabetes and health. Many people try to make it seem like you have to switch your diet to cottage cheese and quinoa in order to be healthy, but native Caribbean diets are rich in nutrition and flavor. Our favorite recommendation, which helps people enjoy their favorite cultural foods but still prioritize their health, is the MyPlate method. It’s a brilliant strategy for balancing blood sugar levels, maintaining steady energy throughout the day, increasing fiber intake, and ensuring a wide range of nutrients in your meals. 

The concept is simple: dedicate half your plate to non-starchy vegetables, one quarter to lean proteins, and another quarter to whole grains, not forgetting to incorporate healthy fats for added vitamins and satiation. This method is great for anyone wanting to boost their overall health, especially those looking to manage and prevent chronic diseases like diabetes. We love the MyPlate method because it’s a flexible and inclusive approach to eating that perfectly complements our gentle nutrition philosophy.

Between Food Heaven and now Diabetes Digital you all seemed to have cracked the code for working in alignment with purpose and passion. What advice would you give our community of women who want to do the same? 

Wendy & Jessica: Great question! Finding alignment in your career involves staying true to what genuinely excites and fulfills you, beyond surface-level achievements. Start by identifying what aspects of your work make you feel most alive and integrate more of those elements into your daily tasks. Listen to your intuition—it often guides you towards your true passion. Embrace change and be open to pivoting; your path may evolve as you grow. And last but not least, surround yourself with a community that supports and inspires you!

How can our community work with you all, and where can they access your services? 

Wendy & Jessica: You can find Diabetes Digital and our work primarily through our website, diabetesdigital.co, which is the hub for all our services. If you are seeking 1:1 virtual nutrition counseling for diabetes and prediabetes, fill out our get started form. We’ll gather details such as your location, insurance information, and the specific condition you’re looking to address. Plus, we’ll provide a complimentary insurance check to see if you’re in our network. 

Our dietitians are from diverse cultural backgrounds, and we offer counseling in both English and Spanish! Most of our clients have unlimited visits with no copays, making this service a no-brainer.

For updates, tips, and engaging content, follow us on Instagram @diabetesdigitalco.  We also just launched the Diabetes Digital podcast; check her out here.

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