Christie Dondero is the Director of Development and Community Programs at Rock Recovery, a Washington, D.C. area non-profit organization that supports the journey to freedom from disordered eating through individual recovery and community empowerment programs.  Having gone through recovery from an eating disorder herself, Christie understands the depth of emotional, physical and spiritual support needed to recover and is passionate about spreading the message that freedom from disordered eating is possible.

She’s a huge fan of spin classes, arugula and ice cream.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and visiting her family in Florida.

 Keep in touch with Christie through her blog, Facebook, and twitter. Be sure to check out the Rock Recovery website for ways to promote awareness around eating disorders and to get involved with such a passionate non-profit organization! 

1. Where do you shop for food?

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Typically Giant (because it is one block from my house!) but I prefer to shop at Trader Joe’s and the local farmers market (I am about a mile walk to Eastern Market) whenever possible.

2. Do you love food shopping or dread it?

I don’t particularly love or dread food shopping, I just find myself needing to do it at the most inconvenient times, like when I am hungry! I travel quite a bit, and that makes shopping more challenging without having a lot of food go bad. I also work from home, so I am able to miss the peak shopping times if I plan accordingly (which makes it MUCH more enjoyable)!

3. What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?

The quality and nutrition of the food I am buying (not highly processed, minimal added sugars/unnatural ingredients, etc.) I hate the idea of having unnecessary ingredients added to food.


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4. How many times a week do you eat out? (based on 21 meals/week)

I eat out quite a bit, on average probably 5 – 8 times a week. Don’t judge me! I love connecting with people over food, especially when I don’t have to cook it myself.

5. Do you believe in leftovers?

I am SUCH a strong believer in leftovers! I am selectively lazy when it comes to cooking, so if I can make something once and enjoy it throughout the week that is always a win for me. I also believe in portion control and eat out quite a bit, so I almost always take food home with me from restaurants.

6. What food(s) are important when recalling food memories?

Food is powerful, and can be linked to so many positive and negative memories. A few food memories I can think back to are baking cinnamon rolls with my grandmother, eating my favorite ice cream during summer vacations, and just how delicious a Sweet Green salad tasted after traveling for two weeks straight.

7. How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?

My cooking and shopping habits have drastically changed over the last 10 years. Ten years ago, I was about five years into a battle with an eating disorder that thankfully ended a few years later. Food was the enemy, and I was only concerned with buying low calorie and low fat foods and foods that I determined as “safe” to eat. Now, I realize so many of those foods had tons of added chemicals and other unnatural products, and they weren’t satisfying or nutritious! It pains to me think that for so many years, I saw food as something to be feared, not something to enjoy and give me energy. Now, I take great pleasure in eating and figuring out what to cook or buy. I really believe that until you can enjoy food, you can’t fully enjoy life. I am grateful that I now deeply enjoy both!

8. What are you working on these days that you’d like to tell us about?

I am blessed to be working for a small DC-based nonprofit called Rock Recovery that provides affordable outpatient treatment for adults struggling with disordered eating in the DC area, and community empowerment education programs nationwide. Millions of men and women (and children) struggle with food and body image issues, and it puts an unnecessary strain on our relationships and on our overall health.

I am so passionate about the work that Rock Recovery does, and love that we get to help bring people back to health and wholeness. We recently started speaking to elementary school children, and it is startling to see that at such a young age children are already developing an unhealthy relationship with food and their bodies. I am grateful that Rock Recovery is helping to shift the way communities and individuals look at their bodies and relationships with food, and am excited to see what the next year holds for us as an organization.


  Thanks so much, Christie! 


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