Mardi Parelman


My name is Mardi Parelman and I'm from Kansas City. More specifically, I am from a Kansas suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. I'm an Associate Professor of Nutrition Science and Lead Faculty of Health Sciences Academic and Career Pathways ( here at San Diego Miramar College and got to become part of the faculty in 2017. I am the Lead Faculty for the Health Sciences Academic and Career Pathway  I am passionate about nutrition, health, and well-being, social justice,

To my tremendous surprise, it turns out that being a nutrition science professor at a community college is my dream job! When I graduated high school, this is not what I imagined for myself. I thought I would be a stage actor who worked probably had to work temp-jobs and wait tables to make ends meet. Life happens, situations change, and I am forever thankful that I had enough energy to go back to school and start on a new path. 

 From childhood until my late 20s, I was interested in theatre performance and hated the study of everything related to math and science. I was on a career path to become an actor. I was also determined to live anywhere other than my lovely hometown of Kansas City. I achieved that goal when I was 19 years old and went off to college in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Northern Michigan University, NMU). 

Northern Michigan University sign covered in snow
Northern Michigan University

While  at NMU, I studied theatre performance and English literature.  I avoided math and science as much as much as possible. I earned a B.S. (bachelor of science) in English and Communications & Performance Studies. I  left college without any job-related ambition, prospects, or concept of what jobs were available with my educational background. I ended up working a lot of different jobs (working in the college cafeteria, daycare, preschool teacher, radio announcer, waitstaff on a boat, telemarketer, administrative assistant) to pay my rent and student loans. All the while, I was sick but didn't know why. In fact, I had been told to manage stress and anxiety because I had a "nervous stomach." Really, I had undiagnosed, symptomatic celiac disease.

Once back home with family in Kansas City, I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease (it took 20 years to get diagnosed!) and was forced to learn about nutrition in order to understand what I could eat. At the same time, I was fortunate enough to be working in a children's hospital where doctors, nurses and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) were available to expose me to career options that I never knew existed. I continued to work  full-time at the hospital and went back to school to take all the math and science courses I previously avoided. It was a lot of hard work, took lots of time, and in the end was entirely worth it. I spent a couple of years as a part-time community college student, full-time employee, sister, daughter, grand daughter, friend, and life-partner before I was ready to apply to graduate school. It was all worth it! 

UC Davis Bicycle Traffic Circle
Bicycles in a traffic circle at UC Davis

In the end (or at least as of now!), my education in Nutrition Science:

  • master of science (M.S). in Human Nutrition with an emphasis in Dietetics from Kansas State University
  • a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Nutritional Biology with an emphasis in Immunology from University of California, Davis. 
  • a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Coach (Duke Integrative Medicine)
  • a Qualified Instructor of Mindful Eating (METI). 

My current interests and the focus of my continuing education for 2023-2025 is in areas of integrative and functional nutrition, sports nutrition, and nutrition sustainability and nutrition security and food insecurity. 




Classes I Teach

  • Nutrition (NUTR 150)
    • This course is a study of the scientific concepts of nutrition relating to the function of nutrients within the human body. This course is intended for students majoring in nutrition and all students interested in the science of nutrition.
  • Cultural Foods (NUTR 153) 
    • This course examines the regional, ethnic, cultural, religious, historical and social influences on food patterns and cuisine as well as how food is viewed as an expression of cultural diversity. 
  • Nutrition and Fitness (NUTR 170)
    • This course is a practical study of sports and nutrition. We study the science of nutrition for fitness. 
  • Advanced Nutrition (NUTR 155)
    • This course is an in-depth study of the functioning of nutrients in the basic life processes from a biochemical and cellular approach.  The course is offered during Spring semester in even years (2024, 2026, 2028...). There are prerequisites for this course: (NUTR 150 and  BIOL 107, and CHEM 100 and 100L OR CHEM 152 and 152L)



More Information

Check out student projects!


Taste Receptors and Preferences

An Honors Project

By ThuyLinh Tran (Fall 2023)

ThuyLinh was interested in learning more about food science, In the Fall 2023 semester, she researched taste receptors and how they impact food preferences. The following video is the culmination of her research journey. 

Please watch Taste Receptors and Preferences (a short video)

QR Code for Taste Receptors and Preferences Video
Please watch ThuyLinh's video about Taste Receptors and Preferences.


Navigating Nutrition  

by Sabrina Smith

Sabrina is a former SD Miramar student who is now in graduate school. She came to us after she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology. She realized she wanted to pursue a degree in nutrition and dietetics or sports nutrition and needed to take science and nutrition classes before she could transfer. The project she did was a collaboration with the CalWorks/NextStep program. They requested nutrition information for students. They wanted accessible content that could be accessed anytime.

QR Code for Navigating Nutrition Video Series
Navigating Nutrition QR Code










More student features coming soon! 




Mardi Parelman's Stuff 

Peer-Reviewed Writing

Parelman M, Stoecker B, Baker A, Medeiros D. Iron restriction negatively affects bone in female rats and mineralization of hFOB osteoblast cells. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2006 Apr;231(4):378-86. doi: 10.1177/153537020623100403. PMID: 16565433. 

Medeiros DM, Hampton M, Kurtzer K, Parelman M, Al-Tamimi, E, Drouillard JS. 
Feeding enriched omega-3 fatty acid beef to rats increases omega-3 fatty acid content of heart and liver membranes and decreases serum vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and cholesterol levels, Nutrition Research, Volume 27, Issue 5, 2007, Pages 295-299,

Parelman MA, Storms DH, Kirschke CP, Huang L, Zunino SJ. Dietary strawberry powder reduces blood glucose concentrations in obese and lean C57BL/6 mice, and selectively lowers plasma C-reactive protein in lean mice. Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 28;108(10):1789-99. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000037. Epub 2012 Feb 1. PMID: 22293281.

Zunino SJ, Parelman MA, Freytag TL, Stephensen CB, Kelley DS, Mackey BE, Woodhouse LR, Bonnel EL. Effects of dietary strawberry powder on blood lipids and inflammatory markers in obese human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2012 Sep;108(5):900-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511006027 doi: 10.1017/S0007114511006027. Epub 2011 Nov 9. PMID: 22068016. 


Professional Writing (Not Peer-Reviewed)

Parelman M. What is the difference between chromium and chromium picaolinate?

Parelman MA. Omegas: Dissecting the Science on Omega-3 Supplements. Today's Dietitian  17(.5):14 2015. 

Parelman, M. Effects of biotin on weight loss.