When I was in high school a few years ago (ha ha), my career counselors all tried to convince me that becoming a psychiatrist was the perfect career path for me. But as luck and life events would have it, I preferred writing and food. So when my mentor, food guru and first blogger, Bob Messenger gave me the opportunity 18 years ago to combine both, I knew I had taken the right road -- writing about my greatest passion. Journalism is a tough profession; we are taught to be objective. Opinion is for columnists only -- write the story giving your side of the issue. But since I didn't take the traditional journalism path, I have always found it difficult to be balanced. Okay, I'm opinionated big time. A '60s child at heart, I am skeptical about government regulators of all kind, enjoy provoking my peers, and yell at my computer when I don't agree with what is presented as fact or unjustly attacks my industry. And I love to brainstorm and have philosophical discussions with others. Since following news and trends requires lots of research, I'm on the Internet 24/7 reading studies, articles and news analysis about retail, foodservice, culinary and consumer behavior. I talk to experts, food processors and suppliers, who tell me in confidence what they think, and ask consumers why such and such an item is in their shopping cart. And then there are the regulators to watch. One morning, our CEO John Cappelletti was walking past my desk while I was reading an article about obesity, which concluded it is the food industry's fault. He heard my response, which was in language unbecoming a Putman Media employee. Being a caring boss, he asked me why I was upset. When I sheepishly explained, he said he had a solution for me. "Start a blog, Diane, and you can say what you want about issues and give your friends in the food industry a place to vent." That's what this blog is about -- a place for me and you to vent. Hopefully, my new blog will sometimes provoke, inspire or amuse you. What are the challenges for our industry down the road? What do we do right? The gloves are off. Let me know what you think about issues. We won't always agree, but I don't believe in censorship and I promise your identity will not be revealed unless you wish it. Next time: Is wellness a real trend, or is it just a great marketing tool? One of the most important attributes of a psychiatrist is to be a good listener. Hopefully, my counselors were right.