Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What RDs Do: Cassandra Golden MS, RD, LDN

CASSANDRA GOLDEN
NUTRITION NIBBLES CONSULTING, LLC
NUTRITION DIRECTOR ONYX ELITE
for something nutrishus


Cassandra's entrance into the profession is a unique one; I think it's great when a fellow dietitian can encourage someone to follow their path. Like most of us, she is anti-diet and doesn't just spend her days making meal plans. She encourages intuitive eating and lifestyle/long-term changes. Cassandra reminds us of the behind the scenes work that dietitians do as business owners and has complementary training in the fitness world. She lays out a tasty sounding menu below as well!

Why did you become a RD?

In the year 2010, I was sitting in my Personal Wellness elective class at the University of South Florida (USF) when Cynthia Sass entered. Yes, the Legend! Cynthia introduced herself as a Registered Dietitian and I was already sold. That class changed my life. She was so passionate about nutrition, it was contagious. From there, she helped me map out my path to becoming a dietitian.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I am the owner of the private practice, Nutrition Nibbles Consulting, LLC and the Nutrition Director for ONYX ELITE, which is a brand new performance facility based out of Richmond, VA. I specialize in intuitive eating and long term lifestyle changes. 

How would you explain what you do?

I take nutrition counseling beyond scheduled office visits for non-traditional approaches to nutrition counseling. House calls, movie nights with food-related documentaries, cupboard clean outs, grocery store tours and “walk & talk” appointments are on the menu! I also offer telenutrition services through secure videoconferencing in order to help clients with their food/nutrition related concerns across the nation. Outside of counseling clients, I do all the "behind-the-scenes" tasks, such as updating my website, two blogs and social media platforms. I also serve as a media resource for local publications and television networks as a food/nutrition expert. Finally, I teach kickboxing, pilates and Zumba classes which is more fun than work!

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

On some days I put the saltshaker in the refrigerator, spray pledge on my hair and pour water in my cereal. I wish this was the newest diet craze you haven’t yet heard of. But, it’s not. I’ll admit I have days where I don’t quite have a handle on things. Then I have those days where I’m a boss. Each day is different. Each week. Each month. Nothing is “the norm”, which is FUN! For the most part, I can be found planning and implementing one-on-one counseling sessions and community events. Outside of this, I also work as an independent contractor for one hospital and two assisted living facilities. 

What has been your career path?

I began my dietetics career as a supermarket dietitian for chain of family owned stores in the northeast. From there, I moved to the south to gain experience in the clinical field. From there I took the leap of faith and transitioned into full-time private practice, which has been a beautiful adventure. In early 2017 I will have the amazing opportunity to be the Director of Nutrition for ONYX ELITE: a performance facility which specializes in sports training, fitness programs and nutrition services to non-professionals and professional athletes as well as mid-sized corporations on the east coast. 


What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I am also an AFAA group fitness instructor and Zumba Instructor.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

In 5 years, Dietitians will be as sought after as doctors currently are. Food will be prescribed rather than most medicines. Fad Diets will be thrown to the wolves and Americans will fully adopt a diet that is majorly plants and encompasses intuitive eating.

What do people think that you do for a living?

In three words: Make Meal Plans

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am most passionate about the “anti-diet” way of eating. In simple terms, this is intuitive eating-which is the process of rejecting the diet mentality, making peace with food, coping with your emotions, and loving your body! I encourage fresh, whole foods with practical guidelines that can be followed indefinitely! 


What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

We don’t bite (pun intended!). We don’t judge what you’re eating. We eat more than celery and tree bark! Trust me, I’m not focusing on your plate when I’m over here crushing a quesadilla! Also, bananas ARE in fact healthy and I’m still searching for where the banana myth came from.

What is your favourite meal?

Breakfast: a tie between a Greek omelet and pumpkin whole wheat pancakes
Lunch: Ginger sesame marinated tofu & spaghetti squash salad
Dinner: Zucchini pizza boats
Dessert: A tie between white chocolate macadamia nut cookie or a cannoli

More about Cassandra:



Thanks Cassandra! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What RDs Do: Marissa Puleo, RDN

MARISSA PULEO
THRIVE NUTRITION
COUNSELING & CLINICAL DIETITIAN
for something nutrishus

 

I definitely share some similar nutrition perspectives with Marissa. She talks about rediscovering the joy in eating as well as finding the balance between healthy and happy (words I often use too!). Like many dietitians we've seen in the series, she is also involved in a wide variety of roles. She works in the challenging area of rehab and eating disorders, and thus definitely deals with diet misconceptions on a regular basis. She's another dietitian I would love to sit down to a meal with, we do love food after all!

Why did you become a RD? 

Growing up, some of my favorite memories are from being in the kitchen. I grew up in a family where food was a big deal! I’m 100% Italian so cooking wholesome meals from scratch was something that was very common. As I grew up, I noticed how differently others viewed wholesome meals and how often they were avoided. There were diet foods, fat free foods, and 100-calorie packs all around me. I dabbled with these items and found they simply were not as nourishing as eating ‘real’ food. My natural interest in food and health lead me to a career as a registered dietitian. My passion now is to help people enjoy food again and work towards a positive food relationship.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

My primary population is people with eating disorders and constant dieters. I promote intuitive and mindful eating to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

How would you explain what you do? 

My hands are currently in lots of pots! I started my own private practice, Thrive Nutrition located in Scranton, PA where I work with clients to reach personalized goals. In addition, I also provide nutrition counseling at Marworth Treatment Center to help addicted individuals recover from substance abuse and Marywood University to help students live healthier lifestyles while living at college. In addition, I am a part-time clinical dietitian at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. I know, busy, busy!

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

When working for my own business, I am either working directly with clients creating goals and steps to achieve these goals. Behind the scenes, I do a lot of work to communicate with the community by writing blog posts, sharing recipes, and doing presentations for different companies. I currently do all my scheduling and billing, so even when I’m not in the office, I’m working on something.

When at other sites, I also provide nutrition counseling for individuals, but also work with more small groups. I lead a nutrition process group to discuss the importance of nutrition in recovery when at Marworth and also provide a monthly presentation on Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning.


What has been your career path? 

I received my B.S. from West Chester University of PA and I completed my dietetic internship at Marywood University. When I first passed my RD exam, I became a part-time clinical dietitian at Regional Hospital of Scranton and part-time long-term care dietitian at Mercy Center in Dallas, PA. It was not long before I was laid off at the hospital and I decided to take the plunge at that time and start my own business. I have since focused on growing my career as a private practice and consultant RD by providing nutrition counseling.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I am planning to attend the Annual Renfrew Center Foundation Conference for professionals to gain more perspective on helping those with eating disorders. I have attended several local seminars and trainings to remain current in the ever changing world of nutrition!

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

Ideally, I think it would be amazing if there were more eating disorder dietitians. It’s such a growing concern for many as cases rise and where to turn for help is commonly a struggle. Food wise, I hope that more people can understand that calories are not always the enemy and to focus more attention on ingredient labels.

What do people think that you do for a living? 

I think people think I’m the food police and just tell people what to eat and avoid all day. PSA: This could not be more inaccurate and makes for a great opportunity to share what I really do!

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

I am mostly passionate about helping people understand they don’t need to diet to be healthy. My focus is to help people to trust their bodies and eat foods that are nourishing for the mind and body.

What is your favourite meal? 

I could go for pasta, penne to be exact, with meatballs and homemade sauce anytime ;)

More about Marissa:

Phone: 570-731-3200
Email : thrivenutriitoncounseling@gmail.com
Instagram : @thrivenutritioncounseling
Facebook: Thrive Nutrition
Website: Thrive Nutrition


Thanks Marissa! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What RDs Do: Nadine Fahdi Khoury MHSc RD

NADINE FAHDI KHOURY
PRIVATE OUTPATIENT CARE
CLINIC MANAGER, NUTRITION SERVICES
for something nutrishus



Nadine makes mention of the need for strong branding for Canadian dietitians, and I'm happy to be a part of the leadership team working on that with Dietitians of Canada! Through her role, Nadine helps to advocate for dietitians, which is always great to see in the profession. She also brings up the importance of our relationship with food, which I love.

Why did you become a RD? 

I chose the dietetics field because of my passion for health and cooking. I had a strong science background and always enjoyed helping others. I never knew how stimulating and perfect the role was for my personality and skills until I grew into the profession.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I work in a private outpatient health and wellness company and my areas of dietetic practice include managing a team of RDs, advocating for the profession through support for RD services, ongoing training and education, development of nutrition products and services and client counseling and coaching.

How would you explain what you do? 

I am now clinic manager, nutrition services in a private health and wellness company. I also provide one on one outpatient nutrition counseling and coaching to individuals and families within a multitude of health concerns namely metabolic syndrome, digestive conditions, child and youth nutrition and sports nutrition.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

I ensure RD coverage is available and suitable for clinic needs by updating schedules and communicating with RDs and clinic teams, I communicate resources that may be helpful for the RD team and clinic multidisciplinary team, I attend leadership meetings to develop strategic positioning for nutrition products, I counsel clients and families on an ongoing basis to help them reach their health goals using evidence and practice based guidelines and recommendations, I ensure team performance metrics and indicators are in line with RD capacity and business objectives.

What has been your career path? 

I started my career as a dietitian in a juvenile diabetes summer camp and then went into private practice, long term and chronic care. From there, I provided coverage in various hospital units namely renal, burns, medicine, mental health and acute care. Following completion of my Master’s, I chose to switch back to private outpatient care where I now manage a team of 12 RDs within a multidisciplinary wellness company.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I completed a Master’s in Nutrition Communications at Ryerson University following 10 years of practice in dietetics. This program helped shape my interest in advocating for the profession, develop partnerships with a multitude of profession related stakeholders and fine tune communication skills targeting different audiences using different media. Through experience in my role as clinic manager nutrition services at Medcan clinic, I learned how to choose the right staff, advocate for RD services and develop thriving nutrition programs. I have certificates in behaviour modification and digestive health strategies and am working on an integrative and functional nutrition certificate.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

The industry will have some struggles to position itself as the leader in nutrition knowledge provision for the next few years due to a multitude of overlap between other professions. I think RDs need to distinguish themselves not only as evidence-based practitioners but also as credible and flexible health and nutrition providers which will have to include lifestyle and fitness coaching, recipe development, meal planning and cooking skills. I foresee the creation of a governing body that will facilitate specializations within chosen fields of practice beyond hospital specialties. I also think that in 5 years RD services will be covered by provincial health insurance plans or at least by most private health insurance plans (wishful thinking…)

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

Many confuse RDs with nutritionists and many think RDs only work with people for weight loss or only use Canada’s food guide or support the dairy farmers because of the financial support they provide etc. We need a strong marketing and branding campaign to clear many confusions related to misconceived perceptions.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

Just like any profession, there are different types of RDs. I think it's important for clients to do their due diligence when looking for an RD to support their health goals. I would like people to avoid generalizing when judging RDs services. Some fits will be better than others.

What is your favourite meal? 

My favourite meal is one that I’ve had time to create myself with local, fresh ingredients while listening to jazz music and sipping a glass of Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

A relationship with food is a lifelong journey without the option of separation or divorce. Reach out to a professional that you connect with to help you develop a pleasure for nourishing your body and soul with healthy fare.

More about Nadine:



Thanks Nadine! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What RDs Do: Lisa Andrews MEd, RD, LD

LISA ANDREWS
@NUTRIGIRL
SOUND BITES NUTRITION, LLC
for something nutrishus


It's great to see that a dietitian with so many different experiences and that has worked in a variety of roles, still sees the future as an opportunity for dietitians to be involved in even more areas of practice. As you've been seeing in this series, this is a career for you if you like doing different things every day or every week. Lisa also reminds us that although we're translating science, there is also an art to the work we do.

Why did you become a RD? 

I became an RD because I was always interested in science and health when I was growing up. I am also a people person, so talking to people and helping them is just in my nature. My dad had diabetes, so I was always curious as to why his diet was modified.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I worked as a clinical RD for several years in acute care, nutrition support. Currently, I’m in private practice.

How would you explain what you do? 

I think I have “RD ADHD”. No day is the same for me. I see clients in an office, provide grocery store tours, do lectures or food demos for companies, freelance writing and some media work. I love the variety of work! It can be challenging to switch gears, but it is much more fun than doing the same work every day.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

I update social media and my blog regularly. I see a handful of clients per week and write progress notes to physicians. I may do a lecture somewhere or health coaching at a company. I write at least 2-4 articles per month for Food & Health Communications and answer questions on Dietititian Central.com. I recently won a grant to have pantries placed in low income neighborhoods, so much of my time will be spent on this. Every week is different!

What has been your career path? 

I worked in acute care for 23+ years, but honestly, I had my foot out the door for at least 15 of it. I worked full time and got my Masters degree, then went part time at the VA where I was working. I taught classes at 2 universities as an adjunct and also had a community agency job part time. I did a lot of writing for free, which helped get my name out in the field. I feel like I’ve been consulting longer than 8 years because of the variety of work that I wedged into my schedule over time.


What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I have a Masters degree in Education in Nutrition. I have a certificate in training for Adult Weight Management and may go for the Certification some time in the future.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

I would love to see more RDs in retail and working in non-profits doing work in agriculture or sustainability. We need to get ahead of the food curve. I can see more dietitians in marketing and writing.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

I wish people didn’t think RDs were militant about their diets. If we didn’t like food, we wouldn’t be in the field! We eat healthy most of the time, but also might love wine and chocolate.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

I’d like people to know we are highly intelligent and work hard. We deserve more opportunities in health care and other arenas that we are not currently offered (i.e. medical sales, health education or training in hospitals, marketing of food products for companies). It always bothered me that nurses were considered for promotions or management jobs, but RDs were not.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

Biggest challenge is competing with non-RDs. It seems that everyone that eats thinks they are a nutrition expert! There are too many hacks out there that claim they are nutrition experts.

What do people think that you do for a living? 

People think I counsel patients on diets all day long.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

I am passionate about how RDs and food experts can change a person’s life through better diet. I like how creative I get to be in this field.

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals? 

I think RDs have more training in clinical care than wellness professionals. We know in depth about disease and personalize our recommendations to people. We also know more about cooking and research. I call RDs the “Real Deal” in Nutrition!

What is your favourite meal? 

My favorite meal is a Thai peanut noodle dish I make with chicken. I love anything with ginger in it!

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

Never underestimate the value of volunteering, networking and mentoring. I believe it’s vital that people stay connected and give back to others (whether this is to a student or colleague). What comes around, goes around. Never burn any bridges. The world is a small place.

Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable: 

Check out my blog: www.soundbitesnutrition.com

More about Lisa:

Twitter: @nutrigirl 
Instagram: nutrigirl66 

Thanks Lisa! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What RDs Do: Maree Ferguson AdvAPD, RD, FAND, MBA, PhD

MAREE FERGUSON
DIETITIAN CONNECTION
for something nutrishus


Now that we've had one Aussie, it's time for another! As you can see, she has earned many different credentials in her career. Not only have we seen dietitians aiming to inspire the public, but if you've been following the series, you've seen dietitians like Maree that are aiming to inspire and support other dietitians. She has a very unique and important passion and is doing great work for our profession. Before I knew of Maree, I was aware of the #dietitiansunite campaign as I'm working with our Dietitians of Canada brand leadership team on similar initiatives. We need more people like Maree, plus she also added a new title to the list of books I want to read!

Why did you become a RD? 

I’ve been a dietitian for 21 years now. I had an amazing home economics teacher at high school who taught me about nutrition – both the science and the practical food aspects. This is what led me to pursue a career in dietetics.

What has been your career path? 

I have worked in a few areas over my career. After completing my PhD developing the malnutrition screening tool (now used around the world), I worked in Research & Development and then Marketing (after obtaining my MBA) for a nutrition company in the United States for 8 years. I then moved back to Brisbane, Australia, to take up a management position in a large hospital as Director of Nutrition and Dietetics with more than 30 dietetic staff. I now work in a rather unique role as the founder and director of my own business Dietitian Connection. 

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I have a MBA and PhD

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Self-employed, nutrition communications/consulting; industry 

How would you explain what you do? 

Dietitian Connection is an online business, which provides professional development resources, webinars, podcasts, the latest news and research, and events for dietitians who reside in Australia and even those across the globe. We are a small team who aim to inspire and empower dietitians to realize their dreams. And have more than 5,000 members worldwide.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

Each day and week is completely different for me, which is why I love my job. Some tasks include hosting events, webinars and podcasts, meeting with my team, responding to email, chatting with corporate clients, planning future activities, and delivering workshop presentations.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

It would be great to see dietitians expanding into novel job opportunities such as personalized medicine, and innovative online businesses.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

Through my work, I connect with thousands of dietitians and what I was hearing was that many dietitians in Australia didn’t have a job. Many were under-employed or underpaid. And others simply can’t make a living. I became aware of this earlier this year. To say I was shocked to the core is an understatement. 

We know what a dietitian is, and does. But I am concerned that the public has little idea what that title means – and the value we can deliver. Frustratingly, the public is also getting nutrition advice from non-qualified experts. I could no longer sit on the sidelines and do nothing and hence started the #dietitiansunite campaign. 

The crowdfunding campaign was designed for dietitians to contribute funds, which will be used to execute a national awareness campaign to educate consumers on what a dietitian does, and the benefits we deliver.

What is your favourite meal? 

Being a typical Aussie (Australian), a roast lamb dinner.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

The most favorite piece of advice I have received recently was to watch one of Dr Brené Brown’s videos: Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count I have since read some of her books including Daring Greatly where she shares her research on vulnerability. I highly recommend checking out Dr Brown’s work. We need to have the courage to step into the arena and manage our inner critic.

More about Maree:

Twitter: @DNconnection


Thanks Maree! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What RDs Do: Maya McColm, APD, AN

MAYA MCCOLM
CEO NERO, ENTREPRENEUR
for something nutrishus 


I'm excited to feature Maya for many reasons, one being that she's the first Australian in the series (which I know she was excited about too), hence her APD (Accredited Practicing Dietitian) credential. As we start to have more dietitians from around the world, we're reminded of the similar challenges we face and the need to support each other so we can support the public with individualized healthy eating advice. I also like that she included more than just the food when I asked what her favourite meal is.

Why did you become a RD? 

As an Australian dietitian, we are “Accredited” and not “Registered”. The issue of registration has been a greatly debated topic amongst Dietitians in Australia. I became a Dietitian because I believe it to be a very honorable and respected profession that can make a significant positive difference in people’s lives.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I currently work in private practice, but with a significant entrepreneurial bent. I have developed a web-based technology platform called NERO (Nutrition Education Resources Online), which supports Dietitians to be more effective and efficient during their consultation process using visual education resources and flipped classroom education methodology.

How would you explain what you do? 

As the CEO for NERO, my main task is to fine tune NERO so that it is a great tool for all Dietitians to support their practice and their clients. We have only just launched the first prototype and much work is required to fine-tune NERO to make it easier for Dietitians to use.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

As the CEO for NERO, my work is outside a Dietitian’s usual scope of practice. It mostly includes communicating with web-designers and stakeholders. Many hours are spent in giving talks to Dietetic students at universities, manning stalls and talking at conferences. Running a private practice provides me a great opportunity to test NERO in a true practice setting.

What has been your career path? 

I have been a Dietitian Nutritionist for more than 30 years and during that time I have worked in many professional settings such as: clinical hospital dietetics and a couple of those hospital placements as the department director. I have also worked as a research dietitian with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and in private practice for the last 15 or so years which included my involvement with NERO. I developed NERO in response to seeing a need within the profession that makes us look more professional and be more effective and efficient.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

As required to maintain Accreditation as an Australian Dietitian, I have undertaken the required professional development activities. With the development of NERO there has also been the required steep learning curve in many business and technology related subjects.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

Sadly, I believe that there are many factors that have been eroding the profession’s position as the leaders in the nutrition industry. These factors include: 1) rapid technology changes, 2) large number of graduating dietetic students, descending on a 3) dietetic profession which is being challenged by celebrities and non professional interlopers disseminating non evidence based nutrition information. 

This is not only a threat to the profession, but also a threat to the health of the population and a threat to common sense. I believe that within the next 5 years we will unite as a profession and support each other to become the respected and valued leaders in all areas of the nutrition industry including clinical (hospital and research), industry, community, government policy making and media.

I believe that Dietitians, Accredited and Registered are incredibly educated and passionate about their profession and their clients. This passion and skill should be harnessed and supported to enable them to take big leaps with courage and conviction within our scope of practice. I also believe that Dietitians should be remunerated in line with their skills and high level of academic training.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

There are two important areas that I believe the public is misinformed about Dietitians and what we do and these areas include: 1) Dietitians are NOT the food police, and 2) “weight loss” and “dieting” is not our main focus, but “healthy eating designed for the individual” and then healthy weight changes looks after themselves.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

Accredited Dietitians are extremely well trained in providing personalized nutritional advice and support based on scientific evidence and not fads and quick fixes that aren’t in the interests of the clients’ long term health objectives.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

The biggest challenge I face as an Accredited Dietitian with many years of experience is seeing the same diet fads raising their ugly heads over and over again and the gullible public repeatedly falling for them. The marketing goal would be to make long term healthy eating a desirable and sexy message that becomes the “fad” that is guided by evidence based research.

What is your favourite meal? 

A meal that contains fresh quality ingredients, with simple flavours, balanced with a glass of great wine, in good company in a beautiful setting. A meal should not just be a group of nutrients, but an example of edible art.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

Be courageous in following your dreams and supportive of your colleagues in the interest of your profession.

Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable: 

Just a thank you for the opportunity to connect with my American (*and Canadian) colleagues.

More about Maya:

Website: nero
Blog: nero blog
Facebook: NERO Nutrition Education Resources Online
Instagram: @nero_nutrition



Thanks Maya! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What RDs Do: Michelle Katz MS, RD, LD, CDE

MICHELLE KATZ
MNT IN DIABETES
for something nutrishus


Michelle shows us once again the diversity in the dietetics profession.  She works with groups/classes, one-on-one with individuals and takes part in clinical trials, thus requiring and possessing a variety of skills. Her optimism for the future is great and it's truly exciting to be part of a field that is changing and growing in so many different areas (yay science!). Her concern about misinformation is one I'm sure we all share as we support our patients/clients in the pursuit of health and an enjoyable life, which she reminds us takes commitment.

Why did you become a RD?

Since I was in my young teens I always had an interest in food. My mom used to cook all meals at home. We hardly ate at restaurants and I use to help her looking for healthier recipes. My dad had hyperlipidemia, hypertension and heart disease so we were always watching for his food choices. Once I graduated high school I knew I wanted to help people, I wanted to stay in the science /health/ medical area. I explored the different options that University of Costa Rica was offering at that time and Licensed in Nutrition was calling my name.

What area of dietetics do you work in?


Currently I'm working providing medical nutrition therapy (MNT), specialized in diabetes.

How would you explain what you do?

  • I provide diabetes education to patients with type1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. I also help coordinating clinical trials in diabetes.
  • I teach classes for diabetics once a month using the “learning maps” concept sponsored by Merck.
  • I provide private nutrition consultation to families and individuals for weight loss and healthy eating in general.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

  • Provide nutrition counseling to patients with diabetes.
  • Counseling patients on insulin administration, monitoring blood sugars and any need for training in devices like pumps, continuous blood sugar monitoring (CGM), Vgo among others.
  • Coordinate clinical trials – screening patients for studies and follow them up during the different studies we currently have.

What has been your career path?


My career path is definitely a ladder. There are so many opportunities in the world of diabetes. Always new devices, new medications, new types of insulin, artificial pancreas, etc. It is a constant change and is growing all the time.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Master’s degree in Nutrition and I am a Certified Diabetes Educator.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

I think we can expect many opportunities coming up in the next 5 years in the industry, but we need to work hard and show the industry all the many areas we can help and make a change in the patient life and health as dietitians.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?


People often get confused with nutritionist and RDs. It’s important to clear up that dietitians are committed to evidence-based practice. This means that when we make a recommendation it is based on the best available scientific evidence. Dietitians translate the science into practical information you can use to improve your health.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

I would like people to know that RDs are university trained, regulated health professionals who use several educational tools and research to make sure their advice is based on the best available information.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

Main challenges I encountered are all the nutrition advice we see online or in the media. Many recommendations are not based on scientific evidence.

Lots of advertising trying to sell the “quick fix” like fast weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood sugars with supplements among others. But if it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is. Making lifestyle changes is a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly.

What do people think that you do for a living?

If you ask my 12-year-old daughter she will say I teach people how to eat better.

Other people might think that we “make diets” or we help people lose weight.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about helping others and making a difference in people’s life, Every time patients returned to my office and their blood sugars improved, their weight is down, they feel better, their babies are born healthy - I just can’t explain the feeling of satisfaction. It’s just hard to describe the great feeling of helping others and seeing results of hard work and dedication from the patient end.

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?

Like I mentioned above, we are university trained professionals that used scientific evidence in a very creative way to translate into practical recommendations to manage and improve your health. The title dietitian is protected by law.

What is your favourite meal?

Fresh salads, sweet potatoes, vegetables and dark chocolate :)

What tip(s) would you give to our readers?

I just say to please, please don’t believe everything you read. Do your research.

One single study is not enough to make a claim. Were the studies done in humans or animals? What are the person’s qualifications? Dig a little deeper before you make a change. One study or theory is not enough to change our advice.

And last but not least: Eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, dairy, legumes, nuts and fish, portion control, and the right balance of meals and exercise every day.

More about Michelle:

Email: Katzdfw@sbcglobal.net
Facebook: Michelle Lechtman-Katz



Thanks Michelle! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!