Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What RDs Do: Debbi Beauvais, RDN SNS

for something nutrishus

Debbi has been working in school nutrition for 15 plus years. She had a lot to say and I'm happy to share her responses. She is correct that you need to actually ask a dietitian what they do, because we're doing lots of different things, things we can't even imagine until we're actually out working in the field. As a Canadian working in a very different area of dietetics, this was very informative to me. I work in schools, but I do so in a teaching/facilitating role, not in management. Debbi is also a strong advocate for our profession and gives-back/volunteers as such.

Why did you become a RD? 

I actually went to school thinking I was going to be the next Barbara Walters-Communication Major. Never even knew about the field of Dietetics. Several women on my dorm floor were in Nutrition and Dietetics…..went and checked it out and the rest is history. Actually, my mom always worked when I was growing up thus I did a lot of the cooking for the family so had an interest in food. Mom’s rule for dinner: two vegetables, a meat, and a starch. Not a bad plan! :0)

Funny story though; I only took Earth Science and Biology in high school as I had a Music Major and 4 years of Math. Had to take a summer Chemistry course to get on track to change majors.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

As a Dietetic Intern at St. Louis University, the Food Service Director interviewed me for a position and asked me what I wanted to be doing in 5 years…..I said a Chief Clinical Dietitian. He said he had seen me in the kitchen and that I had a knack for people and management. In turn, he was instrumental in changing my career path to the Management side of Dietetics. I spent 15 years; 6 different positions, with a Contract Management Company in Healthcare Food Service Management. In 1991 I married and in 1993 had my first child. That put me on “mommy duty” for a few years; 2nd child came in 1995. I was doing a variety of part time things just to stay busy: Teaching Nutrition at a local community college, working at a supermarket cooking school, nutrition consulting at a health club, and also had a business called “Let’s Talk Food & Nutrition” which had me doing corporate cooking demos and wellness talks. Four different briefcases for all my different roles.

In the year 2000, I interviewed and was hired for a position as School Lunch Director at Gates Chili Schools in Rochester, NY. 5500 students across 7 buildings, serving lunch at all buildings and breakfast at just two.

How would you explain what you do? 

Working in a school setting I am always asked when I go and teach nutrition in the classroom; this is not my role at all. I am in charge of a School Nutrition Program that is a self-supporting program in the district. Thus school tax payer dollars do not fund my program. I am the largest “restaurant” you might say, in Gates, NY. Our funding comes from USDA in addition, to what we collect from customer sales. We must follow all the federal/state/county regulations for the operations of our programs: National School Breakfast and Lunch and also the Summer Food Service Program. We serve on average 900 breakfasts and 2400 lunches per day across all school buildings. In addition to these numbers, another 15,600 lunches, 12,000 breakfasts and 3,100 snacks over a 6 week period are served in our summer meals program. I also have customer contracts for meals with a day care center, small private school, and a BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Alternative High School. For Gates Chili, the operating budget for the Meals program is just over $2,100,000.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

Obviously in Management, I believe, if you take care of your people, they will take care of your business. So a great deal of my time is spent on training and professional development with the team. Menu planning/nutritional analysis is a must to meet the strict federal regulations for all foods sold in schools (not just the breakfast and lunch meals). My greatest efforts are put in to the Food and Supply bids to get our goods and services at the best price. A tremendous amount of paperwork also uses my time to make sure I get all of the government reimbursements and food commodities we are entitled to. Since the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 was established, the paperwork has tripled thus my job framework is not as fluid in our schools as it had been previously. If there is one thing I will say about this profession ….you really have no idea how it operates and all the challenges it presents until you actually work in it.

What has been your career path? 

In my School Meals role with Gates Chili Schools, I have expanded my scope of responsibility in the last 8 years. In 2008, I became the shared School Nutrition Director with a small 1100 student public school- East Rochester UFSD and in 2013 another was added; East Irondequoit which has 3000 students over 6 buildings. Both of these added districts serve breakfast, lunch, and have summer meals programs. My current scope is just over 8200 students across 15 locations serving meals 12 months a year. We strive daily to have something on the menu that every child wants to eat. We also evolve our programs to have the nutritional information available for parents of today who want to know more about what their kids are eating.

In addition, I give back to the profession of Dietetics. I am an internship preceptor for several internship programs in NY and distance learning too. It is incredibly important that up and coming RDNs have an understanding of this specific Food Service Management business segment. I promise you they come away with a much different picture of School Meal Operations and the challenges, etc. after spending time with us. I am proud to say that I recently was able to create a School Nutrition Coordinator position in my program and hired a young lady that worked with me as a volunteer, student, and dietetic intern. That is everything coming full circle!

On the volunteer side of the profession – I have been very active with the Local, State and National School Nutrition Associations (SNA). I was NY School Nutrition State President in 2012-2013 and from there, I jumped to the national organization as a member of the Education Committee. I was then elected to the position of Northeast Regional Director and Regional Director Chair in 2015-2016. I was recently elected and will take office in July at our SNA Annual National Conference as Secretary/Treasurer. I am so honored, humbled, and excited to take on this new leadership role. In the mix of these volunteer commitments, I was also appointed as an Academy Spokesperson (served 4 years) in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Media Spokesperson Program.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

In addition to my RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist), I also hold the credential SNS (School Nutrition Professional). The SNS credential is achieved by taking a National accredited exam and the content is specific to School Nutrition Regulations, Management, and Procurement.

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

With the onset of technology and anybody being able to “Google” answers for their nutrition questions be it wellness or for a specific disease state, I have a real concern for our profession. It is more important than ever that RDNs in every segment have to continue to advocate for the profession and share in very clear terms, why those of us in our profession are the true nutrition experts. What sets us apart is that our information is research and science based. RDNs have to have a voice to “debunk” those that call themselves nutritionists and food & nutrition experts and offer the latest and greatest diet trend to get the pounds off.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

RDNs come from diverse educational backgrounds with a minimum educational requirement of a Bachelor of Science Degree meeting a very specific curriculum to obtain a Dietetic Internship which in turn prepares them to sit for the national accreditation RDN exam. RDNs hold a variety of talents based on each person’s individual career goals and post graduate education. I happen to be an expert in Food Management, Sanitation and Food Safety in both Healthcare and K-12 Schools. When chatting with someone that is a Registered Dietitian; ask them more about what they do in the profession and what their expertise is as it may very well surprise you.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

In the world of School Meals – “Everyone is an expert,” at what I get paid to do for a living, because everyone eats. Food is a relatable and opinion-based topic for any conversation. Many do not realize that those running the School Meals Programs in their community are educated professionals such as RDNs…….not just “Lunch Ladies.” We have to “toot our horns” a bit loudly about our programs and what we are doing….as 9 times out of 10 it is a perception that people have about the program that is NOT THE REALITY. School Meals are nothing like what I saw as a child when I was in grade school in the 60s and 70s. Yes, I can stand behind why we serve chocolate milk in schools with science. I can defend the regulations encouraging more whole grains, increased fruit and vegetable consumption along with reduced fat, saturated fat, sodium, and calories. I also can stand by the meals we serve as being great nutrition options for growing children as school food is manufactured to meet very stringent regulations……..all pizza and chicken nuggets are not created equal. Have questions about your school meals program where your children go to school – ask them, find out the ABC’s of school meals. I am sure you will learn a lot that might surprise you.

What is your favorite meal? 

I am a comfort food gal all the way – home baked decadent Macaroni & Cheese. I always have water or low-fat/FF milk with my meals – I was raised/and raised my family that Soda or Pop is a party food. See, mom was not an RDN but, had some good common sense nutrition philosophies!

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

Have questions about your school meals program where your children go to school – ask them, find out the ABC’s of school meals. I am sure you will learn a lot that might surprise you… may even find an RDN at the helm!

More about Debbi:

Twitter: @rockinlunch
Facebook: Deborah Beauvais

Thanks Debbi! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What RDs Do: Lara Felton, MBA, RDN

for something nutrishus

If you've been following this series, you've probably noticed the diversity in the field of dietetics as well as similar themes, like our love of food! Like Lara, many of us are lucky to work in nutrition because we're so passionate about it. She has a very unique technology position and is part of an exciting private practice consulting team in an area I love (the San Francisco Bay Area!). I can appreciate the challenges of working outside your comfort zone, staying up on trends, and trying to take weekends off!

Why did you become a RD?

I love food! I actually found out about the field of nutrition and dietetics when I was in college. I was studying to be a marine biology major but wasn’t excited for my career prospects so I did some reflecting on what I was really passionate about and it was food and health. I found out there was a major for Nutrition and Dietetics on campus and once I learned about all the career options for RDs I was hooked and never looked back. 

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I started out in clinical, working as part of an awesome cystic fibrosis (CF) team. Now I work in technology for a mobile app called ShopWell and am lucky enough to still be part of an awesome team. I also do consulting work for recipe development and nutrition communications with my business partner and dietitian partner in crime, Sarah for RDelish Nutrition.

How would you explain what you do?

In the tech world I do a bit of everything from: developing new features with the engineers and product development team, marketing, managing social media, blogging, quality assurance testing, and customer support. It’s a small team so I get to wear a lot of hats. It’s both an awesome learning experience and can be quite stressful.

For RDelish Nutrition, I write blog posts, develop recipes, manage social media, have brainstorming coffee dates with Sarah, and consult with start-ups who have a nutrition concept or product that they want a dietitian’s expertise and input on. 

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Every day is different for me, although I try my best to stick to a weekly schedule to make sure I stay on task. I do a lot of support emails and work on the ShopWell database at the start of the week. I try to schedule out social media posts for the week on Mondays for both ShopWell and RDelish Nutrition. I am always looking at the analytics to learn more about who my crowd is on the social media platforms and what content resonated well. Midweek are my content days where I work on blog posts, healthy quick tips for ShopWell, spend time in the kitchen researching and developing recipes, and any food photo shoots that I dream up. I try to spend 20-30 minutes daily browsing my feed of other blogs I follow to stay up on trending topics, what others are writing about, and get inspiration for my own writing and recipes. I try to reserve weekends for family time but work tasks always creep in.

What has been your career path?

From my internship days I knew that I wanted to do something business-related with my nutrition degree. I completed my internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and we had a 2-week business plan development rotation that I loved. I wanted to learn more of those business skills and felt that was a gap in the dietetics education. I also got exposure to the cystic fibrosis patient population and was really drawn to how key the dietitian is on the CF treatment team. I was hired at Stanford Health Care after my internship and joined the adult Cystic Fibrosis team.

I still had an interest in business and the technology space, probably heightened by the fact that I live in Silicon Valley and start-ups are everywhere. A colleague at Stanford told me about the position at ShopWell. I was fortunate to get hired and really explore and hone my interest in business as well as be creative with how I share my nutrition knowledge.

Sarah and I started RDelish Nutrition in early 2015 as a way for us to explore new opportunities in the Bay Area and continue to foster our creative side through blogging and recipe development. I love having someone to bounce ideas off of, strategize with, and share the workload of maintaining a blog. We get along really well together and have complimentary interests in nutrition and similar views on food and life, which makes blogging and planning the content so much easier.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Master in Business Administration, which was a goal of mine after completing my internship. I had a real interest in business and absolutely loved the MBA program (maybe except the finance and accounting classes). The knowledge I learned and connections I made in the program have been useful to me in my roles at ShopWell and RDelish Nutrition.

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

Dietitians are leading the conversation and are thought leaders for topics relating to nutrition and wellness for the general public. I think the future of nutrition and dietitians is learning how to effectively reach more people through mediums like mobile platforms. With the pace of technology and particularly the changes in the health care space and telemedicine, I think RDs have the potential to reach larger numbers of people and have a real impact but likely less opportunities for the one-on-one touch we are familiar with today.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

We’re not the food police! Unless you are my client and we are talking about your meals and eating habits, I (we) are not judging you for what you eat so don’t be self conscious to eat food around us.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

I work in the tech space now and I think RDs are now starting to get respect and credibility in this space. A lot of times I am talking about the differences between dietitians, nutritionists, and wellness coaches and the value that dietitians can bring to a tech or start up team. I think another big challenge for dietitians is salary and getting compensated appropriately for our time, expertise, and experience. Although it is also the responsibly of the dietitians to ask for more.

What do people think that you do for a living?

Blog and play around on Facebook. Most people have no idea what my role could possibly be at a start up. Even when I was working at Stanford Health Care people assumed I wrote meal plans all day long and talked with people about weight loss.

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

Our expertise and education to be dietitians makes us much more credible (to me at least) but I do think we have an image problem in the more mainstream public. Since our profession is rooted in science we aren’t as swayed by fads and trends which often is not as exciting or as immediate.

What is your favorite meal?

Brunch, hands down. Specifically I love splurging on waffles.

More about Lara:

Facebook: RDelish
Twitter: @r_delish
Instagram: @rdelish_nutrition
Website: RDelish
Website: ShopWell

Thanks Lara! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Monday, March 14, 2016

What RDs Do: Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO

for something nutrishus

Ginger has had a variety on different roles in her career and has a somewhat non-traditional one now. She specializes in integrative health, oncology nutrition, responsible supplementation, and nutrigenomics. Like a typical entrepreneur (or one I can relate to), she engulfs herself in nutrition, even in her 'spare' time. I am excited to share her interview and I know she's excited to be featured. 

Why did you become a RD?

I got interested in nutrition because of my love of fitness and food but during my schooling and internship, my interest turned towards the clinical and behavior change aspects.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I work for a nutrigenomic company in Seattle, I teach students at an integrative medical clinic and I run my blog, Champagne Nutrition.

How would you explain what you do? 

It can be confusing because I do more than one thing! When I tell people that I work for a biotech start-up, they say “oh, so you’re not a dietitian anymore?” I get to explain that dietitians can do a lot of different things; that’s a wonderful aspect about our profession. I also love working with students; I teach and guide graduate dietetic students as they counsel patients. I’m a writer at heart so blogging and writing articles is something I do in my free time. 

I also serve as Immediate Past President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chair-Elect of the national Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and am a Media Representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

The majority of my time I am either prepping for, following up on or actively seeing clients for nutrition sessions. Other than that, I manage a team of dietitians so I have some training and supporting built into my day. I always take time each morning to set my social media channels since this is a huge priority to me and in the evenings I almost always write articles, blog or am on phone calls for the many nutrition-related volunteer positions I hold. Sometimes in my down-time I read nutrition magazines or books - It's all nutrition all the time with me!

What has been your career path? 

I started out working in a large hospital in Chicago on the cardiac rehabilitation floor. When they started doing bariatric surgery, I helped them open an outpatient bariatric clinic. From there I moved to an integrative oncology clinic and now I work at a nutrigenomic start-up company.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I have a Masters in Nutrition from Bastyr University, have earned my Weight Management Certifications I and II and I now have my Board Certification as a Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO).

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

I hope that the dietetic field continues to grow and integrate into general medical practice. Dietitians are THE nutrition experts.  Having a great relationship with other medical providers that refer to us for nutritional needs will be key. RDs also play a key role in sustainability and environmental nutrition, the healthy aging of our population as well as school food service and childhood nutrition, obesity and other chronic diseases and in the community regarding access and safety of the food supply. Dietitians are a critical piece to the health of our population.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

That we judge what other people eat. I want people to stop apologizing to me at dinner parties :) Also that we have a magic bullet – behavior change is hard and takes time and commitment so working with a dietitian over a period of time is a key to success. I can’t simply tell you what to eat when I meet you the first time; nutrition is a complicated science.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

The amount of schooling, credentialing and continuing education that is required for us to achieve our “RDN” status.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

The food aspect and the culture around food. Cooking, recipes, food photography, eating out, food history – that’s the best. I also love talking to people about how to use nutrition to heal themselves; food is powerful medicine.

What is your favourite meal? 

I’m a huge pizza fan. Otherwise, I’m a vegetarian so a spicy tofu noodle dish with lots of broccoli in it would be ideal.

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

Reach out to a dietitian today for your nutrition needs! Most every person could benefit from working with a nutrition professional.

More about Ginger:

Website: Champagne Nutrition
Twitter: @GingerHultinRD
Instagram: @champagnenutrition
Pinterest: Champagne Nutrition
Google+: Ginger Hultin 
LinkedIn: Ginger Hultin MS RD CSO

Thanks Ginger! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Learning More About Being Me

I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before as I try to find time for non-work reading in the evenings. She even talks about 'quitting time' which I am going to try to do, since I work from home and am an 'upholder' I can easily be drawn to my office to do work and accomplish something (because that's what I like to do!).

I often talk about being our best self or the best version of ourselves. It's not about perfection, it's about progress, which the title of the book reminds us - be better!

Gretchen talks about all the unique traits we have and I like to learn as much about myself as I can, so I enjoyed reading that. I also try to be self aware - so I may not always respond or act the way I intended or should have, but on reflection I can easily see what I should have done/said. Maybe it's years as a dietitian and the self reflection we're taught that has stuck with me.

As I learn more about myself, I also continue to learn more. I know I like to cook, but I like to follow recipes, I struggle to just make something from scratch, which many dietitians are great at. I like to follow directions, perhaps with a few alterations, but I like to know where I'm going and what the outcome may be, even though, that does mean that I try all kinds of recipes - some that we'll make again, and others that are soon forgotten.

I also know that I like quotes for inspiration and I like alliteration. As an adult I've recently decided that I am at my best when I remain curious (not judgemental), am content (grateful and not wanting for more or comparing myself to others), and present (or mindful - conscious fits with my 'c' theme, but I don't like it as much). I keep mindfulness, minimalism, and moderation in mind as I strive for health, happiness, and habits.

I've got a lot to continue to work on, but I think I'm better than I was before. I do often have to remind myself of how far I've come and that happiness isn't a destination - ie. it's not, I'll be happy when ________.

This is just my check in, as it was on my mind and I had a few moments to spare to jot it down.
Be well, be you!

Steph Langdon, RD

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What RDs Do: Alexis Travers, RD, CD

for something nutrishus

Alexis is another dietitian that found the field once in university (I too was on my way to a science degree, possibly physiology, before taking Nutrition 101). Like others, she collaborates as part of a multidisciplinary team. She is also continuing her studies with a Master's degree underway.  Alexis is a Certified Dietitian (CD) in Indiana, you can find out more about state licensure from the Commission on Dietetic Registration

Why did you become a RD?

I love and hate this question. I don’t have an amazing story that led me to dietetics, it just happens to be where I landed. I went to Purdue University attending to gain an Bachelor’s in biology, but decided I needed more human interaction in my career field. I researched the many opportunities and degrees that Purdue offered, focusing on science and healthcare. I found dietetics and fell in love with the introductory nutrition class; I knew it was the career for me.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Clinical, specifically critical care and nutrition support in a hospital setting.

How would you explain what you do?

I am the clinical dietitian that covers the Level 1 Trauma Center and Surgical ICU of Eskenazi Health. I screen, assess, and prescribe nutritional interventions in this patient population to assist with healing after injury or surgery. Oftentimes, this includes patients on ventilator support requiring enteral nutrition.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I perform nutrition assessments on ventilated patients and prescribe nutrition support prescriptions based on their needs daily. I also follow-up with the patients that require additional nutrition intervention after the ICU for wound healing or other needs. I also attend multidisciplinary rounds twice a week to discuss patients’ progress and disposition with members from every area of care.

What has been your career path?

I graduated from Purdue Coordinated Program in Dietetics in 2014 and moved to Indianapolis. I accepted a job at Eskenazi Health working on general medicine floors. After nine months, I was moved to critical care/surgical ICU when a position became available.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in adult human nutrition.

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

Ideally, RDs will be recognized as the experts in nutrition and respected as the number one source of reliable, evidence-based nutritional information. We will remain an integral part of the healthcare team no matter our area of practice to better our patient’s lives.

More about Alexis:

LinkedIn: Alexis Travers, RD, CD

Thanks Alexis! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Friday, March 4, 2016

1001 Days Later

Wow, that sounds like a long time, and it is and it isn't. In my 32 years of life (12005 days) it is only a glimpse. Why am I even talking about it? It was a goal setting exercise I took part in - the Day Zero Project (101 in 1001). There are other similar ones, such as #100happydays that I have also done - I enjoy accomplishing things, I'm a doer, so getting things done helps keep me happy and healthy. Obviously not everyone is wired this way (I think few people are similar to me, the more that I learn about personality traits), but goals work for me.

I tried, I succeeded, I didn't complete (yet!) my 101. I am trying to be okay with completing 82/101 (81.2%). I am also deciding that at some point I will complete the remaining 19. I'm trying to not make excuses and to still keep these on my radar. I definitely wasn't solely thinking about these, as I have accomplished other goals over the last 1001 days. A lot has changed in my life since June 7, 2013, that's for sure, so this is even a great mindfulness check-in. I've travelled, became a mom, moved into a new house, and survived into my 6th year of self-employment (among other things).

However, the ones that remain are (because having them in one place will help me focus!):

6 - go on a girl's weekend trip (non-work related...)
7 - play a round of golf with my husband (summer 2016?)
10 - put aside $10 for each task accomplished (82/110)
15 - meditate every day for one month
31 - create our will (I jotted notes)
32 - create our health directives (I jotted notes)
33 - try snowboarding
34 - go skating
35 - go cross country skiing
47 - build a sand castle (summer 2016?)
64 - update my 'places I've been' Pinterest board (ongoing...)
77 - visit a new country...(summer 2016?)
80 - learn where all 50 states are on a map of the USA (working on it, I know all 50 now at least!)
81 - don't watch TV or Netflix for a month (summer 2016?)
82 - don't eat out for 2 months (summer 2016?)
84 - complete the 365 project (a picture a day for a year) (I may have done this, but it wasn't intentional)
86 - don't complain for 1 week ( hope I did, but I wanted to be aware & track at least one...)
96 - kiss in the rain (again, I probably did, but not mindfully for this list!)
101 - get a second tattoo (have it picked out)

I think I can knock a few off this summer if I keep them on my mind or add them to my endless to-do lists. I also have new ideas, such as a one sentence journal (suggested by Gretchen Rubin) and I've learned to focus on gratitude, being curious, being present, and unplugging more often - so those will stay with me forever, sort of my pillars for health, happiness, and habits. I still have stacks of books that I intend to read, movies to watch, blogs to write, recipes to try, places to see, and basically lots of life to experience!

How is your 2016 going? Are you working on a goal(s), how's it going?

Here's to you and all you dream of accomplishing :)

Steph Langdon, RD

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What RDs Do: Amrie DeFrates, RD

for something nutrishus

Today I'm pleased to share all about Amrie. She has a great approach to helping others with a non-diet focus including being mindful and working on people's relationship with food and themselves. I love the statement on her website 'nourish those you love - including yourself' as I am all about self love and being the best version of yourself. 

Why did you become a RD?

Many of my favorite childhood memories took place while making a mess in the kitchen. But, I was just having fun, I had no idea that I would eventually have the chance to teach other people about food. Then, my senior year in high school, I was looking for alternative options for the science requirement. I was given permission to take a human nutrition course at the local junior college, and that really carved the path for me. The professor was so passionate and the science totally clicked for me. I loved how this profession combined teaching, counseling, and science.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I specialize primarily in eating disorders, but my philosophy and approach also reaches those who are affected by disordered eating, chronic dieting, and body image struggles. I take a non-diet approach, using the principles of mindful and intuitive eating.

How would you explain what you do?

The goal of my work is to help others heal their relationship with food and their bodies.

Primarily, I provide one-on-one nutrition therapy in my private practice, DeFrates Nutrition. Common topics of discussion include feelings around food, food patterns, food fears, hunger cues, eating disorder behaviors, triggers, support, coping skills, and body image. I collaborate with the client to create a meal plan while at the same time challenging them to try new foods and providing the structure and expectations for appropriate eating based on their individual needs. Under the DeFrates Nutrition umbrella, I also speak publicly and blog about nutrition, body image, and self-care.

Another role I hold is a contracted position as a recovery coach for Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. In this role, I provide meal support for clients at a restaurant, office, or home setting. These clients have their own outpatient team, including a dietitian, and I help the client to achieve the goals set forth by that team.

Lastly, I am a per diem dietitian for the eating disorder program at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. In this role, I perform group education on nutrition and body image. I also provide meal support.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Each day and each week is SO different! Typically my time is spent between the following tasks:

· Client Appointments
· Charting
· Meal Support
· Group Education
· Communicating/Coordinating Care with other dietitians, therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors
· Writing/Blogging
· Website Maintenance
· Social Media
· Public Speaking
· Mentorship
· Professional Supervision
· Continuing Education

What has been your career path?

My first job after becoming a registered dietitian was with a non-profit organization that organized fitness and educational events for youth and adults living with diabetes. From there, I began working in eating disorders at a residential treatment center. Now I work in a variety of different roles, but all within eating disorders. I so whole-heartedly believe in the philosophy and approach of this work, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I attended San Diego State University for my Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition. From there, I completed my dietetic internship at UC San Diego Medical Center, with a medical nutrition therapy emphasis. I am currently working toward becoming a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD), and look forward to going back to school for a master’s degree at some point!

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

I would love to see dietitians gain more recognition as a reliable source for nutrition information. There is so much “noise” out there in the world about nutrition, and dietitians are such a valuable resource for setting the record straight.

Now, on the other hand I would also like to see a shift away from dieting culture and weight loss. Not all dietitians have the same philosophy, and that’s okay, but I would hope that the majority of us would follow a non-diet approach that accepts bodies of all sizes. Let’s help people take care of themselves by empowering them to feel good about their bodies, rather than making them feel like they have to look a certain way to earn praise and worthiness.

More about Amrie:

Website: DeFrates Nutrition
Blog: DeFrates Nutrition Blog
Twitter: @amriew
Instagram: @defratesnutrition
Facebook: Amrie DeFrates, RD
Pinterest: Amrie DeFrates, RD

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