Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What RDs Do: Justine Horne, MSc, RD, PhD student

JUSTINE HORNE
JUSTINE THE RD & ASSOCIATES
for something nutrishus


As a fellow dietitian advocate, Justine was happy to share her unique experiences in the series. She works in a variety of area, as we've seen many dietitians do. As someone that has offered Nutrigenomix testing to past clients, it is interesting for me to hear about the PhD work Justine is doing and I look forward to seeing the future of that area. It's also no surprise that she's a lifelong learner, something very important in a science-based industry.

Why did you become a RD?

I’ve always been interested in nutrition and I remember learning about what dietitians do in Grade 6. I thought it was so cool that there was a job where you get to learn, and teach people about nutrition – I still think it’s really cool! My original interest in nutrition probably stemmed from my involvement in competitive sports as a child, which continued into my adult years. I now recognize a wider variety of reasons as to why nutrition is so important. 

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I have a variety of nutrition-related interests so I work in a few different areas including: private practice at Justine the RD and Associates, community nutrition at The East Elgin Family Health Team, education at Brescia University College, research at Western University and research/education at Nutrigenomix Inc. 

How would you explain what you do?

I own an online nutrition consulting business, Justine the RD and Associates, where we mainly provide personalized nutrition recommendations to clients via secure online video chat, but also do other nutrition-related tasks such as group presentations when requested. I also work at the East Elgin Family Health Team where I lead group programs for the community aimed to optimize health and well-being. At Western University I am a lecturer for a clinical nutrition course at Brescia University College and am also a PhD candidate in Health and Aging. I’ve done a lot of consulting work for a company, Nutrigenomix Inc, which provides personalized DNA-based dietary advice to consumers exclusively through healthcare professionals. 


What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

My work life usually consists of a variety of daily/weekly tasks including: 
  • Liaising with the associate RDs I work with at Justine the RD and Associates to ensure we are providing the best nutrition plans for our clients
  • Conducting my research (The Nutrigenomics, Overweight/Obesity and Weight Management Trial) which consists of several tasks including: providing education to clients about weight management, explaining the results of genetic reports, assessing body composition and dietary intake, and analyzing the study’s results
  • Planning, delivering, and evaluating health and wellness programs at The East Elgin Family Health Team 
  • Teaching healthcare providers and university students about the science and clinical application of nutrigenomics 
  • Attending PhD-level university courses and completing course work
  • Keeping up on the latest and greatest scientific advancements in nutrition!

What has been your career path?

I started my career in diabetes education at a community health centre in Kitchener. I then began working for Nutrigenomix Inc, started my private practice and started lecturing at Brescia University College. Recognizing my passion for research and education, I decided to enroll in a PhD program and ended up accepting a job at a family health team where I am currently conducting my research (“The NOW Trial”). I hope that this experience will one day lead me to obtain a tenure-tracked professor position at a prestigious university. 

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I love learning and am a self-proclaimed research geek, so naturally I’ve been in school forever. I have a Bachelor of Science degree, Certificate in Practical French, Master of Science degree, and am currently in the process of completing my PhD. I currently have 400 hours towards my Certified Diabetes Education designation and aim to have the letters “CDE” behind my name one day soon. 

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

My greatest hope for the next 5 years relates to genetic testing. I think this will become common practice for registered dietitians, where the vast majority of clinical RDs will be using this technology to provide personalized nutrition to their clients. In an ideal world, this testing will be covered by insurance companies as insurance companies will begin to realize the value of providing personalized nutrition information based on an individual’s genetics to optimize health outcomes. I also think we are going to start to see more public awareness about what RDs do! 

What is your favourite meal?

I absolutely LOVE enchiladas. I’ve been known to throw a tasty enchilada fiesta on the occasional Friday night. 

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about providing innovative and personalized nutrition services, and am passionate about completing research in order to advance our knowledge about how to improve health outcomes - especially those pertaining to weight management. 

More about Justine:

Twitter: @justinehorneRD

Clinical Trial Registration (The Nutrigenomics, Overweight/Obesity and Weight Management Trial)


Thanks Justine! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What RDs Do: Holly Heartz, RD, MSESS

HOLLY HEARTZ
CLINICAL & DOG DIETITIAN
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I follow Holly on facebook, likely from her previous sport work, so I already knew she was an animal lover/advocate, but I didn't know she was working in that area. She sees similar challenges with misinformation and getting respect from health care practitioners that we deal with in human nutrition. Unlike some that got into the profession based on a positive interaction with a dietitian, Holly had a different experience, but it still motivated her and now she works in her area of passion.

Why did you become a RD?

As a teen I was always trying to lose weight even though I really didn’t need to lose weight. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I struggled with the excess pounds. I went to Weight Watchers which helped. I saw a RD which didn’t help. She gave me a meal plan but didn’t really talk to me. I remember asking something about how the “skinny people in Hollywood” were able to be so slim. All she said was that they weren’t healthy. After 2 visits I didn’t go back. 

I became a RD to provide answers to people searching for nutrition truths just like I was searching. I was hungry for information. What I love the most about nutrition was the science.


What area of dietetics do you work in?

I work as a clinical dietitian but my love of animals led to the creation of Dog Dietitian. There is a wealth of inaccurate information about dog nutrition that spills over from human nutrition. Dog owners are just as confused about how to feed their dogs as they are about their own nutrition. They also get their nutrition information from inaccurate source such as breeders or trainers.

How would you explain what you do?

My main objective is to provide accurate science-based information about canine nutrition. I do this via blogs and personal contacts with those reaching out to me for answers. 

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I spend a little bit of time every day learning some aspect of either dog nutrition or behaviour (dogs and horses). I am currently developing an education series that will be available on my website. Sometimes I’m contacted by veterinarians who want clarification about nutrition messages dog food reps have presented to them.


What has been your career path?

Since 1998 I have worked in various facilities as a clinical RD. I have also worked in nursing homes and teach nutrition and sports nutrition at the university level. Until 2 years ago, I operated a private practice with a sport nutrition focus.

I still work as a clinical RD while operating Dog Dietitian. In the future I would like to explore enrichment, including dietary enrichment, for horses and dogs.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I never stop learning and am always taking courses. Besides 2 BSc degrees (biology and nutrition) I have a Masters in exercise and sport science, studying integrative and functional nutrition, and a sports nutrition diploma from the IOC. I have taken graduate courses in animal behaviour and companion animal nutrition from Southern Illinois University (just to name a few).

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

* More respect. 
* More RDs with dual or advanced degrees so nutrition can infiltrate many disciplines. 
* No question in the public's mind that the person to see about any nutrition issue is a RD. 

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

That RDs and the nutrition information we provide is not influenced by companies.  

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Not everyone interested in nutrition has what it takes to become a RD. It’s not as simple as being able to create a meal plan or develop delicious recipes. Understanding (and passing) courses in chemistry (organic, biochem), physiology, etc is challenging. We need to think critically in applying this information with consideration to people’s behaviour, environment, health status, etc. 

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

I would like people to understand the difference between a RD and a nutritionist.

Some veterinarians have difficulty accepting me as a nutrition professional for dogs. While they do consult to other specialists many don’t have access to a veterinary nutritionist and take on this role themselves. Just like medical doctors their time is limited to spend with dog owners to help them establish a dietary regime for their dog.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

After almost 20 years I still love the science. With science there is always something new and exciting on the horizon such as nutrigenomics.

What is your favourite meal?

I love salmon with lemon and a salad…and wine.

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

For those looking for a career outside the box, look to create a business around what you love.

More about Holly:

Facebook: Dog Dietitian
Instagram: @holly.heartz
Twitter: @DogDietitian


Thanks Holly! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What RDs Do: Stefanie Dove, RDN, CDN

STEFANIE DOVE
SCHOOL NUTRITION MARKETING COORDINATOR
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Stefanie came across the series on Instagram and I'm glad she shared her experiences. She is working in an area where she gets to do the things she loves and some are non-traditional ones that were my inspiration for starting this series. My role in communications is very different from Stefanie's and I don't know if we have similar positions to hers here in Canada, but it sounds like a very important role for supporting the next generation and staying in online conversations. Her story and career path is a great reminder that dietitians possess many skills and can find or create positions doing the things they're passionate about. 

Why did you become a RD? 

I am a second career RD who decided to leave a career in fashion for one in nutrition after I made nutrition and wellness a key component of my life resulting in me losing 105 pounds through diet and exercise on my own. I started talking to people about what I was doing and one day my friend asked me why I never went to school for nutrition. I did not have an answer, so resigned from my position in fashion and enrolled in a nutrition program. I am all about putting your passions in life with a purpose and I feel that this career allows me to do just that. 

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I work in the marketing and communications area of dietetics for a school nutrition program and act as the School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator.

How would you explain what you do? 

I blog, tweet, take pictures of cute kids and food, play in the school gardens, talk to kids about eating the rainbow, create posters and flyers for marketing campaigns and do some recipe development…..seriously living the RD dream over here….

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

Since I oversee all of the marketing and promotions for my department, I check social media each morning when I get to the office (6:30 A.M). After sorting through social media, if I don’t already have posts scheduled for the day, I will knock a few out and then tackle emails. I spend a lot of my time out at schools whether it is in the classroom teaching a nutrition education lesson or harvesting lettuce with students in one of the gardens so we can talk about why you should eat your vegetables and what parts of the plant you can eat. I make it a point to stop in to the cafeterias at our schools for breakfast and lunch so that I can capture some pictures of our meals and also sit and chat with students about what they like and don’t like. If I am lucky, I get asked serious questions such as what Lisa Frank leopard is the cutest. No joke, that conversation has happened.

I work with the school nutrition specialists in my department to develop and organize promotional events for the month such as National School Breakfast Week, Talk Like A Pirate Day, or one of our most popular days, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. Since I develop all of the flyers, graphics, signs, etc. for our program, I spend quite a bit of time at my computer. Photoshop and I have developed a love/hate relationship over the past few years. I also work with teachers and community partners on a regular basis to help them with lesson and program planning so that they feel empowered to include nutrition education into their daily activities with students. I also speak locally and nationally on topics such as food allergy management, childhood nutrition, school gardens, farm to school and brand management and marketing. 

What has been your career path? 

While fashion might not relate to nutrition, my career in fashion as an accessories designer helped set me up with my love for all things marketing and social media. I was still working in fashion when Twitter launched and I remember thinking to myself that this is going to be something big. I asked my boss at the time to start a company Twitter account and I would manage it. She thought I was crazy, but agreed because she knew I would not let go of it. After that took off, I then realized how influential fashion bloggers were, so organized the first blogger conference for my company. I remember how exciting that was and it just so happened that this took place within weeks of my deciding to go back to school for nutrition.

The first day of Nutrition 101 in college, I was asked “what type of RD do you want to be?” My response was “I want to have a job where I can take pictures of food, tweet and blog about it.” Naturally, my response was met with gasps from my classmates since I did not respond with the “safe” answer. I stuck with that idea and was fortunate to begin interning with a NYC-based RD, Laura Cipullo, who allowed me to collaborate with her on social media, marketing, nutrition education, and recipe development. Working with her opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that a RD could have. She had her own private practice, but managed to do all of these exciting things as well. While interning with Laura, I started working with a children’s food startup in NYC and handled all of their social media. Being able to work with editors on feature stories, meet with vendors, and write daily blog posts, was not only exciting at the time, but I also realized that I truly enjoyed this side of nutrition. When my former preceptor told me about my now current position with Loudoun County Schools, I was shocked that it would be able to do everything that I had always wanted to do as a RD in one job. I applied that afternoon and 2 months later moved out of my NYC bubble and into the suburbs of D.C.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I received my B.S. in Nutrition from Lehman College in NYC and completed my Dietetic Internship (DI) through Lenoir-Rhyne in Asheville, North Carolina. I am in the process of completing my M.S. in Digital Marketing and Communications from Liberty University since I feel that this is a unique degree for a RD to have, however, based on the trends of where this field is heading, I think it will prove to be valuable. 

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

In a perfect world, I would like to see more school districts using RDs for similar positions as mine. There are a lot of RDs who want to pursue a creative venue in nutrition without branching out and doing their own personal blog, site, etc. Working with a school district will provide this creative freedom without the additional stress of maintaining your personal social media at the same time. Marketing and social media positions also allow more RDs to work remotely, which is helpful for those who want to live in places where there are few RD positions available. 

What do people think that you do for a living? 

Since I work for a school district, people think I am a teacher, then when I tell them I am the Marketing Coordinator for School Nutrition, I just get blank stares LOL 

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

Nothing is more rewarding than leaving the office at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference in the life of someone. As a RD, receiving an email from a parent saying that their child tried spinach for the first time at school and loved it so much that they asked to go to the store to get some for dinner or having a group of 4th graders squeal with excitement because you carried a tray of fresh fruit and veggies in their classroom, makes it all worthwhile. 

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

We are the nutrition experts. Sometimes, I feel that society has made RDs question their validation as the true nutrition expert and we (myself included), just need to remember that WE are the ones who struggled through our DI’s and then studied to know end in order to pass the RD exam, not the person who has 100k followers on Instagram and posts beautiful pics of smoothie bowls.

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

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to your career path. Chances are, there is already a RD who is doing something similar, just look them up, reach out to them and ask them questions. I have done that a million times with RDs who inspire me and I have never been met with a “no.”

More about Stefanie:

Instagram: @StefanieDove and @LCPSCafe
Pinterest: @StefanieDove


Thanks Stefanie! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What RDs Do: Romina Barritta de Defranchi, RD

ROMINA BARRITTA DE DEFRANCHI
GLOBAL DIETITIANS
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As the first Argentinian in the series, it seems fitting that Romina is passionate about international dietetics, networking and connecting with dietitians across the globe. As such, she sees the challenges that we share as dietitians and the need for us to support each other and strengthen our brand. She's also actively involved with the American Overseas Dietetic Association, of which I, a Canadian, am a member. Through this series I hope to help share our experiences worldwide, and as always, I'm glad Romina is on our team!


Why did you become a RD?

Because I love helping others and I love everything about food, so being a dietitian is the perfect combination of health, human and food sciences.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

Clinical Dietetics, Communications, Recipe Development.

How would you explain what you do? 

I work in a 100 bed hospital as an inpatient and outpatient dietitian, involved mainly in nutrition support. My other passion is to write and share experiences in my blog GlobalDietitians.com. I’m also Professional Development Chair of the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA), the international affiliation of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

I work in the hospital 6 hours M-F and I dedicate 8-10 hours/week to my other tasks (my website, AODA, recipe development, etc.).

What has been your career path? 

I graduated as a dietitian in Argentina (Licenciada en Nutricion), where I also did a 3-year Nutrition Residency. Then, life took me to the U.S. where I have the wonderful opportunity to work as a Dietetic Technician Registered at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. I was immensely enriched -not only professionally but also personally- as I learned from the leading experts in the nutrition field with unique teamwork approach and values. It was there when I became interested in international dietetics and networking with dietetic professionals around the globe. I realized that despite our differences all dietitians want the same: to better position our profession with the ultimate goal to improve nutrition and health of the people we serve. Looking for international dietetics communities I came across the American Overseas Dietetic Association, the international affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where I became Country Representative for Argentina.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

3-Year Residency in Nutrition. Expert in Nutrition Support (Certified by the Argentinean Association of Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition).

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

With rising food prices, environmental issues and a growing population, I think food companies will focus more on sustainable ways of feeding the world, decreasing food waste and providing food that is produced, processed, bought, sold and eaten in ways that provide social benefits and contribute to thriving local economies.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

We are the food and nutrition experts that can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

Professional intrusion from other disciplines (like chefs, journalists, and personal trainers that provide nutrition counseling) is becoming an issue in Argentina and in many countries. That is a global challenge for us, and if we unite in this we can achieve a better image and positioning of our profession worldwide.

What is your favorite meal? 

As an Italian daughter, I love pasta and my favorite dish is Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, and why not with a glass of Argentinean Malbec.

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

“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences” M. Scott Peck

I invite my colleagues to get together and share experiences worldwide to make our profession stronger. We can easily communicate with today’s tools and it’s a great idea to connect with local dietitians if you have the chance to travel to another country. Be always curious, share your passion, & love your food!

More about Romina:

Website: www.globaldietitians.com
Twitter: @globdietitians
Instagram: @romina_globaldietitians
Facebook: Global Dietitians
Linkedin: Romina Barritta de Defranchi


Thanks Romina! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What RDs Do: Amanda Hamel, RD

AMANDA HAMEL
RENAL DIETITIAN & 
NUTRITION TOUR LEADER
for something nutrishus


Intuition brought Amanda to the field of dietetics and she now works with clients of all kinds and in a variety of settings including right in the grocery store.  She is getting into the world of private practice, which more and more dietitians seem to be doing - hopefully it will help with the access that she mentions below. 

Why did you become a RD?

Have you ever had that ‘fish-out-of-water’ feeling? Imagine the feeling of being in a room full of people, and all the lights are off except for one hot, glaring spotlight that’s pointed straight down on you. That was me in my first semester of Pharmacy. I remember so clearly being in a packed classroom, with many of whom were close friends, yet I felt like I simply did not belong. It was a crushing, almost out-of-body experience, and I knew in that moment that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t tell you why or what, but my gut (always trust your gut!) was telling me that I needed to be somewhere else.

That ‘somewhere else’ was in the field of nutrition and dietetics! I always had a keen interest in health, wellness and disease-prevention, so I took a risk, made the switch, and have never looked back. Side note: I recently cleaned out my old notes from high school and found a career report I did in Grade 10 on none other than ‘The Dietitian’! It was a sign.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Like many dietitians I know, I wear many ‘hats’. I currently work in an outpatient hemodialysis and chronic kidney disease clinic. Once per month, I travel to a rural northern reserve, where I practice LTC (long term care) nutrition at their beautiful PCH (personal care home). I also have a contract position as a Nutrition Tour Leader with Save-On-Foods grocery stores. I am also dabbling in private practice on the side, just to shake things up a bit. I love that all of my current jobs cover different aspects of the nutrition continuum, enabling me to maintain and learn new skills!

How would you explain what you do?

Because I work in many different areas, my ‘go-to’ statement is, “I help people of all ages make healthy and balanced food choices”.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

In a nutshell - Renal dietitian by day, Nutrition Tour Leader by night! I work with an interdisciplinary team on the hospital dialysis unit and counsel patients one-on-one at the bedside. When I conduct grocery tours, I show people how to shop for healthy food to fit their lifestyle needs. Sprinkle in a few private practice clients, and I’d say it’s a healthy mix!

What has been your career path?

Another risk I took was moving far north, away from my friends and family, straight out of internship for a full-time, permanent position. I lived and worked for over two years in northern Manitoba in LTC clinical nutrition and menu planning for the regional food service system. I learned a lot and quickly embraced the small community feel. To rejoin the fam, I moved back to Winnipeg to continue working in a number of term positions in LTC. Fast-forward to today, and I have a part-time permanent renal dietitian position, along with my contract positions.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

Since LTC nutrition is near and dear to my heart, I have special training in dementia care called P.I.E.C.E.S training.

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

Like many dietitians, I dream of walking down the city streets and seeing stand-alone dietitian offices. I hope that people can have improved access to our services. I’d also like to see a greater focus on mental health promotion, as I think it greatly affects many people’s overall health and nutrition outcomes.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I love meeting new people and learning about their own food traditions and cuisines. While I am passionate about helping people make healthy and balanced food choices right in the grocery aisle, I believe there is so much to be learned from others. It’s one of the many reasons why I love being a dietitian!

What is your favourite meal?

Shakshuka. It’s fun to say and fun to make! You can throw in leftover items from your fridge for a quick and healthy meal.

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

Stay positive and open-minded, as you never know where it may take you one day!

More about Amanda:

Twitter: @AmandaHamelRD
Instagram: @amandahamelrd


Thanks Amanda! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What RDs Do: Abbie Gellman, MS RD CDN

ABBIE GELLMAN
CULINARY NUTRITION CUISINE 
for something nutrishus


Abbie is a chef and RD that came across the series and reached out over facebook. It's exciting when fellow dietitians support the series and are excited to share the unique things they're doing in their careers. She is a second career dietitian and has the unique perspective of the hospitality world, plus if you follow her, you'll see all the amazing dishes she creates (yum!). In my mind we're lucky when such passionate people find their way to dietetics.   
Why did you become a RD?

I first became interested in nutrition when I was at Cornell University completing an undergraduate degree in the School of Hotel Administration as a finance major. I was so curious that I took the Nutrition 101 course my freshman year and was the only non-biology student in a class of more than 500 students. I had to learn anatomy just to keep up with the rest of the class, but I loved every minute of it! I stayed on track with my business degree and ended up working in hospitality/food and beverage consulting and on Wall Street, but nutrition was constantly on my mind. I kept coming back to it and wanted to figure out how to help people in a more impactful way.

In 2000 I earned a culinary degree instead of an MBA, but stayed in the consulting and financial arena. At least once a quarter I would look at nutrition graduate programs and try to get the nerve to make a change. Then, in 2007, I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in nutrition. I was finally ready to take a huge risk and start over with a different career that would sync up with my passions: food and nutrition.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

My work is primarily “culinary nutrition.”

How would you explain what you do?

I have my own business, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine, and provide a range of services that incorporates my RD credentials and my culinary background. Typical work includes recipe development, menu development, foodservice and brand consulting, spokesperson work, private chef work (primarily for people with health-related issues), nutrition analysis, writing/blogging, and teaching.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

This changes depending on the day, client, and what else is going on. Sometimes I feel like I have “work whiplash,” but this makes it exciting and interesting! I have to be very organized and on point. Some “typical” tasks include cooking, recipe development, daily food/recipe social media posts, and researching trends.

What has been your career path?

I touched on this earlier…hospitality and food and beverage consulting, culinary degree, equity research on Wall Street, Masters in Nutrition and dietetic internship at NY Presbyterian, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a culinary degree and a Masters in Nutrition

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

I would love to say people will finally understand the difference between educated Registered Dietitians and those who call themselves health coaches, nutritionists, etc. I would also love to see a more widespread health food market in the hospitality industry – specifically, restaurants and hotels. It seems to be taking hold in packaged food and retail food outlets, such as grocery stores, but restaurants and hotels seem to be lagging behind.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

I love food and love to eat! There are a lot of assumptions that I must eat “healthy” all the time, be a vegetarian, be super disciplined, etc. At the end of the day I’m still human and I prefer moderation with adequate amounts of indulgence every now and then.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

The most frequent challenge is that people don’t necessarily know the difference between a Registered Dietitian and someone with minimal or no credentials who is a “health coach” or “nutritionist.”

What is your favourite meal?

That is such a difficult question to answer, I love so many different foods! I’m a sucker for a homemade hearty piece of bread with cheese and fruit any day of the week. Right now I’m also loving hearty stews.

More about Abbie:

Website: Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
Facebook: Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
Instagram: @cnc_abbie
Twitter: @CNC_Abbie
LinkedIn: Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN


Thanks Abbie! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What RDs Do: Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN

KRISTA ULATOWSKI
KUCUMBER NUTRITION COMMUNICATIONS, LLC
for something nutrishus


It's March, which means it's Nutrition Month in Canada and the USA, so I feel even more excited to share what dietitians do! Krista owns and operates a PR/marketing firm where she helps RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionists) and food/beverage companies market themselves. As a second career dietitian, she is able to combine her knowledge and skills from the public relations world with her nutrition knowledge to have a very unique business. Since I dabble in communications and branding, I find her work very fascinating and like me, she's excited to see dietitians in an ever-expanding variety of roles. 

Why did you become a RD?

I was a “tech PR” guru, employed by a national PR firm, prior to realizing my love of nutrition. At the agency, I enjoyed strategizing how to ensure my clients were in the media spotlight, engaging with relevant influencers, planning events, writing content, conducting brainstorms…but I wanted to do this for nutrition and food clients instead of techie giants.

To make sure I had the necessary nutrition knowledge, I returned to school for my masters in public health and nutrition after 10+ years of agency life. Yes, it was worth every penny!

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I own my nutrition marketing and PR firm, KUcumber Nutrition Communications. I work with food clients, healthcare clients and dietitians who wish to grow their businesses, reach new audiences, and ultimately, sell more of their products and services.

How would you explain what you do?

In short, I would say I hype healthy food brands. Much of what I do comes down to selling – pitching and landing a story with an editor, for example, or getting the attention of a supermarket RDN on social media who wants to stock my client’s product on his/her store shelves.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Every day is different – I may engage on social media channels on behalf of my clients, I may write a blog post for a client, I might be reading and flagging relevant healthcare news for a client, I might be helping a client with rebranding…I could go on!

What has been your career path?

I have been all over the map! I considered becoming a journalist and at one point I even considered becoming an attorney like my father. I worked at a law firm and endured the LSAT (twice!) but I quickly learned that was not for me.

If I look waaaay into my past, I took a bio class my sophomore year in high school and loved it. I took a nutrition class my freshman year of undergrad and loved it. Yet somehow the words of a high school English teacher directed my career path: “You should be a writer.” Thus I pursued a career that was a partial fit…but not the perfect fit for me until I completed it by pursuing nutrition.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

My undergrad is in journalism and business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!) and my graduate degree in public health and nutrition is from the University of Washington (go Dawgs!)

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

I’m thrilled to see RDNs in supermarkets, corporations and start-ups. It’s exciting to observe food companies understanding the value of having an RDN on staff or in a consultant role – whether that company is selling ice cream or a salad-making kit. In five years, I anticipate we’ll see even more RDNs in such roles.

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

Explore your career and entrepreneurial options! Don’t ever settle. You’re never “too old” and it’s never “too late.” Go for it – the world needs your RDN expertise!

What is your favourite meal?

Sous-vide, seared salmon atop pea mash, made by my boyfriend, who should be a professional chef. Alas, he’s a techie!

More about Krista:

Twitter: @kucumbers
LinkedIn: Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN
Facebook: KUcumber Nutrition Communications


Thanks Krista! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What RDs Do: Melissa Baker, MHSc, RD

MELISSA BAKER
UBC MANAGER OF NUTRITION & WELLBEING
BLOGGER
for something nutrishus


I know Melissa through Dietitians of Canada and she's a dietitian in the series that I have met several times in real life! If you've been following the series, you may have noticed the variety of tasks dietitians do and that we often don't have 'typical' days or traditional paths to our current roles. I love that her current role has wellbeing right in the title, especially since she's passionate about preventative nutrition. I would say that my professional goals are in-line with Melissa's, so I'm glad we're on the same team!

Why did you become a RD?

I didn’t discover the profession until the third year of my microbiology degree at UBC Okanagan when I was looking at the list of professional programs available at UBC. I was feeling discouraged by the job opportunities available after graduating with a major in microbiology and wanted to explore other opportunities. Dietetics jumped out at me right away. I loved food, cooking and inspiring others to eat well. It seemed like the perfect match. So I switched majors to Food, Nutrition and Health and moved to UBC Vancouver to pursue it! 

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I do a bit of everything! My full-time job is with Student Housing and Hospitality Services at the University of British Columbia. I work as the Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing. This job is varied in itself, but I also manage the Practice Blog for Dietitians of Canada, write for the Huffington Post and my own blog upbeet.ca, and volunteer for the Dietitians of Canada Board of Directors

How would you explain what you do?

With all my roles, my goal is to work towards bettering the health and wellbeing of Canadians by focusing on prevention and making healthy eating easier, while also promoting the dietetics profession. 

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I don’t have many “typical” days. But, some of the wide variety of things I do include providing one-on-one counselling with students living in residence at UBC, as well as education and training for students and Student Housing and Hospitality Services staff on a variety of nutrition related topics. I also co-chair the UBC Wellbeing Food and Nutrition Working Group, which some other awesome RDs at UBC sit on. I work with our culinary team to make sure we are offering healthy, balanced menu options, including many entrees with plant-based proteins. I do allergy training with staff so they know how to ensure our students with allergies get a safe meal. And I am working on a big labelling project to ensure we are providing accurate and accessible nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information to our customers. Outside of my day job, I spend some evenings and weekends writing and editing articles, testing recipes for my blog, and catching up on Board work. 

What has been your career path? 

I started out working in clinical dietetics for a health authority in BC, mostly working with patients with diabetes and doing outpatient counselling. After I decided working in this area wasn’t for me (I wanted to work in a more preventative focused setting), I went back to school to do my master’s degree at Ryerson University. Following that, I worked for the BC Dairy Association as a nutrition educator before starting in my current role at UBC. I also spent some time doing contract work on a variety of projects and working as a retail dietitian during my first couple years of practice. 

What advanced education or special training do you have?


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

My vision for the profession for five years from now aligns well with Dietitians of Canada’s key priority: “Policy makers and the public acknowledge that nutrition is a primary contributor to improving health and that the dietitian profession’s unique body of knowledge and skills makes an integral contribution to health improvement.” We are definitely working towards that but we have a ways to go. 

I would also love to see universities expanding their programs to allow more dietitians to enter the workforce. This is vital if we want to keep up with unregulated nutrition professionals. 

What is your favourite meal?

Fish tacos shared with family and friends! (Or a traditional turkey dinner with lots of stuffing and Brussel sprouts!) 

More about Melissa:

Instagram: @upbeetrd
Twitter: @upbeetRD
Facebook: Up Beet


Thanks Melissa! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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