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!