Wednedesday, March 15th, was National Dietitian’s Day in Canada and what did I do for it?!…well I worked as a Dietitian. Actually I worked a really long day Wednesday – a full day at the hospital in the diabetes clinic, and then the evening doing personal nutrition counseling at the health center that I am at as private practice dietitian. I also can’t forget my 6 am ride I lead to start the day and then a meeting to take me into a 16 hour work day… but that’s besides the point. In my professional career as a dietitian I’ve learned a lot and have a broad knowledge of nutrition and health.
Nutrition is a major influence on our overall health – preventing diseases, treating diseases, mental health, our looks and appearance…. and so much more. Here are 5 things I’ll share with you that I’ve learned working as a dietitian, one on one with real people with real health concerns
In no particular order
Nutrition is much more than just eating more fruits and vegetables.
There are so many factors that influence our food choices and nutritional quality. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have the obesity and nutrition related diseases that harm our populations.
Other things to consider…mental health, behaviour change, budgets, disease states, what the individual wants and is willing to do for their health. There are times that my client/patient and I don’t even talk about food in an appointment because there are other priorities in their life they need to address before they can even start to make changes with foods.
We Are All Individuals.
There is no one size fits all nutrition plan…again if it was that easy, we would all be on that plan. When I do meal planning, I take the time to get to know my client, their health history, their usual food intake (when, where, what), likes/dislikes, allergies/intolerances, work schedules, exercise…pretty much anything that would influence their nutrition intake or, on the other hand, which needs to be addressed that their nutrition might influence.
I am vegan, other’s couldn’t think of not eating meat…so my personal eating plan wouldn’t suit everyone. Another thought, just because someone lost weight eating a certain way, does not make them qualified to give nutrition advice to others. We have different tolerances to foods as well…I see this consistently when going through my patient’s blood sugars.
Take Fancy Headlines with A Grain of Salt
(ex “Research Shows Drinking Wine Will Make you Thin”…haha I just made this up…that would be nice wouldn’t it? )
We must assess and evaluate the research – is it credible?, what type of research is it?, were the results significant?, who is doing the research?? Just like for your medical health concerns, you should be weary of what you read on the internet and in mainstream media when it comes to your nutrition.
Nutrition isn’t Static.
Recommendations change. We continue to learn and grow in nutrition just like in all areas of life. It can get frustrating at times when the recommendations you may hear have changed or evolved but this is because of further evidence that has been found through consistent research and better technology.
Do you remember when it used to be low fat everything….and now it is low carb everything!? Just like how actual clinical recommendations change, nutrition fads change as well.
There is still confusion about what Dietitian’s do
I’m not going to write out what dietitian’s do and our credentials, I’ll link you there!
What Does A Dietitian Do
But what I will say, I do not just teach Canada’s Food Guide and I do have extensive knowledge in foods, nutrients and how they are used in the body, as well as, certain diseases, human interaction, counseling and behavior change.
There is obviously a lot more that I have learned through my education and experience, but these are just a few points. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I’ve been making lots of great foods lately as well! Here are some yummy food photos to get your weekend started!