Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What RDs Do: Lyndsay Hall, RD, CLC

LYNDSAY HALL
WIC, PUBLIC HEALTH
for something nutrishus


Working for a federal program, Lyndsay has a mix of hands-on counseling and management duties. Since obtaining her degree she has been moving up the ranks at the WIC Program and continues to pursue educational opportunities in her field. I too enjoy working with children/teens as we strive to support the development of lifelong healthy habits. 

Why did you become an RD?

I became an RD because I love food. I love the way it can create a sense of togetherness and happiness as well as the importance of it in every aspect of human life.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Public Health

How would you explain what you do?

I help families grow stronger and healthier together. I supervise and practice as an RD and
lactation consultant in the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program that focuses on educating low to middle income families on small changes they can make to help their children or themselves thrive. The WIC program is a supplemental food program that provides nutritious foods such as whole grains, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables to qualifying participants. We act as an expert resource in the community for both nutrition and lactation support.

What are your 'typical' daily/weekly tasks?

I work in clinic 2-3 days/wk providing high risk nutrition counseling to clients on various topics related to maternal, infant or child nutrition. In-between appointments and the remainder of the week, I manage staff scheduling, budget, ongoing QA/QI (quality assurance/quality improvement) projects, assign staff monthly duties (and monitor), practice as liaison between our clinic and the state WIC office, manage compliance investigations, outreach, and offer staff guidance as needed.

What has been your career path?

I graduated from Central Michigan University in 2011 with my BSc in Dietetics and was hired in as an hourly Community Nutrition Specialist at Public Health Muskegon County WIC in October of 2011. I was accepted to the part time WIC/Michigan State University Dietetic Internship where Public Health Muskegon County sponsored me to complete it while still able to work part time.

I completed the internship in Nov of 2013 and sat for my registration exam in Dec 2013. After passing, I was hired in full time as a Community Nutrition Specialist at the same employer. Nov 2014 I was promoted to WIC Quality Coordinator and most recently promoted in June 2016 as WIC Supervisor. I've been a practicing dietitian since Nov 2014 since the Community Nutrition Specialist title did not allow me to perform nutrition counseling at that time.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I am a Certified Lactation Counselor and will be taking the registration examination to become certified in pediatric nutrition (CSP) in November 2016. I will also begin graduate school pursuing a Masters degree in Health Administration beginning August 2016.

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

Dietitians will be licensed as the nutrition expert in all 50 states. Their input will be highly valued as a part of every multidisciplinary team in any health setting. More dietitians will be employed by larger companies to help promote workplace wellness.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

RDs do not believe that any specific diet is superior, it is very individualized based on situation. We are humans, too! We will not eat super healthy 100% of the time. We love food and want to help others enjoy it too. We are the nutrition experts - not 'nutritionists', not self proclaimed 'nutritionists', not doctor Oz.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

Infant and child nutrition. Infants and children depend on the proper nutrition to grow and heal. It is crucial for their development and good habits start young.

What do people think you do for a living?

Make meal plans, eat healthy 100% of the time.

What makes RDs different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?

We know the science behind everything nutrition related. We know biochemistry, organic chemistry and are realistic when applying the knowledge. We won't make you partake in a restrictive diets and do not believe in short term fixes. WE LOVE WHAT WE DO!

What is your favorite meal?

Anything Mexican.


Thanks Lyndsay! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What RDs Do: Kathy Birkett, RDN, LD

KATHY BIRKETT
NUTRITION FOR THE HEALTH OF IT
for something nutrishus


Kathy found her way to a rewarding, but very challenging position. This series aims to show all the different areas dietitians work in and hers is very unique in that comfort and quality of life are key nutrition considerations. 

Why did you become a RD?

I became a dietitian because as a young child I would visit with my grandmother who volunteered at a nursing home. She showed such love working with others and that imprinted on me the desire to help too. Being a dietitian came naturally for me because as a picky eater myself, I could help others (especially those aging) eat better.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I have worked in almost every field of dietetics in my career but my passion is working with aging adults. I have spent more than half my career specializing in long term care and now hospice/palliative care.

How would you explain what you do?

I help people who are facing the end of their life to use the art of nutrition to be more comfortable. I work not only with adults of all ages but also fragile children in our pediatric hospice program Hands of Hope.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

In my role I educate family caregivers, staff members and the community on how we can use nutrition to make people comfortable as they face the end of their life. I enjoy spreading this message as so few realize how important a dietitian is to the hospice team.

I attend interdisciplinary meetings where we consult about the care plan of our patients and get to add my expertise to their treatment plan.

What has been your career path?

After graduating from the Coordinated Undergraduate Program at Florida International University, I began doing clinical nutrition in a hospital setting as most dietitians at the time did. While I enjoyed the clinical setting, I branched out into cardiac rehab and home health care working a bit with a dietitian in private practice. After my family came along, I began working more with adults in long term care where I truly found my calling. Since then I have spent the majority of my career in long term care and hospice care.

I have also been busy with the development of my own website, Nutrition for the Health of It, where I love sharing nutrition information for families and seniors. Because I enjoy preparing my own food (I am still a picky eater), I create Recipe RenovationsTM making our favorite recipes healthy and delicious. I was thrilled to put some of my favorites into my first cookbook Recipe RenovationTM For The Health of It.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have found it important throughout my career to always look for new opportunities to spread nutrition messages and learn new skills.

I have a certificate in Gerontology and am ServSave certified both of which have helped me in the long term care setting.

I edited both the 2008 and 2013 editions of the South Carolina Diet Manual for Long Term Care Facilities.

Everything a dietitian does leads to new discoveries and opportunities!

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

I believe an ideal world for dietitians includes even more opportunities for us to expand in business and healthcare. We are poised as the nutrition expert and need to find ways to let the public know how valuable we can be in helping them achieve optimal health.

I appreciated the opportunity I had to practice in a clinical setting as I learned so that I was ready to work as an RD after graduation unlike current students who have to work hard to seek internships. Hopefully we will find a way to produce the most skilled dietitians in a more efficient manner than we are now.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

Dietitians have a vast amount of knowledge and many don’t know exactly what we can do especially employers. Many people also think that we make large amounts of money which, as most RDs know, is far from reality. And by the way, dietitians aren’t cooking the food served in healthcare facilities.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

Working in long term care my biggest challenge was the fact that there is no regulation that states an RD needs to be a part of the full time care team. RDs are generally only mandated to be in a facility for about 8 hours a month. This is a major oversight because an RD can make such a big impact on the health and wellness of our older adults living in facilities. Each senior deserves our attention not just the most fragile at risk seniors.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about making a difference not only at the end of life but also for people struggling to be healthy with sound nutrition principles and food that tastes good!

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

RDs are experts in nutrition. We are armed with the knowledge to help people be healthy and manage chronic diseases. We are often undervalued in healthcare and overlooked by the public in favor of ‘nutritionists’ and food bloggers with a sensational testimonial with little science to back up the claims.

What is your favorite meal?

I enjoy fresh vegetables from the garden, fresh fruit in season and pasta in any form. I have a very low sodium meal intake naturally and even as a dietitian, have to work to drink enough water each day.

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

I want to encourage friends and family to learn more about the value of end of life care – hospice and palliative care. Ask that a dietitian be a part of your care team!

More about Kathy:

Twitter: @KathyBirkettRDN
LinkedIn: Kathy Birkett
Pinterest: Kathy Birkett RDN


Thanks Kathy! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What RDs Do: Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

STACI GULBIN
MY LIGHTTRACK RD
for something nutrishus


It would seem that Staci was always meant to be a dietitian and she's a very well educated one at that. She has great, honest responses below and I appreciate her transparency. Many dietitians can relate to being more of a counsellor with their clients and needing to listen whilst trying to help people sort through all the misinformation out there. She's just starting a new position and it sounds like a great fit, so I wish Staci all the best in this new endeavour.

Why did you become a RD?

I always knew I wanted to help people get healthy in some way. In college I was pre-med and attended graduate school for biology at NYU while I applied for medical school. Moving to a big city after attending a small private college was a huge change and was the first time I lived on my own away from home. This experience triggered depression, panic attacks, and a personal experience with disordered eating during this time. I struggled with body image, self-esteem, and was confused about what I wanted to do with my life since I had lost my passion for medicine. After being assigned to write a paper on obesity and diabetes for one of my classes, I soon realized that nutrition may be my true calling. I wrote my thesis on the relationship between insulin resistance and obesity, and soon after was accepted into a graduate program of human nutrition at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. It was through this intensive one-year program that I realized I wanted to become a dietitian. Thereafter, I applied and was accepted into Teacher’s College, Columbia University where I completed my requirements to apply to a dietetic internship and furthered my training in nutritional counseling. I attended my dietetic internship at Iowa State University in an intensive 6-month program.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I have worked in long-term care, rehab, medical weight loss, and fitness centers where I provided one-on-one nutritional counseling, group sessions, and support groups. I also have experience teaching nutrition to nursing students and culinary students at the college level and have previously worked in nutrition research at the USDA before I officially became a dietitian. Through these experiences, I realized my true passion is for weight loss and weight management as well as therapeutic diet counseling for obesity-related conditions. I currently work part-time as a dietitian in a short-term psychiatric facility providing nutrition education to patients and will soon be starting training to provide remote nutritional counseling to patients via a secure web interface. I also work as a health writer and editor for Omnichannel Health Media’s Cdiabetes.com site, and have a website and blog of my own that I hope to spread to a larger audience to share nutrition advice, recipes, and inspire others to get healthy in body and mind.

How would you explain what you do?

Although I primarily provide nutrition education and meal planning, I would say that before any of that can be implemented, I must be able to build rapport with my patients. Over the years, I have learned that more important than what I am going to say, I must be a good listener and allow the patient or client to address their questions or concerns. Without getting to know the patient, I will not be able to understand what their health goals are, what methods they have already tried to get healthy, what their medical background and schedule is like, and how they are currently feeling in regards to trying yet another diet regimen. This information will make a profound difference on not only meal planning and the particular nutrition advice I will provide, but on the proper approach in delivering such information. I think of myself as not only a dietitian, but as a counselor, motivator, and cheerleader to my patients.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Currently, I start my day posting on social media to promote my website. During the day, I work on my blog, email local wellness business owners inquiry letters in regards to my business, contact doctor’s offices and weight loss centers to advertise my remote counseling services, create meal plans requested by patients, and as needed, will travel to my current job to provide coverage to the short-term psychiatric center. I have not started my position there yet, so I am not quite sure what the job will specifically entail, but I am told I will be providing requested consults on diabetes education and Coumadin education as well as teach nutrition classes once a week or as needed.

What has been your career path?

I like to say I have taken the scenic route. Since I started out pre-med, I realized my love for nutrition at an age when many nutrition students were already starting their internships or first dietetics jobs. I do not regret a minute of the time I spent in my graduate school programs or in my vast array of jobs in nutrition research, teaching, personal training, and online health writing. Each experience has provided me with different skills that have helped me to become more creative, patient, and versatile, which are skills that I feel have made me a better dietitian for my clients.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Master of Science in Biology from New York University, a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition, and a Master of Education in Nutrition and Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. I have experience as a personal trainer accredited by the American Council on Exercise, CPR and AED certification from the American Heart Association, and through my time as a long-term care dietitian have experience with therapeutic diets for a variety of chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDs, kidney disease, dementia, food allergies and intolerances, as well as various digestive disorders.

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

In an ideal world, all insurance companies would see nutrition counseling as a preventative measure in health care and dietitian’s visits would therefore be fully covered for all of those patients that wish to improve their eating habits, not just for those who already have chronic conditions that require a therapeutic diet. In addition, I would hope that dietitians would be seen as the nutrition experts that they have trained to be and would not be confused with the plethora of individuals claiming to be nutrition experts who are spouting inaccurate nutrition news on the internet.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

I once had a patients’ spouse ask me if I consulted with a nutritionist to come up with her spouse’s therapeutic diet. I told her that I was a dietitian and therefore am also a nutritionist. She told me that I was wrong and that a nutritionist does blood tests to come up with the most accurate meal plans for patients, and that they are the true nutrition experts. The biggest piece of misinformation I would like to clear up is that all registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

RDs are not just calorie counters and meal planners, but much of our job is working as a health coach and counselor of sorts to inspire and motivate our patients to want to be the best and healthiest that they can be.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

As an RD, I encounter a variety of different challenges depending on what environment I am working in. In long-term care, some family members of the patients were very skeptical of my ability to provide the right diet for their family member since a lot of emotions were involved in this field of work. I was yelled at, corrected, and insulted more times than I cared to be, but every experience made me a stronger person and a more patient and compassionate dietitian. During my work as a weight loss counselor, my biggest challenge was trying to overcome clients’ strongly held beliefs in the nutrition and diet claims they read on the internet or saw on television. There is such a large amount of information in the media with much of it inaccurate or not fully explained to the consumer. I feel like it is one of my jobs to help the patient I am working with to navigate through all of the information they see and hear about so they can make informed decisions about their health.

What do people think that you do for a living?

For the most part, I think that many people, including my family thinks of me as a meal planner. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since I do create meal plans as part of my job, but there is so much more to being a dietitian than that.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

In dietetics, I am passionate about helping my patients’ to realize their healthy lifestyle goals. Many of the patients’ I have worked with have emotional eating issues, history of disordered eating or mental health issues, and/or self-esteem issues that are directly related to their nutrition or weight status. I hope to be able to not only guide my patients’ towards healthy eating habits, but to help them improve their relationship with food and with themselves.

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

RDs are unique from other wellness professionals because they are required to stay up-to-date with the latest nutrition research and findings in order to keep their credentials. Therefore, RDs are best equipped to provide patients with the most current and accurate nutrition advice.

What is your favourite meal?

My favorite meal currently is baked boneless skinless barbeque chicken with cheesy cauliflower rice and my favorite veggie, green beans. I have the recipe for cheesy cauliflower rice as well as more healthy recipes and nutrition tips on my website.

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

If you need help in achieving your health goals, do not be afraid to seek out a dietitian for help. Helping you achieve your health goals is our job. However, we all have different health goals, experiences, and preferences that make us unique. Therefore, be sure to find a dietitian that is going to respect this uniqueness of yours and design a diet and advice that is customized for you so it can be something you can practically apply to your life for the long-term.

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

Getting healthy is a journey, not a destination, so if you fall off the wagon, just get back on your feet, keep trying, and be honest with yourself. I always tell my patients to track their eating when they first start a new health regimen to help keep them accountable. I tell them to be sure to be honest in their tracking since some will try to be “good” on their tracker for my sake to try and impress me. However, if you are not honest with yourself about your unhealthy behaviors, and are not open to trying new things, healthy change will be nearly impossible to achieve.

More about Staci:

Website: My Lighttrack Dietitian
Twitter: @MyLighttrackRD
Pinterest: My Lighttrack RD
Instagram: MyLighttrackRD
Facebook: My Lighttrack RD


Thanks Staci! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What RDs Do: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN

SARAH KOSZYK
FAMILY. FOOD. FIESTA.
for something nutrishus


I know Sarah's face from the cover of Ventures since she's the current Chair, and I think I perhaps first met her on a #NEDPG twitter chat. I too have only ever been an entrepreneurial dietitian and I'm glad we both bravely took the leap! Like other second career dietitians, I'm glad Sarah turned from fashion to food.

Why did you become a RD?

I had a previous career as an owner of a fashion company. I was happy with the money but wasn’t feeling fulfilled within the job and wanted to do something that would help people. I’ve always had a passion for food since I grew up in a household of food scientists. I researched job opportunities and came across dietetics: the perfect combination of food and helping others. I decided to take the plunge and go back to school to become a dietitian. The rest is history.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I do private practice, consulting, and writing.


How would you explain what you do?

Like many other dietitians, I wear multiple hats from consulting with corporations to coaching weight management and sports nutrition clients (both adults and pediatrics) to writing for magazines and other publications including my own books that I author. I’m also currently Chair of Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Keeping up with social media, writing articles, coaching clients, networking, and making connections with sponsors. I also spend a lot of time doing things for Nutrition Entrepreneurs (NE) from writing articles, attending meetings, and assisting with board agendas. Being Chair of NE takes up a lot of time and it is very rewarding.

What has been your career path?

My career path has always been focused with an entrepreneurial drive. I was a previous business owner and planned on owning my own business after completing the dietetic internship. I jumped in feet first and never looked back at any other way. I’ve been very happy doing my own practice and growing throughout the years with new projects and endeavors. I have had many mentors along the way who helped guide me and show me that there are so many opportunities out there in our field.


What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Master’s and I’ve completed the pediatric weight management program. I’m currently in the process of getting LEAP certified.

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

Ideally, dietitians are recognized by the public as THE nutrition professionals. We are involved with all areas of nutrition and we are the go-to experts for the public and by the media. In addition, we are paid according to our worth and value. Right now, so many dietitians are underpaid for what they are doing and that’s a challenge to change what people think is a benefit and value.

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

To your readers, the tip I would give is to always believe in yourself and go for your goals. Be smart about what you want to do. Take time to find your passion and figure out what job opportunities are out there that coincide with your passion. Start to network and meet people in that area because the more people you know, the easier time you will have at getting your foot in the door.

More about Sarah:

Website: Sarah Koszyk
Blog: Family. Food. Fiesta.
Twitter: @SarahKoszykRD
Facebook: Family. Food. Fiesta.
Instagram: SarahKoszyk
YouTube: SarahKoszyk


Thanks Sarah! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What RDs Do: Tiffany Nicholson, RD, MSc

TIFFANY NICHOLSON
LONG TERM CARE, HEALTHY SENIORS AT HOME
for something nutrishus

Tiffany and I first connected over the Dietitians of Canada Brand Initiative. Once I heard her unique background, I thought she would be a great fit for this series. She wears a variety of hats in her numerous roles and travels to northern Canadian communities to support her clients. 

Why did you become a RD?

I have always been interested in nutrition and spent over decade in hospitality management. I decided I wanted more in depth knowledge of nutrition and therefore went back to University in my late 20’s to pursue a BSc in human nutritional sciences. I found I really enjoyed research and in 2013 decided to complete a Master’s in human nutritional sciences as well.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I am lucky that I work in a diverse area of dietetics. People joke that it’s easier for me to say what areas I don’t work in. For many years I specialized in geriatric nutrition and I continue to work in long term care. I also have a private business called “Healthy Seniors at Home” which provides home care dietitian services to the Winnipeg area. I am the dietitian for Churchill Manitoba (MB), where I am primarily community/public health but also cover acute and long term care. I travel to Fisher River and Peguis First Nations in Manitoba on a monthly basis, where I cover a lot of renal and dialysis patients. And finally, I have recently agreed to travel to Nunavut for quarterly site visits to see clients in the Kivalliq region.

How would you explain what you do?

I would say in a nutshell that I take raw evidence and practice based scientific facts related to nutrition and dietetics and translate it into nutritional advice relevant for patients and clients, as well as other members of the health care team.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Well that depends on the week. Typically on a regular day to one of my sites, I would come into the office, check messages, emails. Meet briefly with the dietary department, as well as doctors, nurses and managers. Plan my day by nutritional assessments I need to complete, consults that have been referred to me and any follow ups from previous site visits. If I were in one of my personal care homes, I would observe meal times to look for any concerns with residents. If it was a private practice client day I would look over my client list, research any background information I had and prepare handouts, and info that may be relevant to the client. My days sometimes include education on various topics, audits, interviewing, meetings and care conferences, menu planning and a lot of administrative work.

What has been your career path?

I wanted to specialize in diabetes when I first started out as a dietitian and I still enjoy working in the area. I took a small, part time position in long term care while I was completing my Master's and really enjoyed it. I am also very interested in dysphagia management and I still work with a lot of residents with various chronic diseases. I am a member of the College of Manitoba’s Long term care advisory committee.

My career has taken my all over Manitoba, I love working in Churchill and I have seen firsthand the issues with food cost and availability in Northern communities. In 2013 my partner and I started a small garlic farming business.  In 2015 I was the sole founder and organizer of the Hungry Bear Food Drive, we collected non-perishables and monetary donations in Winnipeg for Churchill MB’s food bank. We have excellent support of local businesses and individuals and managed to raise 1300 lbs of food and over $4000.00. I hope to continue to advocate for food security all across Manitoba and now into Nunavut as well.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

In 2013 I finished my Master’s in Human Nutritional Sciences. I have completed the Dysphagia Management Course through Dietitians of Canada and am currently working towards eligibility to write the Certified Diabetes Educator exam.

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

Five years from now I would like Dietitians to be the number one go-to source for nutritional advice. I am a strong advocate for having the term “Nutritionist” protected across Canada for individuals solely with our degree and training. I would like to see Dietitians integrated in the interdisciplinary health care team. Finally I would like to see more jobs for Dietitians, especially in primary prevention.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

I would love to have the term “Nutritionist, Clinical Nutritionist, Registered Nutritionist” protected by law in Canada for Dietitians only so there is a standard of practice, ethics and accountability when members of the public choose to seek out nutritional advice.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

That we eat chocolate and drink beer just like everyone else.

What is your favourite meal?

Homemade pizza on garlic naan bread with artichoke hearts, goat cheese, caramelized onions and fresh basil.

More about Tiffany:

Facebook: Healthy Seniors at Home


Thanks Tiffany! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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


Monday, July 18, 2016

What RDs Do: Robin Arora-Desilet, RD

ROBIN ARORA-DESILET
RADNUT
for something nutrishus


Having worked in BC and Alberta, Robin recently moved back to BC and as an entrepreneur is of course always looking for new opportunities. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the Dietitians of Canada conference in Winnipeg this year. I agree with Robin that our environment needs to be a focus is we're going to successfully change behaviours and support healthy habits. We're lucky this research-minded dietitian turned her back on microbiology and she's another interviewee that loves breakfast! 

Why did you become a RD?

I was always interested in health and nutrition, what drew me to dietetics was my passion for learning and understanding how we can prevent disease. Genetics does play a role in our health, but it’s what we do, how we live, and our psychological health that can be the “trigger” that prevents, delays, or promotes disease.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I’m the founder of RADNUT, an online company offering support services for those struggling with allergies, weight management, diabetes, digestive and heart health issues. I also create recipes, enjoy food photography, write for Yahoo Canada and other companies, speak at health fairs and conferences, and I love developing specific, interactive, thought-provoking group nutrition workshops.

How would you explain what you do?

Hectic, exciting, challenging, nerve-wracking, messy, creative, and so much fun!

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I’m often busy developing recipes and writing evidence based articles for RADNUT. I also contract services to write or develop recipes for other blogs or online platforms. Recently I moved back to beautiful British Columbia, and am in the process of developing unique RADNUT client services, so stay tuned because exciting things are coming!

What has been your career path?

In my younger years I thought I wanted to be a researcher and completed a degree in microbiology. After I realized that I didn’t want to be a microbiologist and was passionate about preventing disease through nutrition, so I fled to the Dietetics program at UBC.

When I became a dietitian, I first worked with a remarkable team at the BC Cancer Agency to support patients through their cancer treatment. Our team was also involved in exciting ongoing research looking into how nutrition can support cancer patients. I also enjoyed my time as an inpatient dietitian, especially when I covered the surgical wards. I’ll never forget my glossectomy and colectomy patients. To have parts of your body removed and then slowly regain normal function is an amazing progression to be part of!

Recently I worked with the Edmonton Southside Primary care network where I launched in-clinic diabetes and healthy eating workshops and also supported patients in managing heart disease, allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal, weight issues and anything else you could think of! 

Additionally, I’m the founder of RADNUT, and now I’m back in Vancouver, B.C. Life is an exciting whirlwind sometimes!

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a degree in microbiology, which makes a lot of my practice heavily based in research. I’ve also attended allergy training workshops and have been lucky enough to work and train with some of the most highly respected and experienced oncology nutrition, weight management, and outpatient dietitians!

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

No more fad diets, self-love and acceptance, focusing on what benefits our bodies in the long-term. How about magical funding for nutrition research? Tighter restrictions on food advertising, maybe even promoting advertising for healthy food, and creating environments where healthy choices are the easy and normal choice!

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

RDs have been through a rigorous 4-5 year program involving a minimum of 1 year of internship (more about Internship Routes in Canada). We understand how the human body functions and changes over the lifespan. We do not encourage fad diets or unsustainable methods to get where you want to be. We’re realistic, share the evidence-based truth, and will support you on your journey for the long-run.

What is your favourite meal?

Breakfast! Specifically heuvos rancheros! I love beans because that’s all my vegetarian mother fed us, along with home-made salsa, eggs, and cheese...I’m already drooling!

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

If something feels off, wrong, or too difficult and extreme, listen to that feeling. Build a connection with your body to understand what nourishment it needs instead of ignoring it and following an over-restricted diet that makes you 'hangry' and miserable! Work with your healthcare team and family to figure out what is do-able, sustainable, and what makes you healthy and happy for life.

More about Robin:

Website: RADNUT
Twitter: @RADNUT_
Instagram: @radnut_
Facebook: RADNUT



Thanks Robin! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What RDs Do: Sapna Punjabi-Gupta MS, RDN, LD, AP

SAPNA PUNJABI-GUPTA
CULINARY WELLNESS EXPERT, SPEAKER, ENTREPRENEUR
for something nutrishus


Sapna was excited to be part of this series to help show the world the diverse areas of work in our profession. She has a very unique company and I can only imagine the energy along with great smells and flavours that would be present in her workshops. Sapna is humble and passionate as she aims to empower people to nourish and nurture their body, mind and spirit naturally with Western and Ayurvedic methods. 

Why did you become a RD?

I have always been curious about food and what we eat and why. When I enrolled for my undergraduate program in Food and Nutrition while I was still in Mumbai (India), I did not realize what I was getting myself into or what being a Registered Dietitian truly meant. I enrolled in the program because it seemed different and it felt RIGHT. Being an RD felt like solving an interesting puzzle of food science, research, culinary skills, counseling, medicine and putting all these pieces strategically together. I am thankful that I chose this path and followed what felt right.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

After 11 years as a Clinical Dietitian, I took a huge leap of faith in 2012 and decided to start my own company, Naivedhya – which means ‘An Offering’. I work in the area of culinary wellness and empower individuals to a vegetarian lifestyle. I conduct cooking workshops, wellness lectures and have my line of heirloom spice blends and spice products.

How would you explain what you do?

I integrate western nutritional science with ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, holistic medicine from India to make it easy and practical for modern living through wellness talks, cooking workshops, blogs and online video tutorials.


What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I don’t have a typical day at work anymore. I am multitasking many roles on any given day such as:
  • Being active on social media posting about different nutrition and food topics and staying current with news topics, food trends and issues. 
  • Recording video tutorials for my YouTube channel – Naivedhya.by.Sapna
  • Planning and prepping for speaking events, trunk shows to showcase my spice products, and private cooking lessons.
  • Constantly communicating with people, professionals, and organizations for scheduling various events. 
  • Traveling to speak and conduct workshops. 
  • Grinding and preparing my spice products.
  • Cooking and testing new recipes.
  • Volunteering my time and being active at my kids’ school.
  • Volunteering my time in various Dietetic Practice Groups for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 
  • Spreading the message of vegetarianism, wellness and mindful eating every single day in any way I can. 

What has been your career path?

My career began as a Consulting Dietitian with an Endocrinologist in India. I was able to work with patients and was a coordinator for a clinical drug trial. I came to the USA to pursue my graduate studies and became highly motivated to work in the area of neonatal nutrition. I was able to fulfill my goal and worked in a clinical setting and specialized in areas of Women’s health and Neonatal Nutrition practice in a Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Dallas. Apart from seeing patients, I really enjoyed mentoring dietetic interns and trained many RDs all over the country for advanced practice program in our NICU. I also led many nutrition quality control initiatives for the NICU that resulted in publications.

After more than a decade of extremely fulfilling clinical work, I changed directions to work for myself and created new paths and dreams. I am so thankful each day to have gathered the strength for the decision to have my own company – Naivedhya, where I get to spread the message of vegetarianism, culinary wellness and offer creative ways to put nutritional science in the forefront.


What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Masters in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio with special training in Neonatal Nutrition. I worked for 11 years in a hospital as a Clinical Dietitian mostly in the areas of high risk antepartum women and premature infants.

I am also a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. Ayurveda is a holistic medicine from India and is being practiced for more than 5000 years. It is globally recognized and accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization). In the United States, it is recognized by the National Institute of Medicine as a Complementary Medicine.


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

In an ideal world, in 5 years Dietitians will be a part of every medical practice in the USA and health insurance will cover an annual wellness assessment by an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) as part of preventative care. Dietitians will play an important role not only in the clinical settings but also lead in critical global food issues such as sustainable food, food waste, organic farming and more. I would love to see dietetics become a more financially viable career path and Dietitians becoming more assertive with regards to financial negotiations with their employers and demanding competitive compensation like other health experts.


What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

We do more than count calories, read food labels and eat salads all day long.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I believe in the power of food and the impact it has on our body, mind and spirit. The field of dietetics has the ability to make sure it can communicate the power and impact of food in a responsible manner to the world.

What is your favourite meal?

A home cooked meal that is well spiced and seasoned with love.

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


  • Follow your passion and your intuition. 
  • Learn to COOK. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and your family. 
  • Season your food with spices and love. Spices and Love HEALS.
  • Set the right intention while cooking and eating your food. Food not only provides nutrition, it nourishes you. 


More about Sapna:

Website: Naivedhya
Facebook: Naivedhya
Instagram: Naivedhya_by_Sapna
YouTube: Naivedhya.by.Sapna

Thanks Sapna! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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