Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What RDs Do: Angela Birnie MEd, RD, RCC

ANGELA BIRNIE
PRIVATE PRACTICE & 
REGISTERED CLINICAL COUNSELLOR
for something nutrishus


Angela has been following the series and came up as a great candidate for an interview due to her RCC designation, among other things. Private practice has allowed her to combine her specialties to better serve her clients, and the two fields pair so well together. She is definitely caring and compassionate and spends time with upcoming dietitians which is very valuable. Perhaps someday I'll get to attend a dietitian potluck with Angela!

Why did you become a RD?


I’ve wanted to be a RD since I was relatively young. I had the opportunity to see one as a kid, and she pulled food models out of her desk as part of her assessment. I was immediately hooked! I thought that anyone who got to keep plastic “toys” in their desk must have a fun job.

As I got older and started more formal career exploration, the RD role continued to seem like a good fit. It allowed me to blend my desire to help people with my interest in health and wellness.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I focus on helping clients with eating disorders and disordered eating, though I also work with clients with chronic illnesses. Most of my clients know what they “should” be doing to improve their mental and physical health, and come to me because they feel stuck in trying to make those changes.

How would you explain what you do?


I work in private practice full-time, as both a Registered Clinical Counsellor and as a Registered Dietitian. Clients have the option of coming for nutrition counselling, therapy/psychological counselling, or integrating both.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Most of my time is spent in individual appointments with clients. I also spend time liaising with other health care providers about the care of the clients we have in common, preparing for sessions by reviewing client files and the care plan, writing session notes, and reading/researching various things for professional development. And, when I can’t schedule an appointment with a new client because my practice is full at times, I spend time referring them to other providers who can offer them support right away.

I also agree to meet with students on a fairly regular basis, when they have questions about the field or various career paths.

What has been your career path?

I worked as a casual dietitian or in temporary positions in a hospital for a few years. I got a job in an eating disorder clinic as a dietitian and worked there for about 7 years, in various programs.

To develop my counselling experience, I worked as a counsellor in a residential eating disorder program. After finding the shift work difficult and ultimately not wanting to choose between working as a dietitian or a counsellor, I made the move to private practice.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

In addition to my B.A.Sc. in Nutrition, I completed a M.Ed. degree in Counselling Psychology, and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor.

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

I hope that psychology and counselling continues to blend with dietetics. I wasn’t exposed to very much psychology when I completed my dietetics degree. Early in my career, I focused too much on educating clients on what needs changing instead of how to change.

Stigma and fear of judgement from health care providers inhibits lots of clients from accessing health care as much as they need to, or at all. As dietitians and other health care providers are trained more in motivational interviewing, behaviour change strategies, and exploring our own biases and lenses (which we all have, even when we try hard not to), we will be even better at creating an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance and support for our clients. And this will allow us to be even more curious about their barriers, and to be even more creative in facilitating change.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

That we’re here to be the “food police”, and that we only eat “perfectly” (whatever that is.) Dietitians understand and live the balance between wanting good health and wanting a good quality of life (including treats). We want to help clients with that balance too. People can be healthy in all shapes and sizes and with different lifestyles. We don’t treat everyone with the same recommendations.

What would you like people to know about RDs?


That we love food, and host the best potluck events around. The food is beyond amazing. If you’re ever invited to a dietitian potluck, accept immediately! :)

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

Like lots of RDs, I really value professional development – reading, researching, learning from colleagues and attending workshops. Trying to keep up to date in two fields (nutrition & psychology) is definitely a challenge sometimes!

What do people think that you do for a living?


Sometimes people think that I only teach about Canada’s Food Guide. Food, nutrition, and the factors that impact why we eat (or don’t) or exercise (or don’t) are so much more complicated than that.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I’m passionate about helping clients re-learn how to listen to their bodies and identify their own needs. I also love helping people re-connect to the joy of eating, and to learn to be kinder to themselves when things don’t go as they planned or hoped.

What is your favourite meal?


I could never pick just one! Cheese is my favourite – it takes most things from “good” to “amazing”. And during the summer, I love barbecued vegetables drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with a bit of chive-flavoured salt.

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


Self-compassion is crucial to change. Believing that we need to have “more willpower” or be harder on ourselves to meet our goals often sets us up to fail. Self-compassion isn’t about letting ourselves off the hook and rationalizing any behaviour. It’s about accepting that we aren’t perfect, being curious about why we might act in ways that aren’t aligned with our goals, and creating a kind and realistic plan to move in the direction of living the way we want to live. When my clients incorporate true self-compassion, they are better at making the changes they want to make.

And, if you’ve been “stuck” for a long time, consider incorporating some counselling into your life. You might benefit from just a few sessions to work through some stress, or may need longer-term support to work through some tough things that have happened. Often, if we’re trying something over and over and not getting to where we want to be, there’s a good and complicated reason for it.

More about Angela:


Website: www.angelabirnie.com



Thanks Angela! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What RDs Do: Michelle Jaelin, BFA, BASc, RD

MICHELLE JAELIN
MEDIA DIETITIAN, ARTIST 
& CREATIVE NUTRITION COMMUNICATOR
for something nutrishus


Michelle's use of artist in her title has always intrigued me and now I know the back story. I remember professors teaching us that nutrition is both a science and an art, which makes sense as we often have to translate research into practical advice, although Michelle is an artist in the true sense of the word. Her creative background contributes to her non-traditional approach to dietetics. She is kind and special and I appreciate her thoughts about our profession - where it's headed and where we should direct it. 

Why did you become a RD?

My path into dietetics was definitely an unconventional one. I was a Visual Arts student at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design in Toronto.

I discovered yoga and fitness to help manage the stress of university in my second year and wanted to learn more about health and nutrition. However, I was a grade A art nerd. I had no understanding of physiology, science or math at the university level whatsoever.

I found Health Education and Promotion and decided to apply for the Nutrition Team Lead position. I applied, thinking that the worse that can happen is I wouldn’t get the job!

I was lucky and got the job. And during that year, I decided to create a photo exhibition about “What Students Eat” inspired by photojournalists Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio who created Hungry Planet: What the World Eats – featured in Time Magazine. It was a successful event, generating dialogue about food, nutrition and health behaviours of students across campus.

Figure 1 Michelle's first nutrition & art project: "What Students Eat" in 2008
After that, I knew I wanted to help people with food and eating through art. I interviewed a few practicing dietitians, went back to school to get some science credits and enrolled at Ryerson University to become a RD!

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Media (writing, speaking, TV) and private practice.

How would you explain what you do?

I communicate nutrition information in a fun and creative way, and help clients reach their health goals.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

As an entrepreneur, every day is different. There is often a lot of writing, emails, planning, time spent in my studio (food styling) and making stuff (food/recipes and displays). I also aim to visit locations across Ontario to better understand where our food comes from.

I hold another position as an Art & Cooking Instructor at a private art school. I teach children to be creative and exercise the right sides of their brains. I also teach cooking and basic food skills. Everyone is creative, but the skill needs to be nurtured.

What has been your career path?

In 2013, I auditioned and was chosen as a TEDx Speaker at TEDxRyersonU. My talk was about using art to help people understand their health and science better.

Figure 2 Michelle at TEDxRyersonU in 2013.
As a creative person, I never fit into the traditional roles of a dietitian. I started my own communications business because it catered to my strengths. I won the OHEA Media Release Competition 2 years in a row as a nutrition student and I have always loved communication, whether it be through written, verbal or visual art. I also have my own private practice.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I hold a 4-year BFA Honours in Visual Arts Studio, and a certificate in Food Security from Ryerson University on top of my BASc Nutrition & Food degree from Ryerson and dietetic internship at Aramark Canada.

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

I would like to see more diversity in the field; men and women of different ethnicities, sizes, abilities, religions, sexual orientations and classes. Past Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Dr. Evelyn Crayton published a paper about the lack of diversity in dietetics in the 2015 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and also presented this evidence at the 4th International Critical Dietetics Conference in Chicago. I would like to see a more inclusive and diverse profession.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

Dietitians are human. We are not perfect, nor are we perfect eaters – there is no such thing. We are flawed, just like everyone else. We have good and bad days, and everything in between.

We are here to help with your own goals; not judge based on your food choices.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Dietitians wear many different “hats” and work in all kinds of areas; therefore, a statement like “dietitians count calories” is not very accurate.

But if I could sum us up in one word, I would say collectively, we all care about nourishment.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

When others judge me based on my food choices. Hey, I’m human too!

What do people think that you do for a living?

Help people lose weight and make meal plans.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about making a difference and finding non-traditional and creative ways to advance the profession.

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

Dietitians are smart. Seriously. I’ve never met a group of nutrition professionals as intelligent as registered dietitians! Our knowledge of nutrition is vast, we stay on top of literature and constantly undergo vigorous training by our respective regulatory bodies to maintain our credentials. I do not know any other nutrition/wellness professionals as smart as RDs!

What is your favourite meal?

Pizza, egg tarts, pretzels with mustard and chocolate cake. Not all together.

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

I share one of my favourite quotes by singer Jill Scott that resonated with me:

“We all have our own thing — that’s the magic – and everybody comes with their own sense of strength, and their own queendom. Mine could never compare to hers, and hers could never compare to mine.”

On a personal note, the only times I ever felt insecure or competitive was when I forgot what had made me special. And when I remembered what that was, that feeling went away.

Each and every single one of us is unique, even if collectively we are dietitians. When you find what makes you wonderful, you begin to see what’s wonderful in all other dietitians.

In the words of Jill Scott: find your own queendom.

It’s up to you to figure out what that is, and share your gift with the world.

More about Michelle:

Website: www.nutritionartist.com
Twitter: @NutritionArtist
Instagram: @NutritionArtist
YouTube: Michelle Jaelin
Facebook: NutritionArtistRD



Thanks Michelle! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What RDs Do: Mark McGill, RD, CSG (soon)

MARK MCGILL 
LONG TERM CARE & HOME CARE
for something nutrishus


Mark was recommended as a great male to include in the series, and as you'll see below, there are many reasons for that! You'll find Mark active on twitter as he enjoys helping people sort through the quackery and sees the need for dietitians to be in on social media conversations. He is also going to add a new and unique credential to his name soon.

Why did you become a RD?

I developed a passion for nutrition after stumbling upon it, really. I was studying Environmental Science at the University of Waterloo and I took a health elective that nicely fit my schedule. There was a nutrition component and soon, I found myself studying more about nutrition than my major. That Fall, I was enrolled in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University in Toronto.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I currently work in long term care (geriatrics) and home care.

How would you explain what you do?

I help people be at their best through food and a healthy lifestyle.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Meeting with residents and their families at the long term care homes and going into clients’ homes for my home care job. Developing and implementing care plans based on individual needs. Meeting with other health care professionals with the common goal of improving the health of those we care for.

What has been your career path?


After completing my internship at the Ottawa Hospital in 2008, I worked in long term care and home care. I’ve come full-circle with positions in hospitals, family health teams and private clinics along the way.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I am going to be Board Certified in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (*I wrote it but failed and will take the exam again. It's a tough exam. It was a good experience and I get another shot at it, so I’m not broken up about it.)

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

Less influence, lobbying by the food industry e.g. at conferences.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?


Men can be RDs too! (I have had contracts where I am referred to as “she”; “her”)

What would you like people to know about RDs?


We are not judging what you have for lunch last Tuesday at work in the staff room.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?


People often feel the need to explain themselves if they are eating something unhealthy in front of me. I try and reassure them that a healthy diet includes all foods, even unhealthy ones!

What do people think that you do for a living?

People often assume I am a chef because of my nutrition expertise. Nope.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

The use of social media to brand ourselves as the trusted nutrition experts.

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


We have standards that we adhere to/are regulated by a professional college.

What is your favourite meal?


Ham, scalloped potatoes and corn is one of my favourites. Bacon, eggs and toast is also wonderful on a Sunday morning. I could go on…I love a lot of different foods/meal combinations.

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

Keep an open mind in terms of what area of dietetics you may end up working in. Gerontology was not an area I thought I would be in back in university and during my internship.

More about Mark:

Twitter: @markjmcgill
Instagram (just started with this): @markmcgillrd




Thanks Mark! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What RDs Do: Nathan Diaz, MS, RD, LDN

NATHAN DIAZ
NUTRITION FOR PERFORMANCE
& LONG TERM CARE
for something nutrishus



Nathan came across the series on Instagram and of course, we're happy to share another male interview! He's a new dietitian, but as you'll see, he's very passionate and we wish him success in putting more smiles on people's faces. RDs have their work cut out for them when it comes to misinformation, but I do continue to wonder why everyone thinks we're judging them?!

Why did you become a RD?

I became an RD to showcase the power of food. After many years of sifting through the plethora of false information out there on the topic of nutrition, I decided to take on this challenge as a profession and deliver the real facts backed by the latest scientific research that can help people become better versions of themselves. I incorporated cooking into my overall nutrition philosophy because I truly believe cooking is a powerful skill set that has been lost and can really help people adopt a healthier lifestyle. I also believe cooking brings people together and coupled with my knowledge in nutrition, I hope I can bring people closer together.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I am all over the place when it comes to the areas of dietetics that I am involved in. On one side of the spectrum, I work in the private practice sector where I deal primarily with younger adults as well as athletes of various ages. When I am not meeting with clients privately, I work as the sole dietitian for a long term care facility dealing primarily with the geriatric population. When I am not in the nursing home or in my office counseling clients, I am cooking and developing recipes to showcase for potential personal chef clients. 

How would you explain what you do?

Whether I am counseling a client, meeting with a resident at the long-term care facility, or in the kitchen cooking for people, what I do is very simple. I put smiles on people’s faces through food. When I am counseling a client and they meet their food and nutrition related goals, their smile lights up the room. When I sit with an elderly resident and personalize a menu that meets all their dietary needs and tastes delicious, their smile lights up the room. When I cook for a group of people or an individual person, and the food is nutritious and tastes delicious, their smile lights up the room. Making people smile is what I strive for.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Let me start by saying every day and every week brings different challenges and task. This is what I love about the dietetics profession. Twice a week, I work at the long-term care facility. There I am seeing new residents, following up with residents, doing quarterly and annual evaluations, or just popping in and saying hi to the residents during breakfast and lunch. I also sit with the interdisciplinary team and talk about high risk residents and or those that have had significant changes. After doing my MNT (Medical Nutrition Therapy) duties, I meet with the food service director and go over anything on the food service side. This includes, updating resident’s preferences, tray testing, or simply brainstorming ways to be more efficient.

Typically, my weeks start with following up with all my clients. This is done via phone, email, text, or in person. Throughout the week, I strategize with my marketing team and see new clients. Recently, I partnered with a couple of colleagues and created our first seasonal cookbook. This required hours of picture taking, editing, and actually putting the cookbook together. I work on different side projects in order to add value to the people out there that follow me on social media or are frequent visitors of my website.

What has been your career path?

I became an RD in February 2017, so my path has just begun. When I started looking for job, there were not many full-time positions available. I knew I needed to start somewhere so I started as an independent contractor with a physical therapy and fitness center. This structure was new to me because for the first time, I was my own boss. Moving to a new city (Boston), I had to start from scratch, start new relationships, build up my reputation, etc. At the beginning, I had extra time, so I decided to apply to a new long term care facility that needed a dietitian. This would allow me to maintain my MNT skills as well as give back to a population that is dear to my heart. Currently, I am still working at both place. 

What advanced education or special training do you have?

This year, I received my ISAK certification for anthropometry. As a certified anthropometrist, I accurately measure and analyze body composition data for my clients. This has been very successful with motivating my clients by giving them objective data to trend.

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

The field of dietetics is growing exponentially. Areas like sports nutrition have been growing by the day. People are realizing the importance of nutrition and how it plays into one’s overall health and performance. In 5 years, you will see dietitians everywhere and we will be known exclusively as the nutrition experts across the entire healthcare field. People will recognize what a registered dietitian is, and the capabilities we have to help them reach their health related goals.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

WE ARE NOT THE FOOD POLICE. We do not sit there and judge and penalize you for what you eat. Many times, I find clients come into a consult and list all the “healthy” foods they have eaten over the past 24 hours but fail to mention the “unhealthier” options. We are here to help you and in order for us to do so we need the whole truth. Do not hold back. We will not judge you. I promise.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

We are truly passionate about nutrition and own the title of being nutrition experts. We have the knowledge and skill set to help you achieve any nutrition related health goal. We also wear many different hats. For example, I wear the counselor hat, food service manager hat, accountant hat, chef hat, leader hat, motivator hat. Our fields of practice require us to juggle many different jobs.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

Getting people off the “quick fix” mentality and accepting the fact that behavior change takes time and to embrace the process.

What do people think that you do for a living?

Many people think I just design meal plans and send people on their way. As many dietitians out there know, it is much more than that.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

My main passion is helping someone who is truly struggling reach their optimal potential, physically and mentally. Physical health along with the mental health aspect of behavior change is what I am most passionate about. It does my clients no good if they are fit and healthy but their mental state is shattered. I feel this is what leads people back to their old habits. I strive to achieve both types of health with my clients.

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

We went through some rigorous years as students and interns, mastering our craft as nutrition experts. We have a toolbox filled with effective behavior change assessments and tactics that many other wellness professionals may not have. We have the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) as our gold standard of practice. AND has a plethora of resources that many other wellness professionals do not have access to.

What is your favourite meal?

This goes back to my roots. In the Latin culture, roasting a whole pig with your grandfather is something that is done year round, if not multiple times per year. It is a tradition that gets passed down generations. So, I would have to say my grandfather’s slow cooked pork with a side of ‘arroz con gandules’ (rice and beans). The Latin flavors get me every time.

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

People say finding balance and moderation is key. That is definitely easier said than done. When you are changing your dietary habits, you have to remember, you are trying to change lifelong habits. That is not easy to do! Utilize a dietitian to help you obtain that happy balance and remember, happiness is a full body feeling, both physically and mentally. Do not get discouraged when you fail on your journey to a better and healthier you. Embrace the failures, learn from them, and get back on your feet. It is only a failure if it is repeated over and over.

More about Nathan:

Instagram: @nate_thechefboyrd & @nutrition4performance



Thanks Nathan! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What RDs Do: Patricia Chuey, MSc., RD, FDC

PATRICIA CHUEY
FOOD & NUTRITION MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS
for something nutrishus


Patricia, aka "The People's Dietitian", seemed like a perfect fit for the 100th interview in the series. She was named the 2017 Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award recipient by Dietitians of Canada and is a well-known Canadian (and originally Saskatchewan) dietitian and mentor. She has had numerous roles and envisions many career opportunities for the future of dietetics. Patricia offers great advice below, including one of my favourite quotes and terms like happy, healthy and being your best self.

Why did you become a RD? 

I thought I might become a doctor or Home Ec teacher. Being a dietitian is the perfect combination of both.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

These days mainly in food and nutrition media communications. This involves TV appearances, writing, speaking, blogging, teaching cooking classes, recipe development, food product creation and consulting to the food industry. I’m also very involved as a mentor to both new and established dietitians in business. I’ve spent many years in private practice as a nutrition counselor. I also spent a decade working in sports nutrition with athletes and coaches from little league to professional and 9 years in the marketing department as a supermarket dietitian – a rapidly growing area of the profession and one with so much untapped potential.

How would you explain what you do? 

In a nut shell, I help create peace of mind for consumers on the subject of food in their lives. What should be a basic and fairly easy task of eating to fuel our busy lives get unnecessarily confusing in the endless sea of food and nutrition information we all sail on. My work is focused on equipping people with accurate and practical knowledge and skills to stay well nourished, enjoy what they're eating and live a healthy, happy life without constant focus on food.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

Like many of our dietitian colleagues, for the past 25+ years, I have enjoyed that there’s such a wide variety in my work and no two days are exactly alike. That said, examples of tasks you’ll find me working on are:
  • Preparing content and planning the set display for my next TV appearance
  • Working in my home kitchen creating and testing recipes I’m developing for corporate clients
  • Taking food photos for use in supporting my brand on social media
  • Speaking on the phone in a mentoring session with a colleague
  • Writing practical food and nutrition articles for a national corporate wellness newsletter I’ve written for since 1995
  • Speaking to a group of women, kids or local athletes about healthy eating
  • Preparing for a keynote address at a professional conference and then travelling to these events
  • Assigning and reviewing projects for a nutrition intern to work on 
  • Attending Board or Committee meetings for various projects
  • Traveling to attend various food and farm tours
  • Responding to magazine, print or radio interview requests
  • Dreaming and brainstorming about my next business venture – this is ongoing and constant.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

In addition to my BSc(Nutr) and RD designation, I’ve completed a Master of Science degree with a focus on adult education and sport nutrition. I’ve participated in many media and marketing related courses over the years. I’m also a trained cooking program facilitator.

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

A few random thoughts:
  • The public is clearly aware that for safe, practical and accurate food and nutrition information, they talk to a registered dietitian not just anyone attractive with an interest in the subject
  • There is more legal crackdown on food and nutrition information, programs and products that are not fact-based and can endanger the public
  • Grocery stores are smaller yet the square footage filled with fresh fruits and vegetables (and ideas for how to use them) is bigger 
  • Dietitians are employed in every single place that promotes, sells or serves food
  • Dietitians revolutionize meals for seniors and are employed in all facilities where seniors reside, whether the healthy elderly or those in care homes
  • Any TV or media program sharing nutrition information has a dietitian on the team
  • When the public sees that a dietitian is associated with the program or service, they get excited because they know the food will be amazingly delicious and good for them.
  • There is no sponsor funding accepted from any food company that makes unhealthy food or beverages. 

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

  • That we have sold our soul to industry 
  • That we count calories and want to put everyone on a bland, flavor-less diet
  • That we all follow a strict meal plan and rarely enjoy treats
  • That the food guide drives our entire professional life 

What would you like people to know about RDs?

  • That we love delicious, healthy food and are experts in helping people get more flavour in their lives while meeting their needs, feeling great and achieving optimal health.
  • That we know about every aspect of food and the multiple social, emotional and economical factors affecting eating. We’re trained and highly experienced in customizing advice recognizing that no two people have the exact same needs.
  • That Canada’s Food Guide is a very basic, general population educational guideline only. It is not intended to be the answer to every specific individual need.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?


Not many. I’m a believer in being aware of your competition and then doing the kind of work that makes them worry about YOU rather than you spending time and energy worrying about them.

What do people think that you do for a living?


Those who know me best think I have fun sharing delicious, creative, practical food ideas to boost their enjoyment in life while staying healthy. They’re correct.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

Constantly reminding consumers how delicious and easy healthy eating actually is. I’m also VERY passionate about the future of our profession and supporting up and coming dietitians as a mentor.

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

Once you get to know an RD, you realize that EVERYTHING makes us different. Most of all, that we have the skill set, and one that is fact-based, to uniquely assess any eating situation and make very customized, delicious, do-able recommendations for improvements. We would NEVER EVER send a client out the door telling them to “eat no wheat, no dairy or sugar” without working with them on how to actually go about doing that safely, nutritiously and practically. 

What is your favourite meal?


Lots of local, in-season vegetables and fresh fish on the grill with pavlova for dessert.

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

  • An 80-20 approach to healthy eating works best. We don’t just eat for physical nourishment, so be sure to leave room for all types of nourishment
  • Without a positive sense of self-worth, continuing to work solely on healthy eating will not resolve the issues 
  • If we all exercised more, we could ease up a little on this over-focus on food choices
  • Be grateful for the amazing access to a fresh, healthy food supply we have in this country
  • Support local growers and providers of food to help keep our food supply sustainable
  • There are many entry points on the continuum of healthy eating. Listen super carefully to your clients and help them make improvements at the level they’re at and able to achieve
  • Avoid teaching people to do diet math and count calories. Teach them to appreciate wholesome food, stay active and get them excited about cooking more at home.

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

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Be your best self, not a version of you that is trying to compete or compare to someone else. Encourage your clients to do this too. Everyone has important gifts to share with the world. Get out there and share them!

More about Patricia:

Website: Patricia Chuey
Instagram: @PatriciaChuey
Facebook: Patricia Chuey
Twitter: @PatriciaChuey
Email: patriciachuey@shaw.ca



Thanks Patricia! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What RDs Do: Sulana Perelman RD, MHSc, Certified Master Coach in NLP, TLT, CHt

SULANA PERELMAN
PRIVATE PRACTICE & HOMECARE
for something nutrishus


Sulana is another dietitian with unique credentials, which is how she came to be part of the series (see her advanced education or special training response below). She is an award winning author and aims to help women free themselves from dieting and see themselves positively. I'm sure her unique background leads to interesting coaching sessions as well.

Why did you become a RD? 

Nutrition has always been a topic of interest in my family. I loved science, food and people and felt this profession would be a great fit for me. I also hoped to solve my own issues with yo-yo dieting.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

Private practice and a part-time job in Homecare dietetics. 

In my private practice I work exclusively with women who have identified as wanting to lose weight, to help them heal their relationship with food. We work together on their unconscious limiting beliefs, patterns, thoughts and strategies to help them get to a place of success.

With Homecare I visit senior clients in their homes who require support in the community. The health issues can include tube feeding management, cancer, diabetes, unintentional weight loss, dysphagia. 

How would you explain what you do?

In a nutshell, I help women get off the dieting rollercoaster and help them add joy and pleasure to their lives.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Visiting Homecare clients in the home; preparing for and running one-one sessions or group sessions with private practice clients.

What has been your career path?

I’ve worked at a Community Health Centre, Home Care, in Research, and have been in private practice for 3 years. I have written and published a book “It’s Not About The Cheesecake” which came out January 2017.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

That is a loaded question! After my dietetic internship I got my MHSc in Community Nutrition. After a while, I felt that there was something missing, which sent me on a path to becoming a Master Coach in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line Therapy (TLT) and a Trainer in Hypnosis (CHt). Recently I have also become a BARE Certified Coach, facilitating a program to help women stop dieting and love their bodies.

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

In an ideal world, Dietitians are the sought after experts in nutrition and extended health benefits include RD services.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

When at a party, I am not looking at what you are eating, and yes, I may eat the cake.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

We don’t “only” prescribe diets and meal plans and follow the food guide. Dietitians are the best source for scientific-based and current information on nutrition related matters.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

Potential clients wanting that magic bullet (i.e. perfect diet) to help them achieve what is at times an unrealistic weight loss.

What do people think that you do for a living? 

Prescribe diets for weight loss.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

Helping my clients suspend negative judgment about themselves and their bodies.

What is your favourite meal?

Any meal that is surrounded by good company. Recently I’ve been loving truffle fries!

More about Sulana:

Website: Sulana Perelman
Instagram: @sulanaperelman



Thanks Sulana! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What RDs Do: Susanne Suchar RD, LD/N, CNSC

SUSANNE SUCHAR
CLINICAL, COUNSELLING & LONG TERM CARE
for something nutrishus


Susanne responded to my Facebook inquiry about dietitian credentials, since she has some unique letters behind her name. She has a very interesting career path, having worked in numerous settings, in numerous countries. Working as part of a team and collaborating comes through as a consistent theme and something that is important with regards to the unique knowledge and skills dietitians have to offer.

Why did you become a RD?

While weighing my options for an interesting major, having made some changes, I took a class in introductory nutrition. I loved the practical information, so useful in my daily life, as well as the inspirational teacher, who convinced me of the many opportunities the career offered.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I currently do not work, as my family relocated to Panama, where the profession can be practiced only by citizens of the country. I have spent the last several months on numerous online dietetics-related courses to reactivate my Florida dietitian license, and practicing my Spanish. I am also contemplating my future endeavours, which are likely to include certification as a specialist in gerontological nutrition (CSG) in 2018.

How would you explain what you do?

When I practice dietetics, I always strive to provide the best nutritional care possible for my clients and patients, whatever that implies for the person. You can say I assess the client’s nutritional needs and do my best to address them within the available parameters.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Depends on the setting.

What has been your career path?

Right after graduation I worked at an acute care teaching facility in Miami, Florida, where I was exposed to acute care, rehabilitation, psychiatric care, and my favorite, intensive care. I took CNSD (Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian) certification to be able to work with the Nutrition Support Team, which consisted of the RD, a pharmacist, and a physician, writing most the of TPNs (Total Parenteral Nutrition) in the facility. I preferred working with this team, as it was evident that the team approach improved the nutritional status of the patients, and the RD was a respected part of the team.

After 4 years I transferred to a different acute care hospital, where I continued my intensive care and acute care path, in addition to outpatient care in the Cancer Center and the Diabetes Center. I obtained CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) qualifications and enjoyed witnessing the effect that my work had on the quality of life of my clients.

As my family relocated to Israel, I had the opportunity to work at a facility specializing in Complex Continuing Care, including ventilation units for adults and children and inpatient dialysis, in addition to rehabilitation for all ages. It was a great experience to practice in a very different type of setting and in an environment where the RD was highly respected; no nutrition related changes could be made without the say of the dietitian.

After some time, I also found my way to Home Health Care, visiting homebound clients and working on improving their nutritional status. It seemed that I was often the only health care worker visiting, and I felt that I addressed more than just nutritional needs. It was extremely fulfilling to see the impact my advice had on the quality of life of my clients and their caregivers, even though it was difficult to see the end of life cases that could not be saved with nutritional care.

After another relocation, this time to Toronto, Ontario, it took me some efforts of networking and volunteering before I was lucky to start Nutrition Counselling over the phone for an EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program). While I was frustrated by cancellations and no-shows, I enjoyed those clients that really wanted my advice and saw positive changes in their health. One of my volunteer stints developed into casual employment at a combined Long-Term Care and Complex Continuing Care facility, where I enjoyed working with a diverse and experienced RD staff. At the same time, I did some work at a hospital-affiliated Rehabilitation Center, which I found through a nursing agency.

My most recent job was as a contract dietitian at a Long-Term Care home in downtown Toronto, overseeing nutritional care 3 days a week. Funnily enough, having always consciously avoided this health care setting, I found it remarkably rewarding, being part of the daily lives and seeing the direct impact of my work on my residents.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I am certified as a Nutrition Support Dietitian/Clinician (CNSD/CNSC) since 2004, a specialty I have kept current over the years. I certified as a Diabetes Educator (CDE) in 2008, but was unable to keep it up as I left the country and could not obtain the hours needed to re-certify. I also took the ADA (now AND) Adult Weight Management Certification in 2007.

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

I would love to see the RD being accepted and respected as the expert on nutrition, and that being reflected on salaries and job opportunities. In clinical dietetics, having Nutrition Managers that champion their RDs is a must in this respect, and not often seen in my experience.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

Having a positive impact in the lives of my clients/patients and their families/caregivers. I have been lucky to find this in several settings over the years, and I look forward to finding my way back there in the future.

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

Regardless of the setting there is always a need to collaborate with other disciplines, including SLPs (Speech-language pathologists), doctors, nurses, OTs (Occupational Therapists), PTs (Physical Therapists), social workers, family members, and more. It took me a while to realize the marked improvement in the care given when everyone is on the same page.

Being on the same page also means that the client/patient must agree with the plan of care for it to be successful. I can recommend changes up and down the walls, but often see myself having to compromise for the sake of client buy-in and cooperation, and ultimately, success.

More about Susanne:

LinkedIn: Susanne Suchar



Thanks Susanne! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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