Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What RDs Do: Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

for something nutrishus

I am pleased to share another very passionate dietitian with you. I don't know how Amy finds hours in her days as she is a busy writer, communication consultant, media expert, recipe developer, and one-on-one counsellor. Amy has a unique media, journalism, and magazine background that definitely shapes her current work. She went back to school to get her credentials and I'm happy she joined our profession! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has information for Career Changers and Today's Dietitian has a feature on Second-Career Dietitians like Amy. 

Why did you become a RD? 

My first job was as an assistant in the nutrition department of Prevention magazine. One day, I spent over an hour on the phone with an expert who explained to me, in a very scientific way, the differences between the omega-3s DHA and EPA and how they help the body. I loved the conversation, and I wanted to understand this type of science in a matter of minutes—so I started thinking about going back to school to become a dietitian. Also, I was an overweight child and struggled with my weight into adulthood. Helping others manage their weight is something I feel very passionate about, and that was a huge driver, too.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I do a little bit of everything. My private practice focuses in weight management, vegetarian and vegan eating, and general wellness. A lot of my time goes toward writing nutrition- and health-focused articles for magazines and web sites. I develop recipes for some of these publications, as well as for corporations. Additionally, I consult with food companies and corporations to create effective media messaging.

How would you explain what you do? 

In my nutrition communications work, I help get researched, accurate nutrition information out into the world. In my private practice work, I help clients meet their nutrition and health goals, helping them to feel like the best possible version of themselves.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

It really varies! I spend a few days a week reading studies, interviewing experts for stories, and writing articles. I write a weekly post for my WeightWatchers.com blog, “The Eat List,” as well as articles for publications such as ReadersDigest.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Sonima.com, Yoga Journal, and Runner’s World. I also write social media posts to get the word out about these articles and other nutrition-focused news. If I’m working on recipe projects, I’ll spend hours in the kitchen and try to time my recipe testing around meals. I have a mini photo studio that I use to take photos of these recipes, and then I determine the nutrient breakdown of the recipes with nutrition software. 

I counsel a couple of clients a week, and this is done either in-person or through virtual sessions. So I’ll spend time preparing information and meal ideas for those clients. As well, I attend one or two media events each week, which provide story ideas and allow me to network. And I might have a couple of meetings a week with editors or potential clients, in addition to a few media interviews.

What has been your career path? 

I started off as a nutrition and health magazine editor. My first job was at Prevention magazine, as an editorial assistant. I then moved to American Baby (now Fit Pregnancy and Baby) as the assistant health and nutrition editor, then to Parents as the associate health and nutrition editor. My last two publishing jobs were as senior diet editor at Health and senior editor at Weight Watchers and WeightWatchers.com. When I was at American Baby, I began a part-time program at New York University to take the classes required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN - equivalent to the Canadian RD credential). I continued doing so for six years, then left my Weight Watchers job to complete my dietetic internship full-time. Now, I’m an RDN and freelance writer.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I have a master’s of science in journalism from Northwestern University, with a focus in magazine publishing.

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

There’s a lot of great information in the world of nutrition communications—but also a lot of miscommunication from non-experts. I love that more and more publishing outlets are looking to work with RDNs, and I wish for that trend to continue.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

RDNs can be nutritionists, but nutritionists cannot be RDNs. The education and training to become a RDN is large. To become a RDN, you must take a significant amount of coursework from an accredited program, with classes focusing in nutritional science, human physiology, chemistry, and more. Then you must be accepted to a very competitive supervised internship program, then complete a minimum of 1,200 hours in that internship. Next comes passing a comprehensive test and then completing continuing education credits for the entirety of your career. On the other hand, the term “nutritionist” is not regulated.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Like doctors, many dietitians have specialties. Some dietitians, like me, specialize in weight management. Others focus in prenatal nutrition, kids’ health, renal nutrition, oncology nutrition, or other areas. There are many options!

What do people think that you do for a living? 

They probably think I tell people what to eat. In reality, this is a small part of what I do, and I never mandate that someone must eat something. I like to navigate toward an ideal but also work in line with a client’s food preferences and habits.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I love learning about weight management and vegetarian eating, as these are my big areas of interest. I also love to read all the new studies and see where the research is headed. I really, really love nerding out with my research, such as in the in-depth articles I write for Sonima.com.

What is your favourite meal? 

I like to think that I single-handedly support the Greek yogurt market! I eat it almost every day. So my favorite meal is breakfast: 2 percent fat plain Greek yogurt with fruit (I switch it up between blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and more), nuts or nut butter (like almond butter, peanut butter, almonds, or pistachios), whole-grain cereal, and a dash of cinnamon.

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

Your perfect job does exist. You just might have to create it yourself!

More about Amy:

Twitter: @AmyGorin
Instagram: @amydgorin
Pinterest: Amy Gorin

Thanks Amy! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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