Monday, June 27, 2016

What RDs Do: Vincci Tsui, RD

for something nutrishus

I follow Vincci's social media and have even referred people to her, although we've never met face-to-face, so I was excited to learn more about her. She has a great philosophy with a focus on supporting the unique concerns/needs of individuals instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Like Vincci, I have also been called a nutritionalist and I enjoy when my hubby cooks for me too. She's coming up on 4 years in private practice and I'm sure will have lots of success ahead of her!

Why did you become a RD?

As a kid, I was always good at, and enjoyed, science and math, and coming from a Chinese family, there was some pressure to become a doctor, but I didn’t think I could handle the stress that would come with that profession! We had a family friend who was a dietitian, and I was always fascinated by how the food we ate broke down in the various nutrients that our bodies need to function. Additionally, everybody eats. I wanted to be in a profession that everyone could relate to, as opposed to seeing people’s eyes glaze over when you talk about your work.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Currently I have a private practice where I specialize in working with people who crave more than standard, mainstream diet advice. Often my clients come in with multi-layered concerns, for example, they might want to lose weight, but they’re limited by their food sensitivities or cooking meals that their entire family will like; or they want to learn how to fuel properly for a marathon, but they are vegetarian.

How would you explain what you do?

I help people discover a way of eating that meets their unique health and lifestyle needs.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

Typically, I meet one-on-one with clients and create content for my weekly newsletter and social media posts. I also teach nutrition and cooking classes, write articles for magazines and websites, and occasionally am interviewed for magazines, TV or radio.

What has been your career path?

I’ve been a dietitian for almost seven years, and have worked in a variety of settings (mainly because I often take on more than one job at once!) I’ve worked in a personal training studio, private medical clinic, hospital, and bariatric specialty clinic. I started my private practice in July 2012.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a minor in Entrepreneurship, and I’m a certified Craving Change Facilitator. Otherwise, I’m always doing courses, webinars and workshops, but don’t really have any certifications to show for it! Ha! Most of the education is nutrition-focused, but I’ve also been doing more training in business development and marketing.

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

This change would probably take much longer than 5 years, but my hope is that dietitians become the go-tos when it comes to nutrition expertise.

Things that might be achievable in 5 years: 1) All extended healthcare plans provide coverage for dietitians, so that people have better access. 2) Everyone knows the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist. 3) People realize that nutritionalist is not a word.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

Ugh. SO MUCH MISINFORMATION: That dietitians just put people on diets. That dietitians only follow Canada’s Food Guide. That dietitians are the food police. That dietitians only eat “healthy food”, or boring, bland food. That dietitians are behind the times. That dietitians don’t know how to cook. This could be a whole interview in and of itself.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Despite the name of our profession, we’re not out to put people on diets, or make everyone (or anyone, actually) follow Canada’s Food Guide. We’re here to help people achieve better health and wellness through food, based on current research. Also, if we’re eating together, you don’t need to hide your food from us – we’re not paying attention! Often, we’re more worried about what you think of what we’re eating.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

Misinformation, whether it’s about our profession, or about food and nutrition in general. Sometimes I feel like I have to put out the fires before I can get to the fun stuff!

Also, food is so much more than fuel. It’s comfort. It’s celebration. It’s cultural identity. It’s habit. So there’s a lot to consider when it comes to eating well, way, way, way beyond calories, nutrients and “what’s good for you.” I think this is a fun challenge though.

What do people think that you do for a living?

Post photos of my meals on Instagram (hahaha).

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

Eating well should be straightforward, doable and enjoyable, and I believe that everyone deserves to discover the food choices and eating habits that checks those three boxes for them. The “perfect diet” is one that you can keep “following” for life, and I love it when I see people have those “aha” moments where they realize that healthy eating isn’t about rules and restrictions.

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

RDs consider the big picture when it comes to food and eating well. We look at the whole body of evidence, instead of jumping on the newest study or latest trend. We look at how all foods can fit in your lifestyle and help you move toward your goals, instead of restricting “bad” foods and pushing specific “good” foods.

What is your favourite meal?

Any one that my husband makes for me!

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

You know more about healthy eating than you think! If you’re choosing minimally processed, plant-based foods most of the time, then you’re already on the right track. I think there’s so much nutrition noise out there that it makes us doubt our own intuition in terms of what’s good for us and makes us feel good. So my biggest tip when people feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start is to start by looking within, and use your own knowledge and past experiences just to help you get going. Then work with a dietitian to help you fill out the nitty-gritty details.

More about Vincci:

Website: Vincci Tsui, RD
Facebook: Vincci Tsui, RD
Twitter: @VincciRD
Instagram: @vinccird
Snapchat: vinccird

Thanks Vincci! Find out more about What RDsDo.

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