Top 4 Reasons You Need a Dietitian In Your Life

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There’s an ongoing joke in the field of dietetics that all Registered Dietitians have the same personality. Rules oriented, over achievers, punctual, and typically female, we’re a fun bunch at a party! While we may share some of the same traits (although I personally struggle with punctuality and rules), we don’t all practice and preach nutrition in the same way. Nutrition research is constantly evolving, and hopefully, we can agree that there is not a one size fits all solution to health and wellness. There are ways to create and cultivate healthy habits, but when it comes to food, it’s often personal. Just look at the comments section of any article posted about a particular diet. Whether you believe in eating vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, low-fat, low-carb, Intermittent Fasting, Whole30, Mediterranean, eating with your eyes closed, or on one leg, there are redeeming qualities found in each. Most emphasize whole foods and balanced sources of protein, carbs, and fat. Is there enough research to back all of them? Not all, but most. Is that ok? Sure. Can you ever eat enough vegetables? Not really.

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The food someone eats who has Type 2 Diabetes and is trying to lose weight is going to look a bit different than someone who has never had a weight problem and is trying to be healthier. Maybe you enjoy lots of different food in moderation, but your friend feels more comfortable abstaining to find their personal balance. Eating can be fun and entertaining, but if you’ve struggled with health problems, it can also be a lot of trial and error. All in all, you do you, but working with a dietitian can be one of the best ways to get started in the right direction.

How else can a Registered Dietitian help you? Let me count the ways:

+ Dietitians help you bypass the bullsh*t

All dietitians can agree on eating more high fiber and leafy, green vegetables and limiting the amount of overly processed and sugary foods. You also don’t need a cleanse either. Your super sexy liver does that job for you! It’s doing it right now actually. So the next time you read about the latest and greatest diet plan, think to yourself, is this sustainable? Could I continue this for a long period of time or is it a short-term plan? Can I get enough nutrients like protein, carbs, and fat? If you’re still confused, contact your friendly, neighborhood Registered Dietitian. No gimmicks or giving up your firstborn required.

+ Dietitians give you a boost of self-confidence

I work with clients every day on developing healthy habits. What I’ve found is that the more you do that habit, the better you feel about yourself, and the more confident you feel in making those healthy decisions. Sounds simple, right? Jump to real life, and you just worked a 10-hour day, and your kids are hungry, that healthy habit goes out the window if there’s no fail-safe plan in place. Making decisions is one of the hardest things to do during the course of the day. We get “decision fatigue”, which makes it difficult to make the best choice day in and day out. So what do you do when you fall off the wagon and feel guilty? You get back on that wagon and keep working to make that habit stick. Dietitians can help you make those habits sustainable and work for you, without the guilt.

+ Dietitians help you see all you can eat and not what you shouldn’t eat

If you’ve ever wondered about hemp seeds or how to make blueberry muffins without a lot of sugar, a dietitian can help. Our degrees are two parts really hard science, one part culinary skills, and a dash of sparkle magic. While I’m no chef, I can help you with simple techniques to make your next batch of quinoa the best one yet. Many of my clients enjoy eating out, but I also figure out more ways so you can cook for yourself, even if you only have 10 minutes. When we make something from scratch, we begin to understand ingredients and develop techniques to make the process easier. I once read that there really is no such thing as simple, easy cooking, but like perfecting a cat-eye with liquid liner, or learning to swim, you get better over time. The more you cook, the better you become, and (wait for it)…the more confident you can be.

+ Dietitians help you grow and thrive

There have been many times that I’ve started off a client meeting thinking we’ll focus on the highs and lows of the week, but within five minutes, I’m passing the Kleenex. That’s ok, though! Often if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder or body image issues, talking about your relationship with food can feel extremely personal and emotional. Food shouldn’t cause you strife and discomfort. Food can be fun, delicious, entertaining, but most importantly, food is the fuel that provides energy to live your life and do the things you love. Let’s work to make food not the sole reason you exist. It’s in those emotional moments that I often see the “tipping point” for many. Light bulbs turn on, and with a bit of information and guidance from a dietitian, you can become the best version of yourself.

What Does a Dietitian Have In Their Fridge?

I’ve shared the contents of my freezer and some favorite grocery items from Trader Joe’s and Costco, but today’s goodies are from the fridge. The place I stand in front of looking for answers.

Most days, we keep the fridge pretty organized. I really hate when I buy something and don’t use it because it gets shoved to the back. To keep this from happening, I like to wash and prep my produce as soon as I buy it and store everything in clear, glass containers. I have two sets of glass containers I use all.the.time from Pyrex and another from Bormioli Rocco Frigoverre. I found the Frigoverre set at the Crate & Barrel outlet store a few years back, and the Pyrex from Target. Glass containers are awesome to use instead of plastic because there are no weird, chemicals leaching into the food, and they last forever. Plus, they’re just prettier.

Let’s take a peek at what we have for food this week.

Starting from the top, you’ll notice some washed romaine lettuce in a container. I’ve got some Ezekiel bread because it’s my all-time favorite. Jason enjoys Sprout’s honey whole wheat. I typically buy Siggi’s brand yogurts, but I’m all about that sale life, and these tasty Fage 2% were cheap and taste good. If you’re looking for a new brand of Greek yogurt, Green Mountain Creamery is one of our recent faves. On the next level, we’ve got lots of spinach for smoothies and salad, fresh cut celery, my favorite Everything flavor hummus from Sprouts (tastes like an Everything bagel, without the bagel), artichoke and lemon pesto (SO GOOD), and some eggs. We bought eggs from Costco a couple weeks ago in a big, plastic container, and now we’re down to one. It looks so lonely!

The cheese drawer is one of my favorite spots in the fridge. That’s where truth and understanding exist. I have worked to reduce the amount of dairy I eat because it has caused my skin nothing but grief in the form of cystic acne. I do love cheese, though, so now I stick to the best I can find, in small portions, and not every day. #foodbalance. We’ve got Muenster, Cheddar, Provolone, and Parmesan in the drawer for safe keeping.

The bottom shelf is where I keep all the meat products and any liquids and/or containers too big to fit elsewhere. I’m picky about non-dairy milk, but I do love Sprout’s Organic Almond Milk because it tastes fantastic, has very little sugar per serving, and has no carrageenan. I used applesauce in place of oil in a zucchini muffin recipe last week, so that’s hanging out. Ketchup. Always. On the right-hand side, there are chicken thighs which will be transformed with the aforementioned artichoke lemon pesto.

The two drawers at the bottom are for more produce and fresh fruit. We’ve got an awesome kale and brussels sprout salad mix leftover from a BBQ this past weekend, baby carrots, sliced red peppers, and a red onion. For fruit, we have some clementines, apples, and red grapes.

The side door is for condiments and other random goodies. Peanut butter, almond butter, and grape jelly are top shelf as they should be. I don’t have a whole lot of salad dressings, but my favorites are the Makoto Ginger dressing, Sprout’s Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Bolthouse Farms Creamy Balsamic. Other sauces include mayonnaise, mustards, Trader Joe’s Soyaki, BBQ sauce, maple syrup, and lots of pickles and kalamata olives. The Hershey’s syrup reminds me of my childhood and is often drizzled on ice cream when we decide to buy it. Last but not least, a fridge wouldn’t be a fridge without a bag of Hemp seed and Chia Seed, oh, and baking soda.

As you can see, I typically keep things basic but have a lot of fun flavoring options to help transform even the most basic of dishes. I often hear from clients and friends that cooking can be hard, but we usually rotate the same dishes every week. That’s all it takes. Find dishes that work and keep on making them. I save complicated dishes with lots of ingredients and steps for when I have some extra time. I’m off to go find an afternoon snack and perhaps the meaning of life over in the fridge!

What are some of your refrigerator staples?

How often do you go grocery shopping?

Why Wonder Woman?

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As my longtime desktop companion, Wonder Woman is my chick. To me, she’s not just an Amazonian Princess/superhero/badass, but a symbol of strength, positivity, truth and a reminder to stay focused. And yes, I’m beyond excited about her big-screen debut in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman and her very own movie in a couple years. #wonderwomanwatch

I’ve been a superhero and comic book buff since I was little. The early 90s were a good time for animated shows, and I’d race home from school, grab some fruit snacks and a Cosmic Brownie, and watch back-to-back X-Men and Batman. At the same time, my older brother collected the Spiderman, X-Men, and Punisher comics and as older brothers often do, forbid me from touching, reading, and breathing on them. Obviously, I never listened and would sneak into his room while he was gone to read through every issue. As an awkward, shy, and emotional kid, X-Men was my favorite as I felt a certain fondness for the term “mutant.” If Professor X showed up at my doorstep to whisk me away to his school, I would’ve joined in a heartbeat. Most of all, I loved seeing women superheroes. Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Jean Grey; they were all awesome, but I wanted more. Eventually, my brother figured out I was reading his comics (most likely from the peanut butter and jelly stains on the pages) and took me along to the comic/arcade nearby to get something for myself. That’s where I found my first Wonder Woman comic.

Comics were sexed up a lot back in the 90s. Let me rephrase that. Comics have been sexed up since the beginning of time! Despite this, I never looked at the comics for what their bodies looked like, but more for what they were fighting for. Wonder Woman has certainly fallen into interesting phases and scenarios, but she still kept it real. I think people often get hung up on the bloated, over the top personas of superheroes and their ridiculous costumes, but it’s Wonder Woman’s message, not her body, that still rings true to me today. The invisible plane helps, though. I think one of the reasons she has stood the test of time is that she represents the complexities of being a woman. She wears many hats, from daughter to Hippolyta, (sometimes) diplomat to Themyscira, (sometimes) lover to Steve Trevor, but most of all she’s just Wonder Woman. She belongs to herself before anyone else, and that to me is the definition of grace and courageousness. She’s not an unreachable form of perfection, but someone who aspires to do good, often battles, yet reaches her goals.

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So that’s why I look to her as not just a pop culture symbol, but a good friend to keep around. I shoved aside the comic books for a while when I was trying to make friends in school, but I never totally forgot about her. There’s that strange time of life when you desperately want to fit in and being “obsessed” about something wasn’t really considered “cool.” As I mentioned in my previous post, I got to a point in life where I felt incredibly alone as I battled my eating disorder. After going through a series of events that landed me in further treatment, I found myself talking about finding strength and confidence with my therapist.

“What does confidence look like to you?”

Those memories of sitting on my bedroom floor reading comics flooded back, and I remember blurting out, “Wonder Woman.” From then on, she became my inner sidekick. A symbol of good days to come and things to achieve. A symbol that reminded me to not suffer in silence, but to choose strength. I’m more confident now, not simply because I like Wonder Woman, but because I used the same mindset to achieve some impossible feats. Now, I ask my clients the same question when we work together. This is often a difficult question to answer, and it’s ok to not know what to say, at first. It’s more about the act of thinking about and creating an even larger circle of confidence to lead you to a better, balanced self.

If you had to choose, what would strength and confidence look like for you? Do you have a certain person, character, or symbol you look to?