Have you ever tried looking up nutrition-related advice online? The amount of information (some good, some bad, some insane) is enough to make your head spin. The worst part is that with all of this questionable data, you may end up taking dietary actions that are not necessarily suited to your individual needs. Will paleo work for me? How about vegetarianism? What about this four-month red cabbage diet?
So how do you know what’s right for you and your unique dietary needs (yep, you’re special)? Enter nutrition counseling with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Working with an RDN offers several benefits that your ‘Top 10 Worst Foods EVER’ internet slideshow can’t even begin to touch.
Benefit 1 - Comprehensive Nutrition Education
Dietitians are trained in the biological sciences (chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology), as well as in nutrition pathophysiology and medical nutrition therapy. This scientific foundation is the key to our understanding of and ability to treat various disease states and conditions with food and nutrition. As just one example, dietitians are equipped to understand (and prevent) negative food-drug interactions - you wouldn’t want your doctor prescribing new medications that interact with your current medications, so why would you eat foods that could possibly do the same?
Benefit 2 - Nutrition Counseling Experience
Dietitians are trained specifically in the practice of nutrition counseling. Counseling, in any form, is a skill - it is generally not something you just know how to do effectively, or can learn during a long weekend. Because of this, aspiring dietitians are required to complete a six- to twelve-month dietetic internship following the completion of their bachelor’s degree to obtain supervised practice (with practicing registered and licensed dietitians) in nutrition counseling. This extended education ensures that you are not only getting care from an experienced medical professional, but also from a counselor that will be with you during every step of your health journey.
Benefit 3 - Personalized Nutritional Care
In general, dietitians offer personalized nutritional care. While diet books and free online nutrition advice can help push you slightly closer toward your health goals, at some point, these resources simply aren’t enough - why? The answer is simple - these plans are not specific to you. These plans are not able to dynamically account for your food preferences, your allergies, your combination of medical conditions, your work schedule, your child’s first birthday, the passing of your grandmother, your two-week long vacation - your life. As trained medical professionals (and humans), dietitians are able to adapt to your unique health needs.
Benefit 4 - Dietitians are Humans, Too
When people hear the word ‘ dietitian’, they generally envision a judgmental old woman that whips you with a stalk of celery every time you ‘mess up’ or eat something not-so-great for you. Personally, I’m not OK with this - I’m human, just like you, and I’m here to help and reinforce. Many of these self-serve resources (online, books, et cetera) do not offer this human interaction and support system, which makes obtaining your health goals significantly more difficult. When I counsel, I seek to provide empathy, fun, joy, and hope. I strive for your experience with food and nutrition to be a positive one - because life’s too short for it to be any other way.
Now, maybe you know all of this, but are scared to take the next step - I get that. When we choose to address a problem or difficulty in our lives, it suddenly becomes very real. On top of the realness factor, the amount of time and energy required to ‘fix’ said problem or difficulty can be pretty overwhelming. These are completely justifiable feelings. However, I believe that by taking one day at a time, setting small, realistic goals, and developing a strong support system, including both your dietitian and loved ones, a healthier you is within reach.
Learn more about the nutrition counseling services I currently offer here.
Thanks for reading, & eat well,