Happy Registered Dietitian Day! Yes, we get a day all to ourselves. Ummmmm, wait, I mean almost to ourselves. We share the day with Pi Day and Potato Chip Day, so you could say it’s all about balance, right?! Sure, we’ll go with that.
That being said I wanted to give a shout out to my profession, explain more about why I love what I do and give some of my fellow RDs some love and shout outs. Do you have a special RD in your life? If you do, let’s give them a shout out, a hug, a piece of chocolate (or 10), a glass of wine or just a break from the “can I eat this?” question. Sound like a plan? Excellent.
What Is a Dietitian?
Definition: An expert of diet & nutrition
(For reference the definition of ‘diet’ is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.”
it is not a way in which one restricts food intake. just had to get that off my chest….)
What is a dietitian you ask (please notice the T not C in our name)?
Great question! I had the same question back when I was in school. A dietitian is one who gets to talk about all things food, fitness, and lifestyle all day long. Is it too good to be true? No, not at all. In reality, it should’ve been a career choice in The Game of Life, but I’m obviously partial. Some days are harder than others because you want your clients to so badly listen to you and you also want everyone to stop googling EVERY.LAST.THING. but other than that it is a rather rewarding career.
To become a dietitian you have to complete a 4-year degree in an accredited dietetic program. The curriculum is almost identical to that of pre-med, however, it involves a lot more biochemistry, nutrition and practical application of food and nutrition. Yes, we had a cooking class and yes, I nerd out hardcore on the metabolic pathways, vitamins, minerals and all things anatomy & physiology. I even have a favorite vitamin (D) and a favorite mineral (magnesium), you’re welcome.
As if that wasn’t enough, we go on to apply to a Dietetic Internship program, which has less than a 50% acceptance rate (last I checked). Once we get in there, we complete 1200 hours of supervised practice. This means that we not only study nutrition we also have to see it in practice and experience it in real life under the supervision of other RDs. Those 1200 (I probably had closer to 2000 let’s be honest) hours were invaluable to my career. I strongly suggest if you want to get into the field of nutrition to find a way to get practical, in-person experience under your belt before teaching (or preaching) nutrition.
Why do I love what I do?!
It’s simple really, I love helping others find health through diet and lifestyle. While unfortunately, dietitians get a lot of slack, I am proud to be one. There are bad mechanics, doctors, dentists, trainers, engineers, etc. out there and so that means there are also bad dietitians. I don’t say that to knock on ANYONE but realize that not all within a profession are created equally. That means generalizing and assuming that all RDs are bad based off of one that rubbed you the wrong way is a big mistake.
I don’t love what all are preaching within my profession and I realize I am not always in the majority. I am not afraid, however, to say I am a dietitian because I believe I am part of the face of change within the industry. There is a lot more to a dietitian than a food pyramid and a soda sponsorship (which I do not support by the way). Fun fact, we are not required to be a part of the larger dietetic organization (known as AND) and because of that and many other reasons, I choose to not be a member.
Dietitians are taught to do no harm and are taught to be unbiased when educating clients. We are taught to look for evidence-based research and to critically think through research, diet claims, and health reports. We are taught how to interview a client and bring about behavior change.
Being a dietitian allows me to help others find their balance, make healthy decisions for themselves and empower them to take control of their health. I am in no way the food police(just ask my friends) and I truly believe no one diet fits all. Being a dietitian means I get to help others find health and prevent disease, and that is pretty freaking cool. Not to mention I get to talk about food all day long, so there’s that.
Cheers to Some of my Favorite RDs!
There are so many awesome dietitians out there and I probably missed at least 3.14 (see what I did there) in my list below. Go check out these wonderful human beings and learn some egg-cellent nutrition advice from them! You can also learn more about how and why they became dietitians as well. Happy Registered Dietitian Day to all of them:
Ashley Reaver at My Weekly Eats
Brigid Titgemeir at BeingBrigid
Diana Rodgers at Sustainable Dish
Jessica Beacom & Stacie Hassing at The Real Food Dietitians
Lily Nichols at Pilates Nutritionist & Author of Real Food for Pregnancy
Maggie Michalczyk of Once Upon a Pumpkin
Monica Salafia from Mind on Nutrition
Note: in classic RD/OCD/Type A form, I listed them all in alphabetic order by name, you’re welcome!
Happy Registered Dietitian Day!
And to all you other RDs and RD2Be’s I applaud you for your studies, your voices and your efforts. Keep on keeping on in the nutrition world and forget to do no harm as it comes to others’ health. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a dietitian I am here for you just comment below!
Laura aka “Sass” aka “The Sassy Dietitian”
ps. enjoy some Pi(e) or Potato Chips today because after all, it’s their day too!