March is one of my favorite months for many reasons: St. Patricks day, the NCAA tourney (although I may not be that excited this year), and National Nutrition Month – which encompasses RD Day.
I like this because I feel like March is the RDs’ time to shine, and it will be when you’ll hear why RDs or RDNs are the legitimate nutrition professional – if you can’t remember – then stay tuned or also check out my home page tab – “my RD Journey”.
If you’re a consistent reader of mine, or even social media follower – you probably know that I am very protective over the credential that I have. I went to school a long time, and I have actual practice experience – I didn’t just get an online certificate.
With that being said there are also some misconceptions – but unfortunately -some awful truths with being a nutrition professional.
Now a big part of being an RD and working with patients is giving practical and realistic advice. Whether it is for weight loss, or forming healthier habits. A majority of the RDs that I am close friends with and even practice with or have practiced with – are total foodies. Meaning we love food- we love the experience, and the flavors, we love trying new foods and restaurants, and pairing wines and beers with our foods, and having cupcakes for dessert.
However, there are some RD’s that are total
Food shamers “Purists” – as I like to call them. To which I will say – to each their own – as they aren’t doing anything unhealthy – it’s their choice. Whether they are perfectly paleo, or the cleanliest of clean eaters – they are EXTREMELY meticulous to a fault about they will and won’t eat – to them food falls into categories of clean or unclean, cheats, paleo, etc.
Let me be clear – the reasoning here for most I can’t argue with: people are concerned, and rightfully so, by the crap that ends up in our food supply, and they are very cautious about consuming added sugars, preservatives, GMO’s, etc. While this is important to me – I am a bit more flexible in my belief system here – for instance I had taco bell for lunch today, and guess what – I don’t hate myself for it.
However, where I think it is important that RD’s exercise caution – is categorizing foods to lay people – so non-health and non-nutrition experts.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people asking me, or stating “oh so that’s not a good food?” For my clients in particular (weight loss, and diabetes) I teach them about NUTRITION. That some foods are more NUTRITIOUS than others. Berries, are they more nutritious than cookies?! Of course. But sometimes (EMPHASIS ON THE SOMETIMES) don’t we just get the pleasure of eating a cookie?!?
better MORE NUTRITIOUS to eat some lean chicken breast than a hot dog?
Abso-frigging-lutely. But if I am at a Cubs game, I will drink my weight in beer, and eat at least one hotdog, and I will not be mad about it. At all.
Between choosing foods with more nutritional value, and having respectable portion sizes – that’s it – that’s gold right there. That is “good” nutrition.
Many other countries – Brazil for instance – in their Dietary Guidelines – they emphasize that while food and nutrition are important – the meal itself – as should the food, it should be an experience it should be enjoyable (and no – that does not equate with enjoyment = cookies).
So another thing that peeves me off, is when I see articles like this – which was the inspiration for this post. When I first saw the title I was like “I bet there is not a single RD mentioned” – wellllll I was wrong. But that disappointed me. Because this was essentially an article of Dietitians food shaming.
I get it: Eat this Not That – you’ve got bills to pay, and so do the RD’s featured in the article. But we should not shame food – at least I don’t think we should. I know there are many who disagree, and I understand why, and furthermore – I do respect why.
With great power comes great responsibility.
RD’s we are the food and nutrition experts, so rather than shame food – we should aid in helping others to finding more nutritious alternatives. We should not stand for being in sensationalized articles regarding nutrition – but rather hone our efforts on improving the food supply in general, and until that time comes, and as it happens helping consumers understand that again: there are more nutritious and less nutritious options, and that we should not foster negative or unhealthy relationships with food, exercise, body image – or any combination.
Obviously I feel strongly about this, and of course not everyone agrees, but I think one thing we can all agree on – is there is a definite need for change in health, and nutrition in this society, and the RD’s should be working to stand out as the guides to help make that happen.
This month I’ll be doing a lot of nutrition-y features on my blog – in honor of NNM (National Nutrition Month).
For recipes, pictures, and updates, please utilize other forms of social media to stay in touch with your favorite Half Human.