It might surprise you, but a dietetics student learns early on that the first line of business with a new patient or client is to establish rapport. It is not effective to just come into a high blood pressure patient’s room to ask ten or so standard questions and leave them with an education that states that they should consume less sodium. Instead, you are encouraged to chit-chat with people to find a common point of interest (food related or not) or just use good customer service skills to put someone at ease. I found myself often telling people that I was not such a “rules-y” dietitian, but instead one that could teach improved nutrition around whatever barriers a patient/client told me. Can’t stop drinking 20 ounces of Pepsi a day? No worries! I can still help!
But why is establishing rapport so vital and core to teaching nutrition? After all, could I not just have the authority to speak as the nutritional expert in the room simply from my degree, registration, and licensure? The passionately felt Food Philosophy is the reason. Every person’s Food Philosophy is a summation of their experiences and entrenched in deep emotions. The best dietitians know how to identify what an individual’s Food Philosophy is and what bits of science to share with them to help them reach their goals. (Spoiler Alert: Another day we will talk about goal setting). I’m very good at working with any Food Philosophy in real life, but I am not writing this blog for everyone. Again, this blog is about my personal Food Philosophy, so I am not as concerned about customer service to meet each reader’s preferences.
Pictured above: Kale, "sausage", and bean stew that reminded me of my Grandmother.
“They probably don’t even believe fat meat’s greasy.”
My grandmother always had the quirkiest Southern sayings, this being one of my favorites growing up. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase, it really means that some people are ignorant to even the most seemingly common-sense concepts. I bring it up now because before you read this blog further, we need to establish that we have some fundamental acknowledgements of nutritional facts.
The following are some housekeeping items before I waste any of your time without intent:
· Weight loss is ultimately accomplished by “calories in, calories out”.
· Variety in your diet is necessary for good nutrition. This includes a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate… And not to eliminate an entire macronutrient from your diet. P.S. Carbohydrates are not the devil!
· BMI, even though it is a simple equation only factoring height and weight, is a legitimate factor for health risk.
· Food is better than supplements. Additionally, vitamin and mineral supplements are only as good as their suppliers.
· Proper nutrition is different for everyone and should truly be individualized based on age, gender, baseline health, pregnancy, and other risk factors. Nutrition is not a “one size fits all” but “general nutrition” is a great place to start.
If you fundamentally disagree with any of the above, this blog is probably not for you. Contrarily, if I did not raise your blood pressure with the points above, why don’t you stick around to see what else I have to say? I would also love to hear from you as well! Feel free to message me to let me know what topics you would like to hear more about or share other resources with me. After all, I am still a pretty cool dietitian.