Dietitian's Blog

What does a Dietitian do?

When I first became a dietitian, my friends and family would often ask what dietitians do. Do they just recite the Food Guide?  Well the answer is, no, I do not recite, or often use, the Food Guide. What I do with clients really depends on their unique needs. For example, if I’m working with an elite athlete, they may want to have a prescribed nutrition plan, knowing exactly the number of grams of carbohydrate, protein, and fat needed to optimize their performance. If on the other hand I’m working with an individual who is having difficulty losing weight, I would work with them to identify barriers and saboteurs that are standing in the way of their success. Some of my job is certainly evaluating the healthfulness of someone’s nutrition. But a lot of what I do is grounded in counselling techniques such as motivational interviewing and goal setting. My role is often one of a coach, determining what’s currently working with them, and what’s working against them and supporting them on their path to success.  I love my job because I have the opportunity to help people achieve health and nutrition goals that they often think are out of their reach. Here’s a little more information on what dietitians do, taken from my FAQ page.

Research shows that 95% of commercial diets don’t work in the long-term. That’s because they often take a one-size-fits-all approach to eating. Dietitians have training in food and nutrition and are considered the experts in giving dietary advice.  In addition to nutrition training, my degree in kinesiology and psychology sets me apart as more than a dietitian; it allows me to provide both accurate diet AND exercise recommendations. With over 8 years of education in nutrition, psychology and kinesiology, I can work with you one-on-one to:

  • Develop a meal plan. Your meals can be tailored to address your personal goals or specific health concerns, such as weight loss or gain, sports nutrition, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, celiac disease, pregnancy, or feeding a growing family.
  • Set realistic goals. With my help, you’ll know your targets are achievable, and you’ll have someone to monitor your progress.
  • Determine nutrient adequacy. I can analyze your diet and supplement use to see where you might be getting too much or too little of your required nutrients.
  • Dispel myths. You can count on getting the right, most up-to-date information about nutrition and exercise.
  • Get practical advice that works for your particular lifestyle. I design my recommendations based on your particular needs and goals. You’ll get tips about what and how much to eat, vitamins and minerals, and eating on the run — all designed to suit your lifestyle.

What to expect

In your first appointment, I will get to know more about you — your eating and exercise habits, your lifestyle, your medical history, your food likes and dislikes and your overall nutrition and health goals. Based on that information, you’ll get personalized recommendations to help you achieve your goals. I will be available to meet with you on an ongoing basis to monitor your progress and fine-tune your meal plan if needed. Studies show that those clients who meet regularly with their dietitian are the ones who not only reach their health goals, but sustain those changes long-term.

For a summary of services click the button below:


Eat According to Your Genes

An article published this week in the Huffington Post hailed the benefits of nutrigenomics as the “future of personalized nutrition.” Nutrigenomics is the study of how our genes react to nutrients in the foods we eat.  Recent research has found that not all

people respond to food in the same way, and that these differences are based on variations in their DNA. For example, some people contain a gene variant that makes them inefficient at metabolizing omega-3 fats. As a result, they may not reap all the benefits of this healthy fat even if they’re consuming the recommended amount.  Or perhaps they have a variant of the TCF7L2 gene, which means that their bodies don’t respond to whole grains in the way individuals without this variant would.  Nutrigenomics allows for a personalized nutrition plan that is based on your DNA. As a dietitian, I am extremely interested in this area of nutrition as it allows me to offer dietary recommendations that are based on the individual’s genetic makeup.  I have found that clients are able to develop a deeper understanding of how food uniquely impacts their health, performance and disease risk.  Currently, there is one standardized nutrigenomics test available in Canada, and it was developed by researchers at the University of Toronto. It is available only to Registered Dietitians, and only a handful of dietitians are trained to use the test.  Fueling With Food is the only location in Kelowna that provides Nutrigenomix testing.  I have been using the tool for a few months now and am thrilled with the level of personalization it allows me to provide my clients. If you’re interested in letting your genes determine what you eat, set up an appointment with me for Nutrigenomics testing, using a small saliva sample. More about the package can be found here.  You’re one simple DNA test away from personal nutrition recommendations!

Lets celebrate the sandwich!

In case we needed another reason to celebrate, Sunday November 3 is International Sandwich Day!  It’s no wonder that we need a day to celebrate this staple lunch item when you consider that a national survey by Udi’s Healthy Foods has discovered that Canadians eat approximately 3.6 billion sandwiches each year.  I personally think that the sandwich is under-rated.  It is the ultimate convenience food and can be filled with wholesome ingredients to sustain you throughout the day. But I’m not talking just the traditional peanut-butter and jelly or meat and cheese varieties. Virtually any type of leftovers can easily be thrown between 2 slices of hearty bread to make a lunch the next day.  Looking for some inspiration for the beloved sandwich? Here’s a recipe from fellow dietitian Stephanie Clairmont  for a veggie sandwich on hearty millet-chia bread:

  •  4 slices Udi’s Gluten Free Millet-Chia Bread
  • 60 ml (4 Tbsp.) gluten-free hummus
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp.) hulled sunflower seeds
  • 30ml (2 Tbsp.) crumbled Feta cheese
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fresh sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli, sunflower, or a mixture
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) avocado, sliced
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp. shredded carrots
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp.) sliced cucumber (about 8 thin slices)

Bon appetit!

The difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

Over the past few weeks I have been immersing myself in the nutrition world in the Okanagan. While much about being a dietitian is the same between here and Nova Scotia, one major difference exists. In Nova Scotia, only Registered Dietitians can call themselves ‘Nutritionists.’ Here in BC, anyone, quite literally, can claim the title ‘Nutritionist.’ What does that mean for clients? It means that if you seek out the services of a Nutritionist, you may not be getting someone most qualified to give nutrition advice.  For example, Registered Holistic Nutritionists, or “RHNs,” are not educated to the same standards as Registered Dietitians. RHNs may use the designation “Registered” in their title  because their program of study paid the required fee to Industry Canada to legally trademark the title of the program. However, RHNs are not regulated under the Health Professions Act.  Dietitians on the other hand must be part of a regulatory body, just like doctors, pharmacists and nurses. Dietitians are regulated under the Health Professions ActDietitians Regulation and the CDBC Bylaws. In order to become a Dietitian, an individual must complete at least 4 years of study in Science at an accredited University, followed by a year long internship, where the student gains experience in a variety of clinical settings both within and outside the hospital.  Many dietitians further their knowledge by pursuing a graduate degree, which provides a more in depth analysis of current nutrition knowledge and may help them focus on specialized areas within the dietetics field.  You certainly do not want to take short cuts with your health. When looking for nutritional advice, be sure to seek out a Registered Dietitian to guarantee you receive the highest quality care.  To learn more about Dietitians in BC, visit The College of Dietitians of British Columbia. 


Eating mindfully

Mindful eating is a big part of my practice with clients. What is mindful eating you ask? It is the practice, quite simply, of honouring your body’s hunger and fullness cues. It’s about fueling your body with the food it needs to thrive, without questionning or second-guessing those urges. It’s not about using food to deal with emotions. It’s not about eating simply because there’s still food on the plate. It is also referred to as intuitive eating, meaning that it is eating according to physical needs. Many of us approach eating as a side project, something to be done while we catch up on emails, work, or our favourite television shows. But research shows that if we eat while we’re distracted, we tend to feel less satisifed with our meals and often eat up to 50% more! Mindful eaters are more likely to be at a healthy weight, less likely to suffer from eating disorders and overeating, and are more satisfied with their diets.  Here are some tips to approaching eating more mindfully:

  • Tune out distractions. Turn off the television, phone, computer and whatever else may distract you from the task of eating.
  • Focus on the flavours of the food and eat slowly to savour the moment.
  • Before eating, always check in to see if you’re truly hungry or simply looking for a way of escaping a particular emotion, such as boredom, anger, stress, loneliness.
  • While eating, check in with your level of fullness. Are you comfortably satisfied? Are you still hungry? Choose to stop eating or continue eating based on your answers to these questions.

To see if you are a mindful eater, take this quiz.

If you’d like guidance on becoming a more mindful eater, make an appointment today!