“March is National Nutrition Month and March 13th is celebrated as an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) day”. We all agree that “Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and well-being at every stage in one’s life. In celebration of the National Nutrition Month, I would like to shed some light on what we RDN’s do to benefit all who choose to live a healthy life.
The work of an RDN is undermined by many, but we as a community are a part and parcel of many services you benefit from each day. Contrary to what we have come to believe, RDN’s are not just limited to the in-patient, out-patient and long-term care setting as members of a medical team, but are key players that provide a whole-person approach versus just treating the problem. RDN’s have tremendous involvement in research, academia, public policy, community and public health settings, food and nutrition industry, business, private practice, HMO’s, corporate wellness programs, journalism and the like.
As an RDN for the past 13 years, I have crossed paths with clients bearing different mindsets and food/ nutrition backgrounds. Some clients are easy while others are challenging. Some even go on to give you titles that are unimaginable. A few years ago, a client was referred to me for nutrition counseling for high cholesterol/triglycerides. I proposed a “Whole Food Plant-Based Approach” as the client’s plate was heavily tilted towards red meat and refined foods with a garnish of vegetables and occasional whole grains. Her lipid profile improved following the diet, but she gave me the title “The Seed and Weed dietitian”. It was almost a decade ago and emphasis on plant-based diet was gaining a lot of momentum. In today’s world, I might be referred to as a “Whole Food Plant-Based Dietitian”.
Let me share another quick story about a client I recently saw for diabetes management. This is a good one though. I received no new titles, but mere appreciation for what I do every day. After the visit, she said, “I told my friends that I am coming to see you for my diabetes, and we were all sure that you would hand me a meal plan to follow, but your approach was very different from what we expected. I can’t wait to share what I learned today with my friends”. She went on to mention that she had never received such a comprehensive review of all the parameters impacting her nutrition status.
Some of you might have seen an RDN once in your lifetime, and many others, never. If you visited an RDN “ONCE” so far, I wonder how one nutrition visit in your lifetime can cater to your ever-changing (age-related) nutrition needs, medical problems, and physical demands that life brings on.
If nutrition was made the focal point and prioritized at every possible juncture our lives, a multitude of health problems that we face today in the USA and globally, wouldn’t exist at their current levels. The nutrition care as I have seen it has taken a paradigm shift from a “Problem-Centered to Client-Centered Approach” and many RDN’s provide multitude of nutrition services including virtual nutrition counseling, tailored meal plans, in-depth evaluation of labs, manage hormonal health, correction of micro and macro-nutrient deficiencies, and help to heal stubborn health problems where food sensitivities play an important role.
RDN’s have evolved as leaders in preventing health problems to help enjoy your life to the fullest. If you plan to prevent or manage your health problems, discuss with your dietitian. Most insurance companies provide coverage for nutrition.
To conclude, “If, the food you eat is causing health problems, why not fix food first?”