I recently received some exciting news…I was accepted to my university’s dietetics program! In just three years I will be a registered dietitian. Working towards this has been a lengthy process, so finding out that I got in was a dream come true.
The past few years of learning about the role of dietitians and building up experience for the program have been eye-opening and it’s shifted my perspective in nutrition since I first became interested in it. It’s made me appreciate and respect this profession even more. There are a few aspects about what I’ve learned that have particularly stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you.
There’s no quick fix.
What you do day in and day out matters more than what you do once in a while. No one-week cleanse, fat burning powder, or dieting program can provide you with the ability to cook and enjoy food. There’s more value in establishing healthy habits in your life for the long run. It might take more time, but it’s worth it. Be driven by the process, not the results.
You don’t need labels or definitions.
Food is food -let’s not pit them against each other by labelling some as ‘dirty’ or ‘toxic’ (ahem, Food Babe). Don’t be concerned with making unnecessary dietary restrictions, unless it’s for a health condition, religious, or ethical reasons. In other words, you don’t have to be on a certain diet (ex. vegan, Paleo, etc) to eat healthy.
Be careful of what you consume.
And by what you consume I’m talking about information. Nowadays, a healthy dose of scientific skepticism can be a superpower. Evaluate claims from the media + internet carefully, don’t be fooled by pretty food packaging, and be weary of celebrity testimonies. Nutrition can be so confusing and overwhelming that it’s very easy to fall prey to inaccurate information. Trust me, I get it. Might I suggest that R.D.’s are one of your best bets for high quality, evidence-based information.
Make self care part of the equation.
Shira wrote a really good article about this. Eating well is one of many aspects of healthy living. Remember to get your zzz’s, carve out time to spend with your besties, and don’t deprive yourself of foods you truly enjoy (including that coveted chocolate croissant).
There’s more to food than nutrients.
Sure, getting your daily servings of veggies is important, but remember that there are other reasons we eat too. Food connects us to people, culture, and yes, the soul. Connect with your food on a level that goes beyond nutrients and fuel.
Your food choices don’t determine your worth.
Since when does health measure your value? You’re not a bad person for eating a hot dog, nor are you entitled to a health halo for eating kale. Food shaming is yet another form of bullying, and any judgement or sense of superiority for eating the ‘correct way’ needs to stop.
The power of mindful eating.
Of all the topics in nutrition, mindful eating is one of the most fascinating to me. In mindful eating, how you think about your food is just as important as what you actually put into your body. It’s about being fully present while eating and truly enjoying every bite.
Keep it simple.
Because it’s just not necessary to purchase expensive juices, fancy equipment, or exotic ingredients in order to eat healthy. Remember the good ol’ apple? It will do you good. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Eat real food.
Yes, those protein bars with 10g of fibre are incomparable to a bowl of fresh fruit and that vitamin D infused cereal is still sugary. No matter how far nutrition recommendations advance, the message is and will always be the same: eat real food.
With all the information we’re bombarded with, it’s easy to get caught up with trying to achieve the ‘perfect diet’. But perfect doesn’t exist -it’s boring too! Don’t make food restrictions that drive you crazy and instead, vow to master the art of balance. “Everything in moderation” really is the way to do it. It would be no fun at all watching your friends devour cake at a party while you nibble on celery. The takeaway? Eat your kale. But also enjoy your cupcake.
R.D.’s who rock. Here are some R.D.’s who have paved the way in my learning and have inspired my food philosophy. I love their blogs and you need to check them out!
McKell Hill (Nutrition Stripped)
Lauren Fowler (Mindful Meals)
Carlene Thomas (Healthfully Ever After)
Alex Hoare (Dietitian’s Pantry)
Gemma Samspon (Dietitian without Borders)