I love dietitians! They’re smart, well-educated and enthusiastic.
Unfortunately for them, they are also a great bargain relative to similarly-educated clinicians (I ponder what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, AND, our professional organization has been doing in the last decade as nurses value has soared…and ours has not). There are many new certificate players in the nutrition field, and that’s good and there is room for everyone in the land where 7 out of 10 Americans die of preventable lifestyle-related chronic disease. I just don’t see, however, a credential with the required biochemical and broad nutrition coursework background, from community to food service to mind-body to communications, as dietitians. Nutrition is science, and psychology and biochemistry and even after nearly 3 decades, helping people with food often pushes me to the edges of my knowledge and ability. Granted, I’m biased. I am an RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist), so have the inside view of what it takes to earn and maintain it.
The way forward for dietitians (and everyone in a female-dominated profession) is for each of us to focus on our value. How can we, as individuals, boost our personal, professional and market value? One way is to cross-train. To expand your knowledge and expertise in several areas. Dietitians, here comes Ayurveda and yoga therapy.
Yoga & Nutrition
Those of you who have known me for a while know that I have been combining nutrition with yoga since before there was so much great science explaining the mechanisms of why it’s helpful. Yoga, it turns out, makes us better choice-makers. Yoga also creates an internal biochemistry that calms inflammation and when practiced regularly can be protective against chronic disease.
While I criticize the AND for our salary situation, I am also grateful for the ways they have supported me in my work as a writer and teacher of nutrition and yoga. I am thrilled to be speaking at FNCE in Boston this month, with world-renowned educator Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa of Harvard, and my friend and colleague the lovely Anu Kaur of the NIH. We’ll be talking about the science and practice of yoga therapy in dietetics, and highlighting how the field of yoga therapy is evolving through credentialing.
I’ll also be featuring colleagues in the field who are using yoga and yoga therapy in their nutrition practices. I’m inspired by this collection of practitioners. Thinking back to 2006-2007, when my first book came out, I was at FNCE (the Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition, the AND conference), and a tiny dark-haired woman came up to me at my booth, smiling ear to ear. She introduced herself, and only years later did I realize how sisterly we were. It was Beverly Price – a dietition-yoga teacher blending the two to help people with eating disorders. Now, Beverly owns a center in MI with an integrated staff including MDs, RDNs, and RYTs offering yoga-based therapies. She’s my business hero!
My work at Kripalu gives me a visible perch and happily, RDN-RYTs come to me when they are passing through. That’s how I met Andrea Leiberstein, a dietitian who works with mindful eating researcher Jean Kresteller on the program Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT), offered at Kripalu and elsewhere. Andrea also trains health professionals to use Mindful Eating to help with weight and eating.
There are so many more RDNs in this budding field and I look forward to featuring them over the next months here on the blog, but if you are at FNCE, check out our talk on Sunday morning. If our last talks are any indication, it will be STO, so get there early!
For anyone in DIFM, I will be giving a short demo on plant energetics with a plant-song device from Italy at the Happy Hour, But I have to say, the best reason to stop by there is to see the incomparable Kathie Swift get yet another award (how does she find room on her mantle for all her awards?) for Lifetime Achievement in Integrative and Functional Nutrition.
I will also be at the Member Product Marketplace on Monday, offering special pricing and free shipping on my 2 books, and a special on my CE-program: Yoga and Meditation: Tools for Weight Management through Wolf Rinke. Please do come by!