I’m in Washingtonian Magazine (Who Hoo!)

It’s not everyday you can say that you’re mentioned in Washington DC’s most well-known printed magazine. I was overjoyed this month to be mentioned in not only one, but TWO issues – Washingtonian and Washingtonian Mom!

As a working mother, with another one on the way I have since traded my fashion magazines for a new favorite, the Washingtonian Mom. I’m more interested to know where the trendy family friendly “hot spots” are around town versus the latest celebrity gossip and how to get “tight buns” these days.

washingtonian momAs I was paging through the Winter 2014 edition for some inspiration I was excited to read this one pager called “How Does She Do It?” Pictured is a working mom in high heels, balancing a sack of groceries and briefcase on one hip, an infant on the other and a smile on her face. (I could relate completely after having spent many a day eating with one hand and nursing with the other.) I was eager to learn the secrets behind keeping it all together.

As I’m reading through this must-have list: the personal shopper who crafts that perfect wardrobe, the nanny who looks after the kids, the personal trainer who keeps that body in fighting form, to the nutritionist who keeps that healthy eating on track…and what would you know? Surprise! It was ME! I was honored and excited! They said I “know what it takes to work healthy food into a jam-packed schedule.” That’s true… there has never been a time and energy budget I couldn’t help tackle. I even make sure moms keep their “me time” sanity.

2014_Feb_WashingtonianLess than a week later I was looking forward to purchasing the February issue of the Washingtonian, expecting to be mentioned, but still no less of an honor to be recognized as one of the top dietitians of Washington, DC. I was thrilled to be highlighted my work with athletes, along side of several other RD/Nutrition super stars who I am proud to know.   In addition, there is an article called The Skinny on Diets, my fellow dietitians and I were asked to grade some of the trendiest diets on the market, from the popular (but flawed) Paleo Diet to the crazy K-E Diet. If you know me, you know how I feel about diets. You’ll understand why I had to give some diets a failing grade. I pass one with an “A” – the Mediterranean Diet – this “diet” is not about restriction or weight loss, it’s about heart health and it’s not afraid of fats or calories – like me! And the science is there too!

As a mom, wife, and a professional it is an honor to be recognized by the Washingtonian for the many hats I wear. I have devoted several years of my life to establishing myself as a dietitian and healthy lifestyle expert while balancing my role a rock star mother and wife! Good self-care, a delicious diet, realistic exercise, and a healthy dose of “happy time” are some of the keys to my own success. I look forward to what this year brings, and who knows what will come when June is here and I will have two under two!

ShareCare Releases The Top 10 Nutrition Influencers Online

I don’t think anything could happen to take me off this cloud I’m on. I’m elated to know that I have the reach, impact, and knowledge to be ranked as one of ShareCare’s top ten nutrition influencers online. I’m among a group of some pretty big names. Dr. Andrew Weil (pioneer of integrative medicine!), Michael Pollan (NYT bestselling author!), Jaime Oliver (celebrity chef and TV host!) and Hungry Girl (author, entrepreneur, and Food Network show!) to name a few. Considering I have not been published as an author (yet) and I don’t have my own TV show, it’s amazing to realize that through my online presence (blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), I made the list.

So many people ask if social media is worth their time. I answer with a resounding YES! All I ever wanted to do with myself was help people. While there are a bagillion ways to do that, I definitely landed in the right place after my early-midlife “What am I doing with myself?” crisis in 2001. I LOVE my job doing nutrition and wellness counseling in D.C. , speaking and TV/print media work. There is plenty of motivation, encouragement, and care to give to the world and the more positivity out there, the better! Social media takes your voice to the world and levels the playing field so those who aren’t yet well-known (like moi) can still reach people and have an impact to help them change their lives!

How ShareCare Compiled the List

In order to be included in the SharecareNow 10 — Nutrition list, influencers must have demonstrated a consistent impact on nutrition-specific conversations online over the past year. An individual’s influence is measured and quantified through a proprietary algorithm based on more than 40 individual metrics, including nutrition relevance, syndication, presence and reach. These influencers are then ranked from most to least influential based on a unique scoring structure.

The Top 10 Nutrition Influencers

Check out their infographic here: http://www.sharecare.com/static/sharecare-now-nutrition-top-ten-infographic

1. Andrew Weil, MD – http://www.drweil.com/ 2. Jamie Oliver – http://jamieoliver.com/ 3. Nanci Hellmich – http://yourlife.usatoday.com/ 4. Tara Parker-Pope – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/ 5. Mitzi Dulan, RD – http://nutritionexpert.com/blog/ 6. Nicole German, RD - http://www.diet-blog.com/ 7. Lisa Lillien – http://www.hungry-girl.com/ 8. Rebecca Scritchfield, RD – https://rebeccascritchfield.wordpress.com/ (me!!!) 9. Michael Pollan – http://michaelpollan.com/ 10. William Davis, MD – http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

(Go fellow RDs who made the list too!)

About ShareCare

Launched in 2010 and based in Atlanta, GA, Sharecare is an interactive, social Q & A platform that allows people to ask, learn and act upon questions of health and wellness. Created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, in partnership with Harpo Studios, Remark Media, Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery Communications, the company’s innovative approach provides the consumer access to a wide array of health and wellness experts ranging from hospitals to doctors, specialists to non-profits, to healthcare companies and active health consumers, creating a thriving community where healthcare knowledge is built, shared and put into practice.

See my ShareCare profile and ask me a question – I’ll answer!

Who’s on Your Top 10?

We all know there are thousands of people helping others every day! Who is on your “top 10 nutrition influencer” list and why?

Are you #RD to Chat?

By Carlene Helble

The ultimate Twitter chat is ready to launch this November and it’s something you won’t want to miss! Registered Dietitian Janet Helm (@JanetHelm on Twitter) created #RDChat to help dietitians, students, and others interested in nutrition and health connect on fresh, hot button topics.

#RDChat will occur as a moderated conversation on Twitter the first Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET in an hour long session. Things like headlines from newspapers, as well as new studies, and controversial topics will be covered with the help of special guests.

New to Twitter chats? Janet provided these step by step instructions to get you ready to go!:

  • The chat happens live on Twitter and you can jump in at any time during the hour.  Simply log on to your Twitter account and you can use any of these options to help you manage the conversations.
    • One option,  go to http://www.search.twitter.com and type in #RDchat.  Only the  tweets that include that hashtag (#) will appear.  You may have to refresh the page to get new results.
    • If you use Tweetdeck, start a column for #RDchat.  Only tweets that are tagged with #RDchat will appear in that column for you to respond to.
    • There are several other programs you can use that are specifically designed for chats on Twitter:   http://www.tweetchat.com http://www.tweetgrid.com http://twubs.com All you have to do is log on to one of those programs.  When prompted, type in #RDchat and you’ll only see tweets that include that hashtag.  It allows you to see the fast-paced conversation happening in real time.  You use just like Twitter;  reply, comment, retweet, etc.  All of your tweets will automatically be tagged with #RDchat.

See you for a #healthy #nutritious and interesting @Twitter chat in November!

Cheryl Forberg Discusses “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You”

I had the great pleasure to sit down with superstar dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD, who just so happens to be a professional chef and the nutrition expert behind the wildly successful weight loss on NBC’s The Biggest Loser! She talked with me about her latest book, The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You, which released yesterday. Plus, read on to see how you can win a copy for yourself!

Rebecca: Cheryl, you’ve authored several wonderful books for Biggest Loser so far and I was personally a big fan of Biggest Loser Simple Swaps, what makes The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You different than other books?

Cheryl: There are many books on the market catering to dieting and weight loss. One of the distinctions of The Biggest Loser eating plan is that the quality of the calories is as important as the quantity. Our eating plan has evolved since we began 10 seasons ago, and I’m happy to say that it’s continually improved in terms of including less and less processed food choices.

You won’t find any artificial sweeteners in the Ranch kitchen these days – no fat-free whipped toppings, etc. It’s all about whole foods/whole grains, lots of lean protein and good fats. The recipes in the new book reflect that. The other distinction is that this book includes 6 weeks of menu plans. It’s easy to tell/teach people which foods to choose, but it’s not so easy to put it into practice, especially when you’re busy, as most of us are. We’ve made it easy for you by providing 6 complete weeks of menus and recipes to help you with meal planning as well as shopping.

Rebecca: Wow, Cheryl! It’s like having you for a personal chef for 6 weeks! I see a huge value in that. I agree that it is about the quality of the foods you eat most of the time. I’m sure readers will be excited to know that the book will emphasize high quality whole foods.

I think a lot of people who are fans of the show watch and get inspired, but sometimes may feel like they won’t be as successful as contestants. How does this book help fans on the show with their weight loss journey?

Cheryl: You’re right, people sometimes hope for dramatic results as seen on the show. Though this IS a reality show, it’s NOT realistic to expect similar results at home. The contestants are sequestered away from their families, friends, jobs, school, etc. Their FULL TIME job is losing weight. They have the luxury of time, personal trainers, fabulous food, a registered dietitian, and our occasional guest chef, Curtis Stone, helps provide cooking instruction (as do I when I’m at Ranch for my assessments). This book reminds readers that a slower, more gradual weight loss is perfectly fine and not to expect the same results as what they see on the show.

Rebecca: That’s a good point. Viewers can get the book with the confidence that the meal plans are similar to the show and realistic for healthy weight loss, but they should not feel obligated to focus on nutrition and exercise full time. Slow and steady progress will still get them to their goal.

Is there something special about 6 Weeks to a Healthier You? Why not four or eight weeks?

Cheryl: Most books that provide menu plans may give you a week, 2 weeks, 10 days or a month! Six weeks is really an added dose not only of more menus to help you find your groove to stick with it, but each week also provides additional health tips and info. Overall, 6 Weeks to a Healthier You focuses on nutrient-dense high quality foods – but we also share the health benefits that these ingredients confer to make your choices and the recipes, even more seductive

Rebecca: Ohhhh…. seductive! I like that. I don’t know why people sometimes think eating healthy is boring! I also like that you give the education in weekly “bits” so they don’t have to take on too much, too fast.

As a successful chef and Biggest Loser nutritionist, what words of wisdom do you have for anyone who is struggling with healthy lifestyle changes?

Cheryl: Most people have fallen into an unhealthy rut over time, not overnight. Don’t place high expectations on yourself to reach your goals overnight either. Start with small approachable steps and build week by week. There’s less chance you’ll get overwhelmed and more chance that you’ll see slow, steady results making this plan seductive
and easy to stick with.

Rebecca: Excellent advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and best wishes with this book and The Biggest Loser!

2010 Dietary Guidelines Summary Released!

It’s big news for nutrition. We may have new advice for eating healthy… and you can give your 2 cents, if you feel so inclined. Every five years the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated to reflect the latest knowledge in science and research. The Guidelines are used for government nutrition initiatives, programs and education, as well as by dietitians and health professionals to help educate people about eating healthier.

Dietary Guidelines (DG) Advisory Committee released their Executive summary on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010. The full report can be found here and is currently open for public comments. (that’s you, the public…let your voice be heard and comment on the Executive Summary).

The Committee has used a state-of-the-art, web-based electronic system and methodology, known as the Nutrition Evidence Library, to answer the majority of the scientific questions it posed, about specific nutrients and foods.

What’s New in 2010?

The 2010 Guidelines are different from previous reports in that this one addresses an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet under-nourished in several key nutrients. (It may sound strange, but it is possible to be overweight and under nourished at the same time.)

This DG also focuses more on children because primary prevention of obesity must begin in childhood. They say this is the single most powerful public health approach to combating and reversing America’s obesity epidemic over the long term.
To reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity in our country they recommend that we:

  • Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.
  • Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and intake of refined grains.Daily sodium intake be 1,500 mg, (down from 2,300mg in the 2005 recommendations).
  • Eliminate Trans-fatty acids from the diet, and seeking to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
  • Increase physical activity: adults should get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, or 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, or a combination of the two types. Kids and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous physical activity each day.

While I strongly support these recommendations, there are several things that must be changed about our  Food environment so that eating healthy is easy, accessible and affordable. Hopefully our government will launch initiatives that seek to improve the following points:

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.
  • Increase comprehensive health, nutrition, and physical education programs and curricula in US schools and preschools, including food preparation, food safety, cooking, and physical education classes and improved quality of recess.
  • For all Americans, especially those with low income, create greater financial incentives to purchase, prepare, and consume vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seafood, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, and other healthy foods.
  • Improve the availability of affordable fresh produce through greater access to grocery stores, produce trucks, and farmers’ markets.
  • Increase environmentally sustainable production of vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Encourage restaurants and the food industry to offer health-promoting foods that are low in sodium; limited in added sugars, refined grains, and solid fats; and served in smaller portions.

With over two thirds of our population either overweight or obese, this has a huge impact on the healthcare system, and our entire nation. On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium. Added Sugar and Fat contribute approximately 35 percent of calories to the American diet. (these are just empty calories) The current US Food environment is loaded with excess sodium, sugar, fat and refined grains, making it harder for the average consumer to eat healthy. We have to seek out healthy foods and do some detective work when eating out.

This summary is now open for public comments-so what do you have to say? Tell me here or submit your comment to the committee here! You can also read what others are saying here. Will changing the recommendations help make American healthier or do we first need to change the entire food environment?

D.C. 2nd Largest Cause of Preventable Death: Poor Eating and Physical Inactivity

Hot off the press. If you live in D.C. and want to know what to do to avoid death, here it is: stop smoking, eat healthier, and exercise. Tobacco and Poor Diet/Physical Inactivity are the top two preventable causes of death in Washington, D.C.  While I can’t help with the smoking cessation, I am all about helping you make easy changes to better wellness.

Work with me if you want to eat healthier (or cleaner, greener, safer), find ways of eating healthy on a budget, prepare healthy foods without much cooking (what I call “assembling” meals), lose weight (although I’ll warn you I won’t put you on a miserable diet). I do everything from grocery store tours, meal planning and problem-solving, and behavior change through intuitive eating.

Find out more at www.elitenutritiondc.com

News Release for Immediate Release
February 23, 2010

District Releases First Ever Preventable Causes of Death Report

Washington, DC – As part of the District of Columbia Department of Health’s (DOH) ongoing efforts to improve the health and quality of life of District residents, DOH released the first report that outlines the top preventable causes of death for the District.  Preventable Risk Factors Attributed to Preventable Causes of Death in the District of Columbia, 2007 (The Report) uses formulas, previously applied only to national and state data, to local health data for District residents.  The District is the first city and third state level jurisdiction to put together a preventable cause of death report based on residential data.  The preventable causes of death outlined in The Report made up 49.5% of all deaths in the District in 2007.

“Information like this is the key to residents making smart decisions about their health,” said District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “This report illustrates clearly how much we have to do to help people live healthier lives, because the choices we make can have serious impact on our health.”

Top Preventable Causes of Death in the District of Columbia in 2007 and Percent of Overall Deaths
1.       Tobacco – 16.6%
2.       Poor diet and physical inactivity – 15.1%
3.       Microbial (infectious) agents – 4.6%
4.       Alcohol consumption – 2.9%
5.       Firearms – 2.7%
6.       Medical errors – 2.7%
7.       Toxic agents – 2.1%
8.       Sexual behavior – 0.8%
9.       Illicit drugs – 0.8%
10.   Motor vehicles – 0.6%
11.   Uninsurance – 0.6%

By directly linking residents’ common behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet and inactivity, to the high rates of premature death that they cause, DOH hopes to help government agencies, policy-makers, and business partners understand where they can play an effective and active role in improving the lives of District residents.  The Report will also show residents that even small changes in daily activities and behavior can make a major difference in how they feel, and how long they will live.  For example, the top cause of death for District residents is heart disease followed by cancer; the top preventable cause of death for the District is tobacco use, a behavior closely linked to the development of both heart disease and cancer.

“This Report is for lay people, policy-makers, and health practitioners to use as they work to improve their own health, and the health of those that they serve.  Knowing that these causes of death are preventable should be particularly empowering, because knowing that we can take actions to reduce the burden of a disease can give us all hope, ” said DOH Director Dr. Pierre Vigilance “We encourage people to use this report to impact health at the individual, community, and institutional levels, and to make decisions that improve our collective health and wellness.”

The Report is one part of the District’s Live Well DC program.  Live Well DC is an interagency effort led by the DOH to create a holistic approach to health and wellness for the District.  Live Well DC works to target individual behaviors that result in poor health outcomes by creating a culture of wellness that facilitates healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes across the District.  DOH will continue to release data and information through reports and public education campaigns throughout 2010 as part of Live Well DC.  To read The Report in its entirety, visit http://www.doh.dc.gov.

The Price of Misinformation in the Media

Misinformation in the media can be dangerous. It breeds confusion, frustration, and even fear.

Just last week I posted some tips for spotting nutrition misinformation on the internet.  Little did I know there would be two national media outlets in print and television (Time and Good Morning America) that would produce misleading stories in nutrition and exercise with potentially damaging effects.

It’s one thing when people hear new information and share it with others (there’s a reason they call it a “rumormill” and “myths”), but when the media are behind the misinformation it helps no one. People trust the media and they assume that the stories are well-researched. But that’s not always the case in this day and age of a small news hole and the fierce competition to stand out with breaking news. The pressure for ratings is higher than ever and staying relevant in the land of Twitter and the Blogosphere is a challenge for mainstream media. But when it comes to nutrition and exercise misinformation, consumers pay the price.

I’m going to point out these two examples of misinformation and give you some resources that will help you see the media through a different lens. The bottom line is this: Don’t believe everything you read and see. If something looks interesting, do your homework. You may not be getting the whole picture or you may have been an accidental victim of the “time crunch” in news.

ACSM vs Time Magazine

time-magazine-august-17Time published a cover story that claimed “The Myth of Exercise: Fueling hunger, not weight loss” and the blogosphere picked it up. I got a Tweet from USAtoday health that shared the ACSM press release that refuted the claims and even had the expert interviewed in the Time article claiming that they misrepresented his position and ideas. When I saw this I was really shocked that such an absurd claim would be reported in Time magazine so I blogged about it over at Diets in Review.

If you believe the article then, you’d believe: Losing weight matters more than being aerobically fit in preventing heart disease; One can’t lose weight from exercise because exercise makes you hungrier – and willpower can’t conquer the hunger enough to make good food choices; Exercising 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week in order to lose weight (a recommendation from an ACSM Position Stand) is unrealistic; Leisure-time physical activity – just moving around more during the day – is more effective for weight loss than dedicated exercise; Vigorous exercise depletes energy resources so much that it leads to overeating – i.e., weight gain

But the reality is the science tells a totally different story: There is strong evidence from the majority of the scientific literature that physical activity is an important component of an effective weight loss program; Physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in weight maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes. In fact, participation in an exercise program has proven to be the very best predictor of maintaining weight that was lost; Effective weight loss and maintenance depend on a simple equation called energy balance: Calories expended through physical activity and normal lifestyle functions must exceed calories consumed; It is a myth that exercise can actually prevent weight loss by leading exercisers to overeat. Research and common sense disprove this notion. Look around the gym or the jogging trail. If this were the case, wouldn’t those who regularly exercise be the fattest?

Jim Whitehead, Executive Vice President of ACSM, offered the following analysis of the issue:

“The cover story of Time addresses critical and at times complex issues about physical activity, diet, and weight. Time brings needed focus to the importance of our behaviors and lifestyles — especially physical activity and diet — not only for weight but also for our overall health. The article would benefit even more from some helpful refinement, in that it includes occasional misunderstandings of the scientific and public health evidence about these matters, and at times draws more on personal experience and viewpoint. Last October, for example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. That historic report powerfully demonstrated that physical activity lowers the risks of early death, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and much more. The bottom line is this: Very few people are able to maintain a healthy weight without regular physical activity and those who do are still at high risk of chronic disease due to being sedentary.

Good Morning America Mislabels Guest as a “Nutritionist”

gma_logo_medWhen a television program doesn’t do background and fact checking for nutrition experts, it hits a little close to home. Especially since there are SO MANY amazing nutrition experts out there! (I give a list at the end of this post). The danger in this is that they give a huge platform (national reach then embed in YouTube so it is global) to someone who may not have any real training in nutrition. Appearing on the show gives a person with no credibility recognition they don’t deserve and can persuade people to make a dangerous health decision.

Here’s a link to the segment. The main things I’d challenge as a nutrition expert is that 100% fruit snack makes kids “moody”, that peanut butter is “loaded” with sugar (natural pb has none, others have a small amount. hey, I’m a fan of almond butter, but don’t throw pb under the bus!). That diet sodas spike blood sugar (there is no sugar to spike. I’m not saying drink diet soda and I love watermelon, but again don’t mislead people to get your message out.) That fruit at night is discouraged because it “pushes” other food.

I do want to point out this particular “expert guest”, who is actually a model and skincare salesperson, actually spreads misinformation about RDs on her blog. Make sure you look at the links to the RDs below and tell me if they fit this narrow, demeaning, and offensive description:

Trained dietitians primarily focus on meal planning and are hired by hospitals and occasionally other institutions. Nutrition is a “whole body” approach, in which meal planning is only one small part. Nutritionists are trained by individualize and recommend broader and long-term nutritional programs. Individuals preferring progressive help usually seek the advice of nutritionists rather than dietitians.

Bottom line: ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist. You can. Your grandma can. President Obama can.

When a person calls themselves a nutritionist with no formal or accredited training and spreads misinformation on television, everybody loses. This is not a rare event. In fact, it is so prevalent that Professor Gary  Schwitzer started an initiative to review and rate the accuracy of news stories about health news.

HealthNewsReview.org is a website dedicated to:
• Improving the accuracy of news stories about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures.
• Helping consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care.

We support and encourage the ABCs of health journalism.
• Accuracy
• Balance
• Completeness

I have to note that since June 2008 (yes a whole year!) GMA segments received mostly 0-2 stars and had only one 3-star rating out of a possible 5 stars!

Gary  Schwitzer isn’t the only one working to combat health misinformation in the media. Ben Goldcare, MD and writer for The Guardian is an award-winning medical journalist has a book and blog called “Bad Science”, in which he exposes shabby health “news”. Check out his posts on uncredentialed nutritionists and Gillian McKeith in particular.

If you want a quick belly laugh at the parody of “lifestyle nutritionists” then be sure to visit the Science Based Medicine blog. But then after your laugh, think seriously about the potential damage the media can do when they recognize non-experts as experts. There’s just no excuse for it. No matter the time crunch. Do your homework, check your expert. Consumers deserve it.

Nutrition Experts to Watch

This list is by no means comprehensive, please feel free to share your own favorite nutrition expert. But I had to at least highlight some of the amazing work nutrition experts are doing — and all but one on my list is a registered dietitian.

Ellie Krieger, James Beard Award winner for Foods You Crave, Food Network chef “Healthy Appetite”

Cheryl Forberg, James Beard Award winning author, Biggest Loser dietitian

Mitzi Dulan, Pro Athlete / Team Sports Dietitian, Co-Author of the new book All-Pro diet with Tony Gonzalez.

Kate Gaegan, America’s Green Nutritionist, Author of Go Green and Get Lean great review here by another stellar dietitian Janet Helm at Nutrition Unplugged.

Dave Grotto, Author 101 Foods that Can Save Your Life

Nutrition Twins Tammy and Lyssie on ABC health

Dana Angelo White with Healthy Eats blog (Food Network) on ABC news

Marion Nestle, PhD. Professor and Author of Food Politics, What to Eat, Safe Food If food policy is your thing, she’s your expert.


I guess I’ll close with an invitation for dialogue… what stood out to you most about this post, about the issue, do you have ideas for solutions? Did I miss something? I look forward to the conversation.

In health,

Rebecca (a proud RD, ACSM health fitness specialist — certified and credentialed nutrition and exercise expert)

Video Parody of Nutrition Posers

I love this video from the Science Based Medicine website. It shows how people who call themselves nutritionists without real training really have no idea what they are doing. I will definitely use it in presentations to drive home the point that registered dietitians (RDs) are the nutrition experts.

Do you have a story about a visit with a person claiming to be a nutrition expert that left you confused and questioning their credibility?

I have had countless patients with similar “well the last nutritionist I talked to told me to… [fill in the blank]… and it was not realistic for me.

Social Media Insights for Dietitians

Hi, I’m Rebecca Scritchfield and I’m a dietitian. I’m also a reformed IT professional. Couple that with a master’s degree in communications from Johns Hopkins University and it starts to make sense why I’m writing this post on opportunities for dietitians in social medial.                                                                                 

I recently presented at the Delaware Dietetic Association meeting on social media in Wilmington, Delaware. My task? Educate dietitians on the opportunities with social media and inspire them to take action – in one hour!


It was a crash course in simplification! Lucky for me, I recently read Nancy Duarte’s book Slideology, which offered great tips on getting your point across with few words and pictures.


So I went with it and used mostly images to describe social networking and the logos from the popular social media tools to help guide my presentation. I decided that the best way I can “explain” the benefits of social media is by providing live demos of the tools in action – a very important piece because everyone had a chance to learn by “doing” and could discover themselves that there’s nothing too scary about social media.


After laying the groundwork on social media characteristics, I made my case that the ultimate benefit of social media is “POWER”. I took them on a journey starting with conversations and relationships and how this ultimately leads to influence and power. (Props to my Hopkins Prof. Nicco Mele and all the wonderful texts he made me read.)


After looking at it from a 30,000 foot view, I thought it would be fun to include an interactive game. I couldn’t think of a catchy name so I just called it “WIIFD” – what’s in it for dietitians. I randomly asked audience members to describe a job task and I would try to brainstorm an example of how they can use social media to their advantage. It’s always a risk to do something like this… could they stump me?


Some of the ideas I gave them for using social media include:

Network – make new (virtual) connections

Grow a business (consulting, counseling…)

Sell more products

Land interviews

Save time


Discover… and be discovered!


I then went through the following social media tools by discussing the “lingo”, the benefits, live demo, and tips for getting started. For example, “blogging may be for you if…” Here’s what we covered:

  • Blogs
    • WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad
  • Microblogs
    • Twitter (the almighty, these days)
  • Social Networks
    • Facebook
    • Linked In
    • MeetUp
  • Social Media Tools
    • Podcasts
    • Vlogs/video
    • RSS
    • Flickr
    • You Tube

I could not talk about social networking without talking about socialNOTworking… so I discussed how dietitians can make it work for them… bottom line… integration!

 I reviewed how they can use WordPress and Woo to make their own website with a blog. They can link their tweets to their facebook status or use Tweet Deck as a way to keep up with their social circles.

 I spent some time discussing some “hot” opportunities that they missed out on such as the RD Blogfest and recent online newspaper coverage.

An open letter to Nick Langewis at The Raw Story

Mr. Langewis -

I just read your article about proposed legislation in Mississippi for restaurants to turn away obese customers. It is unfortunate that you have such a misunderstanding of the role of a dietitian. Contrary to what you would have people believe after reading your article, dietitians aim to FEED people, not KEEP PEOPLE FROM FOOD as you imply by your use of the word dietitian in this context.

State: Big Dietitian is watching you

02/02/2008 @ 12:59 pm

Filed by Nick Langewis

A bill recently introduced in Mississippi’s state legislature would bar restaurants from serving people determined to be obese.

House Bill 282 aims to require dining establishments with seating capacity of five or more to follow guidelines set by the state’s health department to determine a prospective customer’s obesity, turning away those considered too fat to serve.

For your benefit, here is the definition of “dietitian”.

Dietitian: According to the US Department of Labor, Dictionary of Occupational Titles, one who applies the principles of nutrition to the feeding of individuals and groups; plans menus and special diets; supervises the preparation and serving of meals; instructs in the principles of nutrition as applied to selection of foods.

As you know, accuracy in the media is extremely important. The negative implications of your poor word choice is evidenced in this reader comment:

So will they have a dietian who makes you stand in line and be sure you are buying only what they consider healthly foods. And if you dare have a pie or cake they make you put it back.

How about a scale, if you are over 250 lbs you can’t come in the store.

If these lawmakers are not voted out in the next election, the people of Mississippi deserve what they get.

On behalf of dietitians worldwide, I urge you to use the word correctly so you don’t contribute to confusion about the role of professional dietitians in society.

Rebecca Scritchfield,  (proud) dietetic intern and future dietitian. I won’t take your hamburger away – and that’s a promise!


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