You know that time in first grade where you have the “What do I want to be when I grow up?” assignment? I answered that with “nutritionalist” (yes, fake word) and “ballerina”. I’ve figured out the terminology better (registered dietitian nutritionist), but I’d say seven year old me would be pretty pleased that her grand vision in first grade actually played out.
Why I wanted to be in nutrition at 7 years old, I don’t know. I did not grow up with hyper-healthy parents, just ones who created a normal food environment. There were home cooked dinners, there were often homemade treats and candy bowls, there was take-out. Food was never made to be an issue. I just always wanted a pear instead of a brownie. And read food labels just because. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it whatever you want, but I truly believe I was meant to do this!
I do owe a huge part of my interest in health to ballet. Yes, 7 year old me was right again, or mostly. I trained with a ballet company in Boston intensely for 15 years but ultimately decided I wanted to go to college to become a dietitian. In the ballet world, it is typically school or dancing professional and I choose school. Good thing because I ended up having hip surgery to repair a labral tear caused by years of repetitive ballet motion. Although I have since stopped dancing, a fact that often saddens me, I thank ballet and the training for instilling a strong work ethic and sense of determination in me.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a long process and involves much more than most people realize. I earned both my bachelor and master’s degrees in nutritional science in Boston, completed a 1200-hour clinical nutrition internship in a local hospital and passed a rigorous, national exam. I have to do continuing education to remain up-to-date on the ever changing world of nutrition science to maintain the credentials I worked so hard to obtain. Besides that, I basically breath all there is about nutritional science, nutrition applications to health and cooking. I’m a total nutrition nerd and I love it.