One of the best parts of being a dietitian is that being a foodie is almost required for the job. I love food, and most of the dietitians, and future dietitians, that I know also love food. Many of our blogs are food related, and our annual conference is the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE).
However, because of my profession as a registered dietitian, I am under the microscope every time I open my mouth to put something in it. I’m pretty sure that I am not being paranoid, because people tell me they are watching me. Here are some examples:
- “I saw you walking out of such-and-such restaurant yesterday. So, is that a healthy place to eat?”
- “Can I take a picture of you eating?”
- “You mean you eat MEAT?”
- “You are eating that cake?”
- “You drink diet soda? Don’t you know that is bad for you?”
- “Is that organic?”
- “Of course you are eating an apple.”
- “You don’t drink red wine? So, you don’t drink?”
- “We have veggie burgers.”
- “We have healthy stuff because you are here.”
Can you imagine what my reputation would be like if I said such things to people? Of course people also tell me: “I’m not eating my lunch in front of you,” “Oh, I don’t eat like this all the time,” and “I don’t eat at McDonald’s.” Most of the time, I’m not looking at your lunch or what you are eating. I’m focused on my own food.
I find the people assume things about me that are mostly untrue. So, here are the facts:
- I eat at restaurants on occasion, even McDonald’s. I choose healthier options most of the time. Sometimes I don’t.
- I eat several times a day. It isn’t so rare that it needs photographing.
- I eat meat and sometimes it is organic, sometimes it isn’t.
- I eat cake, cookies and pies. Sometimes I have more than one cookie at a time. I also eat brownies, fudge and candy. I don’t eat it every day.
- I drink diet soda. I do this to save calories so I can have cake, cookies or pies.
- Not everything I eat is organic. I’m pretty sure something else will kill me.
- I generally have an apple every day. I also eat other fruits and vegetables. So should everyone else.
- I choose not to drink red wine, but I do drink alcohol. Yes, I do know that red wine “is good for you.”
- I prefer a “regular” burger thank you – no cheese. I didn’t like cheeseburgers as a kid; it has (almost) nothing to do with being a dietitian.
- Please don’t have healthy food because of me. Do it for you.
So, if you meet a dietitian, treat them just like you would anyone else. Most of us prefer it.