Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nutrition Confessions from a Dietitian

After writing my post the other day, I feel like I have a few nutrition confessions to make. These have weighed on me for some time because people have this perceived notion of dietitians even though we all have different specialties, different food likes and dislikes and very different food habits. So, here goes....my nutrition confessions revealed....

1) I'm a little afraid to try new foods. I am convinced this is a genetic trait as my mom still tells stories about how, at age 4, I picked bacon apart because I hated the "white stuff" and when I was a little older I sat at the table for hours because I wasn't about to put one single pea in my mouth. I've gotten better as an adult but even then, I struggle with the noted sliminess of oysters and mystery food like Cajun Boudin.

2) I don't like red meat. It was my freshman year of college and I had hit a record for fast food joints and all-you-can-eat buffets while on road trips with my college soccer and softball teams. One day after a particularly bad road trip where I didn't play and we lost, I decided, in a rather defiant mood, that I was done with red meat. That McDonald's hamburger was my last. I never liked the taste of red meat, the smell of steak reminds me of an ex-boyfriend whose table manners are trumped by 3 year olds and, I can find my protein, iron, zinc, creatine and B vitamins elsewhere.

3) I am not a foodie. *Gasp* I know, I've heard it before. I'm not totally sure what a foodie is but I imagine it to be the person who thinks about food throughout the day, reads cookbooks for entertainment and can't wait for their next gourmet meal. And, that isn't me. I am, however, fascinated with food as medicine and how food can fuel better performance, mentally and physically. And, I do enjoy the taste of various dishes. But, if you take me to a foreign country, you are more likely to find me wandering around taking in the sights then sitting at a restaurant for hours.

And, despite not being a foodie, I can cook just about anything (and will even cook red meat) and I'm one heck of a baker (or at least I like to think so) because my mom taught all of us how to cook when we were young and by 11 I had free range of the kitchen. Like a chemist in action I'd mix together ingredients, pop them in the oven and wait eagerly for my parents approval of my concoction. As a young teenager I made cinnamon swirl bread from scratch, multi-layered cakes, and infamous fat free muffins that had the consistency of a doorstop. And apparently, I passed my creativity on to my 5 year old niece who helped herself to the cabinets last night and found a strawberry cereal bar which she topped with cake icing and sprinkles. Absolutely brilliant! That's one I never thought of as a child but I see a future baker in the making....

4) I don't care what people eat. Okay, I care if you are a client or family member. But, unlike a dietitian friend of mine who slapped my wrist when I reached for dessert or my uncle who flipped out when I salted my food in front of him, I'm not going to shame you, comment or even pay attention. Eat whatever you'd like. Just don't make silly comments like "oh this is going straight to my hips" or (as overheard in a restaurant) "I really want your corn muffins but I'm trying to avoid carbohydrates, but they are really good, but..." or "I'm eating salad for a week straight after today". Please, for the sake of the people you are dining with, leave your shame and guilt behind and enjoy what you are eating.

So there you have it, I've confessed all of my dietitian sins. I'll cook or bake whatever you'd like but might not try a dish you made (don't be offended) and don't expect me to pay attention or comment on what you are eating. I'm off duty when I'm dining out :)

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