I’m sick of people judging me and my profession. There is no such thing as the food police.
You ignorant You unknowing judgmental people. Do you know how annoying it is to hear the same boring, (insulting even!) stupid joke every time I tell someone what it is I majored in?
Oh, so what are you studying?
Me (already knowing what is coming):
………..uhh…….. (trying to decide if I want to answer or change the topic of conversation)
………(deciding this person might be different. Telling myself I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit what I’m pursuing)
OoOoH! DoN’t LoOk aT Me! YoU GoNnA PuT mE oN A dIeT??? UhhhHhhHhFbnZS: VBHI
(sorry, got a little frustrated there.)
Now that I am a registered dietitian it’s even worse. The general public doesn’t really know what my profession even is. If you’ve ever asked a doctor for nutrition advice. Yeah. I hope you know my profession exists. Let me explain. I am not a doctor. I am not a random person selling you the next “superfood” on the internet. I am a component of allied health. Think of other professionals in the medical realm that are not doctors. Think physical therapists, speech language pathologists, dental hygienists, etc. Yes, like that. I am an expert in my topic and though doctors know a little bit about my area of expertise, just like they probably know the basics of many other areas of allied health, that is not their area of expertise. Doctors already have so much on their plate. There is so much just in the realm of medicine before going to areas that overlap it like allied health fields.
Ugh. I don’t know why I’m even writing this. I’m just frustrated after meeting someone who was very openly judgmental and who heavily stereotyped my profession. This person had the nerve to say (in nicer sounding words, of course) that today’s consumer doesn’t need someone to teach them about nutrition. That if they want to know anything they can just google it.
Health Information on the Internet is like Learning to Play the Piano through the Internet
Yeah, and I can get on the internet and find 70 reasons why I have some form of fatal disease within two minutes! Yes, I agree that the information is out there nowadays. But I don’t even kid myself into thinking that I am going to be able to understand every topic I choose. It’s like all those piano tutorials I see online. Some are broken down and it’s just a matter of monkey see, monkey do. No background knowledge needed. Just press down on the same keys on the keyboard as shown on the screen. Other piano tutorials also have the sheet music to follow along with. More detailed knowledge that is useful if you can understand it (in this case if you can read sheet music). If you don’t know the names of notes or what an octave is etc. that probably isn’t very useful to you. Also, there’s some sheet music that isn’t as readily accessible to the public. Unless you pay for it or are a member of some sheet music site.
You follow? There’s information out there for consumers. Medical, nutritional, and other topics that are written in a way that requires the least amount of that background information so that the most amount of people can understand it. Then there’s more detailed stuff with more complicated terms and ideas that build upon each other that is out there for people who have some of that background knowledge and want to learn beyond it. Yes, that’s great! I love that information is more accessible nowadays. The thing is that since everyone is free to put things on the internet there are also sources that aren’t as trustworthy. Information that a person can put online that is more opinion than science, or science that hasn’t been thoughtfully deemed as safe or proven to do as claimed.
It’s not to say that the average person has no internet smarts in how to discern a reputable source from one that isn’t, but it is an added obstacle. Also, just like there are pieces of music that you have to pay for or are otherwise inaccesible for the general public, there are sources of nutrition, medical, etc. information that aren’t as accessible. I’m talking about scientific studies. A lot are also public, but tell me how many people in the general public are reading scientific journals and articles for one little thing you are curious about? My saying this is not a superiority thing. You can be an expert in something you didn’t formally study. However! I would trust my pharmacist to know where to find and how to interpret the latest information about a certain medicine etc. just as I trust a dietitian to find and interpret nutrition information.
“Healthy” is Different for Everyone
That being said. Nutrition isn’t one size fits all. I understand that! Healthy for you isn’t the same as healthy for your neighbor, or even your siblings! And that’s okay! It’s not my job to fit everyone into a mold of what I believe healthy is! There are no set food laws! If I see you eating a donut, I’m not going to go full SWAT on you and jump kick it out of your mouth! That’s ridiculous! I firmly believe what the campus dietitian at my university said when she came to speak at one of my nutrition classes. “there are no bad foods, just better foods.”
All this to say, please be open minded. Just because you think something of someone based on how they look, what their professional title is, whatever it may be, go beyond your judgement and ask questions. Even if you already have an opinion on the topic. Ask. Opinions change. Or they don’t. And if you are set in your thoughts, what’s the harm in having more information?
Dietitians versus Nutritionists
That assumption is the reason registered dietitians are now able to use the title of registered dietitian (RD) as well as registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Because it has been the experience within the profession that people are more comfortable with the term nutritionist than dietitian. Diets have become this fad, cultural thing that people view as negative, so the term dietitian has become negative by association in many people’s eyes.
You know what though? Nutritionist doesn’t mean anything. Legally, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Even if you majored in math or if you don’t have a degree. There is no legal basis for the title nutritionist. Heck! Even my 4 year old niece could call herself a nutritionist! It’s legally allowed, even though this causes more confusion. Just remember, registered dietitian nutritionist, yes, formal education, a year or more of hands on practice (internship) and a credentialing exam. Nutritionist, who knows?! Just nutritionist by itself doesn’t mean anything.
Yeah. Today was frustrating. I know this was
a little a lot rant-y. I hope however many made it to the end learned something though and it wasn’t just me screaming into the void. Thanks for sticking by this whole…. erm, whatever this post was. 😬
Picture is from Pexel’s Free Photo Library