What’s been your biggest “a-ha moment” (key learning) about dietetics during your BSc (Nutrition) studies at the University of Wollongong?
“Thinking globally but acting locally” is a concept which has been firmly planted in my head and stuck with me since sitting in my community public health and nutrition lectures last year. It suddenly clicked and made sense for me to look beyond the realm of clinical dietetics, and start exploring innovative ways I can step in and help make a positive difference on the ground with a focus on community and population public health and nutrition. I have learnt that dietetics is a truly diverse and dynamic profession and we each have our own role to play, but at the same time, our scope of work is extremely multidisciplinary, so it’s important to always remain open-minded and be skilled and knowledgeable in as many different areas as possible. Through navigating and interacting within the world of social media, in both life and work, I have become naturally drawn to wanting to communicate evidence-based nutrition messages in an entertaining, engaging, creative and meaningful way – that hopefully transcends into face-to-face interactions too
Your goal is to work “in the area of paediatric nutrition & dietetics.” Where do you see yourself, professionally, in two years?
I would absolutely LOVE to work in the area of paediatric nutrition, particularly by taking on the role of inspiring our next generation to make their health and wellbeing a top priority of which both Stephanie Alexander and Jamie Oliver have paved out an exemplary and extraordinary path for me to follow. I believe that working with and educating youth about nutrition and getting involved with health promotion and chronic disease prevention initiatives from an early age is absolutely the way to go. I am still very much on a mission to figuring out exactly how I would like to do this, so in the meantime I have dived straight into studying a Master of Health Communication at The University of Sydney and am shifting my focus to find my voice and personal point of difference. Hopefully you’ll see my (social) media presence ramp up and you’ll see my name printed in various blogs and magazines too!
Your social media key differentiator is your #healthhacks. What are your top five #healthhacks?
#healthhacks are my fun way of inspiring you to adopt some top tips for making your life that little bit better.
In a nutshell, my top 5 #healthhacks are:
- Appreciate that nutrition and health is not a one-sized-fits-all thing. It’s about finding what works for YOU and not comparing yourself to your best friend or your favourite celebrity health guru. Your health journey is not a race or a competition so seeking out individualised advice from a university qualified nutrition professional is one of the best ways to help you achieve your personal goals.
- Shift the focus to looking at your dietary pattern as a whole, rather than singling-out individual nutrients and their impacts on health in isolation. We eat food, not nutrients so it’s about looking at what you eat the context of nourishing your social, mental, emotional health and wellbeing – not just your physiological state alone!
- Embrace the joy of food through adopting a more mindful, relaxed and intuitive approach to eating. Eat and prepare food together with people you love, practice in engaging with all of your senses when sitting down to enjoy a meal, and take the time to listen those internal hunger and satiety cues – all of which subconsciously help in prioritising health and wellbeing a much more pleasurable experience.
- Please, ditch the idea of labelling foods as “good” or “bad”! This mentality isn’t very helpful as ALL foods have its rightful place as part of a healthy balanced diet, of which Michael Pollan’s classic quote “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much” still rings true.
- Whatever action you take towards improving your nutrition, health and wellbeing make sure it is safe, sustainable and makes you feel good about yourself. If it something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Who do you consider to be your role models in the field of nutrition and dietetics?
This is such a difficult question to answer because I honestly believe ALL of you as APDs and fellow qualified nutritionists have something uniquely special and of value to bring to the table! There are so many wonderful game changers in the nutrition and dietetics field who I look up to and constantly inspire me. Just to name a few, I always turn to Dr Tim Crowe, Dr Rosemary Stanton, Dr Joanna McMillian, Melanie McGrice, Matthew O’Neill and Tara Leong – they are truly a bunch of incredibly humble and trustworthy leaders at the forefront of the nutrition communications and media space. I’m glad there are so many budding foodies and health enthusiasts in the biz too such as Lyndi Cohen (‘The Nude Nutritionist’), Rebecca Gawthorne (‘Nourish Naturally’) and Stephanie Patridge (‘The Behaviour Beet’) who have absolutely gorgeous Instagram accounts, who really demonstrate that a photograph can really speak more than a thousand words about health and nutrition!
Your travels have taken you around the world. What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten, on any continent?
From indulging in traditional Parisian crepes to tucking into a vibrant veggie noodle stir-fry in city streets of Bangkok, each country and city I have visited has served up its own special cultural delights and flavours. On a recent cruise around Europe, one of the most personally memorable meals I have enjoyed was sharing a lovely yet simple fresh seafood platter with my family overlooking the sparkling picturesque city harbour in Dubrovnik Croatia soaking up the summer sunshine and extra virgin olive oil really living up the Mediterranean life!