WHAT: As you will be able to read on the website connected to this blog site, I am a Registered Dietitian working out of Dr. Nounou’s cardiology office in Lapeer, MI (Heart and Vascular institute of Michigan). I am interested in helping people through small lifestyle changes over time, which amounts to achieving overall health-related goals! My main focus is to enhance overall nutrition and in turn prevent and decrease disease symptoms. As a dietitian, I have worked with many different types of health ailments including and not limited to heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, weight loss, bowel/digestive issues, gluten intolerance, food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, the effects of stress, imbalanced hormones such as thyroid issues, autoimmune diseases, exercise nutrition needs, etc.
WHERE: Eastern Michigan University is where I earned my degree and through them have completed multiple internships in various areas of nutrition services. Though college does prep you for certain areas of work-life such as the more technical aspects of learning about lab values and food/drug interactions- working with patients in the real world is much different. The end result of college sometimes boils down to getting that piece of paper (being your degree). The degree can be seen as something that more-so just opens doors as oppose to completely preparing you with functional information that you will use on a daily basis. I’d say most information I’ve learned that has proven to be the largest help when meeting with patients is from proven books and sites consisting more of a ‘functional’ and ‘holistic’ mind-set. This truly is one of the main points behind college as well- (to be a spring board for you to continue your studies). I have also learned plenty from previous jobs and the real and practical experience of meeting with patient’s day in and day out.
MY VALUES: When working with patients in the real world, there is much more that I will apply to helping them (than what merely reading a text-book can supply) including the support/accountability they sometimes so desperately need as well as more quality nutrition information. A lot of how you learn to help a patient in college is based on a pre-designated system that is discouraged from deviating from (which completely defeats the purpose of being a health practitioner in the first place). Just take a look at the typical kinds of food offered in hospitals/nursing homes- places where most people are definitely not thriving and are instead, usually the ones most in need of whole-some natural foods.
When seeing patient’s on a daily basis, you come to realize that each person is very different, but also very much so the same. By that, I mean that each patient has very different health concerns they have been dealing with but at the same time, these health concerns can usually be tied to the same factor- lack of whole, real, nutritious foods. Most of us have veered rather drastically from what our bodies are genetically meant to consume. The types of diets recommended in places like hospitals and nursing homes many times include the ‘junk’ side of foods such as the desserts, but limit the much needed aspects such as healthy fats and natural salts. Although not very health promoting, diets like these are routinely prescribed. (If you’d like to further read about how passionate I am about healthy fats, check out the ‘All about Fats’ and/or ‘Peanut Butter’ article also posted on this site). Certain food groups are simply needed for the body to thrive and without them- we barely survive BAM! Nailed it.
Truly helping the patient is the main goal, isn’t it? ‘First do no harm’- with that in mind, when trying to help a patient, I will pull from all information I’ve come across- not merely sticking to what my college program had outlined for me to blindly regurgitate. This sadly at times can be tied into an overall marketing agenda- such as the low-fat/low-sodium diets. I’ve even heard of skim-milk being recommended during pregnancy from a government program- which is the complete opposite of what a pregnant mom should be consuming for the sake of the baby! Most conventional facilities across the board will use these recommendations not really knowing that they aren’t healthful. Yet, the end product of teaching patients this type of information is that they continue to lead lifestyles that are unnatural for the body and unhealthy at best. The majority of patients being treated in these confines are not truly getting better- and instead usually wind up in the hospital yet another time as they are caught in the endless and detrimental cycle that we know as our current health-care system.
Our current health-care system does not focus on preventive care-services that are meant to inform, teach and help prevent the patient from getting sick in the first place. The health-care system as we know it most definitely needs to change to have any relevance to truly helping a person with their disease states. There are many simple things a person can change in their health overtime that will make a huge difference to the end result of how they are feeling on a daily basis. I personally work on trying to be part of the cure instead of being another individual unknowingly stuck in a system that just doesn’t work. Sometimes the recommendations I share are rather simple and other times it can open up a whole other world a patient hasn’t seen before.
HOW: Since my goal is and always has been how to help a patient achieve their goal in regards to health, the nutrition appointments with me usually go into a good amount of follow-up sessions (how long this goes on for is of course up to you). The first and initial appointment includes gathering the correct amount of back-ground information so that I am able to make the proper recommendations. After this, (as already mentioned), the appointments continue on into follow-up appointments- the reason being is that until a patient thoroughly understands why I am recommending what I am, there isn’t as much reason for them to ‘stick to the plan’. Patients that can attend enough appointments regularly will usually be able to digest and absorb enough quality information in order to really put that new-found information into practice as it relates to developing new and real habits. These new health-promoting habits will replace the old detrimental ones and overtime the patient will reach their goal- the whole point behind seeing a Dietitian to begin with.
Basically, most of us have been stuck in multiple kinds of unproductive habits when it comes to our health. Until we put in the time to get sufficient education, have the proper support and accountability (which can come out of working with a health professional), and work at our goal long enough to create new habits that replace the old ones, we won’t achieve the health goals we so desperately need to. These are all the things that come into play in the ideal nutrition appointment- but- the success of the appointment of course largely depends on you, the patient.