Why I chose to be a dietitian.

I’ve had more than a few people ask me what inspired me to become a dietitian. These individuals often think that it’s because I used to work for McDonald’s Corporation and the food they serve drove me away. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I enjoyed working there. And I like the food. The main reason that I left my job at McDonald’s was that as I found myself in my mid-forties I wanted to do something different. I chose to follow a life-long passion.

For most of my adult life I have been keenly interested in eating for health. I stopped eating red meat while in my teens and none has passed through my lips going on 36 years. I don’t even remember what it tastes like. And much to my carnivore husband’s chagrin, I don’t know how to cook it well. How do I benefit from not eating red meat? Better heart health, for one. And since heart disease runs rampant in my family, this is a very good thing.

Through the years I have certainly eaten meals at a variety of fast food restaurants. Since my teens, none of these meals have included a hamburger. I’ve enjoyed many a grilled chicken sandwich (sans mayo), side salads and apple slices. I’ve had quite a few turkey burgers, yogurt parfaits and even low-fat ice cream cones. Does that mean that you red meat eaters can’t have a hamburger as part of a healthy diet? Of course not. A single patty burger with lettuce, tomato, onion (if you like) and preferably no mayo is certainly a decent sandwich, although I’d like to see more grilled chicken than red meat in general. Are fried foods off the table for good? I say no. But, I’d consider them an every now-and-then, not the go-to, side.

I teach and counsel thousands of patients each year and helping them is so rewarding. Being able to aid someone make whatever changes they want — or need — to make is very fulfilling. I found my niche and look forward to continuing to spread the word of how to eat for life.

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