A fun, informative interview with one of the most popular nutrition professionals in the country. Read on for insights into becoming an RD and must-know nutrition tips!
Today marks the start of a something new and different on the blog! As someone who works in the health and wellness field, I have the opportunity to connect with some amazing industry professionals. Everyone from fellow PT’s and nutrition coaches to health food chefs and dietitians. It’s incredible the wide range of people with different professions in the same field that you’ll meet over the years.
I wanted to start highlighting some of these nutrition and fitness experts in a series of interviews on the blog in the coming months. Today is the first interview in this series and I am so excited for you to get to know my good friend Bonnie! Here’s a bit about Bonnie to kick things off…
Bonnie Taub-Dix MA,RDN,CDN is the award-winning author of, Read It Before You Eat It. In addition, she is a media personality, spokesperson, motivational speaker, journalist, mother of 3 sons, and grandma to the sweetest little boy ever! She has a passion for food and loves guiding her clients (and the public) along their journeys to healthy living. Bonnie is the Director and Owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC, with offices on Long Island and in New York City. She also runs the blog, BetterThanDieting.
Read on to get to know Bonnie on a a more personal level as well as learn some important nutrition information!
What made you decide to become a Registered Dietitian?
I grew up overweight and with awful eating habits. When I was a teenager I finally decided that I wanted to ditch my negative self-image and take better care of myself. I wound up losing weight by and finding myself. When I went to college orientation, my plan was to major in psychology and minor in art but those plans got sidetracked when I was offered to transfer schools and major in nutrition and dietetics. Of course at that time, I had no idea what “dietetics” was, but since that diet changed my life, I had a feeling that profession was going to become a passion.
You are a registered dietitian nutritionist. What’s the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist? What does it mean to be both? And what does it mean to be registered?
Check out this article I contributed to for Women’s Health where I explain the differences!
What services do you offer your clients as an RD?
For me, no two days are alike! Here’s a taste of some of the work I do:
- I consult with global companies and brands to help them communicate in a language their audiences would understand through stories, presentations, social media posts, Satellite Media Tours, and advice about their profiles of products.
- I write for top-tier magazines and websites
- I counsel clients of all ages
- I create recipes and blogs for clients
- I write my weekly BetterThanDieting news digest
- I write my BetterThanDieting blog and spend LOTS of time on my social platforms (especially Instagram @bonnietaubdix)!
What is a common nutrition myth that you love to dispel for your client?
You don’t have to feel hungry or deprived to take care of yourself or to lose weight. I help clients cast away negativity and treat food as one of life’s pleasures while also recognizing their own roles in creating a healthy environment for themselves and their families.
What are some of the most common nutritional mistakes you observe in your clients?
They hop on and off fad diets without realizing the physical and emotional consequences of that those plans could play on their bodies and minds.
If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?
- Eat portions that are closer to your needs vs your wants.
- Think about where the food is going once you swallow it. (And not in a negative way — but think about how each food will do your body good…or not!)
- Think of food as being pleasurable and also take pride in feeling the pleasure of looking and feeling your best.
What kinds of tools and methods do you use to help your clients achieve their goals?
This would depend on the person — some people are well suited for mirrors and scales while others need to steer clear of them. I often provide visualizations to clients have a greater understanding about the portions they need and to help them get in touch with a sense of fullness. Many people are not in touch with their own sensations of hunger and fullness.
What is your favorite go-to healthy week night dinner?
Don’t make me choose!! I might have to say my Mediterranean Salmon Chunks.
What was your diet like growing up?
Horrible!! My diet was filled with Twinkies, Yodels, ice cream, and I loved butter on just about everything! I grew up overweight and it wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I decided to try eating vegetables and improving my habits and the change literally changed my life.
What’s a typical day’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you?
- For breakfast I enjoy a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread (especially the cinnamon raisin) topped with melted mozzarella cheese or a steamy bowl of oatmeal with a swirl of crunchy almond butter and berries.
- Lunch could be some sort of sandwich or salad, or cottage cheese, yogurt and fresh fruit with cereal sprinkled on top or if there were irresistible leftovers from the night before, I might have some of that. (Otherwise, truth be told, I’m not a big fan of leftovers!)
- On most nights I cook dinner which is usually some sort of protein like fish or chicken as thin cutlets or chunks. (My food quirk is that I never like to eat anything that looks like it did when it was alive…no cornish hens or whole fish for me!) Always some sort of roasted veggies with lots of seasoning and nuts or a salad made with tons of seasonal ingredients including a variety of nuts and fruit like mango or watermelon.
- I eat dinner waaaay too late so never a bedtime snack — but an afternoon snack (yogurt, cereal and milk, smoothie, etc.) is a must along with a steamy mug of tea with honey!
Do you give in to any “guilty pleasure” foods?
Oh yes — often! I adore baking and I happen to love my own goodies! Although it’s not easy — it’s knowing when to say the word “enough” to enable me to indulge without any guilt on the side.
When you go out to eat with friends and family, do they feel that you’re judging what they eat? Do you offer them or do they ask you for advice/suggestions?
When I get out from behind my desk — I truly only care about what I eat. I don’t judge and I would never give advice unless it was asked of me. Well that’s not totally true… since I wouldn’t be able to stand by and not say anything if I saw that my children were repeatedly not taking care of themselves. I feel so fortunate that my boys became men who love to shop for, cook, and enjoy a variety of foods. I always try to set an example when I set the table and show them how easy it is to make the choices about the foods that nourish the body.
How do you feel about the updated nutritional labels recently released by the FDA? Helpful or more confusing?
It took 20 years for the labels to finally get a makeover so — It’s about time! I’m also thrilled to say that my new book, Read It Before You Eat It – taking you from label to table, has been upgraded and updated so that it helps consumers understand exactly what the new labels will be wearing. My book also provides an example tour of the supermarket so that anyone can shop anywhere and by the healthiest food in the store for themselves and their families.
What are your thoughts about fasting as a dietary technique?
If you’re fasting for religious purposes, that’s one thing. But if you’re fasting to lose weight then it’s probably going to be a quick route to yo-yo dieting. Fasting could lead to feelings of deprivation and once the fast is over, it’s usually followed by over– or inappropriate eating. Fasting could also create a bad mood, a lack of focus, and an overall feeling of weakness.
Do you feel that “detoxes” or juice cleanses have a place in a healthy diet?
No need. You have a liver and kidneys that work overtime to detox your body. I also prefer blending to juicing since placing fruits and veggies in a blender retains their fiber content vs juicing which extracts lots of beneficial fiber.
In your personal opinion, are organic foods worth the price?
This is a tough question because we’re not just talking about facts here, we’re also talking about emotions. Multiple studies have shown that organic food may not be nutritionally superior to foods that are conventionally grown, but some people, organics provides foods that bring peace of mind…especially when it comes to children. I feel that certain foods may be better bought organic, but if it’s a choice between buying organic or forgoing fruits and veggies, then conventional foods would fill my fridge. If you choose to buy organics, look for sales, store brands, and buy in season to save some green when you go green.
What’s your take on vegetarianism or veganism?
I love the idea of plants playing a starring role on the plate but I don’t think anyone should feel pressure to be called one type of eater or another. What’s key is trying to eat mostly whole foods that are processed as little as possible. And by the way, not “processed food” is unhealthy — it depends on how highly processed food is and what’s on its ingredient list that really counts.
How important is exercise and how much of it/what kind do you yourself do?
Exercise helps to make you look and feel your best. I don’t believe exercise is the sole tool to use when it comes to weight loss, but it is important for toning, contouring, and keeping your body in good condition. I use the elliptical machine, I do yoga, and I could walk for miles and miles without getting tired (as long as I have the right shoes on!)
Any words of advice/suggestions for someone considering entering your field?
You’re in for a treat! Everybody eats — your advice and expertise will always be needed. Become an influencer that guides people to make their own decisions, and not an activist that tells them what to do. Whether it’s media, research, teaching, hospital dietetics or any other aspect of this field…there are so many areas to explore and flourish in. No two days are ever alike for me and I’m thankful to be in my own business, inspiring others.
Big thanks to Bonnie for her time with this interview! If you’d like more from her, you can connect with her on social media…
Have you worked with an RD before?
Have you ever considered becoming an RD yourself?
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