14 Misconceptions about Being a Nutritionist
The other night I met a new friend for light dinner and a glass of wine. She is absolutely adorable. She also happens to be a vegan—which I was unaware of until we actually sat down and got to talking. Although we both have a love for food, we are very different. We are also both “vegan” for different reasons. We eat very differently too. That being said, we lightly discussed an array of topics—and the one thing that really hit home for the both of us, was how other people perceive our stances in nutrition, and how very misinformed they are when it comes to hanging out/talking with someone who happens to be more nutritionally savvy that Sherry, Sue, or Larry .
Misconception #1: I only want to hang out with other nutrition savvy folks. Just because I eat a certain way, does not mean I only want to hang out with people that eat the same way as me. I connect with different people for different reasons, and more often than not, those people do not share the same diet as myself. My best friend in the whole wide world does NOT eat like I do. In fact, I cannot say I have many (or any) close friends that do. I can think of 1.
Misconception #2: I constantly think about what others are eating around me/in front of me. When eating a meal with someone, I do not spend that time thinking about how unhealthy that “someone’s” meal is. Most of the time I am too invested in what I am eating to worry about what someone else is eating. Additionally, if we are enjoying one another’s company, I am also too invested in the conversation for someone else’s meal to be a large concern of mine. I have spent some time working in a historically famed steakhouse in New Jersey—I have seen steak and potatoes. I am not going to melt. (That being said, there are certain obscure meat dishes that really creep me out… just thinking about them makes me cringe).
Misconception #3: Because I am a nutritionist, I want to talk about nutrition all the time. I do not want to talk about nutrition all the time. Many assume that because I am passionate, and educated in nutrition, that I want to discuss it at all times. I am like any person in that I have a lot of interests. Nutrition is just a piece of who I am.
Misconception #4: I am 100% healthy, 100% of the time. I wish! I am not perfect in my eating. Just because I eat very well a greater percentage of the time, does not, by any means, mean that I eat perfectly 100% of the time. I am human. I have been known to cave for blue corn tortilla chips, chocolate, wine, or … I am also not well versed in portion control, as I love food (so thankfully what I love, is healthy). I have chosen raw coconut ice cream over greens on many an occasion. I love raw “ice cream” for lunch, or a snack, (and I make up for it with a lot of green juice, and green dinners). Do I wish I were perfect, yes!! Am I? No. I think it can be really easy to beat yourself up for not being a certain way—and in reality it can make you feel worse. Be conscious of your decisions, and make a better decision the next time… You ultimately feel better– when I eat better, I feel better.
Misconception #5: I am one of ‘those’ “spiritual raw foodists” and I only eat within that realm of food. First of all, everyone gets into nutrition for different reasons, be it spiritual, or whatever. I do not fit into any specific category of eating (aside from vegetarian, which does not at all describe how I eat). I am not entirely one way, or the other. As I explain in My Philosophy, I am not a strict vegan, or a strict raw foodist. I think those words tend to segment people into sometimes unfair, and inaccurate categories. I am a Foodie through and through, and my diet is largely plant based, and raw, but it varies seasonally– and depends on my mood. Why I like raw foods.
Misconception #6: When I say I am raw, or vegetarian, or vegan, it means I munch on celery all day. Aye. I think this is a big, big misconception here. I always hear, “oh.. so you only eat fruits and vegetables?” And then they assume that I slice up cucumbers, romaine, and munch on carrots all day. Well, if you have been reading “Diary” at all… you know I like food. Eating raw, or vegan, or whatever does not have to be boring, or bland. Spices, natural sweeteners, hearty and luscious oils, sea salts, all make for some outrageously delicious combinations. It also doesn’t hurt to have a high speed blender to whip up puddings, and dressings, or soups. Anyone that thinks eating healthy is missing out on the pleasures of food, hasn’t given cooking (or uncooking) and real shot. Check out these recipes! And these recipes!
Misconception #7: I deprive myself of the foods I once enjoyed. First of all, we did not pop out of the womb with a ketchup packet in our hand and crave French fries—those tastes were learned. That being said, I do love food, but I never feel deprived because my culinary creativity and curiosity allows for me to take the most wholesome ingredients and whip them into something absolutely delicious. I have never met anyone that did not enjoy my raw coconut ice cream, raw coconut yogurt, or my chocolate avocado pudding. Who cares if they are high in fat—they are wholesome, and to die for. Deprivation? Not exactly.
Misconception #8: I spend my time thinking about how unhealthy someone is. Heavens no! That would get very boring. If ever a non-clients wants advice, I will give it… but I do not pass judgment about someone’s lifestyle. Not too long ago someone I met mentioned half-jokingly that they were worried I would smell the fast food they enjoyed earlier that day in their car. I had not noticed. But aside from that, I probably wouldn’t have because I was having fun just being in the moment with someone I cared about—I wasn’t looking to find fault with them. I think I was more shocked that they said anything at all.
Misconception #9: If I offer nutritional advice to someone, it is because I am a “know-it-all.” If someone I care about continuously complains about a headache, or a stomachache, exhaustion, feeling fat, or a (fill in the blank), instinct tells me to help them! I have been there. I do not want to see someone suffer! If I care about someone, I am always tempted to help them… It has nothing to do with wanting to “change” someone, or wanting to “talk about nutrition,” or wanting them to feel badly about their lifestyle. No… By nature, I am a fixer. If I care about someone, I want to help them—just like someone who cares about me… will tell me if my outfit is ugly, or that I am over-analyzing a situation (which I often do).
Misconception #10: I want everyone to eat like me. While I do passionately believe that a diet based around plants is entirely more healthful for the body and the environment, etc., it does not mean that I want everyone to all of a sudden jump on the plant-based diet bandwagon, and go raw. Goodness no! Everyone has been raised differently. I make no qualms about the fact that I spend 17 years of my life eating fast food. I spent another few years consuming massive amounts of fish, or chicken. A healthy lifestyle is all about listening to your body, and transitioning at a pace that is right for you. If you are ready to give up (fill in the blank), and go raw, awesome… but know that being “raw,” or “vegetarian,” or “vegan,” does not necessarily make one healthy either.
Misconception #11: I am worried about being fat, which is why I do not eat certain foods. No. No. and No. While I may have been concerned about this in the past, prior to becoming invested in this way of life, I most certainly do not avoid foods because I am afraid of gaining weight. If this was the case then I’d stop taking delight in otherwise “fattening” foods like olive oils, and coconut puddings, and ice cream… and mmm… the list goes on and on. The long of the short of it is, I try to avoid foods that don’t make me feel good. I spent too many years calorie counting, and suffering from other ailments to want to continually consume things that don’t make me feel great. I explain why I got into nutrition here… and more about my philosophy on eating here.
Misconception #12: I am thin because I don’t eat. No. No. and No. If anyone knows me, they know I LOVE food… I just learned what to eat, and what makes me feel best. I have never heard of anyone feeling great after eating a big piece of chocolate cake, I certainly never felt good. However, I do feel marvelous after a tasty dinner, a glass of wine, and generous piece of chocolate.
Misconception #13: I am thin because I have a fast metabolism. Nope. Not in the sense that we hear metabolism spoken about in our society. Metabolism is defined as “the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed, and by which energy is made available.” If you are digesting optimally, you have a “fast” metabolism. The way I eat, which is explained here, allows for my body to break down and assimilate foods more readily. (And for the record, I put on the freshman 20 prior to understanding nutrition… so no… my metabolism is not different than the rest of the world).
Misconception #14: I am going to be insulted, or feel strange, or left out if I go to a restaurant/party/bbq and it does not have a large variety of things for me to eat. Unless it is a fast food restaurant that only serves fried food, I can most always find something to tide me over. Or I am happy to bring something, or make something for the gang. If I don’t feel uncomfortable, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable (though I understand that chips are more fun when shared…etc.). While I am absolutely flattered when someone takes into consideration that I like (fill in the blank)… I am here for good company, and a great time. I get that you might think what/how I eat is “different” but aside from being a nutritionist, I am just a girl.
Lots of love,
Have you ever felt like you were treated differently because of the way you eat, or anything that is important to you, for that matter? Do any of these topics hit home with you? Or do you disagree? Please share!