Journey Into Nutrition By Karen Smith

My Journey Into Nutrition

I always knew being in healthcare was what I wanted to do for a career. Upon entering college, I ‘stumbled’ upon a basic nutrition course during my first semester of freshman year. I became quickly fascinated learning about the role nutrition plays in our lifecycle and was hooked on the science behind the field ever since.

To become a Dietitian isn’t easy and takes a lot of hard work. To this day, many people (including some of my family members), still have no idea what it is I actually do. To summarize, a Dietitian is a degree-qualified expert on diet and nutrition. Dietitians can do a variety of different things varying from providing personal nutritional advice to developing individual and corporate wellness plans. Dietitians can also specialize in different areas such as Diabetes, Weight Management, Kidney Disease, Sports Nutrition, Pediatrics and so much more.

A frequent question I often get asked is: “Are you the same thing as a Nutritionist?” The answer is no, Dietitians do what a Nutritionist can do and more. What Nutritionists learn is just one part of being a Dietitian. Holding the title of Registered Dietitian also means I have met all the additional educational and legal requirements to put RD, LD after my name.

This gives me flashbacks of late nights in the library preparing for chemistry, microbiology, and nutritional biochemistry exams! One of the first pieces of advice I always give to people is to always look at where the information you are getting is coming from.

Whether it’s an article, book, news station etc., always take a moment to look at the credentials of the person giving you this material. One of the most reliable sources of nutrition information will come from a Dietitian. It’s what we were trained and educated to do!

Sports Nutrition has always been a particular interest of mine. I have been active my entire life and know what an important role nutrition plays in optimal performance and recovery. My philosophy on nutrition as a whole is evidence-based recommendations as well as ….there is no such thing as a quick fix. If there were, many people would be in a healthier position in today’s world than they actually are.

If you think a health claim is too good to be true, it is! Everything all comes down to the basics: a diet filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products; exercise most days of the week; 7-8 hours of good sleep each night; positive energy; and proper hydration. People live vastly different lives from schedules, jobs, families, food likes and dislikes, current health status and more. This is why everyone needs tailored goals that work for them.

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me, it means being realistic with my goals, and being strong and confident.


— Karen