Practical Insights on Optimal Nutrition Strategies
This podcast series aims to highlight the science, psychology, and strategies behind the practice of dietetics. Moderator, Lisa Jones, MA, RDN, LDN, FAND, interviews prominent dietitians and health professionals to help our community think differently about food and nutrition.
In this podcast episode, Lisa Jones and Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT, discuss access to nutrient-dense foods, including leveraging social media to help educate a community, while staying mindful of the foods that are accessible on a limited budget. This is episode 4 of a 4-part series.
- Enjoy Food. Enjoy Life. Accessed July 13, 2023. https://enjoyfoodenjoylife.com/
- Bozeman JF III, Ashton WS, Theis TL. Distinguishing environmental impacts of household food-spending patterns among U.S. demographic groups. Published online July 10, 2019. Accessed July 18, 2023. doi.org/10.1089/ees.2018.0433
Lisa Jones, MA, RDN, LDN, FAND, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, speaker, and author (Philadelphia, PA).
Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT, is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, co-founder of Step Bite Step, co-host of the Food Bullying podcast, and brand partner with American Dairy Northeast, the New York Beef Council, Bush Brothers and Company, General Mills, Wish Farms, California Leafy Greens and Bayer Crop Science (New York Metro area).
Hello and welcome to Nutrition 411, the podcast, a special podcast series led by registered dietician and nutritionist Lisa Jones. The views of the speakers are their own and do not reflect the views of their respective institutions or Consultant360.
Hello and welcome to Nutrition 411, the podcast where we communicate the information that you need to know now about the science, psychology, and strategies behind the practice of dietetics. Today's podcast is part of a series of short episodes on food access featuring a Q&A with Nicole Rodriguez. It is my honor today to have Nicole here. Nicole is an award-winning dietician nutritionist based in the New York metro area. In addition to serving a diverse clientele via her telehealth-based practice, she is also the co-founder of Step Bite Step, a weight loss and physical activity program. Nicole is passionate about empowering individuals to feel good about the abundance of food choices at their fingertips and utilizes her co-hosting duties on the Food Bullying podcast that do just that.
While Nicole loves working one-on-one with clients towards their health goals, she also helps spread the word about food via her brand partnership, which have included American Dairy Northeast, the New York Beef Council, Bush Brothers and Company, General Mills, Wish Farms, California Leafy Greens, and Bayer Crop Science. Right. Well, welcome to episode four of our food access series. Today we're going to be talking about practical insights on optimal nutrition strategies. During our episode three, our most recent episode, we talked about debates in dietetics with Nicole and we did discuss food access and we talked about surrounding equitable nutrition opportunities, and we did talk about controversies in addressing food insecurities. Nicole, if you could sum up that conversation in one or two sentences, what would you say would be your key takeaways from our last episode?
Really fast food can be a great equalizer, but also it's important for dieticians to recognize that it's the norm for a lot of different people in a lot of different situations. Recognizing it, being aware of it, and erasing some of the stigma surrounding it can allow us to better and more deeply connect with our patients and clients.
Yes, thank you. I love the equalizer. It's such a great sound bite.
Today we're going to talk about practical insights and discuss improving food access. Nicole, I want to ask you, what would you say would be your practical strategies that other dieticians can employ to then shift their paradigm surrounding food accessibility?
Obviously we know that social media now is a really, really big vehicle for getting our messaging across as dieticians. Would you agree, Lisa?
Yes, most definitely.
Yeah, so of course we have all of these different social media platforms, but additionally we have things like this fabulous podcast. We might have other media opportunities that are more traditional. Wherever we are, I think it's important to step back and think of who we're talking to and do a little checklist and considering are the foods that I'm discussing, are they economically accessible to a very large percentage of the population? Or am I out here discussing things that while they may be very beneficial nutritionally, they might be cost prohibitive? I think filtering the items on which you speak through that lens can overall long-term, have a positive impact on how everyone views accessibility and making some of those foods that are more readily accessible, making them more accepted, making them more appealing.
Yes. It's all about, I think, too with community because... Because you're very active in the dietician community, could you share maybe an analogy or story of how you then helped another dietician with this issue with shifting their paradigm around food accessibility? Because I know you speak on the topic and you've also shared your expertise with other people that were struggling in this area.
I do, and I can say as specifically, I feel that I've been successful in helping quite a few other dieticians change their view on consumption of lean red meat, specifically beef. Another part of this is recognizing that culturally meat is a part of a lot of different meal patterns. Again, taking us full circle to that first conversation we had, Lisa talking about the buzz of plant-based, talking about what that means for communities at large when that message is not perhaps received in a way that's helpful. I will say specifically talking about beef consumption, because we're talking about a lot of nutrient density one, in a small caloric package, but secondarily, in a package that's very widely accepted from a taste perspective.
I had a couple of younger dieticians, they were actually not even dieticians yet at the time. I invited them for some learning experiences that I was connected to through our local beef council on which I am now currently a board member and took a deeper dive into some of these concepts of one, dispelling the myth, "Is meat bad for the environment?" We could do a whole episode on that. But when you have a deeper understanding of what does that actually mean, how do farmers, and I'll use examples specifically in New York, as we talked about in our first episode, that here in our state, our farmers and ranchers actually, the way they care for their environment, the way they steward the land, so to speak, it actually has a positive effect on one of the largest public water systems, which is the New York City water system. These farmers and ranchers are out there making improvements that end up having a positive impact on the water supply for a lot of the people that we talked about in our first episode there so there's the environmental perspective.
There's also dispelling the myth that meat is "too expensive" when we have this little breakdown talking about accessibility, when we're looking at the nutrient density, the B vitamins, the iron, the zinc, of course the protein, looking at all of these things in a three ounce serving, there's actually a lot in there per pound when we're looking at the cost and maybe comparing it to something else. Having that learning experience so that someone else can now go out and say, "Hey, I've erased this stigma because we're talking about another beloved yet stigmatized food that's accepted across a lot of different cultures for other dieticians to be able to go out and say, 'Hey, actually this is affordable when we break it down. Actually, when we're talking about getting more nutrition into kids, we know that flavor-wise it can be really readily accepted. Moreover, again, we're always looking for ways for foods to serve as vehicles for other foods that maybe we're not getting enough of, specifically our produce.'"
Looking and saying, "Well, actually this very palatable, acceptable and affordable food, if we look at some of the most favored dishes in our country, they will all have beef in common for the most part. We could work beef into any of them and they can serve as a vehicle for produce as well." Have I had other conversations? Have I had conversations around fast food? Absolutely. Am I constantly having conversations around the idea of, "Hey, maybe let's not be out there talking only organic. Here are the stats. Use that safe fruits and veggies calculator." I would say that I'm most proud of empowering other dieticians to go out and speak confidently about red meat, especially when purse strings are a little tight right now, and getting so much nutrient density in one serving of food is a really great strategy.
Yes, and thank you so much for your empowerment to other dieticians because I believe that that is helpful. The key takeaway that I was listening to as you talk with that is excellent with the food as vehicles because I think that the analogy and the visualization that you can get with that I think is helpful to clients when dieticians are working with their patients and clients. I want to ask one final question. I know this is our last episode in this series of food access, but if you, Nicole, could go back to your younger self when you're working in the poorest congressional district population, what key takeaways out of all the episodes that we've discussed this topic, what two things would you tell your younger self to do?
I would be out there making sure that no one was afraid to eat red meat. That's number one. If I could time travel and put that safefruitsandveggies.com calculator in everyone's pocket, or just be in the produce section with that calculator, that would be my number one and two magic wand moment right there.
Yes. So great. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time and being on our episodes on Food access.
Thank you, Lisa. It's always a pleasure to chat with you.
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