Blog posts

  • 31 Jan 2017 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    By Leanne Ray, RDN

    Are you an “RD2be” or a newly credentialed dietitian unsure of what your career has in store for you? Or are you a seasoned dietitian who is considering a job switch for something fresh and new? If so, consider workplace wellness for a fun and dynamic setting where you can utilize your multiple super-dietitian talents!

    Making the case for workplace wellness

    Take a second to think about how many hours you spend in the workplace each week. For most people, this number is probably somewhere around 40 hours. If you have a 30-minute commute (each way), take an hour-long lunch break and average eight hours of sleep, this equates to >60% of your waking hours! For many, a 40-hour work week is unheard of, so this might even be on the low end of the spectrum. Because of this, there is a huge need for wellness programs to promote healthy habits where people “hang out” for so much of the day. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “worksites have the opportunity to encourage healthy habits and help prevent health problems such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease.” The connection between a wellness culture and worker well-being, productivity and reduced number of sick days has been demonstrated over and again1. What kind of organization wouldn’t want all of these things? And why not hire a dietitian to fill this need?


    What skills are necessary?

    In addition to evidence-based nutrition programming, registered dietitians are well-versed in some of the necessary attributes of a successful workplace wellness professional including:

    • Coaching and behavior change methods, which means we know what motivates people and can help them make lasting positive lifestyle changes. Consider pitching personal wellness coaching services to a business or developing a healthy lifestyle class for groups.
    • Great communication skills, often in public speaking which can come in handy for wellness presentations or corporate lunch and learns.
    • Competent in leading cooking demonstrations, a highly sought-after skill. People love learning new recipes!
    • Program planning and evaluation. Coming up with an interesting wellness challenge or initiative is one of the most fun aspects of working in this field. Dietitians have a knowledge of population health strategies which can be especially applicable in a workplace setting.

    How to get the job

    There are a few ways to get hired in a wellness setting including as a full-time program coordinator, a contractor or as a one-time presenter. The first option is a bit less common since companies often designate a human resources professional or other staff member double as a wellness program coordinator. Some companies will contract professionals to develop a few challenges or seminars (which could be you!). The third option, which is probably most common for dietitians, involves a presentation or other service for a one-time event. Each of these could be really beneficial for a future career in workplace wellness. Interested? Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself! After all, we know far too well that if dietitians aren’t doing this, someone else probably is.

    Leanne works for a local public health department as a worksite wellness specialist and also has her own food and lifestyle coaching business, Leanne Ray Nutrition LLC (visit her website: www.leanneray.com). Have questions on opportunities for dietitians in workplace wellness? Feel free to reach out to her directly at leannerayrdn@gmail.com. You can also find her on Twitter where she shares both wellness and nutrition related tidbits daily.

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worksite Wellness. https://www.cdc.gov/sustainability/worksitewellness/

  • 22 Nov 2016 3:09 PM | Anonymous

    By Dana Eshelman, RDN

    Nicole Withrow, PHD, MS, RD is an Assistant Professor and Dietetic Internship Coordinator at University of Northern Colorado. She presented her research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the third membership meeting of the year.

    ASD affects 1 in every 88 children in the United States. Autism is presented as a spectrum disorder due to the variety of symptoms and degree of intensity within each category. ASD is characterized by core deficits including social interactions, speech, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests. The repetitive behaviors and restricted interests are why we often see children with ASD have selective food choices. They desire foods to taste, look, smell and feel the same as they remember these foods.

    Often times, children diagnosed with ASD have co-occurring diagnoses. These includes learning disabilities, heightened generalized anxiety, problematic eating behaviors, gastrointestinal issues, sleep problems and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Children may become more selective with food choices as a result of adverse gastrointestinal symptoms and eating behaviors, which can inhibit proper growth and development. A child’s heightened generalized anxiety can detract parents and caregivers from introducing new foods into their child’s diet. A child with normal development may accept a food when being exposed ten times via whereas a child with ASD can take thirty to forty times.

    Diets such as the elimination diet, the FODMAPS diet, and the gluten-free and dairy-free diet have all been explored in decreased autism behaviors. There has been no conclusive evidence saying specific dietary changes impact children with ASD. Nevertheless, it is important to continually offer a variety of foods and meals and snacks to deter children with ASD from having a selective diet.

    Dana is a newly Registered Dietitian at InnovAge. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in May 2015. One year later,  June 2016, she completed her dietetic internship at UCCS. In her free time she enjoys lifting weights, trying new, one of a kind restaurants, cooking, running, hiking, going to concerts & yoga. She is thrilled to a part of the DDA Board of Directors and help spread her passion for food and nutrition. 

  • 10 Nov 2016 1:21 PM | Anonymous

    By Shane Spritzer, Regulatory Chair, DDA

    This year’s Public Policy Update meeting was held on October 25th at Tri-County Health Department. During the first half of the meeting, members viewed a webinar put together by Jamie Daugherty, President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND), and Bonnie Jortberg, Public Policy Coordinator for CAND’s board of directors.

    Jamie discussed the restructuring of CAND’s strategic framework, which will place focus on three goals: improving public trust and choice of RDNs and DTRs as nutritional experts, improving the health of Coloradoan’s through advocacy, and having CAND members and prospective members view the Academy as key to professional success. They are also working on completing a sponsorship policy/procedure as well as a membership survey.

    Bonnie then talked about the importance of advocacy, both for our profession and for the wellbeing of our patients and communities. Nationally, there are four main public policy priority areas we are facing: disease prevention and treatment, lifecycle nutrition (including the Older Americans Act), healthy food systems and access, and quality health care. And of course, we will continue to be facing the issues of state licensure as well as RDNs as Medicare providers.

    During the second half of the meeting, we had Candace Johnson enthusiastically speak about her experience as a public policy advocate and how we can be involved. She expressed how important it is for all nutrition professionals to realize that public policy affects our jobs, regardless of which area we work in, so it is important for our voices to be heard. She also walked us through the Academy’s Advocacy Action Center, where members can quickly and easily contact their representatives about important issues – it takes all of 60 seconds.

    Two of these issues are still ongoing, and could use your voice!

    Support National Clinical Commission Legislation in U.S. Senate

    The National Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R. 1192) has already been passed in the House of Representatives, and we are trying to get the Senate to agree to a vote prior to the new session of Congress begins. This bill would establish a commission within HHS to better coordinate care for people with prediabetes, diabetes, and chronic conditions that result from complications of diabetes.

    Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

    The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R. 2404) would amend the Medicare portion of the Social Security Act to cover intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for obesity, and specifically lists RDNs as an appropriate provider, and would also provide coverage for FDA-approved weight loss medications that complement IBT.

    To visit the Advocacy Action Center and let your voice be heard, visit:

    http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/advocacy/action-center

    Shane Spritzer is currently completing his dietetic internship as part of the inaugural class of MSU Denver’s ISPP program, after graduating from MSU in May, 2016. He is also pursuing his MPH through Colorado School of Public Health, with concentrations in applied biostatistics and maternal and child health. After passing the RD exam, he hopes to enter the field as a clinical pediatric dietitian. This is his first year on the DDA board, and with a strong interest in politics he is excited to be the regulatory chair to be a voice for positive changes through nutritional policy. In his limited free time, he likes to cook, read, see shows at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and keep up with a few more TV shows than he probably has time for. 

  • 02 Nov 2016 7:26 AM | Anonymous

    By Dana Eshelman, RD

    There are hundreds of pre-workout drinks and supplements on the market, making it difficult to know what to choose or how to decipher what products are safe. These performance-enhancing supplements are unregulated, meaning there is no standard or oversight on what these products can contain. Often times, these supplements include harmful substances and chemicals within a propriety blend, such as a recent find of dimethylamylamine (DMAA).1 DMAA is a sympathomimetic drug which causes vasoconstriction; this can elevate blood pressure, cause chest tightness or shortness of breath, and lead to heart attack. That does not sound like an ideal state for a workout. So, how can you obtain focus and energy and beat muscle fatigue without the added chemicals?

    Fuel your workout with a delicious pre-workout snack or drink. Foods with too much fiber and fat can cause an upset stomach. Instead, look for snacks with complex carbohydrates and a little protein for long-lasting energy to fuel your workout. Find the right fuel for your sweat sesh with these snacks:

    Guarana Banana Shake

    Guarana contains caffeine for mental alertness and focus. Blend with 1 c. milk, ½ a banana, and 1 T. peanut butter. This shake provides carbohydrate and protein to fuel your workout. Top with oats or whole-grain cereal for an added carbohydrate punch to fuel long workout sessions.

    Overnight Choco-oats

    Combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup oats, 1 T. flax meal, a dash of vanilla extract and 1 T. cocoa powder. Mix and leave in refrigerator overnight for quick fuel before your morning workout sesh. Greek yogurt, oats, and flax are a powerhouse combination, providing carbohydrate and protein.

    Sweet Potato Punch

    Use ½ peeled, cooked sweet potato (or 1 small one), ½ c. Greek yogurt and a dash of cinnamon. An equal combination of carbohydrates and protein to provide lasting energy for your workout.

    Green Machine

    For an early morning workout, blend ½ c. Greek yogurt, ½ c. brewed coffee, 1 c. spinach, ½ banana. Coffee provides the caffeine to shake those cobwebs and get you moving. The remaining ingredients provide carbohydrates, protein, and minerals essential for your workout

    Goji Mix

    Goji berries increase energy and enhance the body’s ability to handle stress while supporting a healthy mood, mind, and memory. Combine with raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnut halves and dried apricots. The Goji mix contains healthy fats, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and minerals for long lasting energy.

    1 http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/04/12/its-like-crack-doctor-on-pre-workout-supplement/. 

    Dana Eshelman is a newly Registered Dietitian at InnovAge. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in May 2015. One year later,  June 2016, she completed her dietetic internship at UCCS. In her free time she enjoys lifting weights, trying new, one of a kind restaurants, cooking, running, hiking, going to concerts & yoga. She is thrilled to a part of the DDA Board of Directors and help spread her passion for food and nutrition. 


  • 06 Jan 2016 6:53 PM | Anonymous

    Guest post by Carolyn Wahl
    MSU Denver Student Representative

    Our Fall Mentorship Event was hosted by Johnson & Wales University on December 8th, and featured a panel about dietetic internships! We had a wonderful turnout and gained some important insight into the dietetic internship application process.

    On our panel we were honored to have Amy Schwartz, RD, CSP, CNSC (Children’s Hospital Colorado), April M. Rhymaun, MS, RDN, (Metropolitan State University of Denver), Marleen Swanson, MS, RD, MBA (Johnson & Wales University), Michelle A. Harris, MPH, RD (Tri-County Public Health), and Nicole A. Withrow-McDonald, PhD, RD (University of Northern Colorado).

    Heather Lujan, MS, RDN, asked our panel some wonderful commonly asked questions. The audience also had a chance to ask some of their own questions. To highlight some of the many questions answered:

    • What type of work experience is preferred?
      Every program is different, so you should refer to each program’s individual websites. However, preference is shown to work in the nutrition field.
    • Does taking some time off from school or after graduation reflect poorly?
      Non-traditional students are very common. If the time off is used to gain more experience in the field, it can even be beneficial. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, two of the current interns were not matched the first time. They used their time after college to improve their résumés, and were then matched with their internship.
    • What are some of the biggest mistakes applicants make?
      Spelling and grammar mistakes are very common, as well as incomplete applications. The personal statement is also where many mistakes are made. This includes being too generic, not answering all prompts, not using examples to support statements, as well as failing to show the applicant’s individuality. For UNC’s distance internship program, another common mistake is failing to provide complete preceptor forms.
    • What makes an outstanding application?
      A strong personal statement, extracurricular activities, and demonstration of leadership skills, to name a few. With respect to GPA, it is also preferred that the applicant has demonstrated improvement over the course of their college career.
    • How do I find preceptors for a distance internship?
      Think outside the box! It is only required that a preceptor be a Registered Dietitian for the clinical rotation. For the other competencies, preceptors can be from a broad range of professions, including food service directors, nurse practitioners, chefs, physician assistants, researchers, social workers, psychologists, etc. However, an application is typically stronger if many of the preceptors are Registered Dietitians.

    Thank you to our panel and members for making this event a great success!

    Carolyn Wahl
    MSU Denver Student Representative    

  • 02 Dec 2015 3:51 PM | Anonymous

    Guest post by Ellie Kempton MSN, RD
    Owner of Simply Nourished Nutrition
    www.simplynourishednutrition.com

    With all of the fabulous opportunities the holidays offer, it can be very difficult to remain present. As the focus shifts from presence to presents, many of us struggle with the imminent danger of overindulging, over committing and of course the nagging fear of missing out.     

    What if I told you it IS possible to experience the holidays without overeating, without experiencing those lingering cravings and/or without even falling prey to the all too familiar overwhelmed feelings of the season?  

    You just need to be reminded of the simple things that truly matter.  

    Below are my top 5 tips for approaching the holidays with presence. You will be delighted by the simplicity and practicality of each recommendation. If you are fully committed to the notion of presence instead of presents this holiday season, download the guide to make your wish a reality.   

    1. ENJOY A SNACK BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
      Showing up to a party feeling hangry [hungry + angry] is the worst way to savor a holiday party. Instead, pull together a small snack before you leave to enable you to choose your food intentionally and with sanity upon arrival. A few of my favorite snacks before parties are available in the guide below. A hard boiled egg, a small handful of nuts, a few slices of salami or an ounce of cheese are fabulous options. If you're up for 10 minutes of prep work, you can also make my infamous energy bites, available in my free Snack eBOOK.
    2. DON'T FEEL OBLIGATED TO SAMPLE EVERYTHING
      The best way to ensure you feel satisfied, but not stuffed, is by intentionally choosing a palm-sized portion of quality protein. If possible, couple this with a hefty dose of vegetables. Once you’ve enjoyed these, it will be far easier to judiciously decide which holiday treat to savor. Speaking of treats- start with one! You might just be surprised by the ease of saying no to more.
    3. SLOW DOWN TO SAVOR THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE
      Speed. It’s the enemy when it comes to food and mindfulness. As soon as you arrive at a party, consciously engage in each of the 5 senses. [Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.] By savoring more than just the taste of the food, you will walk away from a party having experienced more than you might have thought possible. You will also notice those lingering cravings won’t have quite as hard of a tug on your emotions. This is true nourishment at it’s finest!
    4. BRING YOUR OWN SIDE DISH TO SHARE
      Your host/hostess will simply LOVE you when you arrive with one of the dishes I have prepared for you in the packet below. Arriving at a party with a dish you know is both nourishing to you and your fellow guests allows you to invest time in conversation and connection, instead of anxiety over what food options are suitable to your needs and preferences. 
    5. PRIORITIZE SIMPLICITY
      While there is an unspoken standard to offer at least  different dishes at holiday parties, I challenge you to offer four: four fresh, seasonal, balanced and flavorful dishes. I guarantee your guests will not feel gypped nor will your wallet or schedule. Instead, by offering 4 dishes that balance the plate, you will experience the freedom to savor the experience, the company and the satiety you crave. 

    Now that you have an idea of where you are headed, let me offer you a roadmap! Sign up below for a step-by-step guide to creating the clarity, confidence and nourishment you crave! You will also receive 4 holiday recipes tailored to the simplicity and balance you deserve.  Savor the season my friend. 

    Ellie Kempton MSN, RD
    Simply Nourished Nutrition
    303-229-9840
    www.simplynourishednutrition.com

  • 10 Nov 2015 12:19 PM | Anonymous

    Guest post by Suzanne Farrell MS, RD
    Owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition, Inc.
    www.cherrycreeknutrition.com
    Twitter: @SFarrellRD

    The last week of October marks the beginning of the holiday season. Between all of those extra treats, holiday parties and shorter days, it’s also a time when many of our good dietary intentions go into hibernation. The average gain during the next couple of weeks, for those within a healthy body weight, is about 1 pound, and 5 pounds for those already overweight. Unfortunately, these are stubborn pounds that tend to stay on and accumulate year after year. Below are 3 common, holiday season, diet challenges with tips for how to handle them.

    Shorter Days: With less sunshine in our day, we may experience a decrease in serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for feeling positive, upbeat and calm. This decline also tag teams increased cravings for carbohydrates, especially sweets and refined grains. Although it isn’t wise to dive into a bag of cookies or eat half a loaf of pumpkin bread, it’s important to not avoid carbs altogether, but to simply choose wisely throughout the day. Choose higher fiber, nutrient rich carbs that will enhance serotonin production while satisfying the craving, without increasing the numbers on the scale. Examples include potatoes, squash, beans, lentils, whole grains and fruits. One cup of pasta is over 200 calories while once cup of spaghetti squash is only 40. It’s also rich in vitamin A and potassium. It tastes great topped with sautéed diced tomatoes in garlic, olive oil, fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese. Instead of a side of bread and butter with dinner, try roasted sweet potatoes, it may just do the trick!

    Seasonal Coffee Drinks: Nothing says fall quite like a hot seasonal beverage such as a Pumpkin Spiced or Toasted Graham Latte. These drinks can pack in hundreds of extra calories. Try these 3 easy steps to significantly cut the calories while still indulging in this tasty treat:

    • Skip the whip
    • Downsize (choose a smaller size)
    • Make it a “Skinny” (go for non-fat milk)

    (Another calorie saving tip is to ask for “1 pump” of the flavored syrup, as they often give multiple).

    • Grande PSL: 380 calories
    • Tall PSL, no whip, non-fat milk: 200 calories
    • Short PSL, no whip, non-fat milk: 130 calories

    Decreased Consumption of Fruits & Veggies: Summertime lends itself well to fresh fruits and cold, crispy salads, and therefore, consumption can decline this time of year. Don’t give up, just re-shift your ideas. Re-stock the fruit bowl with fruits unique to Fall such as pomegranates, pears, apples, kiwi, tangerines and grapefruit. Take advantage of some of the most nutrient dense vegetables this season such as squash, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and parsnips. Don’t forget about frozen options as well since they are just as nutritious and very economical this time of year.

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