Seeing as it is a New Year, I thought I would start my blog off with a post about me and what has got me here so far. At first I started this website when I first opened up my practice in 2014 upon returning from travelling overseas. I didn’t have much experience working in the private setting in South Africa and so took on all different types of clients and saw anyone who was referred to me. This website and blog was created just to have a point of contact for my patients as well as general healthy eating information for the general population but I didn’t really have a vision for it.
My passion has always been children and families and so as the years went on I realised this is where I needed to be working and starting taking on more paediatric and family clients and also volunteered at a nearby children’s home .
I believe knowledge is power and that any family can follow a balanced eating plan and lifestyle if they have the information to do so. Parents are provided with a wealth of information during pregnancy and through out the first year of their child’s life and then it stops and they are left to defend for themselves. They don’t know how much their child should be eating or how to deal with fussy eating or how often can one can give their child a biscuit or packet of chips. Parent struggle to balance work, parenting and providing healthy meals for their families. This is my passion: working with parents and families who have kids between the ages of one and five and helping them on this journey. If I could I would just run workshops for moms all day long helping and educating them because parenting is a daunting task.
Four years on and I like to call myself a family dietitian,a focusing on helping parents and children make healthy food choices, enjoy eating together and getting them excited about nutrition and food. With a young baby in my household unfortunately I am not getting around to that many blog posts recently but I am hoping this year will allow me to share more of my knowledge with you and keep my website and social media pages filled with ideas and information to help families on their healthy eating journey.
So here is just a little bit more information about me as a dietitian to start off the new year
Fun facts about me
1. I am part vegetarian in that I don't eat beef, pork or lamb
2.. I love to cook but hate baking
3. I really don't like rooibos tea
4. I used to be fluent in Zulu as it was my second language in school but have forgotten lot although I can still understand it
5. I really don;t enjoy breakfast as a meal
6. I am definitely a savoury eater than sweet. Give me a cheese and corn samoosa over chocolate anyway
7. I have a pigeon pair: Emil (22 months) and Kade (4 months)
Why did I become a dietitian?
I owe this one to my guidance counsellor at school. I had never heard of a dietitian as a profession and when she looked at my school subjects (Home Ec, science, Biology and maths) she thought I would enjoy the degree seeing as it involved science and food. I had really wanted to study medicine for as long as I could remember but knew I wouldn’t get accepted so decided to do dietetics in the hope of converting credits after my first year and applying for med school. During the course of the year I enjoyed it so much I decided to carry on with the degree and give med school a miss and the rest they say is history.
Worst moment as a dietitian
There are two days I will never forget in my career . The first was my first patient ever in my clinical block at Addington hospital in my intern year. I was placed in the paediatric ward on my first day and given a burns patient who unfortunately after three days did not survive and it broke my heart. Burns in children has to be one of the worst things to see and it is really hard to get them to meet their nutritional requirements due to the pain they experience ass well as their high energy needs. The second was in my community service year where I was doing a ward round with a doctor and a child had to be resuscitated in front of me and did not make it.
Best moment as a dietitian
There are many of these as I get to see amazing progress and results in patients but the most memorable were In my community service year . I had a patient in the paediatric ward who was admitted so underweight she didn’t even plot on the growth chart for her age and was completely malnourished , could barely speak and was so developmentally delayed. I worked with the staff in the ward and you could not even recognise the child that walked out of the ward after three weeks. She had made such progress and was a happy smiling child filled with hope. I also had a grandmother that year who went over and above to help her grandchild who was a patients of mine. The child had been very neglected by his parents and the grandmother decided to take over his care. He suffered severely from malnutrition but at the end of the year was a happy and healthy boy. The grandmother made sure this child never missed an appointment with me which in the community I worked in was amazing as she had to walk 8km to the hospital and was old and frail. Her dedication to her grandchild will stay with me forever.
How do I find being a mom and dietitian?
I love that I have all this information already from studying as parenting is hard enough without it. I don’t get too anxious or strict about what my children eat but I do watch that they don’t have too many treats and have set mealtimes and snacks. I also try make sure me and hubby eat well so we can model good eating behaviours to them.
Most asked question as a dietitian
It used to be my opinion on the banting diet but recently it has gone back to the all time favourite of “oh you must eat really well- What do you eat?"
My favourite food
It is a close call between avocado and feta. I always have these two items in my house as avocado on toast is my favourite breakfast, avo goes in all my wraps and salads as well as feta.
My one piece of advice to everyone
Equip yourself with knowledge, healthy eating is not that hard if you empower yourself with the right information to help you. You can make it easier for yourself by being able to read food labels so you choose between product A and B or when on the run or how to create a meal for your family that is balanced in the right amounts. Take ownership of your life and make the decision to learn about the foods you are eating.
Happy New Year