I wanted to talk to a dietitian because dietitians sound really interesting. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) has to go to school for a degree in nutrition, work as a student dietitian for six to 12 months, and take an eggs-am (exam! Get it?!) and pass it to be a full-on dietitian. Christie St. Pierre, RDN is a dietitian, and since my mommy has a blog on food, I decided to do an interview with Christie, who is going to school with my mommy. They are both students going to The George Washington University (GWU) Milken Institute School of Public Health. They are seeking master’s degrees in public health nutrition. Dietitians talk about the diets for individuals, and public health nutrition is for the whole entire population, NOT just individuals. And here is my interview with Christie!!!! At the end there is a nutritious recipe for you!
DBV: What is your opinion of the most effective way to make sure you get the right amount of nutrients?
CSP: I think the most effective way is to eat a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables! Fruits and veggies come in so many beautiful colors, and trying to eat all those different colors will help with getting the vitamins and minerals our body needs as well as fiber – which is like a broom for our digestive system and helps keep our heart healthy, too. It’s important to have space in our diet for healthy foods, so we don’t want it to be crowded with foods (or drinks) that are super-high in sugar, salt, or fat. I think it’s also good to spend time in the kitchen! Cooking is a skill, and just like other skills, we get better with practice. It’s fun to get to eat the delicious results of your hard work, and by cooking, you learn about all the different ways that healthy food can taste so good!
DBV: Why are you a dietitian?
CSP: I became a dietitian because I noticed a difference in how my body felt as I started to learn more about eating healthy, and I wanted other people to feel that difference, too. I have always loved food, and I think it’s a way to connect to people because we all have to eat! It builds relationships to share a meal together, and my hope is that we can re-learn to slow down, enjoy our food — I think we will be healthier people as a result! I especially wanted to get to talk to kids about healthy foods, to teach about where food comes from. I grew up on a farm, so I saw food growing, but not everyone gets to see that. I wanted to be able to get kids outside in the garden, to be able to see, touch, and taste different kinds of food and learn about all the different amazing things we can eat that help our bodies grow healthy and strong.
DBV: Why are you getting a master’s?
CSP: As a dietitian, I started to realize when talking to people about food that it’s not easy for everyone to be able to buy healthy food. I noticed that in certain neighborhoods, there weren’t many stores that had fresh fruits and vegetables that were affordable and sometimes in those same neighborhoods, there were lots of fast food restaurants, ads for soda, chips, and cookies that were cheap and easy to buy. The food that ends up in stores for us to buy is part of a whole system, and I learned that this system does not treat everyone the same. I want to help create a better food system where everyone has the choice to be able to buy healthy, affordable foods, and that makes the healthy choice the easy choice!
DBV: What do you wish more people knew about being healthy?
CSP: Being healthy is a lifestyle, and that lifestyle is developed over time. Often people want to find the latest diet that will give them fast results, but I think being healthy is about taking care of yourself over the long term: finding and eating healthy foods you enjoy, moving your body in ways you enjoy (sports, dance, yoga, whatever!), getting enough sleep, spending time outside, and learning to listen to your body. Creating habits to take care of your body helps you appreciate your body more and makes you want to keep taking care of it so you can do all the things you enjoy!
DBV: Thank you for the salad recipe. Why do you like this salad? Is your salad healthy? Why/why not?
CSP: I love this kale salad because of the different colors, flavors, and textures! It’s like a party for my eyes and then in my mouth. The salad has foods that give us important nutrients – kale, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and the dressing is one you just make at home. I don’t usually like to call individual foods healthy or unhealthy though, because the important thing is eating healthy overall, when all the days, months, and years of your foods are added up. Sometimes I think we get too focused on individual foods and we miss the big picture. 🙂
Christie’s Kale & Sundried Tomato Salad
|Christine St. Pierre
- 1 bunch kale (stems removed)
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1-2 tablespoons sun-dried or fresh tomatoes (to taste)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 1/4 cups pumpkin (or other types of) seeds or nuts (optional)
- apple cider vinegar
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- olive oil
- 1 dash chili powder or cayenne pepper (to taste)
|For the dressing:
- Juice the lemon and add to a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid (hint: you can zest the lemon first and add the zest to this recipe or freeze it for later use).
-Add apple cider vinegar in an amount equal to amount of lemon juice.
-Add amount of olive oil equal to that of the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar combined.
-Add a dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper.
-Secure lid to container, shake vigorously, and taste.
|For the salad:
-Wash kale and tear/cut into small pieces (you can also buy a bag of pre-washed kale).
-Chop up a clove or 2 of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic). Massage garlic and little sea salt into kale; add dressing, cover and refrigerate. (Letting it sit for a little while helps soften the kale.)
-Mix in sun-dried tomatoes, diced avocado, and pumpkin seeds (or nuts) just before serving. Taste and add a bit more of the dressing, if needed. Enjoy!