Meet The Green Dietitian

Picture taken in August 2014 before I began my plant-based journey

No matter which nutritional interventions I tried or how much or what I ate, it seemed that my health was simply doomed. I went through periods of not caring, periods of giving up hope and then periods of fighting my damnedest to get my health back on track, but all to no avail.
If I critically evaluated my diet in this sense, I was eating a diet centred on animal products and not on plant products. Even though I thought I was getting in all my nutrients, my low immune system and poor skin health proved otherwise. 
  With my friend Robyn after my first 10K run in November 2015

With my friend Robyn after my first 10K run in November 2015

I have had an interest in nutrition for my entire life, have formally studied nutrition for almost 8 years and have been a Registered Dietitian for the last 5 years. It is clear to me and has always been clear to me that nutrition is my passion in life. However, only in the last two years and after many years of searching have I found a lifestyle that truly embodies all the nutritional principles I so strongly value and has the ability to bring true health to millions of people. This is the whole-foods plant-based lifestyle.

Before I discovered this lifestyle, I was an overweight and disillusioned dietitian. I had been struggling my whole life to maintain a healthy weight and was slowly but surely losing the battle. I had tried hundreds of different diets and had been to dozens of dietitians and nutritionists. I even became a dietitian myself in the hopes that I would finally find “the answer”. By the time I finished my Community Service year, I had reached my highest weight yet, struggled with anxiety, IBS and fatigue, had high cholesterol, suffered from acne breakouts, was constantly getting sick and no matter how much I exercised, I never felt like I was getting any fitter. No matter which nutritional interventions I tried or how much or what I ate, it seemed that my health was simply doomed. I went through periods of not caring, periods of giving up hope and then periods of fighting my damnedest to get my health back on track, but all to no avail. I generally considered my diet very healthy and could not understand why, when I was doing exactly what all the textbooks said, did I still struggle with extra weight and have high cholesterol? Was it simply genetic? Or was there another solution out there? Something easier and simpler than anything I had ever read about in a text book? And so, I began to read and sift through hundreds of articles, nutritional journals and research papers. I started to read about populations that had the slimmest and healthiest people in the world and I started to come across a large number of international researchers and health professionals that advocated the concept of a plant-based diet for optimal health and weight management. It was a concept I was familiar with. I had learnt about the benefits of a plant-based diet at University and had even advocated that my patients eat more plants and less meat. However, when I truly looked at my diet, I realized that I had never actually implemented this concept myself. I had lean meat at almost every meal because I thought the protein helped to keep me full and slim. I hardly ever ate legumes or pulses because they just weren’t familiar to me. I had large amounts of fat free and low fat dairy daily because I was concerned about getting in enough calcium. I limited my intake of fruits to two per day because I was worried about the high calorie content of fruits. I ate lots of vegetables but always as a condiment and never as the focus of my plate. If I critically evaluated my diet in this sense, I was eating a diet centred on animal products and not on plant products. Even though I thought I was getting in all my nutrients, my low immune system and poor skin health proved otherwise. And so, I began to shift the focus of my diet. I began to centre my plate around the fruits and vegetables and forget about the meat. I began to eat more legumes and pulses. I dropped the dairy products and included more whole-grains. I dropped the idea of portion control and simply ate until I was full and satisfied. I absolutely loved every meal I had and began to get more creative in the kitchen. The weight began to drop off without me having to think too much about it. My anxiety and IBS resolved and my energy soared. After a few months, I ran my first 10K without having trained and I felt fit for the first time in my life. My cholesterol came down to well below the normal value and my hormones became so stable that I had clear skin all month long.

This transformation opened up a whole new world for me. I learnt of thousands of other people who had experienced similar, if not more profound transformations after transitioning to a plant-based diet and began to question why the public had been kept in the dark about this lifestyle. I found out that most health professionals doubted their patients’ ability to comply with a strict meat-free diet and thus failed to mention it to them as a treatment option for various conditions.

I have since opened up my own practice where I aim to help people lose weight, get healthy and prevent major health complications through the use of a plant-based diet. I have so many amazing patients that have had the most miraculous health transformations and have really seen the true benefits of this lifestyle, in not only myself, but so many of my patients.

In addition to this, there are so many vegans and vegetarians who have struggled to find health professionals that are supportive of their choices to avoid animal products in their diets and who will help them reach optimal health using a plant-centred diet. I have been so fortunate to be able to help so many vegan and vegetarian patients to finally get advice from a supportive health professional and to finally find optimal health in their journeys as plant eaters. I make it my mission to keep growing and learning and have taken it upon myself to study all aspects of vegan and vegetarian nutrition so that I am able to guide and help all those who make the shift to this incredible way of life.

I hope that this blog will provide inspiration and unbiased information to all those who are as perplexed about nutrition and health as I was and to all those who are interested in giving a plant-based lifestyle a try as well as those who are currently leading vegetarian or vegan lifestyles and need help, support and unbiased information along the way. As a researcher myself, I make it my job to keep abreast of all of the latest nutrition research and only base my recommendations on credible research.

I hope that this blog will introduce you to the vibrance and abundance of a plant-centred lifestyle and provide you with all the information necessary to implement this successfully and joyfully.

Happy plant-eating.

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   Left:  Graduating with my Bsc. in Dietetics in December 2012  Right:  Graduating with my MSc. in Nutrition March 2017

Left: Graduating with my Bsc. in Dietetics in December 2012
Right: Graduating with my MSc. in Nutrition March 2017