Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Food Fete with RD Jessica Maillet

I met Jessica last year through a mutual friend, and she's one of my role models. She did her internship at UCSF, which is definitely one of my top choices, is a certified personal trainer, runs (Boston's her first marathon!), goes to fashion week, and has a great blog at A Fete for Food. She is enthusiastic about delicious, clean, fair, whole foods, and believes every meal should be a celebration!

In her own words:
As a registered dietitian, food expert, and certified personal trainer, my belief is that wellness originates from nourishing the body with whole foods that are grown and tended close to home and utilizing that energy derived from this nutrition to move in ways that make you happy. My passion is to inspire people to eat wholesome, local, affordable and delicious food that makes them happy and healthy, and improves the environment and community in which we live.
I caught up with Jess last week to talk a little bit about being an RD, and here's a little bit of what we talked about!
  • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I'm a dietitian for Headstart, helping families and kids develop a love for healthy foods.
  • What drew you to the field of nutrition?
    I always wanted to be a doctor and was a premed biology major at umass. I had a really great professor of nutrition, and I realized that it wouldn’t be preventative medicine if I was a doctor-I would always be chasing a problem. I believe disease is something you can prevent through good eating habits, so I decided to become an RD.
  • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? We’re constantly spreading the same message but the lightbulb goes off at different times for different people. Seeing that lightbulb go off, and interacting with the children is my favorite part of my job.
  • How rewarding do you find your job? Very, the kids I work with are great.
  • What's the most frustrating part of your job? Constantly spinning the wheels. Everyone thinks they’re a nutrition expert, and they’re really not. Everyone’s looking for a quick fix that we’re not going to give them.
  • How do you use social media? Have you found that having a blog and being active twitter user has helped you find more clients/jobs? I keep my blog and am active on twitter to find out about food trends, what’s hot in the field, what diets people are on, etc. I like blogging to practice mywriting skills.
  • Talk to me about being a locavore. How were you first introduced to this concept and do you encourage your clients to buy local produce? 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver really showed me how all the pieces of our food system were interconnected and introduced me to the benefits of local food. Working in San Francisco really helped. When I consult private clients I talk to them about where they can get CSAs and local produce if they are interested.
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?One day I would love to be a sports dietitian-the next Nancy Clark. I have also wanted to be a writer and am also interested in corporate wellness. I’m still finding out where my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can optimize them.
  • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? Everyone has own beliefs on what they should be eating. You come to it with preconceptions, when someone else is telling you what you should should or should not eat you are put on defense. We need to work on communicating these messages more effectively with the public. I also believe that all dietitians need to take a class about entrepreneurship.
  • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? There isn’t one thing. There is one thing per person, and it's not me telling you what to do, it's what works for you. Oh and eat more kale!
Thanks Jess for talking with me about where the field of nutrition has taken you and your plans for the future. Keep your eyes on this lady everyone-she's going places!

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