Hello, Dietitian Bosses, this is Coach Dr. Heather Paulson, and today I am joined by one of our Dietitian Bosses, Allison Andrade. Allison, thank you so much for joining us and. If you wouldn't mind, can you just share a little bit about yourself? Absolutely. Thank you for having me. So I am, I'm a very new dietician.
Actually. I just graduated this year. Well, with my master's in nutrition, I did my dietetic internship, and now I am both an inpatient and outpatient dietician counseling veterans, and I was actually hired right out of my internship. That's amazing. Can you share with us a little bit about your journey? Into dietetics and what made you want to become a dietitian?
Absolutely. So it started really when I was in high school. I was very athletic. I did multiple sports varsity sports, and I was very interested in fueling myself with nutrition for those sports. My, in addition to that, my sister also was diagnosed with celiac disease when we were quite young and so navigating that was very interesting because back then, my sister, I think was about 6 years old, but back then it was not very common to be gluten free at all.
So we were making a bunch of stuff from scratch in the house. And in addition to that, and because of that food was very much so like a center for family related events and just a hub for our family as well. And it was almost like a bunch of little things. That started playing a role into my passion for nutrition.
And I had always loved science as a subject throughout high school. And then I got to college and I wanted to do something science related. And I thought I wanted to be a PA quickly found out that that was not the best for me after I shadowed surgery, which is fine. And it was actually my mom that suggested, Hey, you've always been very passionate about nutrition.
Why don't you get into that field? And I. So, you know, that's not a bad idea, and I tried it, and I even transferred colleges for it, and then I went full force into the major, into my master's, and that's about it. It was a bunch of I guess smaller factors that layered over each other that propelled my passion for nutrition.
That's so cool, because One, it shows your dedication to being a dietician to actually change schools and shift where you're studying. And also, you know, so many of us, we have these personal stories as to why we got started in our professions, especially when it comes to healthcare, like being a dietician.
And it's really neat to hear how you're weaving in. Your athletic training, your family history of your sister and making like some really amazing career choices about that. How do you think being an athlete has impacted your approach? To nutrition and also to how you approach studying and going through school.
So, oh, that's really hard. It was actually a little bit more on the difficult side because I was so into my athletics in high school come college. I was not a college athlete by any means and navigating that was almost difficult for me because I didn't have a organized sport, right? I became a spin instructor for a while.
Yeah. And that was fun and honestly quick lived, which is fine. But really staying dedicated in my athletics and my sports, I think translated to my studies and translated to my dedication to the field of nutrition. But like. In a literal sense, because I was working with coaches and they were training me and I had to put in a lot of time and effort for that.
But I think also mentally as well, because I was so passionate both about athletics, but then I became super passionate about nutrition and then my passion for nutrition. From the athletic side, almost shifted to when I got to college because I wasn't an athlete athlete anymore. I was very much so into working out and still fueling myself, but then my passion in, inside of nutrition almost grew and changed, if that makes sense.
Mm hmm. How did it grow and change for you in that moment or through that process? Yeah, so I think I became less interested in eating, I guess, perfectly for myself to fuel my workouts. And I had to balance the, had to balance the, how do I put this? I don't even know. How to balance nutrition for like the lay person or like everyday life and finding a more normal routine, if that makes sense.
And then as I, yeah, and then I. It was also cool because, you know, you get to college, you study what you want, and you have way more unique and niched classes, and so I loved my MNT class, I loved biochemistry, so my passion for nutrition became way more, like, Metabolically themed, if that makes sense and way more interested in, okay, like, what's actually going on inside the body?
How can what we eat really affect us and affect, like, years to come that we live? And that's where that transition started happening. And being, for you, being metabolically focused, that translated, and also curious about science, that translated into some research opportunities, right? Thank you. Yep, that translated into some research opportunities.
I did some research and undergrad and that was really fun and interesting. And then I started doing some research on my own about certain areas. I became even more passionate about in nutrition. Which was really, really cool. Yeah, that's a really unique path because not all dieticians are on a research track or have studies that they're a part of.
And so that's a really unique and special thing about you that I personally really resonate with. Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. oKay. Can you share some fears? Like, did you have any fears that you were integrating or coming up with solutions for while you were a student? Sure. So I wouldn't say I was, I had many fears as an undergraduate student, but then.
When I started to enter my master's, my master's in nutrition, as well as my dietetic internship, because my program was combined, it was a combined master's and dietetic internship where the first year of my master's was front loaded with classes. The second year of my master's had maybe one to two classes.
But in addition to that, I was doing the dietetic internship full time. And I think I was just more fearful of. Starting the dietetic internship and quote unquote, not feeling as ready for it because my undergraduate classes had like the MNT courses that were way more relevant to the dietetic internship.
And I absolutely loved my master's, but like you said, it was way more like research focused. So kind of, I guess I had some time off from the clinical practice aspect of it. So I was a little nervous. Going into the internship, not feeling ready, but boy, was I wrong because I, once I started, it was awesome.
It was such a fostered learning environment. I was also, I guess you could say fearful of being quote unquote wrong in certain situations and there really is no wrong when you're a student and you're learning right? And when you're an intern. You're literally there in the internship to learn. That is the whole purpose of you being an intern.
So if there are things that quote unquote I got wrong, it was okay. That's the whole point. And I think we all know that things in books and classes are one thing, but then actually going and applying it and doing it in real life is something completely different, right? And... Yeah, it was it was really cool to do that.
And then I think when I entered the internship, I started developing like my own professional opinions, right. Based on everything that I had been learned and trained in, I started developing my own professional opinions. And I realized that my opinions may not be the same as those around me. Right. And everything that we practice is obviously evidence based and scientifically backed up.
In the nuances of the professional opinion, there were things that I was maybe like agreeing with or not agreeing with that people around me were doing and it was scary to realize that like, oh, wow, like, I'm actually starting to develop my own professional opinion compared to everyone around me. Right?
And that's not a bad thing. It was just. Such a unique thing to, it was almost like a eureka moment, right? Because you're the student and then when you're in the internship, it's like, okay, you're really practicing and you're really allowed to implement your professional opinion and wherever it may be needed.
So that was, that was almost a little bit intimidating where I was like, oh, wow, like, I almost disagree with like how this person's doing this note or how this person is approaching this counseling session, right? But it's cool. It's also very cool. At the same time. Yeah. That's, I mean, that's a natural transition from learning something, applying something, learning something from applying something and then continuing to grow and have your own opinion is such a great progression.
And I love that you talked about that, that fear, that fear of being wrong, because we see this a lot in dietitian boss. And as a coach and dietitian boss, I see that. Fear of being wrong translate a lot into like fear about starting a business or fear of things not being good enough or fear of like, I'm going to say the wrong thing and it's going to be wrong and somebody on Instagram is going to be mad at me or like that fear of being wrong.
Is a huge through line in starting your own business and doing some or, or starting. To teach a course online or any of the things we encourage you to do on the dietitian boss. And if that fear keeps going then you're, you're stuck. You're super stuck. Yeah. So I think, sorry. I think learning to navigate those feelings early on is super important for the progression of things like a business.
Especially during the internship, like navigating those feelings in the internship and. Like then going out into your first job, that's imperative, super imperative. Yeah, I used to teach clinicals for naturopathic doctors, and I would start every new quarter when I got new students. I would start with a recap of the book, Failing Forward because I think it's such a good book that gives you strategies for, Failing forward.
So failing forward is this concept that every mistake you make is an opportunity to learn and you're only failing. You're only really failing if you keep making the same mistake over and over again. But if you're making new mistakes, then you're not a failure. You're just learning. So that concept, yeah, that really helped people have less stress on my, on my shift.
They used to come in crying and really stressed out about taking care of patients. And yeah, so if, if you guys listening, feel like you need some support in overcoming that. Like fear of failure or fear of being wrong there are some really great resources. And Allison offered some strategies too with what she learned from.
Is there any other strategies you would add in here that supported you in that process of becoming more confident and more self assured? Yes, I think not being afraid to ask all the questions. Is it definitely a great way to start? Not in the sense of, oh, why are you doing it that way? Maybe you can in the right inappropriate context, but asking all of the questions and even asking people like what their stories are and why they do certain things like, oh, me, what, why this counseling style?
Like, can you explain that to me? I'm not familiar with it. Being open during the internship and then asking all the questions can kind of Allow you to be a sponge and soak up all of that information and then you obviously will know how have a knowing or feeling of what to do with that information going for so I love that such good advice.
Thank you. Okay, here we go. Can you share with us some tips about being a new dietitian and any a compliment? Accomplishments that you're experiencing or or even just little things about being in the work environment and being newer to the field that really lights you up right now. Sure, absolutely. So I still am asking all the questions as a new dietitian, right?
Because again, the internship and then going into your first job, that's also a transition, right? I'm in my first, like, dietetic job currently, and I still am asking my coworkers, like, Oh, I have a X patient with problem A, B, and C. I want to approach it this way. What are your opinions? Would you approach it this way?
Because the patients we work with are very different, right? Very clinically in depth and require a lot of critical thinking and problem solving. So I really do. And I'm lucky that I have a work environment like that too, where I can rely on my coworkers and they're very. Understanding at fostering, like, my new environment, because they know it's new to me as well.
So asking all of the questions. And then it also shows that you're super engaged, and it demonstrates not only curiosity, but like, you asking so many questions, it shows your desire to know the correct information, and that demonstrates your passion to your coworkers as well as your higher ups. Which is super important as a new dietitian.
You don't have to pretend like you know everything going into your first job. Yes, you're fresh out of the internship. You're fresh out of school. That's fine, but you don't have all the answers. It really does take years and years of experience of learning new things and different things. So that's okay.
And... Honestly, just to any new intern that is listening to this podcast, please, please go easy on yourself. The internship is hard. It is literally like job hopping. It's as if you're having maybe, at least for me, I had about 11 different rotations. It's like having 11 different jobs in the span of maybe a year or an academic year.
So please go easy on yourself during this time. It can be very tiring. You're learning so much. Like I said, you're becoming a sponge. But becoming a sponge also means you get tired with all this new information and then you have to reintroduce yourself to new people, get acquainted with someone new. That also can be very tiring.
So please prioritize rest and sleep. Go easy on yourself and your internship is going to be fine. And for students as well that are interns, I guess my advice is more for interns than just for becoming a new dietician, but I think it's because I'm still so new. If you are in the same dietetic internship as like classmates that you had, definitely use those classmates to lean on and you guys are all having the same shared experiences.
That's going to bring you closer and it's going to help lift you up and make you feel good. And if you're in a dietetic internship where you don't really know many people, try and get in contact with the other interns, right? And I also really, really recommend finding some type of mentor as either a new dietician or an intern, right?
That's going to be super, super helpful in Projecting you either towards your passion or just towards the field in general. Right? I had awesome preceptors that I'm literally still friends with to this day and I actually my job right now was one of my internship rotations. They offered me a position right out of my internship and I found a mentor who's now my coworker and she's really awesome.
Certified diabetic educator. She's really great and I consider her a mentor. And I still looked at her as a mentor just because I'm not an intern anymore doesn't mean that you can't have a mentor in the workplace as well. Everyone around you at least should be understanding that you're new and everything is very fresh.
And so whether that's like a manager, a coworker, someone who is in a field that you want to get in. Right? That's definitely another piece of advice that I have. And allow your passions in the field to grow and change. Allow for that to happen, even as a new dietician. Like, right now, I honestly didn't think I'd be as interested in diabetes, but now with my mentor being a certified diabetes educator, I'm like, oh, maybe, maybe I'll see myself getting certified in the future.
Or, getting certified in something else and that is also allow your passions within the field to grow and change with time. That's such great advice.
Thank you so much for sharing those ideas and those tips because it is so important to one, go into your internship prepared, or if you're listening right now and you're in, in your internship, having some good ideas of how to best navigate that stressful, exhausting time. And I love the things that you mentioned and what I heard from that are some of the core messages that.
We have in core principles that we have in dietitian boss, which is community, right? We're really big on community support. And so when you're talking about, you know, lean on your other classmates that are in, have done that internship before in the same internship as you that community support is so important.
And usually we lose a little bit of that when we go from. School or internship into our, our like air quote, real jobs or starting your own business. You definitely can lose that sense of community. So I love that you. Mentioned that. Oh, it's so true. Like I said, I'm very lucky that I got offered a position right out of my internship because of my internship.
And I feel like I have a sense of community, like, with them. And then, like, with the dietitian boss, it's really awesome to have that sense of community in feeling very supported with you guys. Yeah, and so that leads me to another thing that I love that you said it was a mentorship and you have a mentor that you connected with in your internship and that mentor has helped you progress in your profession and get your first job, which.
Is is so amazing and why mentors are so important, right? And having mentors that you can ask questions to, you just had to ask a lot of questions, continue asking questions. And you want to ask questions to the right people. People who have been there before, have some knowledge or some wisdom. And, you know, sometimes we can ask questions to people like our family members and be like, what do you think if I do X, Y, and Z?
And they might say something that, um, maybe isn't that encouraging, or maybe you kind of are like, oh, why did I ask that? So asking questions to the right people is really, really important. And the last part of what we provide here at Dietitian Boss is that, like, that safe space to ask questions.
Because you guys are not taught about running a business, right? No. Did you take any business classes? No. Not at all. Not at all. I have, like, family who like, has owned and run businesses before, so that is to the extent of my knowledge, but I have never, I, I think I took one marketing class and I was not happy with it.
So, that was about it, but. Well, that leads us very nicely into my next question for you, which is what motivates you to start a business and what are some of your goals for the future? Sure. So I've always Had this, I guess you could say dream to open up my own business or private practice. Right? Like I said, I have a lot of supportive family who is familiar with business and everything.
So I kind of grew up around that. And it's something I've always pictured myself doing in the future and now, like, with nutrition, I feel even more motivated because I know that I can tailor my client base so that I'm serving what I see as an ideal client, right? Struggling with specific issues that I am super passionate about fixing.
Right? I have a lot more autonomy and leeway to do that. Yeah. For example, like my population right now at my current job is mostly men. Right. But I do have that passion for women's health and female health. And I would want to tailor my ideal client base to women specifically. That way I have the best of both worlds too.
And I think overall owning my own private practice or starting out my own business. I have always. Thought it would be great to just have a more flexible work schedule, right. And be in charge of my time a little more, because who knows what can happen in the future? Maybe I'll want kids someday and I want to be able to navigate my career as well as my family and have those worlds not have to be completely like separated or have to forego one dream for another, they can mesh a little bit easier.
And I, I know that in starting my own business. It, it's like an investment in myself, right? And in my career. And I think I'm worth my own investment. And that's how I believe other people should look at it too. If they are thinking about starting their own business or private practice, like that's an investment in yourself and you're worthy of that.
And you deserve that. Yeah. And then there's also some things that we've talked about that you have interest in like functional nutrition, which is probably not so easy to. Integrate into your current. Clinical, clinical job, maybe parts of it are, but like all of your interest in functional nutrition like some of the labs and how to walk people through some of these you're addressing metabolic health and your current clinical job, but there's so many other facets to clinical health and diabetes and what happens in clinic.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And that's something that I'm trying to do some more research on myself right now. My internship didn't really have a rotation or anything like that. That was focused and functional nutrition. And it's also still, I think, a very new facet of nutrition. That I would love to see grow and I'd love to see like younger students and dietitians like me get more and more into the field.
At my current job, we do have some initiatives where we're doing smaller amounts of implementation of functional based nutrition practice and functional based medicine in general amongst physicians and the other healthcare providers. And it's a beautiful thing and I think starting small and working our way up is great.
And I really would love to. Always have that as like a base for whatever I do going forth, whether at this job, my own place my own business. It, I, functional nutrition is such a base and a foundation for me and it always has been. I love that. So any last pieces of advice or parting words for people who are in dietetic school right now or in their internship or are inspired.
By investing in themselves to start a business. Yeah, I would absolutely suggest again, like if you Are passionate in 1 thing, but then start to develop a passion for another explore that because then maybe that can be used in a future endeavor for a business, right? The internship is really just a time to explore anything you want any facet community food service, clinical, anything like that.
And then if you want on your own time, try and do some research on your own with what you're passionate about. And maybe even that mentor we were discussing earlier, trying to find maybe some mentor, even if they're not in your internship or not at your current job, find some mentor who is like a friend of a friend who, you know, is in the dietetics field or something like that and ask them all the questions and how they started their passion for something.
I don't know, such as functional nutrition. So that's, those are my parting words of advice for anyone that's a new upcoming dietitian. That's such great advice and we really appreciate you sharing this part of your journey with us here at Dietitian Boss. We know that, that is, that Is just it, this is a journey for all of us, right?
We start at one point and then we end at an end point, but that end point is another start point. And then there's an end point and another start point. So we really appreciate you sharing this part of your journey with us. And if. If somebody wants to connect with you or you know, reach out to you as a part of the community that's exploring this part of dietetics, is there any way that they can connect with you?
Sure. On Instagram my nutrition Instagram, which is still very much so in the works is Andrade. nutrition. Andrade is spelled A N D R A D E. So, that is where people can reach me. Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing with us. And I just want to highlight for everyone, you know, we all start somewhere.
Even the dieticians that you guys follow and they have tons of followers and you're like, Oh, I'm never going to get that or maybe that is aspirational and that person is a put up on a little bit of a pedestal at some point they started with 25 followers on Instagram and they were all their friends and family.
So I love that. You know, this is just the beginning for you, and I'm so excited to see what's in your future. You have been such a lovely coach, Coach Heather. Honestly, you have been so wonderful with the work that we've already done, and I really appreciate your time in getting to know you and getting to know Libby.
It has been really awesome, and I have... Learned so much. Thank you so much and for those of you listening, we look forward to continuing to connect with you. You can leave your comments and questions in the comments section for this podcast or leave your feedback in the review section and we look forward to talking to you soon.
Thanks so much. Bye.