Andrea Falcone RD, FIS, PTS
& CERTIFIED FITNESS PROFESSIONAL
for something nutrishus
I was able to meet Andrea IRL at last year's DC conference and I know she was excited to be part of this series. As with other interviews, I often feel like I've 'found my people' when I get to know more and more dietitians. Andrea and I are both passionate about working with students, helping people make informed choices and supporting them to be their best self. Her cooking camps look and sound fabulous and are a great way to encourage healthy eating by reducing barriers related to food skills. As a busy person, she also understand the importance of balance and finding time for herself, something she shares with her clients too.
Why did you become a RD?
There are so many “why’s”. But I feel the most important one was when I started learning about the science of food, how food digests in our bodies, what our bodies need to function optimally and best. I endured many years of bullying when I was young, which led me down the path of striving to “look” like the models and thin people, trying diet after diet, failing and then developing an eating disorder. This was something I hid from everyone, getting myself to a “weight” and “image” which I then worked to maintain. Until I started to learn about the science of food and nutrition, actually realizing the harm I was putting myself through. When I started to learn all of this, things started to click – yes I went through a long journey of healing my mind and body, but I eventually got there. As we continue to live in a society dominated by image and diets, I strive to educate people to not only love themselves and the bodies they were given, but also to understand food and what each person needs for their personal health.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
How would you explain what you do?
I have the privilege of meshing a few different ingredients of private practice which includes running Cooking Camps for students during their winter, spring and summer breaks, conducting group presentations for schools, parent council groups, and corporate affiliates, writing and recipe development for a number of outlets, including online and print magazines, and seeing clients one-on-one. I also co-chair the Dietitians of Canada Consulting Dietitians Network which is a great opportunity to support other private practice RDs and liase with DC.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
I teach fitness classes in the morning at 6AM before my dietitian job begins! Throughout the week I see clients 1-2 days for one-on-one counseling, and then based on the week I will either have 1-2 presentations, prepare a written article, develop recipes, or work on the program development for my camps which are well distributed throughout the year.
What has been your career path?
I have been in the nutrition and fitness industry for 10+ years, prior to becoming a dietitian, working as a “nutritionist” at a wellness clinic, in research and as a fitness instructor. Following internship I worked for the Loblaw’s Dietitian program, which also steered me towards program development and training. I always dabbled in private practice, seeing clients on the side during my free time. I then spent 1.5 years managing a community diabetes clinic which was very fulfilling from a management role. I missed being a dietitian too much, so continued with my private practice, and worked part time with a Family Health Team until I felt there were too few hours in the day to complete everything, pursue my other goals, and take care of my mental health. I left the Family Health Team in October 2015 and have been working in private practice ever since!
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I am Food Skills Certified and have completed many hours in Children’s Behaviour and Development, which allows me to support their learning. I am also a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
The food world changes at an exponential rate. Dietitians are so profound in the work they do and the support they give to clients. As we continue to make headway in making this information more known to the public, the demand for dietitians to serve the nutrition and food worlds is increasing, which I am so incredibly grateful to be a part of through many facets. I see this more and more, and I truly believe dietitians will gain on this momentum and be able to educate the public in all areas of nutrition information.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
We work for our clients’ best interest, which means no one is the same and each individual may just get a different “prescription” of nutrition information. In media and writing, I know my primary goal is to give all of the information in the right fashion, which means digging deeper into the headlines, and making sure people are informed about how to make the best choices for their health.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Competing with the easy quick-fixes and the celebrity-driven diets that many people fall privy to, often resulting in yet another failed attempt. Then, sometimes, having to change people’s mindset and support their learning for what is actually true!
What do people think that you do for a living?
Teach, inspire, motivate, educate, develop recipes, write, garden and workout!
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
Finding the simple solutions that will support the public and help them realize they can cook more from scratch, create their own healthy meals and still be able to balance all of life’s other commitments.
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
I truly feel our professionalism around serving clients (client confidentiality), conducting research, speaking to or with others is what makes us differ. I find that more and more dietitians are still seeking the research and evidence as a first line of support for anyone, but continue to be open to other practices, protocols, and the grey area of practice.
What is your favourite meal?
Simply – arugula with tuna, cheese and avocado! I could eat that every day. Comfort, I love my Cauliflower Mac and Cheese!
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Be you – whatever or whoever you may be! Be your best self by giving to yourself and then give your gift to the world!
More about Andrea:
Facebook: Andrea Falcone
Podcast: Healthy You