Dara Gurau, RD & Erin Macgregor, RD, PHEc
CLINICAL & HOW TO EAT
for something nutrishus
It's great to feature a team or dynamic duo and I know these two are doing some great things. Not only do they work together in private practice, but also in a clinical setting, where they're also part of a team. I've seen their Facebook videos lately, so I sort of felt like I already knew them and they were excited to be part of the series. They create delicious recipes, such as Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, that I'm anxious to try! Dara and Erin focus on practical things like meal planning tips and on 'healthful eating through food, not numbers' which is a refreshing approach.
Why did you become a RD?
We both grew up with a love for food, but really never thought of food and nutrition as a career. Actually, growing up, we didn't even now what a dieititan was! As we completed our first University degrees in Kinesiology and were trying to figure out what the heck to do with our lives, we discovered the food and nutrition program and thought this would be a great compliment to our kinesiology knowledge while satisfying that passion for food and cooking we had developed.
Fast forward to today, and while our knowledge of the field of dietetics has expanded, that same passion for food and cooking remains. And that's why we ultimately chose to become registered dietitians - to share our passion and knowledge for food, nutrition, and cooking with others in the hopes of inspiring them to pick up a knife or spatula and create delicious and healthful home-cooked meals to share with their friends and families.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
We work together in the clinical setting at a large teaching hospital in Toronto. We are also co-creators and owners of How To Eat, where we work in recipe development, nutrition communication, and meal planning. One part of How To Eat is our food and recipe blog, where we have been sharing easy and healthful recipes and kitchen tips for the past five years. So we are definitely never bored!
How would you explain what you do?
In our clinical roles, we work as inpatient dietitians as part of a large multi-discplinary team, involved mainly in nutrition support. At How To Eat, we are doing something completely different, working with individuals to support them in building their confidence as home cooks by helping them with meal planning and cooking. We also work with brands to provide recipe development and nutrition communication for them. Lastly, we continue to share easy, healthful, and delicious recipes through our blog.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
In our clinical roles, our days involve assessing patients' nutritional status, implementing the appropriate nutrition intervention, and following up on patients in our areas. We also attend daily and weekly multi-disciplinary team rounds, monthly nutrition department meetings, and other professional development sessions.
In our How To Eat role, we are constantly developing and testing new recipes, creating content for our blog, attending networking events and meetings, and working on the the latest special project or event we have on the go.
What has been your career path?
It should be no surprise that we ended up as colleagues, close friends, and business partners as we share such similar career paths. In fact, we often refer to ourselves as "foodie soul-mates!" We both started out with undergraduate degrees in kinesiology and then went on to complete our second degrees in food and nutrition at Ryerson. From there, we both completed our dietetic internships in Toronto where we both still work as inpatient clinical dietitians. We also both share previous experience working as outpatient dietitians counselling on cardiovascular disease, HIV, and general healthy eating.
So when we first met at our clinical positions, we actually both already had our own individual food blogs. And after realizing that we shared pretty much the same food personality, we joined forces to start How To Eat and it has now grown to the business it is today. We love having that balance of utilizing our clinical skills as well as sharing our love of food and inspiring others to cook.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
Well as we mentioned, we both have degrees in Kinesiology as well as Food and Nutrition. Erin also holds the professional home economist (PHec) designation. We also have a very important type of training - motherhood! We are both moms who have learned and developed a system to feed our own hungry families.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Tough question! In our ideal world, the term dietitian would be associated with "food expert." At this moment, we feel there is a big disconnect between dietitians and food - people hear the term dietitians and immediately think "diet" and "what NOT to eat." There is a shift that has begun and we hope it continues, one that shows ourselves as a profession who not only knows nutrition, but food as well. And enjoys eating it! All of it! We hope to be part of that first step in the right direction.
What is your favourite meal?
This was the hardest question! We love so many things! But there was this one dinner on a trip together in NYC at a restaurant called ABC Kitchen. It was one of those multi-course dinners that was enjoyed with a bottle of wine over several hours and absolutely everything was delicious. We were there over 5 years ago and STILL think about it, it was that good! What sticks in our mind the most was the dessert - salted caramel ice cream topped with popcorn and a rich chocolate sauce. That sweet and salty combo gets us every time!
More about Erin & Dara:
Facebook: How to Eat