Jorie Janzen RD, IOC Dipl Sports Nutr, CSSD, CCF

Jorie Janzen_Digital-2.jpg



for something nutrishus

I know and have met Jorie in person (she is a human after all!). I filled a maternity leave and consult for the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan, the province next to hers. She wasn't there when I played, but I would have worked with her in Winnipeg with the Canadian Women's Indoor Volleyball Team as well. Jorie has been working and mentoring in the field for almost 15 years in the areas of nutrition for sport performance, disordered eating and eating disorders, and in corporate health and wellness. This interview is just another way for her to give back and support others.

Why did you become a RD?

Because I needed to pick something to go into! LOL! Seriously. I was in second year just taking courses. I started to freak out because I did not know what I was going to do with my life. I decided to use the University counselling services and dietetics came up. I had no idea what this involved, so took a couple of courses and thought, what the heck! I have to go into something. Nutrition seemed pretty cool…but I still had no idea what a dietitian did until internship.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I currently work in sports dietetics as my full time area of practice as Director of Sport Dietetics at the Canadian Sport Centre-Manitoba. I also have a small private practice that includes workplace wellness and ED/DE (eating disorders/disordered eating) in athletes.

How would you explain what you do?

What do I do….always a question I ask myself! I think what I do is coach those willing to work with me in resolving a conflict they are having with themselves and food. Really, we as dietitians are conflict resolution specialists in our areas of expertise!

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

As with many dietitians, what is typical is that there is no typical. If I have to somewhat narrow down typical tasks it would be connecting with my ISTs (interdisciplinary support teams) around the athletes we work with to ensure we are all doing what is needed to support athletes, coaches and at times parents/significant others. Sometimes there are the mechanical things to do such as nutrient analysis, developing and modifying meal plans, grocery store tours, cooking classes, hydration testing, body composition testing, connecting with my colleagues across the country, presenting to teachers, coaches, parents…and I do a ton of mentoring! I am a huge believer that there is room for all of us and if we build each other up we will all be stronger practitioners/service providers because of it.

What has been your career path? What advanced education or special training do you have?

I went to the University of Manitoba and got my BHEc (major Nutrition) and completed Health Sciences Centre Dietetic Internship program. I did not start out full time in sport. Out of internship I started working at two long-term care facilities and eventually moved to a larger facility. Then, an amazing opportunity came up with the WRHA Surgery Prehabilitation Program where I worked with an amazing team of professionals getting patients healthy for hip/knee replacement surgery. All the while I kept a private practice on the side taking on team sport nutrition presentations for provincial teams, Canada Games preperations, coach workshops as well as co-chairing the DC SNN, sitting on the executive board for Sport Medicine and Science Council Manitoba and started the Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network. I then completed the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition. Next up, my current position as Director of Sports Dietetics with the Canadian Sport Centre-Manitoba. As well I have added the CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) credential. I also did the ISAK Level 1 certification, but do need to take the course again to renew. I also attended several leadership workshops as well as one of my favourites for working with and dealing with clients; Molley Kellogg’sIntensive Motivational Interviewing course and became a Life Coach through the Certified Coaches Federation certification.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

Wow. This is such a massive and possibly loaded question and I could likely fill pages upon pages around this one question. Working in sport I have experienced great joys and achievements and great sadness and failures. I will try to keep this to the point and positive with my hopes. In an ideal world, I would hope that the area of sports nutrition is seen as vital as any other area RDs practice. I hope that dietetic programs and internship programs start to value and provide higher-level education and practicum opportunities. Right now there is ONE course in the faculty devoted to sports nutrition at the University of Manitoba. I only get 2 interns a year for 3-weeks to mentor! And the reason is that interns need to gain experience in clinical or out patient or rural areas. Guess what?! A sports dietitian can easily provide such opportunities! Dietitians who work in sport deal with rehabilitation (concussion, surgery, other injuries), eating disorders and disordered eating, food intolerances and allergies, hematological issues, dietary restrictions or changes and so much more!

In five years I hope that the dietetic education programs has a greater respect for this area of practice. In five years I hope that sport medicine clinics, college and university sport programs and other organizations working with athletes see the value of having a sports dietitian as part of the full time staff/program.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

In the area of sports nutrition, I would like to clear up that we do not work with only healthy and motivated people. We work with human beings who happen to be athletes, dancers, or performers. These are human beings who are often very high achievers and need support from us. They fall prey to the same misinformation as the rest of the world because…they are human.

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Working in sport or working in research or in a clinical setting, we do amazing work every single day! We counsel, motivate, inspire and even save lives! We clear up myths vs. facts. We are also very human….my most favorite part!

What do people think that you do for a living?

I tell people what to eat. Others seem to think I can provide medical advice or diagnose ailments. The latter makes me laugh!

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am extremely passionate about clearing up false information and normalizing food. I love making fun of what people think we do! Gotta have fun with it!

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals? 

Well, for one, we are regulated and accountable to a regulatory body. So, we have to be evidence based. And, generally, RDs are not all about the black and white way of eating. Every time I give a talk or meet with a client they feel relieved to not be judged.

What is your favourite meal? 

I love Thai and Indian food. But I always look forward to dessert.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers?

No matter what area you choose to practice in, always surround yourself with other professionals who can support you and you support them – not just other RDs but other professionals. I have found that when you give, there will always be others waiting to give back.

Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable:

Even though I do strongly feel that there is much growth to be done in sports nutrition practice in Canada…I always try to make the grass greener on my side! Life is more enjoyable that way!

More about Jorie:

Website: Jorie Janzen

Website: Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba

Twitter: @jjjanzen

Instagram: @joriejanzen

Thanks Jorie!