Selena Devries, RD, CLT
for something nutrishus
We are so happy to have Selena Devries on the nutrishus blog today! Like me, she knew that private practice was her calling. As someone living with celiac disease, she has a special interest and passion for the clients she works with, even though she never envisioned that as her speciality.
Why did you become a RD?
I became a Dietitian because I have loved food, nutrition, and health and everything that encompasses it from a young age. However, the five years of school turned me off of pursuing it for a while. After taking 5 years off after high school and working through a variety jobs, I realized that going after my dream was going to be worth it. And, it certainly has been. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I work in private practice specializing in celiac disease and gluten related disorders. It certainly wasn’t the area that I imagined myself working in. I actually remember sitting in class learning about allergies, intolerances and celiac disease and thinking to myself "I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be for individuals to follow these strict diets. I’m so lucky to have my health. But, this isn’t the area I want to work in." At that time, the area just didn’t spark my interest.
It was only a few, short years later that I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Living with celiac disease has certainly changed my view! Now, my passion for celiac disease is undeniable. When anyone asks me about it, my face lights up with enjoyment! I could talk about it all the time. I absolute love helping my fellow celiacs and those living with gluten related disorders reach their absolute best health.
How would you explain what you do?
Clients come to see me to optimize their digestive health. They may be newly diagnosed with celiac disease, struggling with IBS, have a diagnosis of crohns or colitis, or struggling with digestion because of a poor diet etc.
I work with them one-on-one to identify a protocol(s) that could help improve their digestion. This may include:
· Mindful eating/stress reduction
· Elimination diets such as FODMAPs
· Gluten free education
· Supplements for digestive health
· General healthy eating for better digestion
· Referrals to other health practitioners such as counselling or acupuncture
I also hold events in the community, which I love! I hold gluten free pop ups which are held anywhere in Kelowna. For these events, I have local, gluten free businesses that offer samples of their product and I usually will do a short talk on a gluten related topic, such as the top 5 food to include on the gluten free diet.
I also speak at conferences, give talks to the medical community and hold presentations and workshops within the community on the topic of digestive health.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Well, I probably spend more time than I would like on social media, email, marketing, and general business administration! I recently took on a UBC Dietetic student volunteer to help with social media management. I truly appreciate my newest volunteer, Sophia, and her social media skills.
Besides that, I am probably prepping for clients, preparing powerpoints, giving talks, developing recipes, taking photos of food, writing blog posts, developing handouts, facilitating/planning workshops and events, writing articles for the media, or interviewing with TV, radio or print.
What has been your career path?
I worked as a clinical dietitian for 6 months after graduation. However, private practice is where I knew I wanted to focus my efforts, so I left. It was a huge decision to leave, but I knew I had to do it if I really wanted to make a go of it on my own.
Private practice has certainly been a learning curve! Just hoping right into it without any insight on the business end of things has been interesting. I have to say I am lucky that my partner owns his own business too, so I get free advice ;)
Currently, I am focusing 100 percent of my efforts on growing my private practice.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I am a certified LEAP therapist which is an evidence based method to determine food sensitivities. I actually came across this training when I was researching ways to get myself better when I continued to have symptoms despite strict adherence to a gluten free diet
There are a handful of RDs in Canada that are LEAP certified. The certification is through the USA and so the majority of RDs with the certification are located there.
I have also taken additional, online training in integrative and functional nutrition with Susan Allen, RD, CCN with Next Level Functional Nutrition. There is so much to learn in this area. It is fascinating and I am learning more and more each and every day.
I have also done a lot of my own research, watched webinars, and have watched some Dietitians of Canada learning on demand when it comes to digestive health.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I would love for celiac disease to be taken more seriously in restaurants and for the gluten free trend to slow down. Although, the gluten free trend has done a lot in terms of expanding the gluten free items available, it has downplayed the severity of it when eating out.
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