Jonathan Valdez, MBA, RDN, CSG, CDN, CCM, ACE-CPT
GENKI NUTRITION & GUILD MAGAZINE
for something nutrishus
When I reached out to the NOMIN (National Organization of Men In Nutrition) group on Facebook, Jonathan jumped at the opportunity to share his unique career. His jobs once again shows the many hats dietitians can and do wear as well as the locations they work in (pjs anyone?). Dietitians have a huge skill set to add to a variety of industries and to create their own businesses and many also volunteer to share their expertise and passion. We also continue to see a variety of credentials as dietitians are life long learners too!
Why did you become a RD?
I wanted to become a veterinarian when I started college. Then after taking my first course in nutrition, I decided becoming a RDN was more appealing because it didn’t require me to take a second language (my high school Spanish teacher was terror-able) as a requirement nor did it require me to take physics (I loathe physics).
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I wear several hats:
1. Full-time job: I work for an insurance company in New York City as a telehealth RDN in a Managed Long-Term space for the elderly. It is a care management-based with a social worker or registered nurse as a case manage, and the RDNs counsel on a referral basis. 90% of my population are elderly in a home health, managed long-term care setting.
2. I have my own business called Genki Nutrition working in a telehealth space and nutrition communications
3. Lastly working as a Food Director for Guild Magazine. I curate restaurants, chefs, nutrition professionals, and agriculture professionals for our print and online content.
How would you explain what you do?
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
I work from home, in my pajamas.
● I wake up and check e-mails for the first 30 minutes
● Review charts and counsel people over the phone.
● Other side gigs include employee wellness and assisting with healthy fairs for the public
● Managing the National Nutrition Month editorial calendar for social media.
For my own business, I do nutrition counseling and providing media content on my social media channels. As a Food Director for Guild Magazine, contact collaborate with nutrition-related professionals to provide nutrition-related content.
What has been your career path?
Hasn’t been the most pleasant career path. I was held back for an extra year in my undergraduate because the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. planned our classes poorly. I graduated in 2010 versus 2009. Then it took 3 years to get an internship. During my forced hiatus I worked at various restaurants and at Women, Infants, and Children as a Nutrition Assistant.
Then I completed my MBA/dietetic coordinated program at the Dominican University in 2014 (they don’t do computer matching). As soon as I graduated, I moved to New York City, working as both as a Personal Trainer and the only RDN for a gym. After attemping for my current job for 3 months, I was hired full-time for an insurance company, leaving the gym setting. It was the biggest and best career breakthrough for me. I always wanted to work from home!
Then a year ago I started my own business, Genki Nutrition. As of this year, I am also working with Guild Magazine as a Food Director.
I have also been volunteering for the past 8 years on the local, state and national level. While in Hawai’i, I helped the public policy committee as a NDTR (Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered), implementing the first RDN day and passing licensure. In Chicago, I worked with a group to have our representative co-sponsor the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. I am currently working in New York to pass licensure and a bill to give preceptors a tax break.
On the National level I was on the Diversity Leaders Committee and volunteered on the Member Value Committee. Next year, I hope to be a Spokesperson for the Academy.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
1) Masters in Business Administration,
3) Board Certified Case Manager
5) and I'm currently working on my hours to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
All the nutrition charlatans will be FINALLY sued and there will be better nutrition-related regulations to stop making nutrition quacks an epidemic.
RDNs to be better respected in both the medical field and society as the nutrition experts. Finally, RDNS will get PAID more for our expertise.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
That we’re the food police. (We're not!)
What would you like people to know about RDs?
That we’re the experts on food and nutrition.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
People trying to do our jobs or not properly referring out to RDNs when it is needed.
What do people think that you do for a living?
Haha...That I’m sleeping on the job because I’m working from home.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
The growing job opportunities, the various areas a RDN can work, and that the respect for our knowledge is growing (I wish it was faster).
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
We have the expertise, education, and evidence science-based practice pack down… well most of us do.
What is your favourite meal?
Japanese Cuisine! My love for Japanese cuisine is where I got my business name, “Genki” from. It means lively, energetic, and healthy!
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Someone’s opinion doesn’t matter unless he or she is paying your BILLS.
More about Jonathan:
Website: Genki Nutrition
Facebook: Genki Nutrition