Tara Milhem, RD
THE WHOLE TARA
for something nutrishus
Tara reached out to share her unique background as she has years of experience blogging and working with brands prior to becoming a private practice dietitian. Like Tara, I took 3 years between completing my undergrad and entering my internship, remember, there is no one way, no right way, and no straight/clear path for any of us. Our past, our passions, our unique knowledge lets us be experts in a variety of settings.
Why did you become a RD?
Why not?! I’ve been interested in health and wellness my whole life, but when I was 17 I decided to start a blog about what I was eating — This was before blogs were a hot thing and at the time I was getting my BS in Nutrition and Dietetics. I started to get so much traction on the blog that I decided to run with it. From there I became a yoga instructor, recipe developer, and later a RD.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Private practice and media. I’ve been blogging for over 7 years and gained so much experience in self-PR, speaking to the camera, and writing. I do a lot of work on Instagram with brands I trust and use myself. I also recently began private practice, which is now my bread and butter.
How would you explain what you do?
Us dietitians can really do anything! I used to describe myself as more of a Recipe Developer and Writer, whereas now I consider myself more of a Registered Dietitian and Influencer (not my favorite word). As an influencer I bridge the gap between consumers and brands in an honest and transparent way.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
There is no typical day, which is my favorite part! An average day starts with seeing clients in private practice, which can be anything from weight loss, GI issues, PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome), or diabetes. I’m often scheduled to attend events as an RD. I recently worked with a large nut company on the launch of their new nut pie crust and a large retailer on the launch of their all new organic and local produce department. This usually involves attending an event, taking Instagram stories, and developing a recipe on behalf of the brand. As a dietitian networking and putting yourself out there is so important, so even if I’m not involved with a brand but get invited to launch events I attend because you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.
What has been your career path?
I started as a health coach and yoga instructor, then became a blogger and influencer, and then a RD over an 8 year span of time. I started when I was 17. Between graduating school and beginning my Dietetic Internship (DI), I took a 3 year hiatus to focus on blogging and building my business which has now served as a jumpstart to my career as a dietitian.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I became a health coach when I was 15 — the youngest person to ever complete the program, but I quickly learned that wasn’t enough to make the impact I needed to make. I’m also a yoga instructor, which ties into health and wellness so seamlessly. Finding peace with your body through practices like yoga and meditation are key in developing a healthy relationship with food.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Health Coaches and Instagram Nutritionists aren’t a thing and people understand the value in seeking advice from qualified professionals like us! It’s a shame that “influencers” with colorful feeds (almond butter and smoothie bowl galore) are glorified for being experts in the field with zero training at all. I do think we’re moving in a positive direction, though.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
Nutritionists and RDs are NOT the same thing! I get this question almost daily, so I wrote a post about it here.
What do people think that you do for a living?
People think I sit on Instagram all day - ha! The truth is I see clients on a daily basis and that’s where the real meaningful work comes from for me.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
Informing people! Many of my clients are part of the religious Jewish population and, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of nutrition education in schools or within the community itself. Teaching and guiding my clients to making better choices for themselves and their families is the real work for me.
What is your favourite meal?
Greek! A fresh tomato, feta salad followed by branzino with olive oil, lemon juice, and capers, and a few bites of baklava for dessert.
Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable:
When I was first starting I always questioned when would be the right time to take the next step (i.e. anything from applying to DIs, studying for my exam, seeing clients) and the answer is — the right time is NOW! If you don’t start, you’ll never know the greatness within you that lies just beneath the surface.
More about Tara:
LinkedIn: Tara Milhem, RD