Chelsea Cross RD, MAN, BSc., BASc.
for something nutrishus
Chelsea is a recent grad and young dietitian, but as you can see, she has lots of education and credentials behind her already. She brings her background in psychology, personal training and nutrition to her new private practice.
Why did you become a RD?
I have a need to help others and food became that outlet for me. I had dealt with an eating disorder when I was 16 and almost lost my life and continue to struggle with side effects/consequences of that a decade later so my intent was to try to understand them better and help others out of that dark place. I thought that intention would be filled through becoming a psychologist so I did my first degree in that direction but nutrition just took me by storm. The other influence was my lifestyle as a body builder. I was once weak when I was sick and with that second chance, I wanted to be the strongest me possible and food and lifting became how I could do that. Nutrition just became more and more appealing to me and it definitely has become what I like to call“my calling.”
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Private practice, so I can see clinical patients (outpatients) and also community based clients.
How would you explain what you do?
I would explain it to someone else as helping to provide people with the tools they need to feel and be their best from a nutritional standpoint. Food can empower us and give us the energy and positive feelings/emotions to really live our lives to the fullest in every aspect, so by learning what works best with our body we can then feel as if we are bettering ourselves as a whole and do what we need to do to reach goals in every piece of our life.
I educate and give guidance on nutrition when there are challenges or troubles in that area. I show people how food can be used to make them feel good and help them move away from fad dieting, food guilt and emotional eating. I also work with them and not for them or against them. We come up with their plans together so that they are something that can be internalized and enjoyable.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Most of my working day consists of nutrition consultations with clients at either my own practice or the other one that I work for during the week. As a new business owner, there are many day to day things that can help with marketing that I need to be doing including bettering my webpage, lots of emails, social media promotions and doing blogs that also help to gain more attention to the webpage. When I can get them, I do love doing presentations at workplaces and seminars.
What has been your career path?
I went to university for 4 years at McMaster University for psychology, but switched my thoughts when I finished and realized that the next step was a research focused 6-year post graduate program. I took a year off and worked in a health food store and as a personal trainer when I then applied to the University of Guelph’s Applied Human Nutrition Program. I got in and did their undergraduate program. I was doing some personal training plans and nutrition consulting on the side during that whole undergraduate degree as I was very antsy to help others and after I graduated I went right into my Masters of Applied Nutrition, which was an accelerated internship and Masters combined program for the next 3 full semesters. I applied for a job at a private practice about ½ way through and snagged a position as one of the RDs in that practice before I was even half way through my program but I just couldn’t wait to get started.
Fast-forward to today, I graduated finally after 9 years of education and now have my own practice and work as one of the main dietitians at another practice (Dietetic Directions) in a nearby city.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
My education includes 2 Bachelors (BASc. in Nutrition and BSc in psychology) and a Masters of Applied Nutrition (MAN) that included various internships. I continue to educate myself through self-directed learning and also through attending various conferences in my areas of specialty/interest.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
In the best world I would love to see the importance of health and food continue to grow. I believe that it is starting to increase in our society and more people are trying to do better with their nutrition to avoid chronic illness and also feel their best, but there are still a lot of diseases/ailments that are growing in numbers and can be helped in part through proper nutrition. Also, I would like to see that more and more businesses offer benefits for people to get guidance on their nutrition. Talking to experts is not cheap and often people who need the most help are those who cannot access these services and so I would like to see that health is made a priority in the workplace through promotion of better eating and also provide employees with help to seek more advanced guidance if they choose.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I really love the areas that branch together my psychology background with nutrition. I believe that a lot of food issues stem from relationships and associations with food that have been created in childhood. These things create a lot of negativity around food and respecting the body. These are the most challenging things to counsel I find, but also the most rewarding when people make breakthroughs and begin to move forward in seeking food differently.
I’m passionate about emotional eating, sports nutrition, disordered eating, digestive disorders, and weight loss.
What is your favourite meal?
Breakfast! Cream of rice with chia seeds and egg whites whipped in with peanut butter, banana and melted coconut oil on top. I love this meal. It’s warming and I eat it every day. Don’t forget lots of Ceylon cinnamon and pink salt!
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Diet shouldn’t be a negative word. Its been given such a bad wrap because people think to change their bodies or to be ‘eating well’ they are supposed to suffer. Finding your right diet that is a lifestyle is not about suffering or punishing yourself; it’s a simple balanced approach. We have learned the extremes and now it’s time we are re-taught basic 1, 2, 3s of living in a balanced life and giving our body what it needs.
More about Chelsea: