Andrea D'Ambrosio, BASc, M.A.N., RD
for something nutrishus
I’ve known of Andrea’s Canadian practice for years and recently featured one of the dietitians on her team. She started out in long term care and clinical positions before creating her thriving practice. Andrea of course does a variety of things as a business owner, but her Self-Care Sunday Retreats definitely sound unique and like something you should check out if you’re ever near Kitchener.
Why did you become a RD?
I became a dietitian because I had an absolute fascination with the science behind food and the social aspect of helping and educating others. I grew up in a food-centric, Italian-Canadian household. From a young age, I had an appreciation for enjoying food, cooking and leading a healthy lifestyle. This food foundation created curiosity to explore the power of food to optimize health and manage health conditions. Being a dietitian allowed me become an expert in the field of food and nutrition and then the opportunity to share this knowledge with others.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I work within my private practice. I founded Dietetic Directions in 2012 with the goal of building a place where people could receive personalized, motivational nutrition education that’s science-based and rooted in creating habits that fit your lifestyle. I currently have a team with three counselling dietitians. I also enjoy branching into media and brand work with appearances on TV broadcast stations, radio and expert quotes in print.
How would you explain what you do?
I blog, I speak, I teach, I cook and I take pics! My day varies depending on what I am working on. I love writing blogs and sharing tips on building a healthy and delicious lifestyle you love. I aspire to demonstrate that healthy eating does not have to be hard, but it won’t be the default. With a little planning and organization, we can set ourselves up for eating well, despite a busy schedule and life challenges. I enjoy building the Dietetic Directions brand with regular social media posting.
The Dietetic Directions nutrition counselling business is a safe haven in Kitchener, Ontario where clients receive one-on-one counselling on how to improve their diet and lifestyle. We support clients in fostering a healthy relationship with food, mental wellbeing, physical activity and enjoying foods that are delicious with sustainable habits. I believe that nutrition needs to be fun and mental health is important to nurturing yourself.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
As a business owner, I wear many different hats. Often my weeks involve counselling days in the office. I also write, read and research topics, develop recipes and practice my food photography by showcasing my meals. I work with brands I love to share a message for TV segments that align with my values and brand messages. I also enjoy corporate speaking and presentation development. Our signature workplace talk is 5 Healthy Habits (and How to Make them Stick). Last, I work on building business with new initiatives like hosting Self-Care Sunday Retreats. We organize a day where a group of women come together for a day of meditation, restorative yoga and learning about meal planning and making easy, healthy lunches.
What has been your career path?
I graduated from the Masters of Applied Nutrition (MAN) program at University of Guelph. I started working two part-time jobs. One was in Long Term Care as a Clinical Dietitian and at a private Medical Company in Toronto called Medisys. I absolutely loved the variety in these jobs of clinical and counselling work. Additionally, I spent five summers working at Camp Huronda in Huntsville for children with type 1 diabetes. After three years in these two jobs, I started Dietetic Directions. I have been in business for 7 years in August and have enjoyed this journey tremendously.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have training as a Media Spokespeople for Dietitians of Canada from 2014 to 2017. I have continuing education in areas of Motivational Interviewing (Level 2), Coaching for Behaviour Change, Food Allergy, Health Research Literacy. I am a regular attendee at the Dietitians of Canada and FNCE (Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo) to power up on knowledge and network with fellow RDs.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
This is a dream: Ideally, people will stop being bombarded with confusing (and conflicting) nutrition information, the allure of “quick fixes” and negative messaging about body image. The nutrition industry will ideally take a step towards making sustainable habits and balanced, enjoyable eating. We as a society would slow down, take time to cook, foster our relationships and take time to eat mindfully. We will lower the stress, hectic lifestyles and unhealthy convenience eating to get by.
It would also be nice to see more dietitian benefit coverage in the next 5 years. Prevention and disease management is a powerful tool that can maximize health and workplace productivity.
What is your favourite meal?
Homemade gnocchi with tomato sauce! Thank you to my nonno - a chef in the Italian army- for passing on your recipe to the family.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
The field is constantly evolving and expansive to do what you love. Think outside the box and do more of what interests you. If you can’t find the job, create it!
More about Andrea:
Facebook: Dietetic Directions