What One Meal Tells You About a Person

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I had lunch with two other dietitians today and we got to talking about what many of my dietitian friends talk about.  It never fails, you go to a dinner party or somewhere that involves food and someone discovers your a dietitian.  Dun dun dunnnnn!  The rooms tenses up.  Eyes widen.  Pause.  To break the silence, they proceed to spill the beans (pun intended) about what they eat or not eat, their weight problems or their various food issues and phobias.  I especially love it when they start apologizing for the food that they are eating right in front of them in hopes that they have just went ahead and "outed" the dietitian's thoughts.  In actuality, this whole scenario makes the dietitian self-conscious about how the food she's eating is going to be analyzed.  It's an awkward situation all around, so many dietitians choose not to "spill the beans" about their profession in those situations.  I went to speak at a doctor's office recently and they told the front office person, "Great. You ordered pizza for us on the day the dietitian was coming to visit.  What's up with that?!"  Oh man.  I could go on and on with all the funny things that we come across in our line of work.  One of the dietitians I ate with today even shared that a person told her, "I can't believe you are eating that.  You should know better!"

The truth is that you can tell virtually nothing about what a person by one meal. (I hope that is comforting as we have recently move on from our annual Thanksgiving dinner!)  Sure, you can tell little nuances about someone like the way they hold the fork, mix their food together or even push something off their plate.  But when it comes to assessing the quality of a person's diet, it's really the patterns of eating that give you that true insight.  This is generally how dietitians see things, so don't worry the next time you share a meal with one.  I made Paula Deen's green bean casserole for my family Thanksgiving - full fat version, no modifications.  True story,  Contrary to popular belief, we are not the food police.  Nope.  We just love what healthy, nourishing food does for people and our families - so we eat it.  And promote it.  Well, most of the time.  :-)

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