Happy Registered Dietitian Day! March 5, 2016
March 9th is National Registered Dietitian Day, so grab your favorite RD and give them a hug! To celebrate, I sat down with one of my favorite people in the office- HelloFresh’s Registered Dietitian Rebecca Lewis. Besides the typical pestering she endures during a regular day from every team member shouting “Should I eat this?” or, “Is this bad for me?” I wanted to ask Rebecca a little more about her life as an RD.
Official Title: Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Fun Title: Champion of Nutrients
Favorite Food: Roast Chicken
Guilty Food Pleasure: Peanut Butter
#1 Food-related Value: Cooking at home is one of the most important ways people can take control of their health.
What drives your passion for food?
When I think of cooking and eating, the image that immediately comes to mind is the comfortable and intimate nature of sharing a meal between friends and family. We are all busy in our daily lives, but taking a small portion of the day to slow down and focus on a basic need like food – sustains us more than just nutritionally. Food has the power to connect us to our bodies, our emotional drives, other people, and even nature itself.
My interest in food started when I was just a little girl. Both sets of my grandparents were farmers – everything they ate came from their gardens, they raised their own animals, and baked the most delicious fresh breads. Growing up, I can remember my mom setting me on the counter to watch her as she whipped up one of her traditional Serbian dishes. Moreover, it was customary in my family for us all to eat together at the dinner table every night. My family placed great value on preparation of our meals and the way it brought us together. To this day one of my favorite things to do for the people I care about, is to cook for them.
How did your education shape your career?
I earned a degree in psychology, traveled near and far to other cultures, explored many ways of living, and also watched my mother pass away far too early from the food related diseases that plague this country. My mother’s passing was the catalyst to change my diet and lifestyle. I read and devoured every Michael Pollen book I could get my hands on. I made a move from California to Colorado – where I helped build a huge front-yard garden, raised chickens, and got involved in our local food networks. I also decided to go back to school to learn more.
I have often thought about how I could combine the counseling aspect of my undergraduate degree with food. So, I obtained a Master’s degree in nutrition – and it was here that I discovered a wonderful community of advocates, students, and professors who were working hard to shape a new direction of the way people eat. As a result, I focused my passion and energy for food towards health promotion and disease prevention.
My thesis work focused on demystifying cooking; breaking the barriers to get adults back into the kitchen. I examined what food-related behaviors lead to daily food decisions – and found that one of these behaviors was related to cooking skills. As there has been a significant decrease in the amount of time spent cooking at home, this has lead to a simultaneous loss of critical cooking skills and overall poor food selection. Therefore, it become important to find ways to engage people to overcome the barriers related to their cooking behaviors and motivate them to make the choice to cook at home more often.
What do you love about your job at HelloFresh?
- I help drive and support the HelloFresh mission of getting people back in the kitchen and enjoying cooking again! As their nutrition expert and spokesperson for the health quality of the HelloFresh product, I use my professional background to differentiate HelloFresh as a nutrition thought leader in the food industry.
- I have the opportunity to engage and enrich our customers on wellness & food-related topics via email, online resources, print, TV, and social media by writing opinion articles, guest blogging, answering nutrition-related questions, as well as conducing interviews and providing TV appearances.
- I work closely with an extremely talented and creative team of chefs. Beyond the perks of being able to taste the delicious recipes the chefs are testing in the kitchen, I get to collaborate on those innovative recipe ideas and contribute nutritionally needed feedback for any areas of redesign.
- I enjoy conducting regular analysis of trends in the food industry and needs of our specific HelloFresh customers. In an extremely fast-moving environment, I am constantly researching, reading, and collecting data on how to provide the best service that adds the most value to those who struggle with eating healthier.
- I flex my professional Dietitian skills every day in ensuring our recipes meet health goals. Transparency and accuracy in the health of the HelloFresh recipes is extremely important -every recipe is subject to a nutritional analysis to ensure that it fits into our target nutritional goal ranges.
Overall, I have become an active role model for health and wellness both in my company and in my community – helping to shift the general perspective towards one that is more cognizant and positive in regards to the beneficial effects of consuming healthier foods and cooking at home. HelloFresh is a vehicle that encourages individuals to engage in the kitchen and increase their confidence of preparing meals all while having FUN!
Don’t forget to follow Rebecca on Twitter Instagram @RebeccaLewisRD and send any nutrition questions to Nutrition@HelloFresh.com so you can ask her personally!
Happy Registered Dietitian Day & Happy Cooking!