Welcome to Day 1 of our week of life-cycle experts! Today we'll be featuring Danielle Brooks RDN, LD. Danielle owns NutritiousPath, a counselling company which serves to help people with all types of nutritional concerns formulate eating plans that will fit their lifestyle. Before private practice counselling, Danielle worked as a consulting dietitian with Saber Health Care, and a clinical dietitian at Springfield Regional Medical Center in Ohio. When she's not counselling patients, Danielle spends time with her two children! Join us today to learn about her specific niche in nutrition and what she has to say about nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.
Healthy Bytes: Hi Danielle- thank you for speaking with us today! To start us off, can you talk a little bit about why you got started in the nutrition and dietetics field?
Danielle Brooks: My youth and high school athletic careers and my personal experiences with the female-athlete-triad sparked my interest in nutrition and wellness. I didn't even know what a Registered Dietitian was, or that it existed until I began researching majors. Nutrition does run the in family though, as my grandmother was a high school home economics teacher!
You found your passion at an early age! What has become your niche area of practice? What makes your practice special?
I am just starting my private practice and still discovering my niche. I am currently finishing my LEAP (Lifestyle Eating And Performance) certification to work with clients with fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines and other food sensitivity-related concerns. I also currently work with a feeding group that assists toddlers with developmental disabilities. I love nutrition and feel that it can help anyone. I do work with clients with various nutritional needs/concerns.
That's such an interesting approach to nutrition. We know that one of the areas you work with is nutrition needs during lactation. How did the idea of focusing on maternal nutrition/lactation come to you?
Healthy weight gain and eating a healthy diet during pregnancy and lactation is very important for both mom and baby. Many women are not familiar with what foods to avoid during pregnancy. Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy are also a great times to make positive lifestyle and behavior changes. It takes time to make changes that become part of a routine. If you can make healthier choices throughout the pregnancy, you have already created new habits by the time that you have the baby. These new habits will then be easier to continue beyond pregnancy as well! It is important to continue to eat healthy after pregnancy if you are breastfeeding, and also to set a positive example for your children. As for lactation, the more research I do on breastfeeding, the more I amazed about all of the health benefits it provides to mom and baby! It can be challenging, but persistence, commitment, and counsel when needed can help mom persevere!
You're a mother yourself. How has that helped in your work in nutrition during pregnancy and lactation?
As a mother of two, I can relate to what moms are experiencing on a physiological and emotional level. Empathy and understanding the importance of good nutrition for moms and babies, feeds my interest in helping this clientele.
As an experienced dietitian, what advice would you give a new RDN?
I personally believe it is good to get a couple of years of clinical experience under your belt initially for a good foundation.
What's the most fascinating thing you’ve learned as an RDN?
The frequent reminders (through working with clients clinically and counseling) of how important nutrition is in disease and disease prevention are always fascinating.
As both a dietitian and a mom, what change are excited about in the field of nutrition and dietetics for new moms?
I think it's great that most insurance companies now provide moms with breast pumps and supplies. Not all nursing moms know this. Call your insurance company to learn about your benefits for free breastfeeding supplies!
Parts of this interview have been altered and shortened.