Our featured dietitian expert today is Katherine (“Katy”) Hall, owner of Optimal RD based in Austin, TX. She founded Optimal RD based on the belief that healthy eating and nutrition is a fundamental need for everyone, but the approach to achieving it is unique for each person. Learn more about Katy’s practice and her focus on balance, rest and relaxation below.
Why did you get started in nutrition / become an RDN?
Food brings people together, makes people smile, and can heal the body. I am passionate about helping others and believe in the power of food to change the course of people’s health.
Who is your ideal client?
I enjoy assisting clients at all stages of change. Working as a dietitian is very rewarding. Some of my most rewarding work has come from assisting clients with complex GI issues. I love working in weight management because of the exciting changes and improvement clients bring to their lives.
Can you tell us more about your niche?
My niche has evolved over time. I now use more of an integrative and functional medicine approach than I did in the past.
Why did you decide to accept insurance?
I wanted to reach a greater audience and client base. Accepting insurance at my private practice has allowed me to do just that.
What advice would you give another RDN who is thinking about accepting insurance? Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet! - Aristotle
What change do you hope to see or are excited about in the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I look forward to the advances in technology that may occur in the dietetics field. Specifically, how to provide food and nutrition resources to those in remote areas that do not have access to food and nutrition education.
What’s your favorite piece of advice you have received?
One day during a ‘lunch and learn’ series for a large company, there was a participant who shared her story. She had recovered from breast cancer years earlier, but prior to cancer and treatment, she had worked in management. She described evenings where she would come home from work and respond to emails, skip lunch to catch up on projects, and at times neglected to give her body the rest and proper fuel it required. After cancer treatment, her mantra became, “Life isn’t about returning emails. Take your lunch breaks and add them to your calendar so colleagues will know you have an appointment.” Her story and words have stuck with me and remind me to aim for balance.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I remind my clients to strive for balance in their lives as well – and hope all other RDNs and health pros out there make it a priority, too! Using farm fresh ingredients and shopping local farmer's markets helps me to slow down and incorporate a more mindful approach to eating. Plus the food tastes better when you know your farmer! This Thanksgiving, we have an office challenge to incorporate as much local and seasonal produce as possible. Check out our blog around Thanksgiving-time for tasty recipe creations!
Katy's Cauliflower Steaks
Given Katy’s focus on self-care, she shared a recipe for one of her favorite meatless dishes, Cauliflower Steak. She promises that even meat-lovers will enjoy this one! The recipe was suggested by one of her clients, which “…was exciting to me as an RD because you know your clients are exploring new foods,” Katy shared.
- Large head of fresh cauliflower
- Olive oil (I love the local Smoky Flavored Olive oil that I can find here in Texas)
- McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
Wash cauliflower and remove center stalk. Cut approx. 1 inch from the center top head of cauliflower to bottom, creating a “steak.” Do the same to the other side. Typically, a large head of cauliflower can make approximately two steaks. With the remaining florets dress as directed below and place on grilling skewer sticks.
Drizzle olive oil on steak and distribute oil evenly with a kitchen brush. Season with grill mates seasoning front and back. Throw cauliflower steaks and skewers on indirect heat of BBQ grill outside or place in oven on broil in cast iron skillet. Cook until fork tender.