Sustainability and Evolution (Nutrition and Dietetics)

In order for the field of dietetics and nutrition to evolve any further in this country, practicing sustainable health care, education, and access to food is imperative.  Sustainability – the ability to endure – means much more than creating a lasting agriculture.  To be sustainable, one must foster all the social, economic, and environmental aspects within a cooperative system or community.  As a future healthcare provider in the field of dietetics, I adamantly believe that in order to improve our wellbeing through nutrition we must integrate this vital idea.  Our guidance must be used with respect and cooperation toward the individual in order to reach viable solutions toward their health.  Similarly, by empowering the client to get involved within a sustainable food system, we can reach those solutions with deep roots that can last for generations.  [Redacted] offers a unique environment, curriculum, and population in which I may put this belief into practice.

I aspire to become a healthcare provider of the whole self through practicing my passion for nutrition.  By teaching a community about the art, emotion, and simplicity of the human diet in relation to our wellbeing, I hope to demonstrate that wholesome food can lay the foundation for improving health from the ground up.  Subsequently, it must also foster economic sustainability and ethical resource management.  The way we nourish ourselves through food must be expressed with love, respect and humility toward not only our bodies, but the earth as well.  By empowering nutrition in healthcare, we can in effect treat not just the whole person, but the whole world.

Food is universal.  It is one of the rare connections we all share, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.  And consequently, it is one of the greatest sources of our diversity.  I cannot think of a better way to follow my passion than to practice nutrition, whether at the individual, community, or global level.  I hope to serve at all levels to help reinstate the value and pleasure of food through every aspect of life.  By incorporating my past, present and future experiences with nutrition I hope to follow this career with a multidimensional approach to healthy, sustainable and joyful living.  For a healthy life and sustainable earth, it is vital that we empower our relationship to food and cultivate it through simple, fresh and whole ingredients which nature provide.  I am infinitely amazed at the connection between food and body, and know no better way to serve my community than by sharing and educating this fundamental life principle.

My interest in joining the healthcare field started as a reflection long ago, but was clearly reinforced with my work experience in rehabilitative medicine.  As an aide at an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic for three years, I found my voice as a future clinician.  Working one-on-one with patients of varying injuries demonstrated to me the remarkable exchange between the provider and the patient.  Pain, it seemed, absolved most social trivialities and hesitations by instead building a path toward healing and understanding.  Learning to respect and actively listen to a client’s story became some of the most valuable skills I developed in this setting, proving to be imperative for an array of patient populations.  Additionally, the ability to problem solve, anticipate and adapt a plan of care, and effectively communicate with patients were all integral in developing my professional being.  As I deepened my exposure specifically to the field of nutrition, I brought these exact skills with me in working with dietitians and naturopaths in outpatient care, which are continually challenged with each new patient and situation.

To supplement my experience in healthcare, I wished to see firsthand the community’s response to nutrition for preventative health and ecological sustainability. One of my most enriching and motivating experiences turned out to be my recent service to local food bank gardens and farm programs.  As a volunteer gleaner, I lent a hand in harvesting surplus produce from local farms and other community gardens in order to provide fresh, local and organic produce for clients in need.  In addition, my time at local farmer’s markets while distributing produce checks to WIC clients offered first-hand connections with those very individuals in need.  Through these encounters it became clear that small community programs like these hold the key to breaking the mold of the poor western diet and simplifies nutrition education for at-risk populations such as those in rural areas.  It is actions like farm gleaning that provide real, sustainable solutions in community health that ignite me to serve in this field and further its evolution.  In an effort to serve this need, however, I am learning the need to cultivate a more assertive and creative side of my professional self, one that I hope to further foster during this internship.

In addition to nurturing my voice and skills as a clinician, my goals if selected to [redacted] aim to learn the steps necessary for incorporating sustainability into the healthcare system and community as a dietitian.  Long-term, it is my hope and passion to integrate this into practice everyday throughout my career, and work with individuals from all backgrounds within their own capacity.  Combining my passion for sustainability with my immense sensitivity toward the wellbeing of others, I foresee [redacted] to be a place where I may thrive in accordance with my own true nature. The connectedness felt from the farm or garden all the way to the client demonstrates food’s vast ability to unite and heal.  Food empowers the client and dietitian alike to feel able and willing to take command of their health, and redefine eating as a soulful, sustainable and shared experience.


This author also wrote the essay Feeding the Whole Self.  Both essays were successful.

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