Cheryl Strachan, RD, MBA | Registered Dietitian
I’ve helped thousands of people get on the road to heart healthy eating. (Including myself! More on that later.) My specialty is addressing nutrition-related heart disease risk factors, including high blood sugars, blood pressure, or cholesterol, while honouring your need to enjoy food and live your life.
Before starting Sweet Spot Nutrition, I worked for nearly nine years with Total Cardiology Rehabilitation at Talisman Centre. Over 1700 people with heart disease now go through the program every year, most of them counting their lucky stars after surviving a heart attack. It’s an incredible place, home to some of Canada’s leading cardiologists, cardiac nurses, and exercise specialists.
I’ve gained fresh perspective from these survivors and been a part of inspiring transformations. Again and again, clients would say, “I wish I would have known all of this earlier,” because most heart disease is preventable.
After hearing that enough times I thought, “That’s what I want to do: Help people prevent heart problems in the first place.”
- Find out how you can work with me or read on to learn more.
- Why work with me?
- My journey towards heart healthy living
- Why the name Sweet Spot?
Why Work With Me?
Nutrition information is everywhere. On the Internet, on your TV, coming from well-meaning friends and family. So why work with me?
In addition to my cardiac experience, I’m a registered dietitian. Unlike the sea of health coaches, nutritionists, and other pseudo-health professionals out there, I’m a regulated health professional. National guidelines for management of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease recommend working with a registered dietitian.
Dietitians have met strict education requirements and are governed by professional standards, including:
- Providing only evidence-based guidance
- Practicing ethically
- Participating in professional education every single year, to ensure our knowledge is up to date.
If we don’t do these things, we can lose our standing with the Alberta College of Dietitians. Only registered dietitians and registered nutritionists are regulated in this way, similar to registered nurses, pharmacists, and physicians.
My Journey Towards Heart Healthy Living
Prior to becoming a cardiac rehabilitation dietitian, I was on a path to needing one.
While my first degree (biology) and job (pharmaceutical sales) focused on human health, my post-university lifestyle did not. Frequent travel and client meetings meant too much restaurant food and too little exercise. A move to headquarters to work on a sales software tool meant even more sitting and travelling.
After four years, I decided to get an MBA and was thrilled to be accepted by UC Berkeley in California. It was 1998, at the dawn of the Internet gold rush, in San Francisco, a city of serious foodies. Wining, dining, and long working days were the norm. I interned for a software company that generously stocked their fridges with Snapple. (Who knew it was basically sugar water?)
By the end of that summer, I was 20 pounds heavier than when I left university six years earlier. Not good, but not unusual.
I realized it was time to focus on my health. I started learning about nutrition and keeping a food and exercise diary. I bought a bike and signed up for a 30-mile charity ride with a friend. Then 60. Then 100. I finished dead last, but loved seeing the world from the seat of my bike. I trained for a second and then a third 100-mile ride, and my weight crept back down.
On the professional front, however, I was still in a high-stress job (now a software product manager), with little time to do what I had most enjoyed, helping customers solve problems. I was considering a move into consulting, seeking more rewarding work, but truly, software was not my passion. Food, nutrition, and healthy living were.
After months of soul-searching and research, I decided to follow my heart and quit my “real job” to formally study nutrition. (My family thought I was crazy!) I loved it, from my first class at San Francisco State University to my internship through the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. I worked on a research study with Berkeley’s Center for Weight and Health, taught classes at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, counseled patients at a dialysis clinic and more.
Thanks to my previous degrees, I was able to become a registered dietitian in just two years, first in the US, and then back home in Canada. After a short stint at Calgary’s Rockyview General Hospital, I landed my dream job, helping people with heart disease learn to enjoy healthy eating and active living, just as I had.
So, why the name Sweet Spot?
My husband says that before we met, he thought there were two kinds of food: Food you should eat, and food you want to eat. You could have one or the other. Then he tried my cooking and was surprised to discover that delicious and healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. “This is good! You’re saying it’s actually good for me? Really?”
Before long, he started telling people about this shift in perception, saying “She’s found this sweet spot, where healthy and delicious overlap. Who knew?” (Many avid cooks know, but most of my clients didn’t, and they were missing out.)
I’d like to help you find your food sweet spot. Because you deserve to love the food you eat as well as be there for the people and the life you love.