I was having coffee last week with dietitian Kim Wagner Jones when she mentioned that people in her husband’s office were envious of his delicious-looking lunches (which he makes, by the way). I laughed, because my husband gets similar compliments (and he makes his own lunch too, albeit often with leftovers from my handiwork).
She thought it would be interesting to write about how living with a dietitian has influenced her husband’s health and eating habits, but since she doesn’t have a blog, she agreed to let me share his insights here, along with thoughts from my husband and others who volunteered. (Thank you all!)
Publishing today, March 14, in honour of #DietitiansDay. It’s a sequel to my 2016 Dietitians Day post, 18 Things You Might Not Know About Dietitians.
I didn’t edit the comments, save for a spelling fix here or there. (It’s dietitian, not dietician, despite what your spellchecker thinks!)
Some partners took the question quite seriously and shared serious benefits. Some had a little more, uh, fun with it.
Bruce Jones, husband of Kim Wagner Jones, MSc, RD, CSSD, Board Certified Sports Dietitian (Twitter):
“I have been married to a Registered Dietitian for 30 years and have reaped the benefits of her knowledge. I’m 55 years old, I’m healthy and fit, my body fat percentage is in the single digits and I take no medication. I hike, bike, ski, play hockey, and I understand the significance of my nutrition decisions from a performance perspective. I have a healthy skepticism of all the quick fixes and magic bullets that my work mates are promoting, plus the envy of several colleagues who observe my self-prepared, home made lunches that always include lots of vegetables.
Frugal at heart, I know how to spend my money wisely on healthy food and meal choices. When you’re making a minimum of 1000 decisions per year related to eating events, you want to spend your money and calories wisely. They add up.
This allows me to really enjoy my food, including weekend pub meals with craft beer and good wine. To be honest, this lifestyle has afforded me the opportunity to drink more beer than you or my GP would believe! As verified by normal liver enzymes plus a normal abdominal ultrasound. True story.”
Blair Strachan, my sweet husband, who coined the term “#SweetSpotFood,” based on that first line below:
“Food that tastes great and is good for you … love it.
Interesting table talk, including recently the fact that people in rural Africa poop 4 times as much as us.
Fibre is our friend and we are a very ‘regular’ household.
That step just before we are allowed to eat …. ‘I’d better take a picture of that’.”
Editorial note: His poop comment references average daily stool weight in rural African vs. Western populations. I thought it was fascinating myself. Yay for fibre!
Kevin Conniff, Pastry Chef, husband of Melissa Conniff, RD, www.calgaryfamilynutrition.com
“The ‘fun’ games in our house are guess how much sugar is in each dessert.
Your kid is the one in the locker room telling other kids to eat nourishing foods to fuel their bodies for the next game (eye roll).
I get to educate and get laughed at from the boys on poker night when I tell them about the newest convenience kitchen gadget, most recently the instant pot.
Weekend baking with the kids always includes chia seeds and hemp hearts.”
“I no longer have to read food labels;
It is amazing the number of meals you can add carrots to;
Living with an RD makes financial planning harder, because you know you are going to live longer;
After everyone else in the house says “there is nothing to eat” a dietitian can put together a delicious meal!”
“Cutting through noise of nutrition science.
Pointing out healthier alternatives both large and small.
Ensuring I get all needed nutrients and am not missing anything.
Helping me focus on big picture as opposed to fads (whole foods vs avoiding foods).
Teaching me healthy food habits and psychology which is often ignored.
All those = helping me be slimmer and in better shape at 32 than 22″
“In general? Theoretically she’s my conscience of nutritional content.
In practice? She combines good cooking with nutrition knowledge to make great meals.”
“There is always fresh, healthy food in the house.
New recipes to trial.
I don’t have to look at nutrition labels or look stuff up.”
Kristyn added, “He didn’t say this in his reply – but I know he has asked me loads of questions around sports nutrition for his mountain biking, road riding and back country skiing.”
David Eaket, husband of Karen Boyd, RD, Dietitians of Canada (Twitter):
(As relayed by Karen) “Dave gave me permission to share this, Its good for your heart to share your life with a dietitian! In a couple of ways. His favourite story on this topic is seeing his doc after a number of years for a check up. When his lab work came back his doc told him he’d not seen numbers like this in a man Dave’s age in a long, long, long, long time! Having a dietitian shop, plan and prepare family meals must have some influence on his good test results. Good for his heart!
The second part of this story – though talkative and sharing by nature – Dave neglected to mention to the doctor that he gets a little help at home from his favourite dietitian!”
“Every meal can include either chickpeas or quinoa.
My friends are jealous.
Sprouted grains can actually taste good.
White bread is now considered a treat.”
Darren Pye, husband of Lynda Pye, RD, Alberta Health Services:
“I like the fact that I can get the science behind all of the TV advertising rather than being subjected to the sales pitch for particular products being sold as “healthy” or “required” for a healthy diet. Too many so called experts pushing fads. I get to go straight to the basic and most productive eating habits right away.”
Anthony Train, husband of Emma Train, RD, CDE, Master of Public Policy (2018 candidate), emmatrain.com
“One of the best things about marrying a dietitian is that I never have to plan any of my meals or worry about what I may be eating next because she is always prepared days ahead.
She manages to even make comfort foods into healthy, super-tasty, fresh meals which always astounds me!
Over time she influenced me to begin cooking and preparing my own meals from scratch and now I can safely say that I could prepare a meal that would impress any guest – all thanks to my Dietitian Wife.
However, she does get mad with me when I eat ice-cream out of the container because “freezer-burn” or whatever.”
“The perks are she helps me work on sustainable change and accountability…I now eat 20 wings instead of 30 on wing night.”
“One would assume that dating a dietitian would be a quick and easy path to losing a couple pounds. One would also assume wrong. After 7 years of dating a dietitian I can officially declare my plan to lose weight dead.
You will eat healthy dating a dietitian but you will eat a lot. Like, a lot. I really can’t over emphasize how much you’ll be eating. At this point, I’m less of a boyfriend and more of a recipe guinea pig. One homemade breakfast bar? Healthy. 40 slightly different breakfast bars until she gets the recipe just right? Well that’s probably a mild heart attack.
You will come second to their clients, that’s just a simple fact of life with a dietitian. So if you want to lose weight, date a personal trainer. If you want to eat so much every day that you struggle to breathe, date a dietitian doing recipe testing for their cookbooks!”
Finally, Todd Crocker, who regularly tweets amusing anecdotes like these as DietitiansHusband, penned a humorous but also helpful guest post on his wife Shannon Crocker’s website: 5 Dietitian Mind Tricks that Actually Work. Check it out if you like practical tips and a healthy serving of humour.
So what do you think… maybe I should create a dietitian dating app?
As you can see, we walk the talk. Dietitians are passionate about the potential of food to enhance lives and improve health. It’s our passion and our calling.
That doesn’t mean we have flawless diets. In fact, the quest for dietary perfection worries us a bit. We know that having a healthy relationship with food is more important than finishing your broccoli.
Instead, we look beyond fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice. We practice the basics that science has repeatedly connected with better health outcomes: Cooking mostly (but realistically not completely) from scratch, incorporating plenty of whole plant foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, and taking time to relax and enjoy meals with loved ones.
We might be shaping the future of eating and healthy living for all Canadians, but we start with our families. (Aside: I mentioned at dinner that maybe for next #DietitiansDay I’ll ask what it’s like to have a dietitian parent. My nine year-old declared, “I’d better start writing now. I have a lot to say.”)
Meanwhile, consider March (#NutritionMonth) a great opportunity to adopt a new simple, sustainable healthy-eating habit. For tips and recipes, visit the nutrition month website.
Or, if you’d like to really embrace healthier eating, you don’t have to marry a dietitian! We’re over 10,000 strong across Canada and happy to help you, lifelong commitment not required. Ask your doctor for a referral, start following one or more of the contributors on social media or their blog, or look for one on the Dietitians of Canada website.
And thanks again to all of our contributors and their dietitian partners. Happy #DietitiansDay!
(This turned into a bit of a series!