How did you become a registered dietitian?

I’m going to be honest, here–becoming a dietitian is a long, difficult, and expensive endeavor. Well worth it, though! Becoming an RD is the only route that gives the ability to legally offer personalized nutrition advice. We as dietitians must be licensed in their state to practice (that’s the LD you see in people’s credentials). We must also complete continuing education and follow a code of ethics set forth by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A registered dietitian and “nutritionist” (which can pretty much mean anything taking on online certification course to self-proclaiming) are not the same thing. Here’s why!

To become an RD, you must first complete a didactic program in dietetics outlined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (If you’ve finished undergrad in another area, you’re still in luck—keep reading!) This can be completed at the undergraduate or graduate level. You can research accredited programs here. I received my Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from The Ohio State University’s college of Education and Human Ecology.

If you have an undergraduate in dietetics, you can then apply for a yearlong unpaid dietetic internship involving 1200 supervised practice hours of community, food service, and clinical nutrition. This can be done either after or at the same time as coursework (mine was combined with my Master’s program).  These internships are extremely competitive. An excellent GPA, leadership experience, and well-rounded work and community service experience are highly recommended in order to be matched to an internship.

Another option is a coordinated program, meaning you complete the coursework and internship all at once, in one program. Since I already had a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, my combined program (Masters degree + dietetic internship) only took two years.  Check out All Access Internships for help with applying to dietetic internships.

If you don’t have an undergraduate degree in nutrition, you can do a three-year long program where you’ll take prerequisites the first year and then do the master’s and internship the next two year.

To complete a graduate program, you’ll have to take the GRE. I recommend this book for studying. Check out my friend Anne’s post on How to Become a Registered Dietitian for more info!

I completed the Master of Science and Dietetic Internship Program at The Ohio State University immediately after receiving my bachelor’s degree. My graduate thesis, Health Perceptions of Cancer Survivors Harvesting at an Urban Garden, was published in 2012 in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

Fun facts: Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) are interchangeable. Also, dietitian is spelled with two T’s, no C. Big mistake I often see!

How do you make a career out of blogging?

First, check out This Is My Story where I discuss my path to success and the obstacles along the way. I blogged for about 4 years before making an income, which you don’t hear of often these days as blogging has become much more popular! My best advice is to blog because you love it, and if that passion generates an income, then that’s even better. Building a successful blog is a slow game, and the market is far more saturated now than it was when I started in 2011.  For more info on making money and how I built a six-figure income by blogging, check out Financial Wellness Tips for Bloggers.

My best advice for growing an Instagram or blog is to find your own voice, stay consistent (I’ve blogged 3x a week since 2011, even when no one was reading), build a community that believes in you, learn how to take good photos, and never stop learning.

I do offer a limited number of monthly business coaching calls if you have more personalized questions for me on your career path or anything else. Email me if you’d like to schedule a call.

Did you always know you wanted to have a career in food/nutrition?

Nope! Growing up, writing was my first love (my grandfather was a professional writer) and food was a close second. I didn’t fall for nutrition until the middle of college. I was studying business before I made the switch to dietetics after a life-changing trip to Israel.  That experience is what first ignited my interest in plant-based nutrition.

I’ve always known three things: that I loved to write, that I wanted to help people, and that I wanted to make an impact doing both those things through the lens of food. My interest in nutrition came last, but it brought my passions together as one, resulting in me writing my first blog post for Hummusapien in August of 2011.

I knew I wanted to reach the masses in an approachable, witty, informative, and educational way. I wanted people to fall in love with food in a way that felt good. My philosophy has changed along my journey, but that was a landmark experience.

My desire to help people in my career began with the mantra of reversing chronic disease via plant-based nutrition. I was enthralled with the research surrounding this paradigm and it’s what fueled everything I did to grow Hummusapien. I thought if I could teach people to make delish food with personality that happened to be wholesome, I could make everyone a little happier and less susceptible to chronic disease.

In 2016 I realized my passion for health was verging on an eating disorder. I confessed to the world that I, as a “healthy living blogger,” was contributing to an epidemic that was systemically fostering orthorexia in an online space that desperately needed less perfection and more vulnerability.

From then on, I changed the course of Hummusapien from a clean eating, health or nothing focus to the more gentle and balanced intuitive eating approach. My goal was to use my experience with blogging and social media as fuel to inspire other women to cultivate a more nourishing, gentle, and freeing relationship with food. I want to be a resource to empower women so they wouldn’t make the same mistake I did.

I still believe strongly in the power of plants, but I know now that there’s a very fine line between being healthy and being unhealthily obsessed with health in a way that limits all other facets of life.

Whether I’m developing a new restaurant concept, working with a brand on a blog partnership, and helping an individual nutrition coaching client work on her relationship with food, my hope is that I can bring a bit more joy back to the table.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Get what you want, don’t want what you get.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Right now with a baby, things are still a bit all over the place! I usually get up around 6am to grab coffee and pump. I’ll often hop on my computer to start doing blog stuff before Max wakes up, since the early morning is my absolute favorite and most creative time of the day. Round 7am I’ll feed Max and then hang with him for a bit. I’ll eat breakfast around 9am and then get ready for a day of blog or Alchemy work.

My role with Alchemy has changed a lot over the years. While I still wear a lot of hats with Alchemy, now I’m doing more marketing and menu development versus operational tasks like working on the line at the restaurant.

I typically working around 5 or 6pm, maybe go to a workout class, then go home and make dinner. This all depends on our childcare situation, too! Around 7pm we start bedtime with Max. Sometimes I hop on my computer again at night to tie up some lose ends with Alchemy work or blog emails. Then Jeff and I eat cookies and watch a show.

I do some work on the weekends as well, which is typically working on blog content (drafting posts, social media, reading contracts, or photographing a recipe.)

I’m struggling with an eating disorder and/or want to learn about intuitive eating. Where do I start?

I transitioned Hummusapien from a clean eating approach to intuitive eating in 2016 when I realized I was perpetuating orthorexia with my content and it all started with the post I Have Been Changed For Good. I then wrote How I Became The Eater I Want to Be and How Eating Intuitively Helped me Live More Intuitively.  Also check out this podcast, What It’s Really Like to Be a Healthy Living Blogger.

If you’re struggling with a serious eating disorder, you’ll need comprehensive medical care involving a team of an RD, doctor, and therapist. Click here to find a treatment center in your area.

If you’re more struggling with disordered eating and don’t need or have already received inpatient care from a medical team, my best advice would be to first read the books Intuitive Eating and Body Kindness. I’m also a big fan of The Fuck It Diet. Download the Food Psych Podcast.

For personalized treatment, I highly recommend finding a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor in your area. If you’re located in Columbus and want to schedule an appointment with me, email me at alexis@hummusapien.com. My colleagues who offer virtual nutrition coaching services include Robyn, Rachael, Anne, Kara, and Kylie.

I’m struggling with not getting my period (amenorrhea). What should I do?

First, I recommend reading No Period, Now What? Then I recommend visiting your physician and/or gynecologist to rule out any medical or genetic abnormalities that could be causing amenorrhea. If you determine that it’s due to modifiable lifestyle factors (nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep), I recommend meeting with an eating disorder dietitian who can work with you one on one to take the necessary steps to regain menstruation.

Robyn has an amazing course I highly recommend called Heal Your Hormones & Regain a Healthy Period. Also check out the “Period Diaries” highlight on my Instagram for more information on other people’s period journeys.

What is your favorite Hummusapien recipe?

That’s like asking for my favorite child! I’d say my lasagna for savory and this banana bread  for sweet!

What are your favorite Columbus restaurants?

I have a whole post on that here!