Why did you name this blog Food-ish?
I explained this briefly here, but my site will never just be about food, even though I like it a lot. After I finished graduate school, I knew I wanted to start writing as a hobby again (I used to have another blog during my undergraduate years, where I occasionally wrote about food and nutrition, but mostly documented my failed attempts at fashion and Biochemistry). I would daydream frequently about a name for my non-existent blog. Again, I knew I wanted to write about food, but I didn’t want to write just about food. I asked friends and strangers alike what they thought it should be. In retrospect, I spent too much time thinking about this. Finally one day, I vividly remember being in Tucson, Arizona and I said in my head, “what are you supposed to call a food blog that is only ‘sort of’ a food blog? What do you call a food blog that is more like a food…-ish blog?” And then I was like, “Ohhhhh. That could work.” I bought the domain name five minutes later.
I like the pictures of you with oranges in your mouth, watermelons over your boobs, etc. Who took them?
Becca Alder of Found Photography took these pictures. She is a talented photographer, a wonderful friend, and she also cuts my hair. I highly recommended her for all these services. I was inspired to use fruits and vegetables in my photos by Laura Miller, who has no idea I exist but in my mind she is my best friend. All produce used was eaten later, by me.
Your logo is cool. Did you make it?
Nooooooo I soooooo did not. I drew a very, very, VERY rough draft of what was in my head and my friend and graphic designer Lauren Jordan did the rest. I also highly recommend her!
What is a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN)?
Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) mean the same thing. The credential of RDN (updated in 2013 to include “Nutritionist” in the credential) helps to highlight that all Registered Dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. Many dietitians have switched over to using it, but for now I am keeping it old school with RD. I choose to use the credential of RD instead of RDN for now because all throughout my schooling I imagined “RD” behind my name, and now I can finally stick it there! Here’s a quick rundown on what it takes to become an RD/RDN:
- Earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree through an accredited university or college, as well as course work approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
- Complete a dietetic internship, which also must be ACEND accredited, and is comprised of supervised practice in the areas of clinical, community, and food service nutrition to name a few. Depending on where you apply and are accepted, it can either be combined with undergraduate work or graduate school and typically runs six to 12 months in length (my dietetic internship was combined with a Master’s program and was two years long!).
- Pass a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). It’s a long and stressful test that made me sweat but was oh so worth it. More information on the test here.
- Create a five-year Professional Development Plan (PDP) once credentialed and log continuing professional educational requirements necessary to maintain registration in each cycle. For more details, click here.
When and why did you decide to become a RD?
My mom tells me starting in kindergarten I told everyone I wanted to be a dentist. In sixth grade, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up and it was printed in the yearbook, to which I said “cartoon artist” (???). However when I was in middle school, a woman who was recovering from Anorexia Nervosa spoke to my PE class about her struggle with an eating disorder and the treatment she received. This talk she gave was a pivotal life event for me. Junior high can be a time of body shaming, low self-esteem and disordered eating, but it caused me to look more positively at food and its role in fueling (not ruling) my life. From then on I wanted my career to be based on food and helping people eat. In high school I learned about Registered Dietitians and how to make a career out of nutrition at a college fair. I was sold.
Can you tell me about your education, professional practice, and leadership experience?
Education: I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics). It is a major fraught with much chemistry (yuck, but necessary). I also have a Master’s of Science (MS) in Human Nutrition. My thesis was on the home food environment and how what we buy and store in our homes impacts how we eat. I completed this degree in conjunction with the Dietetic Internship (DI), which is required to be eligible to sit for the RD exam and is similar to a residency or supervised practice program. This combined MS/DI program was two years long and one of the hardest and most worthwhile things I have ever accomplished! After all was said and done, my name now gets to go a little something like this: Rachel Cassinat, MS, RD.
Professional practice: I currently work full-time as a Clinical Registered Dietitian at a large regional hospital, which happens to be a Level 1 Trauma Center. During the week I see patients on our cardiovascular floor (pre- and post-open heart surgery, mostly), one of the medical/surgical floors (often pre- or post-general surgery or post-trauma), and antepartum (pre-delivery mamas!). When I work weekends, I also have patients from the other floors including the ICU, trauma unit, and the neuro, oncology, and observation floors. I assess, plan, and implement nutrition interventions for patients, as well as provide education both to patients and food service staff! I love it!
Leadership experience: I am currently a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Through it, I am a part of specific practice groups including Food and Culinary Professionals, Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, and Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. Under this organization, I have also served in many leadership capacities including:
- At-Large Delegate, Student members, House of Delegates, July 2014 – June 2015
- Student Representative, Student Advisory Committee, July 2013 – June 2014
- Student Affairs Chair, Central-Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2012 – May 2014
- Student Liaison, Represented Arizona State University, May 2011 – May 2012
RACHEL’S “DIET” & LIFESTYLE
Do you follow a strict meal plan or diet?
Let me begin by saying I am fortunate to have no known food allergies. I am often asked if I am vegetarian, if I am vegan, if I eat gluten-free, etc. Since I am lucky enough to require no dietary restrictions, and because eating intuitively makes me feel my best, I have no forbidden foods. I eat what I love, with heavy regard for proper nutrition. I mostly eat whole foods (no or minimal processing), and my diet is primarily plant-based (lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and I limit my meat consumption), but I also love me a good chocolate chip cookie (I have have the best recipe). For more details on why I eat the way I do, please click here for my food philosophy.
What are some of your favorite and least favorite foods?
Favorite: Raspberries, radish, kale, my mom’s chocolate cake, Thai food, pizza, and tacos. Lots of tacos.
Least favorite: Almost all traditional Thanksgiving food items (not a big fan of turkey, stuffing is weird, and green bean casserole?? UGH!), donuts (though I have one in my logo because they are so cute!) and I don’t like store-bought cookies, cakes, pastries, or cupcakes (homemade, please!).
What’s your favorite way to exercise?
Cycling, Zumba, weight lifting, and if I can muster up enough courage- running.
What do you like to do on your day off?
I like thrifting, riding my bike, trying new restaurants, watching Netflix, listening to podcasts, traveling, and writing.