Why We Do What We Do: Nicole Marchand, Registered Dietician

It occurred to me that my chosen profession can be misunderstood at times. When asked what I do, I often get responses such as, ‘would I have to eat more salads if I had a consultation with you?’ or ‘I don’t want to change how I eat’. Registered dietitians are highly educated professionals with bachelors of science and we can work in many fields. Although separated in terms of community dieticians, administrative dieticians, clinical dieticians, retail dieticians or consulting dieticians, each of these categories have their own groups of related positions.

I chose to be a consulting dietitian and a retail dietitian. My retail position is at Local Source Market in the North End of Halifax where I have the opportunity to discuss healthy dietary intakes with the public and I give information related to the use of locally grown, seasonal products. I also use my knowledge to teach the public the difference between, for example, ‘free run’ and ‘free range’ or I debunk myths related to which foods are actually healthy or unhealthy. As a consulting dietitian, I continue to expand my knowledge as I take clients at three different locations around Halifax, each with a very different clientele.

I refer to myself more as a ‘holistic dietitian’ in preventative medicine as I view the digestive system as the pinnacle of health and I help others learn how to best care for their digestive system using a dietary intake best suited to their needs. Most of my research these days is in relation to gastrointestinal disorders, which are extremely prevalent in North America, and inflammation, which is the cause of many serious long-term illnesses. I connect the digestive system with every system in the body such as the immune system, the cardiovascular system, etc., and based on the situation, a discussion with a client usually involves optimizing the diet in order to treat the system which is affected by illness. Depending on the client and their situations, dietary changes can be quick and drastic, or we make the  changes slowly, over-time. Furthermore, instead of removing certain foods loved by clients, we work together to find a way to incorporate them into the diet, while optimizing the rest of the diet in a way that works for the client and their lifestyle.

I chose this path in life because unfortunately, we live in a society where there are 40,000 items in our large chained grocery stores and we are never taught how to plan, create and use food to fuel our bodies and feel our best. We wonder if it’s okay to have eggs every day or if we need to avoid carbohydrates or fat, etc. My mission is to change this pattern of misinformation. I want to be one of many sources of information for healthy dietary intakes. I want others to learn enough about food that they can spread the knowledge to their friends and families. I want people to want to eat well. My vision is a healthy community, a healthy province, a healthy society, a healthy you.

Eat Well, Halifax

Nicole Marchand

Nicole can be found at The Floatation Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays where she gently nudges Lindsay to “cook batch foods” so that she doesn’t have an excuse to live off of pre-made salads and pitas.  To book an appointment, call us at 902-453-5628 or Book Online at www.thefloatationcentre.ca.