This interview is dedicated to Sharon Palmer, RDN. When I was an Undergraduate Dietetic Student I would read her articles in Today’s Dietitian and her passion for environmental nutrition and a plant-based diet inspired me. Then, as a Dietetic Intern I listened in on a few of her webinars which further strengthened my inspiration. Earlier this month at the Annual California Dietetic Association Conference I had the opportunity to sit in on her lecture “Plant-Based Meals from Around the Globe.” (Sharon you rocked it!) Afterwards I approached Sharon, gave her my business card and told her what a huge inspiration she is to me… and we got a picture together! I wanted to explain this for any Dietetic Student or Intern who is reading this. You may have “RDN crushes” who you wish to be like one day, or at least you should if you do not already! It is so so important to learn from others who have accomplished what you wish to accomplish. What steps did they take to get to be on TV and writing for Today’s Dietitian? How did they begin writing their first book? How did they start their website and blog? I was persistent and finally had the opportunity to meet and interview an RDN who I look up to. I hope Sharon’s wisdom impacts you in one way or another, I know it did for me! Sharon, thank you for agreeing to do the interview with me. I know your words will carry very far for to other aspiring RDN’s.
1. In a nutshell, describe how you got where you are today.
I started out doing everything in dietetics; hospital foodservice, patient education, consulting, marketing, and more. But when my children were born I quit my job and took a few years off. I started thinking about this old lost love—writing. I took a community college writing course to refresh my skills and give me focus and motivation. And I plunged into my new life as a dietitian-journalist.
2. How did you decide to pursue the career you are working in today?
I started querying editors of magazines and it took me months to get my first writing gig. I had no portfolio established, so nobody wants to give you your first chance. Finally, someone did, and then little by little my writing career took off. Soon I had regular writing assignments with the same magazines, and then I was offered an editor position. Now I do mostly editing and authoring books, writing for my blog
3. What do you value most about dietetics?
I feel that this field has so many opportunities—the sky is the limit. You can working in wellness, prevention, disease management, culinary, media, and more. And you make such a difference. Food is love, it’s nourishment, nurturing, family. It’s tradition, lifestyle. Everything starts with the soil. Healthy eating is so delicious. You can help people skip the negative, hyped up messages that are so confusing and find balance.4. Are there any book you suggest that are a must read?The Omnivore’s DilemmaPlant-Powered for Life (my own book!)There are so many more!5. What do you do to ensure you are continuously growing as a dietitian?I do everything I can to stay on top of the latest research, trends, and fads. That means staying engaged, reading volumes every day. Going to conferences on a regular basis.6. How and where do you find inspiration?I find inspiration in farmers markets, and now my garden. To see how beautiful, wholesome plants are grown, which have the amazing capacity to nurture us and make us whole, is so inspiring. Mother Nature is so amazing!7. What is the biggest risk you have taken in your life?When I decided to write my first book—I gave it a big shot, and it paid off. But I didn’t stop to think about all of the things I had to do to support book sales. I am a writer by nature, wholed up in my office, quiet and contemplative. Writing a book means you have to get out of your office, speak, meet people, get engaged. That really took me out of my world.8. What mistakes have you made and what did you learn from it?I don’t believe in mistakes. Everything you do in life is a learning opportunity. I never look back on my life and say I wish I had done this or that.9. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?Other than having my two children, Christian and Nicholas, I would have to say it was authoring my first book. It is the culmination of my work.10. What do you want to be remembered for?I hope that I made life a little more healthful and enjoyable for some people out there. That I showed them that healthy, sustainable foods are delicious, and that you don’t have to follow a crazy, miserable diet to be healthy. And I hope that I inspired my friends and family to create and enjoy their own food traditions.For more information about Sharon Palmer, RDN visit her site: http://www.sharonpalmer.com/about.php