We profiled Accredited Practising Dietitian, Lisa Donaldson from Australia, about her work in private practice, her latest project: “The Food Detective” and more.
Why did you choose to be a dietitian?
I often tell people that dietetics found me! I was happily working as a school teacher when I was diagnosed with a kidney condition, coeliac disease and lactose intolerance. Although a healthy eater, all of a sudden I didn’t know what was left for me to eat. I became a nutrition book worm and loved reading about food. My body recovered and I felt incredible! I wanted to help others like me. So, despite loving my career as a school teacher, I decided this was my calling and that I was meant to teach people about food.
Could you tell us a little about FEEDinc – who you work with, what clients you see and what do you find most rewarding?
FEEDinc stands for FITNESS – EDUCATION – ENERGY – DIET. I was also a fitness instructor when I opened my practice, so I wanted to name my practice something that encompassed all that I could offer my clients. FEEDinc is now a team of 3 dietitians – I am very lucky to have Jenelle Croatto and Morgan Higgins working alongside me. The majority of clients we see have gastrointestinal issues or weightloss needs, but we also work with athletes as Jenelle and I are both trained Sports Dietitians. We love going into schools, gyms and workplaces and present group seminars and interactive workshops.
Can you tell us about The Food Detective?– Where did you get the idea?
The Food Detective has actually been a work in progress for many years. As someone who loved teaching school children for a decade, I wanted to be able to reach children again, but this time as a dietitian. I used to go into schools dressed in a lab coat with my magnifying glass to do ‘food investigations’ with little ones. It was always great fun but I wanted to extend this idea further. So, I contacted my musical friend ‘Mr Tim’ and we created an album of music (Takes Ten Tastes) and a stage show for kids (Mr Tim and the Food Detective) all about healthy eating. Thanks to ACT Health’s Fresh Tastes Program, we’ve just finished a pilot program of ten shows around the ACT performing to thousands of children here in Canberra. My ‘big, hairy, audacious goal’ is to get The Food Detective on television!
Who do you most admire as a leader and why?
For 2.5 years I had the privilege of working with Dr Joanna McMillan in Sydney. I would travel from Canberra to Sydney each week and to this day, I think about that experience as being the most wonderful time in my dietetic career. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but I was able to see her magic in front of the camera. I learnt how to deliver complex scientific messages in a simple way for the general public – I am grateful for those experiences as I am now the DAA Spokesperson here in the ACT. During that time, I also started working for Michelle Bridges who is a powerhouse with a huge heart and boundless gratitude. I admire both of these ladies enormously. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with two incredible leaders in health and fitness who genuinely want to help others be their best.
Favourite / most inspirational quote: “Make life happen” – everything I have ever achieved is because I have put myself out there and taken a chance.
In my work life I cannot live without: My iPhone – it feels like my little Personal Assistant. Away from my desk I can email people, take photos, take notes and set reminders. I love my iPhone. Away from work, I try and turn it OFF!
Highest priority on your to-do-list: I juggle so many different things every day… but my son always comes first. I always work ahead of schedules and timeframes in case he is unwell or needs me. As soon as something crosses my desk, I try and turn it around quickly and never leave anything to the last minute.