By Anna Debenham & Alexandra Parker, Student Dietitians
In an effort to expand on the recent topic of dietetic profiling in social media and as Taylor Guthrie put it ‘making dietetics sexy’, we felt compelled to share our story.
Over the last four or five years we’ve witnessed bloggers, vloggers, fbookers and tweeters promote the latest diet fashions with everything from super foods to detox and slimming pills. And it made us wonder – as future dietitians, how can we take the flame of truth to all those misleading claims and sensationalised products? With growing incidence of chronic disease and more sedentary lifestyles, people need real, evidenced based health information. How can we make the truth sexy? How can we get the facts across?
Perhaps because we’re of Generation Y calibre and it’s in our blood, or perhaps because we figured, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, in 2013 we decided to develop our own evidenced based Instagram account on nutrition, ‘The Biting Truth’. Initially, our intention was to share healthy food messages and recipes with close friends in a somewhat ‘stylish’ manner. We began posting regularly, each week sharing a ‘Meatless Monday’ and ‘Treat Tuesday’ recipe, a ‘Hump-day’ motivational picture and a ‘Fun Fact Friday’ based on recent nutritional research findings. We now have over 10,000 followers and have recently expanded our business venture into Facebook and twitter.
Our account is real, we cook all the recipes ourselves. We don’t have a huge budget for expensive health food products, and we want to make healthy eating accessible for all, so we keep our ingredients basic and affordable. Everything we post is in keeping with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, but we try not to focus on the science behind our messages to keep our followers interested.
The proliferation and popularity of social media has created a new world of possibilities for communication and collaboration. Social media is a channel through which dietitians can reach millions of people in all corners of the globe. For ‘The Biting Truth’, social media is has provided a platform to share unbiased, evidence based health information. People are willing to listen, they are hungry for information, the challenge is learning how to connect whilst still staying true to what we believe. We think this means being proactive not reactive and using the mediums available in this brave new internet-enabled world.
So if you haven’t already, start posting away and perhaps if we all start hashtagging #dietitianfornutrition, together we can make dietetics sexy! Get on board today, we dare you.