ASHLEY LYTWYN, MS, RDN, LDN
BALANCED LIFE-FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHY
"Everything in moderation". How many times have you heard this before? This phrase is repeated over and over again because it has truth in its words, and is a phrase by which I live every day. Every woman is unique in the way they live their life. Things that may work for one person, may not work for another. There is no cookie-cutter solution. What I do believe in is providing sound nutrition expertise that works. I believe we can sustain healthy lifestyles by utilizing food as nature intended instead of succumbing to fad-diets.
Growing up in a small Connecticut town, roadside fresh fruit and vegetable stands and outdoor bike rides were plentiful. Looking back, I think these slow-paced, simple life pleasures truly ignited my love for nutrition and fitness. My twin sister and I grew up watching closely as our self-taught chef mother prepared gorgeous dinners and scent-waking breakfasts. Following in her footsteps, I took a liking to culinary arts and started to find my own place in the kitchen. Throughout high school, when I was not rehearsing with a pre-professional ballet company, I was in the kitchen creating tasty snacks, or meals for my family.
This passion for culinary arts and health laid the groundwork for my future and led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University. Studying the biological sciences, I was able to understand and appreciate the many wonders of life, including the transformation a mother goes through during pregnancy. Learning how the human body operates on a molecular level helped me to scientifically understand how the foods we eat directly impact our health and wellbeing. Although fitness had always been a part of my life, teaching exercise classes and personal training, I knew I was missing the piece of the puzzle – nutrition.
To fulfill a deeper understanding of nutrition, I moved to Chicago to complete a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois in Chicago. I learned a deeper level of how the body reacts to certain diets, the science behind food and most unbeknownst to me, the food and agriculture industry. Tying this education to my previous biology and exercise background drove me to realizing my passion to help people prevent or overcome chronic disease and live a healthier, better life.
WHAT IS AN RDN? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Nutrition and lifestyle choices are major influences on health. People seek guidance from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (formerly Registered Dietitian) for many reasons. Some individuals are concerned with wellness, weight loss, disease prevention, athletic performance enhancement, or feeding concerns with children, while others are trying to manage their medical conditions with food and meal planning. It can be difficult to figure out which foods are necessary for your healthy diet so RDNs are available to help you create a plan that meets your individual health needs and goals.
The "RDN" credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Some RDNs may call themselves "nutritionists," but not all nutritionists are registered dietitian nutritionists. The definition and requirements for the term "nutritionist" vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation "nutritionist," but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a "nutritionist" regardless of education or training.
Individuals with the RDN credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor's degree (about half of RDNs hold advanced degrees), completed a supervised practice program, and passed a registration examination, in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification. It is important to receive sound nutrition advice that is backed by science to ensure you are implementing a healthy, safe, and sustainable lifestyle for you and your family.