Hi, I’m Michelle! I am a 3rd year nutrition student & dietetic intern from Edmonton, Alberta.
Being Filipino, Chinese, and growing up in Texas around strong Latino influence, I have been exposed to many kinds of foods and cultural cuisines my whole life. My mother was very open-minded food, so I was always encouraged to explore dishes outside my own heritage. To this day, I still consider myself to be quite adventurous with cultural delicacies and traditions.
In my first year of my nutrition degree, the new Canada Food Guide was just being released. At the time I didn’t know what to think of it yet, but one of the first questions that popped into my mind was, “How can I apply this to my culture? And how do I apply it to other cultures?”
My program requires that we take a course in the Cultural Ecology of Food and Health, but we were not trained to apply this knowledge in counselling sessions or practical settings. I believe this could have been an enriching learning opportunity considering the diversity of people in Canada.
When I eat, I feel very confident in making healthy food choices associated with Western diets. I wish I felt this same confidence picking recipes from my own culture or even other non-Western cultures. I believe cultural competency is extremely important in our field, as it helps foster professional relationships between ourselves and patients/clients.
I think one of many solutions to making dietetics more inclusive is to conduct research among diverse populations and their food, with hope we can incorporate this knowledge into educational programs and training courses for dietetic students.