February 13, 2020

Meet our upwaRD™ Winners: Ariana Haidari, RD

How did you become interested in nutrition and dietetics?
I am fascinated by human physiology and how function is affected by environment. As a college freshman, I wanted to learn more specifically about how nutrition and changes in nutrition affect us all, so studying dietetics was the obvious choice!

How would you describe your job?

I work in partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient eating disorder treatment. In my current position, I work with individuals to bring interactions with food and body back into balance with other aspects of life. This involves counseling clients one-on-one, providing nutrition education, facilitating group sessions around intuitive eating, and having meals with clients. It is a huge honor to gain enough trust and respect from my clients to be able to help them heal. In this work, I aim to introduce clients to the idea

How has the field of nutrition changed and how do you see it continuing to change in the next 5 years?

From a public health perspective, I see the field of nutrition becoming more holistic and interdisciplinary. We have already seen this as nutrition and microbiology intersect with the study of the microbiome, mental health, and infant health outcomes. I am very eager to be a part of integrating nutrition more prominently in the medical and health field. I am excited to see that nutrition science and dietary interventions are beginning to be regarded as a focal point in healthcare, rather than an afterthought.

How do you stay organized at work?

Planning my schedule is important for me to be successful. I am a big believer in saving our precious brain space for that which only our brains can do – if I can outsource my task list to Google Calendar rather than Ariana’s Brain Calendar, I absolutely will…

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love counseling and I love myth-busting. It really is a lot of fun to see others realize the incredible phenomenon that is the human body. I also see my work as a sort of activism, because body acceptance and practicing dietetics from a weight-neutral approach is not generally recognized in our mainstream culture.

What three things are on your bucket list?

The top of my bucket list has long been scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I’m concerned that I won’t have the opportunity to do so before it dies completely.
Happily, Number 2 was visiting Macchu Picchu via the Inca Trail, which I did in 2015, and Number 3 was summiting Mt. Rainier, which I did last year!

What is the most surprising thing for people to learn about being an RD?

We are not the food police! Being a dietitian is about promoting nutrition for optimal health, which is often different than the aesthetic image marketed as “health” by the weightloss and fashion industries. My job is not to tell people what to eat, but to provide education around how food and the feeding environment relate to our body and health.

What food is always on your mind and why?

Hummus is my favorite food group.

What career would you choose if you had an opportunity to switch jobs for one day?

I think it would be fascinating to be President, or at least a high-ranking member of the US political system. I want an inside look at how government works at the highest level. Either that, or a marine biologist working with Orca whales. I’ve been fascinated by whales and the ocean since I was a little kid, and love the ocean!

Make sure to follow Ariana for more nutrition inspiration!

Instagram: @ariana_the_dietitian

Ariana Haidari, RD
Adolescent Facility Dietary Supervisor, Registered Dietitian, Center for Discovery Outpatient
President, Board of Directors, Grit City Co-op

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