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From: Mark Rifkin (
Subject:         Re: job opportunities for vegan RDs?
Date: March 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: job opportunities for vegan RDs? posted by Sammy on January 10, 2009 at 8:50 pm:

Hi Sammy,

Sorry for the delay in my reply. For clients that eat meat and dairy, I recommended meal ideas and cooking methods that are healthier. For example, if someone doesn't want to give up steak, I'd recommend they reduce their usual portion from 12-16 oz to 4-6 oz.

One of the rare examples where meat is part of actual therapy is end-stage renal failure (requiring kidney dialysis). Dialysis "spills" protein (leaves high concentrations in the "urine" which is filtered out), increasing protein needs significantly.

I don't announce I'm a vegetarian if the client doesn't already know it---it's not relevant to meeting the client's needs. What is important is to meet their needs in a responsible and professional manner, and, replacing some animal protein with vegetable proteins and vegetables is useful therapy for almost every condition.

Of course, if a healthy client wants you to recommend eating much animal protein than is healthy, then you as a practitioner always have the right to say "You might find better success with another dietitian. Let me refer you to....."

An emphasis on the "plant-based" concept is not a bias because it's based in fact. I honestly have found only one client who was interested in my services but strongly disagreed with eating more vegetables. So there's no need to feel "sneaky" or deceptive---this is appropriate therapy.

Hope that helps!
Mark Rifkin, MS, RD

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