By: Nikki Nies
I had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know more about the unique registered dietitians that are part of the REAL Dietitian team. Personally, I find it easier to connect with those helping me when I know a bit about their history and how that has shaped their way of helping others. Read on to learn about Gina, Brett and Tom’s backgrounds and their hopes with REAL Dietitian’s future!
Gina has been a personal trainer and a health advocate since 2006, but her story as a Registered Dietitian has been in the making for quite some time. Many years ago, she used to weigh 300 pounds. With portion control and exercise, she a total of lost 172 pounds and eventually went back to school to get a second master’s degree in public health nutrition. She realized clients were seeking concrete diet plans beyond the scope of what a personal trainer has to offer. By becoming an RD, she was able to serve people to the fullest given her personal and professional experience with weight loss success and major body transformation.
As a Certified Personal trainer, Health Coach and RD, Gina consolidates each discipline into her company, Lifestyle Management Solutions, where she specializes in weight management, employee health and general wellness. She enjoys public speaking, teaching classes, and freelance writing. Gina adds, “I am honored to work with others as they move through their own personal journey of health transformation and grateful for the wonderful platform to reach clients regardless of geographical boundaries provided by REAL Dietitian.
Meet Brett Curtiss, MS, RD, LDN
Before becoming a registered dietitian, Brett spent his time working in the marketing industry. Although marketing was his job, he became more interested in reading blogs and books about nutrition in his spare time. Feeling dissatisfied in his current career, after some soul-searching, he decided he wanted to be an expert that can help others, in the midst of all the nutrition information out there. His nutrition journey started making diet and lifestyle changes resulting in a 50lb weight loss. Next, in an effort to improve the quality of his diet, Brett’s interest in food lead him to adopt a vegetarian diet as a way to incorporate more vegetables, and limit his contribution to animal cruelty.
After spending 5 years getting a second bachelor’s degree in dietetics, completing his internship, and his master’s degree, today, he is a renal dietitian at the Center for Renal Replacement in Lincolnwood, IL. In addition, he does consulting work on the south side of Chicago, specializing in peritoneal dialysis nutrition. While Brett now incorporates meat into his meals from time to time, his experience as a vegetarian broadened his perspective on food & nutrition and has made him more confident in his ability to make healthier choices.
As a RD, Brett is proud of the work he has done in a female dominant field. He prides himself in his style of counseling as his focus is predominantly on diet quality, and overall lifestyle. He enjoys helping his patients, friends & family, dispelling nutrition misinformation, and sharing what’s he’s learned through his experiences, and readings. It’s evident by his journey, Brett’s not able to get enough about nutrition, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him part of REAL Dietitian’s team!
Check out Brett’s Linkedin profile for more information!
Meet Tom Smurr, RD, LDN
Basketball has been an integral part of Tom’s life. While it’s brought a lot of personal satisfaction, in college, he found himself feeling sluggish during practice practice. Thankfully, when he was exposed to the foods offered in cafeteria at a U.S. Olympic training facility, he was blown away with all the real ingredients used and visible nutrition facts information. From then on, he knew he had to become more involved in the nutrition field, while bridging the gap between the disabled and access to adequate nutrition information.
After sixteen years of playing basketball, in 2008 Tom played wheelchair basketball in Briantea84 in Cantú, Italy for and also became a RD in July 2014! Yet, those two experiences have and will continue to shape his future. His time spent in Italy opened his eyes to the respect and value Italians place on food, with fresh ingredients more ubiquitously found within the home.
Presently, Tom works at CEDA WIC, as one of their nutritionists. He’s in a unique position, being able to counsel and the bridge between clients and valuable life stage nutrition knowledge. Furthermore, as a newly titled, Breastfeeding Counselor, he promotes breastfeeding, finding fun in getting the whole family involved in the care of the new infant. Tom finds it refreshing to give dads more nutrition information and to known as source of help for families. In addition, he has a unique spread of knowledge—babies and children, women through pregnancy to postpartum,disability, personal experience with acid reflux, insight on how to gain weight and muscle and recognizes the individualistic approach to help people, as one solution doesn’t always work for all.
While Tom dreams of being a keystone of nutrition and athletes’ with disabilities, he’s excited to be part of REAL Dietitian’s ever expanding counseling team, to leave a footprint and continue to help a wide spectrum of people!
Check out Tom’s Twitter for more information!
Thank you Gina, Brett and Tom for participating in the interviews.
Photo Credit:Gina Crome, MS,MPH, RD, Brett Curtiss MS, RD,LDN and Tom Smurr, RD, LDN