Hello, I’m Alyson, a region 8 intern who moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Florida for Sodexo’s dietetic internship program. I have really enjoyed every part of my internship so far, but my rotation in my concentration of integrative nutrition has far exceeded my expectations. I have been interning at a private practice clinic with a registered dietitian who is a certified diabetes educator, as well as an integrative medicine practitioner. This has been such a great opportunity to learn how to develop personalized integrative nutrition care plans, support the needs of an integrative practice, and learn how to interpret and apply functional testing when working with patients. I supported the needs of the practice by scribing during patient visits, performing administrative duties like creating instruction sheets for patients and uploading documents to the EMR, creating individualized weekly meal plans, and processing new inventory.
The homework component of Sodexo’s integrative concentration requires enrollment in track 1 of the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy’s training, which was far more in depth than I would have expected. The modules were a pleasant surprise and further prepared me to understand some of the very complex medical conditions that came up during my integrative rotation. Some of the complex medical conditions involved toxic exposures, chronic infections, hormonal imbalances, and auto-immune diseases, among many others. A lot of the patients that come into this office are prepared to really commit to their health and make big changes, which is so helpful since integrative nutrition is all about these lifestyle shifts.
At my integrative rotation site, the first step the dietitian takes in assessing a patient is using the In Body to assess their body composition. In the photo you can see me operating the In Body to get the full picture of the patients’ weight, skeletal muscle mass, body fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, fluid retention, etc. During the patients’ appointment, the dietitian discusses blood work and any functional labs they may have completed. The functional labs may assess the function of the gut microbiome or an imbalance of bacteria, assess their genetics, food allergies and sensitivities, or micronutrient deficiencies, just to name a few! I’m so passionate about this realm of nutrition and love that it’s like piecing together a puzzle, trying to get to the root cause of the physical symptoms and support a patients’ healing journey. Seeing patients feel better after taking certain foods out of their diet or supplementing with the nutrients they are deficient in is a huge reward, and I’m so glad I was able to find a site that was a great fit for me.
I am very grateful for Sodexo’s new integrative nutrition concentration as it felt like the perfect steppingstone for me to merge my degree in nutrition with my passion for integrative nutrition.