Spotlight on: Brandy MacIntosh, MHSA, RD
Private Practice Dietitian
Brandy’s love for health promotion started early, as her childhood was strongly influenced by the health conditions experienced by herself and her family members: including severe allergies, chronic asthma, obesity, anxiety, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome. As she grew older, she decided that she wanted to help others living with similar experiences. Brandy spent several years working in health policy/research, but it was during the post-graduate dietetic internship program at the Capital District Health Authority that she fully realized her passion for nutrition education and counseling. Brandy is interested in pursuing further education and research on the connection between nutrition, food intolerance, and mental health. However, her focus will always be on counseling clients, as working directly with others to help them achieve their goals is one of the most rewarding experiences she can think of.
Food Allergies and Intolerances
What first sparked your interest in nutrition?
As a young adult I was struggling with anxiety and depression. My own search for wellness lead me to experiment with diet and exercise. Both then, and now even more so, I feel that proper nutrition and physical activity are the cornerstones of optimal mental and physical health. As a result of this realization, I fell in love with the field of nutrition and decided to dedicate my life to helping others achieve their optimal health as well.
Tell us how you make food fun and healthy for your family/clients?
My daughter loves to help me cook. She’s afraid of the hot pans/pots, but she can pour ingredients and hand me eggs. She also likes to help weed the garden, and pick herbs to use in our meal. My son is less enthusiastic, but I do get a smile when I make our oat pancakes or whole grain french toast into seasonal shapes (e.g. bats, jack-o-lanterns, christmas hats, christmas trees).
What is your next big goal or project?
Private practice has been a rewarding, but very challenging endeavor. I am constantly assessing and reassessing the market here in Nova Scotia, and what I can achieve given the need for work life balance. Since traditional marketing efforts have not yielded the expected benefit in terms of generating new clients, I have been working hard to develop nutrition programs that can reach a broader market by taking advantage of current technology. I fully believe that online programs are the way of the future, whether they are used as the sole medium of communication or as a tool to enhance in-person counselling.
Did you always know you were going to become a dietitian?
Honestly, in high school I had a friend who stated that she wanted to study to become a dietitian after graduation. I remember thinking “Ugh, talking to people about food all day? How boring!” It’s funny how our perception changes over time!
What is your family’s favorite dish that you prepare?
My children actually really love tofu. Despite being a dietitian, I am no master chef! And the children really want their food to taste as plain as conceivably possible. So I just fry tofu slices in a pan with olive oil, and serve it up with sliced veggies and sometimes some rice or quinoa. Other favourites include plain greek or balkan style yogurt with honey and fruit, scrambled eggs with cheese and veggies, or cheese pizza with sliced fruit or veggies. Fruit smoothies are another favourite. We’re very plain eaters!