As part of our ‘Meet the Dietitian’ series, we chatted to Lila Bruk about why she became registered dietitian, what she loves about her work, how she copes after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices, and what people should look out for when choosing a dietitian.
Meet Lila Bruk a registered dietitian (RD) in private practice (Lila Bruk & Associates)
Why did you become a registered dietitian?
I have always been passionate about health, but I was particularly interested in the nutrition side and liked how dietetics allowed for creativity as well as interaction with people.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?
I love meeting new people, guiding them on their journeys and seeing them achieve their goals along the way. Without a doubt, the most satisfying moments are when people start to feel a significant difference in their health, energy and wellbeing and being able to witness how positively these changes affect their every day lives.
What has been your career highlight?
There have been so many, so it’s hard to pick, but I would have to say being involved with many high-profile projects and companies is definitely a highlight. Having said that, every day is filled with highlights and seeing my clients’ progress and being there when they achieve their goals is always so rewarding.
What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
This would definitely be managing the different sources of misguided nutrition information out there. Unfortunately the public gets so many conflicting nutrition messages from so many different sources that it can lead to them being extremely confused. This is especially difficult when the source of the nutrition information is seemingly reputable websites, health professionals, celebrities or other media. A lot of my time is then taken up trying to debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that these sources have put forward.
How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?
I think the best thing is to try to get back on track as soon as possible. Trying to cut out food from the next day will only backfire and you will land up overeating at a later stage. Getting back on your plan is the best strategy.
What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?
- “Do you eat like this?” – dietitians are people too. Sometimes we have good days and sometimes bad, but ultimately most of the time we do our best and make good choices.
- “I don’t like the taste of healthy food” – healthy eating is not all about boiled chicken and steamed broccoli! Healthy food can also be delicious, vibrant, tasty and exciting. It’s all about preparing it right.
- “I hate exercise” – being more active is all about finding something you enjoy. If you hate running and love dancing, then by all means do the dancing!
What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?
Try to find out whether the dietitian has dealt with similar situations to yours, but also see how you feel about them, whether they inspire confidence and whether they have a good reputation and the right qualifications.
What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?
My favourite dish is grilled teriyaki salmon with steamed veggies. My favourite treat would be frozen yoghurt or liquorice 🙂
Lila Bruk is a registered dietitian and nutritional consultant in private practice in Illovo, Johannesburg.
She graduated from UCT with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry in 2002, followed by a Bachelor of Science Medical (Honours) degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2004 also from UCT. In 2010 she completed a Masters in Nutritional Sciences through the University of Stellenbosch in the fields of body image in pre-adolescent girls, digestive disorders (e.g. IBS), sports nutrition and food allergies.
Lila is passionate about promoting health and good nutrition and thus has written for various general and health-related publications such as O Magazine, FairLady, COSMOPOLITAN, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Longevity. She also gives regular lectures on nutrition-related topics around the country, and appears regularly on television and radio.
Her main areas of interest include nutritional management of lifestyle diseases (including diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease), glycaemic index, food allergies, post-operative nutrition, sports nutrition, adolescent body image and digestive and gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Lila is registered on the Discovery Vitality Dietician Network and thus is accredited to perform Discovery Vitality Nutrition assessments. Lila is registered with the HPCSA (Health Professionals Council of South Africa) and the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). She holds the Sponsorship portfolio on the ADSA Executive Committee for the July 2013 to June 2015 term of office. She was also the chairperson for the ADSA Gauteng South branch from July 2009 to June 2013.