Tell us a little about yourself...
Hello, my name is Julie Ruff and I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in renal nutrition. I grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and now reside in Long Beach, California. I completed my undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and my dietetic internship at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. I am a Clinical Dietitian Educator at Vidafuel and have been with the company for a little over a year. Working at Vidafuel is a perfect complement to my career as a renal dietitian! When I’m not working as a dietitian, I enjoy cooking, going to concerts (pre-covid!), working out, and traveling.
What inspired you to become a dietitian?
My love for food is really what sparked it. I come from a family where food is the center of our world. My mom has her degree in nutrition, so I had the advantage of learning about food from a young age. I knew I wanted to make a difference in people's lives, and what better way to do that than teach food as medicine?
What do you get asked the most when people find out you’re a dietitian, and how do you respond?
“Can you write me a meal plan?!” — is the most common question I receive. I simply respond with “a diet is not one-size-fits-all”. I could write a meal plan to follow but learning more about the patient or client’s needs and why they want to change their lifestyle is the most effective way to teach nutrition.
Share a time when you know you made a difference:
In my first year as a renal dietitian, one of my patients needed nutrition counseling on weight loss for a kidney transplant. She had been trying for about 4 years to get off dialysis and become eligible for a kidney. We worked together for about a year, reviewing food journals and medications. She was young and eager to get a healthy kidney. As a result of her hard work in collaboration with a dietitian, she was eligible for a kidney as soon as it became available! She has now been off dialysis for 3 years and is starting a family. Making a difference in this way is why I love what I do.
If you could give one piece of nutritional advice, what would it be?
Everything in moderation! Keep it simple and eat whole ingredients. The key to a balanced diet and healthy relationship with food is understanding that all foods fit. For example fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are more nutrient-dense than refined sugars, but that doesn’t mean that once in awhile you can’t indulge in a donut!
Try to ensure the majority of your diet is complete with foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Learning which foods provide high-quality nutrients vs. low-quality will aid in your overall health and wellbeing.
What do you love most about Vidafuel products?
I love that Vidafuel products were created with people’s overall health and wellness in mind. As a dietitian, I tend to zoom in on ingredients to find out what exactly I am putting in my body or recommending for my patients. When I discovered Vidafuel Wellness Protein Drinks, I was so excited to find a nutrition supplement that was not filled with artificial sweeteners, not to mention Vidafuel is one of the only renal-friendly food companies out there. Many of my patients have a difficult time finding low-phosphorus and low-potassium food items, which Vidafuel offers with their tasty, kidney-friendly products. As a renal dietitian, Vidafuel is #1 recommended in my book!