Hi there! My name is Vanessa Rojas-Bautista and I was born and raised in the sunny Los Angeles, California. I would say that I am a true Californian at heart, as my love for the beach began at a very early age.
After I graduated with a B.S. in Food and Nutritional Sciences, I was accepted to do a dietetic internship in Laguna Beach. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my friends and family, and started a new life on the coast. During this time, I was fortunate to gain the experience of working in many branches of dietetics, including skilled nursing and even nutrition product licensing at Herbalife Headquarters.
After becoming a registered dietitian, I began working with renowned nephrologists, Dr. Kam Kalantar and Connie Rhee at the UCI Irvine Medical Center. While working at UC Irvine Dialysis, I was able to serve on numerous advisory boards, medical/nutrition focus groups, and I even co-authored several publications and review articles.
By that point, I had lived in Southern California my whole life and I wanted to try something new. When my mom left California, my reasons for staying in the golden state went away with her. Then and there, I googled: “best place to live in the U.S.” and discovered the beautiful Austin, Texas! Once again, I packed my bags and pets and moved to an adventurous city, where I think I tried every taco in the town and even discovered queso (ha!). I eventually made my way to Memphis, TN, where I have since settled down and began working as a Sales Executive for Vidafuel.
What made you decide to enter the world of nutrition?
Long before I discovered the field of dietetics, I wanted to become a pharmacist. Something about the names of drugs, the way they work in our bodies, and drug interactions fascinated me. After obtaining my pharmacy technician license and memorizing countless drug names, the fascination wore off when I came to the realization that I could not legally counsel people how I would have wanted to, which was also my passion!
That's when I met a nutrition professor, Dr. Chen-Maynard at California State, San Bernardino. After my very first meeting with her, I just knew dietetics was the career for me. I loved the fact that counseling would be the focus of my career and all of the career opportunities within the field of nutrition was the cherry on top!
Describe the work you do as a dietitian
All of the positions I have previously had as a dietitian have prepared me for the amazing career I now have with Vidafuel. As a renal dietitian, I would assess dialysis patients’ nutritional status and recommend medication and nutritional changes to help them reach their monthly goals.
With Vidafuel, I get to wear many different hats that keep my career exciting. My job consists of creating recipes, editing and writing blog posts, researching evidence-based nutritional studies, educating customers with nutrition questions, and teaching customers and other dietitians about superior nutrition products; all while networking and building relationships with other medical professionals. I absolutely love it!
Share a time when you know you made a difference
I knew I made a difference when I was working in the clinic setting and had a patient with extremely high phosphorus. We’re talking about a phosphorus of 13 — this is almost unheard of! I felt as though she had given up on herself and thought there was no way out of it.
Month after month her phosphorus was incredibly high, even after our numerous discussions. I recall telling myself, “I am gonna do whatever it takes to show her she can bring this phosphorus down!”. I took it upon myself to see her several times a week, calling her at home, creating meal plans for her, reviewing food labels with her, and consistently motivating her during each conversation.
Little by little her phosphorus would waiver up and then a little down and finally, months later, she finally was able to hit a normal phosphorus level! I was extremely proud of her and it was incredibly rewarding to see how proud she was of herself.
Do you believe in diets, and if so, which are best?
I can’t tell you what the best diet is, but I can tell you what the worst diet is: the SAD diet (Standard American Diet).
Without sounding too cliché — I do not believe in diets.
As a country, we are extremely overweight because of the abundance of refined white flour and sugar products that are available. I would highly recommend others to stay aways from the SAD diet which consists of excess refined sugar, carbohydrates and saturated fats. I always recommend people work with a dietitian to keep them accountable and to optimize their health.
You can pay the farmer now or pay the pharma later!
Any food recommendations for those trying to eat well when ordering in or dining out?
Stay away from chain fast food restaurants when possible! If that's not possible, choose foods that are not fried.
Consider a salad as a side instead of the french fries and stick with low and no-calorie beverages such as tea or water. My recommendations for those trying to eat well when dining out is to fill up on the “good stuff” first by doing things like drinking plenty of water before your meal. Consider a salad with a light dressing and choose foods with minimal to no processing. Dietitian tip: You can request foods to be cooked and prepared without salt and butter, and that includes your steak!
What should people look for when selecting a protein supplement?
When selecting a protein supplement, it is important to recognize your intended outcome. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to limit phosphorus because you have renal disease? Are you looking for clean ingredients
Once you know these answers, be sure to read the nutrition facts before you read anything else. If the nutrient profile fits your needs and you have narrowed it down to 2-3 products, ask your dietitian about flavor. Chances are he or she has tried them and can help you through the confusion!
If you answered yes to all the above questions, look no more, Vidafuel Wellness Protein Drink is the answer! I drink it everyday after my workout to help repair my muscles and get that extra high-quality protein I need!