EPICURED CLINICAL NETWORK MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Martha McKittrick, RDN, CDE, CHWC is a registered dietitian with over 20 years experience and multiple specialty areas. In addition to begin an active member of the Epicured Clinical Network, Martha is on our menu development team where she reviews recipes for low FODMAP compliance.
EPICURED: Welcome! To start, tell us a bit about your practice. What do you like to focus on as a dietitian? What about the work gets you most excited?
Martha McKittrick: I’m a registered dietitian, certified diabetes education and Wellcoaches certified health and wellness coach. I have a private practice on the upper east side in NYC where I specialize in weight management, diabetes/prediabetes, heart health, PCOS, IBS and other GI conditions, sports nutrition and overall wellness. As a wellness coach, I take an integrative approach when counseling my clients and address nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress.
My typical client is a busy New Yorker who needs practical advice on how to fit a healthy lifestyle into a hectic schedule. What I love best about my work is being able to make a difference in someone’s life. I also love all the opportunities that are available to an RD – from working in private practice, to blogging, product development, writing, lecturing, virtual counseling, developing online programs to name a few. The profession has come a long way from when I first started 20+ years ago where most RDs worked in hospitals!
EPICURED: From your blog, I can see you’re a New York foodie! What role does eating out- menu selections – vs cooking at home – play in your practice?
Martha McKittrick: I must admit that my kitchen doesn’t see a lot of action! And these tiny NY kitchens aren’t so conducive to cooking. I tend to work long hours so prefer picking up healthy take-out on the way home from the gym or meeting friends for dinner. When I do cook, it tends to be something simple that I can prepare in 15 minutes or less. I find the majority of my clients work long hours as well. The fact that I can relate to them helps me give more practical advice.
EPICURED: Are you an advocate for having your patients use meal services that suit their goals and health needs? If so, what kinds of benefits have you seen from this? How have these services influenced your approach?
Martha McKittrick: I find most of my clients have hectic schedules and don’t have a lot of time to think about food. They often end up grabbing something “not-so-healthy” on the run. I’m a huge fan of meal delivery services… if they are they are healthy of course! It takes the guesswork of what to eat. Ordering greasy Chinese food or a pizza on seamless versus getting a meal made from wholesome ingredients delivered to your door… it’s a no brainer.
I am especially a fan of meal delivery services catered people with medical issues, including GI issues like celiac and IBS. Having these conditions can be stressful enough. Who needs the added stress wondering if your steak has been cross-contaminated with gluten or if your veggies are sautéed with garlic?
EPICURED: Let’s talk FODMAPs! What is your experience with using the low FODMAP diet for IBS patients? What kinds of successes have you seen?
Martha McKittrick: Years ago (before we knew about the Low FODMAP diet), I gave the standard nutrition advice for IBS such as avoid greasy food, no carbonated beverages or gum, etc.
Then about 5 years ago, I took a course on the Low FODMAP Diet & IBS by Patsy Catsos and Kate Scarlata. It was a game changer for my nutrition practice. I clearly remember counseling my first patient on the Low FODMAP diet. She had constipation and severe bloating for much of her life and was eating huge amounts of fiber in attempts to alleviate the constipation. Once we started the Low FODMAP elimination diet, her symptoms literally disappeared in a matter of 2 weeks. The best part was when we did the reintroduction. We were clearly able to tell it was the polyols and oligosaccharide group that caused her symptoms. She wrote me a note saying “you literally changed my life! For the first time in twenty years I was IBS symptom-free all thanks to the nutritional program you made for me.”
This sold me on the Low FODMAP elimination diet and reintroduction process. I use it very often in my private practice and find it helps the majority of my patients with IBS and other GI conditions.
EPICURED: You do such important work with Renee and culinary team reviewing recipes for low FODMAP compliance. Tell us a bit about that process. What are the biggest challenges? What kinds of things do you look out for during the review process?
Martha McKittrick: It’s important that each menu item be compliant with the Low FODMAP standards. So Renee and I review each ingredient closely to make sure they adhere to the [Monash University] standards.
It can be tricky as the foods allowed – or not allowed – are always changing according to new research. And not all foods have been tested! Another challenge can be portion sizes. For example, TWO Brussels sprouts are considered Low FODMAP, but more than this is not.
EPICURED: How do you see Epicured helping your clients? What has been your experience so far?
Martha McKittrick: I’ve referred quite a few clients with IBS to Epicured and have gotten great feedback. Not only does it take the stress out of knowing what to eat, but I’ve heard only good things about the quality and taste of the food. I’ve even referred clients who don’t have GI issues, but who are just looking for a healthy meal delivery service.
EPICURED: Any favorites from our menu? Anything you’d like to see?
Want to learn more?
Check Out: Martha’s Website
Read: “Healthiest Office Snacks, as Chosen by Nutritionists”: Martha featured on CNN.com