Jessica Kotlowitz is a registered dietitian with a masters degree in nutrition. She has her own private practice in Cape Town, where she does one-on-one consulting with patients, helping them to use plant-based nutrition to address various health issues and manage their weight.
But that’s just the beginning… In addition to her private practice, Jessica also writes paid nutrition articles for various companies’ websites and publications, does paid public speaking, consults to restaurants and runs workshops.
Having been through a health and weight-loss journey herself, she’s passionate about helping other women to find true health through sustainable lifestyle changes while maintaining good mental health.
Here, she explains why working one-on-one with other women and seeing them transform their health is the most rewarding part of her job.
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Today is World Heart Day. Did you know that 225 South Africans die of heart disease every single day? Luckily 80% of these deaths are preventable. How do you prevent heart disease? By changing your lifestyle of course! Diet, exercise and stress management all contribute to better heart health. A plant-based diet has been shown to prevent and even treat heart disease. Many of the components in plant foods such as fibre, antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids and sterols, help to actively lower cholesterol levels, keep our arteries flexible and protect our bodies against heart disease. By reducing our intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, mostly found in animal products, we can also lower our risk of heart disease, especially when we replace these foods with healthy plant foods such as vegetables, pulses and whole-grains.🙏 I am so excited to have teamed up with @floraheartsa to spread the message of a plant-based diet for heart health ❤️ Head on over to the @floraheartsa page to learn how you could win a plant-based Green Dietitian meal plan to help you #livemorelife on this World Heart Day and hopefully every other day 💪
Firstly, how did Jessica Kotlowitz get into the industry?
In order to be a registered dietitian (RD), you have to study a BSc. Dietetics degree, which is available at most universities in South Africa. “The degree is usually four to five years, you usually need great matric results and need to be strong in maths, science and biology to get in. Once you’ve completed your degree, you will need to do community service for the Department of Health in the country for a year,” she says.
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The next Green Dietitian Vegan 101 Workshop is here! The first workshop sold out in just 8 days so be sure to get your tickets ASAP. Looking forward to seeing you all there and teaching you all the ins and outs of plant-based nutrition. Follow the link in my bio for more info 💚🌱 #thegreendietitian
What will you need to get into dietetics
If you don’t have a dietetics degree, you can’t practice as an RD. So, the first step is to get your dietetics degree. Next, you’ll have to do a mandatory year of community service for the Department of Health. This serves as great work experience and can help you to make connections and get a good job after the year is over.
“It’s hard to find internships in the healthcare industry as patient confidentiality and anonymity are very important to us,” says Jessica. “I don’t personally allow students to work shadow me or sit in on my consults, but there are some sectors of dietetics where you might be able to work shadow or intern (e.g. for a dietician working in a hospital where the consults are not as private).”
Difficulty in dietetics career growth
The industry is fraught with people claiming to be nutrition experts, but not having any real scientific qualifications. “These people are also able to use lots of false marketing tactics to reel in customers (which RDs aren’t allowed to do), so it has become increasingly difficult for RDs to compete and to establish themselves as the real experts in nutrition,” she adds.
At the same time, job opportunities for RDs outside of private practice are relatively limited and require extensive experience, so new RDs often struggle to find jobs or to forge a career path.
As a relatively young RD, Jessica started her private practice almost straight out of community service with very little work experience. “Our degree doesn’t give us much training on how to run a business, the ins and outs of running a private practice and how to counsel patients through difficult issues. I’ve just had to have a lot of self-confidence and believe that I am the best at what I do, even if I’m still learning. Being open and honest about what I don’t know and accepting feedback and criticism has also helped me to grow and learn,” she says.
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✌️Signing off for a little New Year’s digital detox. 🌱Taking some time to refresh and recharge so that I can give more of me to all of you in 2020. A huge part of my job which nobody sees online is making sure that I am fully present and able to give of myself in every consultation. If I’m sick, tired, emotionally drained, upset, stressed, distracted, I can’t be the best Dietitian to you. 🧐Ever noticed that when you go see a therapist/ Dietitian/ healer, they are always calm, centred, present? Man, that takes a lot of work! Especially when you spend your days dealing with other people’s emotions and the immense responsibility of other people’s health. 🙏It means taking lots of down time, setting strong boundaries, having regular therapy, incorporating mindfulness practices, getting enough sleep, moving regularly, keeping your nutrition on track, taking the right supplements and even turning down consults/ income when you can’t give any more. 🌱This year has been a huge year of growth for me both professionally and personally. I’ve learnt to start finding the balance. I’ve learnt that this passion can sometimes be harder than any big corporate job. I’ve learnt to go slow. I’ve learnt to listen to my intuition and follow my truth. Even if that means making less money and having less stuff. 💕I can’t thank you all enough for supporting this “green” Dietitian. I started this gig almost straight out of Comm Serve with so little experience (but so much drive and passion!) and all of you, my lovely patients, trusted their health in my hands, shared their life stories with me and allowed me to grow as a person and a healer. 💼I’ll be back in office and ready to give you my all for another year on 8 Jan. I seriously can’t wait for another year of guiding you all on your health journey’s. This profession might be challenging, but all of you make every second of it worthwhile. If you are ready to get your health on track in the New Year, please get in touch via my website, email me or book yourself in online.📩 I will get back to all of your messages when I’m back. Have a beautiful, meaningful and safe New Year! I look forward to working with you in 2020. X
Leadership lessons from Jessica Kotlowitz
1/ You can’t always play the “good guy or girl” if you want to be successful.
2/ There will always be people who don’t like you, don’t agree with your opinions or who you don’t want to work with. Learning to accept that not everyone will like you or want to work with you and that this is part of attracting the customers that are right for your business is also key to success.
3/ Learning to say no to the people who don’t serve you without being scared of failure is a key part of being true to yourself and your business values.
4/ Put yourself out there and follow your unique feminine energy, passion, wisdom and intuition.
5/ Give yourself down time when you need it. Work hard and face your fears by being vulnerable and accept guidance from others. The rest will fall into place.
A must-read book for every woman
Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
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“But veg are so boring!” “I’m so bored of green salads!” “I can’t think of interesting ways to cook my veg so that I actually enjoy them”.- My patients say these kinds of statements to me almost daily. News flash: if you’re eating plain steamed or boiled veggies and green salads you are not enjoying your veg to the max and will probably end up not eating enough of them or eating them as a chore rather than the love affair that they should be. 💕🌱 Here are some of my favourite ways to get those veg in: 1. Add veg into all of your stews, casseroles and curries. The more veg the better! This is such a flavourful way to get veg into your diet. Think mushrooms, tomato, onion, peppers, celery, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, baby marrows and so much more! 2. Saute your veg into stir frys. Use some soy sauce, peanut sauce, coconut milk/ green curry paste or simply a bit of sesame oil and garlic as your flavour base. Think Bok choy, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, kale, baby corn, sugar snaps and more! 3. Use your veg to top any cold or hot dish you are eating! I love mixing raw greens into hot dishes and getting some extra flavour and crunch. Think: rocket, baby spinach, cucumber, spring onion, tomato, radish, sprouts, peppers and more! 4. Roast your veg with a bit of olive oil and herbs, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce or even maple syrup and tahini. Use these to add to salads, grains or as a side dish to any main meal. I love topping my roasted veg with pomegranate seeds or lemon tahini dressing. Think: butternut, sweet potato, onion, pepper, cabbage, baby marrow, patty pans, snap peas and so much more! #thegreendietitian 📸 Food pics by the talented @lien_vanneste and @shaun_the_vegan
How Jessica practices self-care
“My number one self-care tool is good nutrition and lifestyle habits. There are a few things I will never compromise on, even if it means saying no to work opportunities: eating my fruit and veg, staying hydrated, getting eight hours’ sleep a night, taking my supplements, moving my body at least three times per week and getting outdoors at least once per week,” she says.
Jessica goes to a therapist once a week to iron out all of her internal struggles and worries. “I also spend time with amazing soul-friends, cuddle my pets daily, stay away from negative news articles and social media accounts, limit cellphone time, go to the chiropractor (my husband) weekly and I treat myself to great skincare and facials (I’m a big believer in skin health!),” she adds.
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Do you ever just find a quiet spot in the garden and sit down and meditate? Nope? Me neither! 😅 But this past weekend’s stay at @rhythmfullon in McGregor had me feeling all kinds of Zen. ☮️ The house has no WiFi, no TV and is set in the most peaceful country town with views of the Overberg mountains and the most lush garden. We arrived to a kitchen filled with organic country veg and were treated to a delicious vegan lunch by @miraweiner at her home in McGregor. Plenty of time chilling, reading, hiking, checking out the little town, eating healthy veg and most of all NOT checking our phones! After a manic start to the year, this weekend was the exact reset we needed! Thank you to @rhythmfullon and @hotovenmarketing for having us. #gifted 🌱 I encourage you all to take time to reset, recharge, get away, get into the sun and look after yourselves. Remember that all of the kale and green juices in the world can’t undo lack of sleep, inactivity and a high stress life 🙈 Nutrition is just one piece of the wellness puzzle and every single day in practice I see how stress and poor mental health lead to impaired physical health despite eating a healthy diet. Make sure to give your mental health the attention it deserves. 💕 #thegreendietitian
Connect with Jessica…
If you want to get in touch with Jessica, send me an email via my website