To help educate us about Type 1 Diabetes and observe American Diabetes Month, Registered Dietitian Kelly Schmidt shared her path to becoming an RD, her 29-year journey with Type 1 Diabetes, and misconceptions surrounding diabetes.
What inspired you to become a Registered Dietitian?
“I was inspired to become a Registered Dietitian through my dad. In 2002 when I was a senior in high school, I was deciding what my major would be and what college I wanted to attend. Unfortunately at the time, my dad was going through a kidney and pancreas transplant. As a 17-year-old, sitting in the waiting room after 10 hours, I decided I wanted to make a difference in others’ lives and use food as medicine. So here I am!”
What do you think is the most common misconception regarding diabetes?
“The first thing that comes to mind, especially after speaking to my friends about Type 1 Diabetes, is many people think that it is easier than it actually is. Our condition can be very taxing. Last night, I was up every 3 hours treating low blood sugar, and today, my son wanted to play soccer with me, but I couldn’t because my blood sugar wasn’t in range. Research has shown that as someone with Type 1 Diabetes, we make 180 extra decisions a day based on our condition.”
Who has been the most influential person in your passion for nutrition?
“I think it’s way too hard to say who has had the most influence on my nutrition career, because there have been such pivotal moments that helped me identify my health. In 2009, I went to a conference called “Food is Medicine.” where they talked about using food holistically and in an integrative, healthful way.
Some big names there were Dr. David Katz, Dr. Sheila Dean, and a common theme at this conference was to perhaps go gluten-free. I remember sitting in my seat and thinking, “I’ve been Type 1 Diabetic forever, I’m a Registered Dietitian, why would I ever give up gluten?” I’ve been tested for celiac disease, it’s a common thing with Type 1 Diabetics, but the test was always negative.
I left the conference and I thought “What do I have to lose?” So I gave up gluten and I have never felt better in my life. I felt like I was more in control of my diabetes, the inflammation in my body, and I could think so clearly! That conference was the most influential thing in my life, which led me to be more skeptical with nutrition advice and Dietary Guidelines, as well as building a practice where I could really help people in an integrative way. So not a person, but a place, an event.”
What is something that everyone with Type 1 Diabetes should know?
“One: you’re going to be okay! Two: the only constant with Type 1 Diabetes is change, so take each day with a grain of salt and do the best you can to collect data and apply that information to tomorrow. Three: use this condition as a silver-lining to realize how strong and tough you really are. Every single person with Type 1 Diabetes has so much bravery and courage, so cultivate that and use that strength to help you get through other hard situations in life. This has been a hard year, but from the last 29 years of being Type 1 Diabetic, I’ve learned that the only direction is forward and we need to persevere.”
Why does Tastermonial stand out to you as a game changer?
“My favorite feature on Tastermonial is that it identifies brands that have a hard time securing space on grocery store shelves. When I want a specific product that meets my dietary needs, Tastermonial suggests food products that they partner with and fits those needs!”
Share with us your favorite diabetic-friendly meal!
“As we’re getting into the colder months, a go-to breakfast I’ve been making is very low-carb, high protein oatmeal. I use ¼ cup of sprouted gluten-free oats, 1 tablespoons of flax meal, 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds, a scoop of collagen peptides, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. I put it into a small glass bowl and cover the mixture with boiling water, then place a glass plate on top to cover it for a minute or two and let it “cook.” This meal keeps my blood sugar very steady and it keeps me full for a good 4 hours in the morning. Enjoy!”
Want to learn more about Kelly? Find her at kellyschmidtwellness.com or on Instagram @diabeticdietitian.