Today, we chat with Destini Moody a registered dietitian and board certified specialist working in the exciting field of sports and exercise nutrition! Presenting positive role models to (young) Black people is really important for developing diversity in several fields.
Destini Moody, RDN, CSSN
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your current role?
My name is Destini Moody and I am currently a sports dietitian for both UC Berkeley and the NBA G League. I was born in Evansville, IN where I attended college at the University of Southern Indiana, but was raised in Indianapolis, IN. My niche is sports, fitness and mentorship and I’m African/Indian American.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue nutrition and dietetics?
I grew up in a very poor family and saw my grandpa, a war veteran and a sweet man, wither away slowly from diabetes complications. In black families diabetes complications are considered inevitable, but I refused to accept this reality and after some research realized that nutrition could have saved my grandpa and a lack of nutrition education was a huge public health problem in the black community. So I decided to become a dietitian.
What was your most interesting client encounter?
The most interesting encounter I’ve had was a client who came to me because she wanted to “tone her body” through weightlifting, but as my time with her progressed I realized she actually had very serious exercise bulimia which was my first encounter with a client with such a disorder. This taught me a lot about the fine line between “dedicated to fitness” and an “unhealthy relationship with exercise.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced moving into this field?
The biggest challenge was definitely an economic disadvantage. When I was in my undergrad, I was paying tuition on a payment plan out of pocket using the money from I got from waiting tables in the evenings. Imagine my horror when, junior year, I found out that I would have to work for free for a year, possibly in a strange city where I had no financial support or else all of my hard work would be for nothing. Finally, I was the only person of color in my dietetic undergrad program which posed social challenges.
What’s your favourite meal?
My absolute favorite meal combo is chicken tikka masala with naan and mango lassi. I could eat that all day everyday!
What are your thoughts on diversity in N&D?
I feel that more can be done to remove the system issues preventing the field from being diverse. When I went to switch my major from nutrition to dietetics early in my schooling my advisor acted skeptical and kept pressing the point that dietetics was “really hard.” I think more encouragement and support is needed to diversify this field.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in terms of being a registered dietitian?
When you tell people you’re a dietitian and they ask for a meal plan…
Black or Blue ink pens?
Blue all day!
If you could summarise your career as a nutrition professional in 3 words, what would they be?
Ambition and luck.
What advice would you give to black youth considering nutrition & dietetics as a career?
I would tell them to gather all of the information that they can about the post-graduate process as early as they can. Also, they should start saving money right NOW! Finally, I would tell them not to be discouraged by the daunting coursework such as chemistry like I was. This field needs more black youth!