Why did I become a Registered Dietitian?

I’ll be honest - I credit my own personal nutrition challenges and a little bit of blind faith to my journey into dietetics. I grew up with severe food allergies, which really tainted my relationship with food throughout the years. When it came time to choose my major in university, it was between Biomedical Engineering, Optometry and Nutrition, and well..the rest is history. I completed my undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Western Ontario, and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at McGill University. My passion for nutrition came during my internship in Montreal when I finally got to put my education into practice. Being able to work with individuals and

communities and see the impact one’s diet can have on their overall health brought everything full circle. I realized then that nutrition is more than what you eat, it is connected to our social, emotional and physical wellbeing. Everyone I met had a story that shaped the way they ate, and the way they saw food. I began to involve these discussions in my practice and counselling, because I believed that understanding a person’s relationship with food was the first step to change. I’ve always said nutrition is not necessarily my true passion - connection is my passion. Nutrition is a gateway to connection, and I love that my career and education have afforded me the opportunity to connect with so many different people in

such a meaningful way. I can truly say that my path in nutrition and dietetics has been the most rewarding aspect of my life thus far, and I love that I am able to connect, educate, and learn with my patients each and every day. 

Norine Khalil MSc RD

What is my education & training?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Western Ontario and went on to complete a Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. My research focused on the link between nutrition knowledge and stress among breast cancer survivors post-treatment, which opened my eyes to the link between mental health and diet. After completing my thesis and Master’s Degree, I went on to complete my Dietetic Internship, which included clinical, food service, and community nutrition training in Montreal. My internship involved working in hospitals and community centres in Montreal in areas including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and oncology. 

 

My education eventually brought me back to Oakville, where I worked at Appleby College to revamp the Health and Wellness department. Being back in an educational setting and working with the incredible students at Appleby reignited my love for education and program development - areas that I continued to focus on once I settled into full-time work as a Registered Dietitian. I have worked in a variety of clinical, education and community settings over the course of my career, but I found my true home in private practice when I founded Lifeberry, a nutrition consulting business that includes both private practice and workplace wellness services. 

 

I am an active member of the Dietitians of Canada, as the Ontario representative in the Employee Health Benefits Awareness Advocacy Committee, as well as a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario.

What do I specialize in?

Over the years, I’ve developed a passion and expertise in the following areas:

  • Fatigue 

  • Digestive Health (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Disease)

  • Food allergies and sensitivities 

  • Adolescent Nutrition 

  • Sport Nutrition 

  • Women’s Health (PCOS, Menopause, Hormonal Imbalances)

  • Metabolic Syndrome (Diabetes, Heart disease, Obesity)

What do I love most about being a Dietitian?

Honestly, it’s not the food. Don’t get me wrong, I love food. But, that’s not what I love most about my work. The connections I cultivate with my patients, as well as the opportunity to support my community through evidence-based practice and education is my favorite part of being a Dietitian. Food plays a pivotal role in our social life, emotional wellbeing, and our physical health, and let’s face it, it’s a way to connect. Some of the best times involve food, so to use it as a form of connection is an incredible bonus in my line of work. I love that I am able to be a part of someone’s growth in all of these areas through the power of food.

What attracted me to team-based health?

Collaboration is priceless to me - I believe that so many powerful moments are created when great minds come together. I’ve had some amazing opportunities over the course of my career to connect and collaborate with my classmates, students, patients, and colleagues. The energy that is created in moments of collaboration can’t be matched - so when the stars aligned and I was introduced to Dr. Elaine Lewis and Dr. Yaad Shergill, I knew that my professional future would involve the vision we all shared: Collaborative Health.

Health is not one-dimensional. There are so many aspects of health that no one professional can address. To be able to work together as a team with a shared goal in mind, to help empower and improve the health of others, is (in my humble opinion) where the magic happens.

If I’m not at work, where can you find me?

Most likely, at a martial arts gym, trying to master the art of Muay-Thai. Muay-Thai has become my happy place outside of work. The mental and physical strength it has given me has been life-changing. If I’m not throwing elbows and knees, I’m in one of two places: in the sun (ideally, on a beach), or at home with my wonderful husband, cup of tea in hand, probably online shopping, watching The Bachelor...or both.