RDN Spotlight: Germaine Guy MS, RDN, LDN
What is your ethnicity/race? Did your family have any customs related to food?
I consider myself as black or African American. The majority of my family lives in South Louisiana, where Cajun cuisine most commonly eaten. Popular meals in this cuisine include red beans and rice, boiled crawfish and crabs, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, and fried catfish. Unfortunately, I’m probably the only person in my family that is health conscious.
Where did you go to school and complete your dietetic internship?
1. Louisiana State University (2008-2012) – Bachelor of Science in Nutrition/Dietetics
2. Southern University (2012-2013) – Dietetic Internship
3. Louisiana Tech University (2016-2018)- Master of Science in Nutrition/Dietetics
Why did you decide to choose nutrition and dietetics as a career?
When I turned 13 years old, I started lifting weights to prepare myself for high school football. After reading fitness magazines and browsing the internet, I discovered that what I put in my body could either positively or negatively impact my performance. So around the age of 16, I quit drinking soft drinks and eating fast food. After that I noticed a significant change in my physique and athletic performance almost immediately.
In college I chose to major in nutrition/dietetics because I already had a strong interest in nutrition from my years of weight lifting. I heard of the term “nutritionist” but not “dietitian” and figured all nutritionists worked with athletes. I soon discovered that there are many other avenues a dietitian can pursue and I chose to stay in this field.
What is or was the biggest challenge for you in becoming a dietitian and how did you overcome that challenge?
I think the two biggest challenges of becoming a dietitian are matching to a dietetic internship and passing the RD exam. These are challenges that all dietetics students will face regardless of race. The way I overcame the challenge of getting accepted into a dietetic internship was by keeping a decent GPA, becoming a member of the Student Dietetic Association, volunteering, and shadowing a registered dietitian as an undergrad. Since my undergrad graduating class was also pretty large, I also chose to apply to internships that my classmates weren’t applying to with hopes that it would improve my chances.
I overcame the challenge of passing the RD exam by taking the exam right after finishing my internship, using as many resources (Jean Inman review, phone apps, and practice questions) I could find, and creating a strict study routine that spanned around 5 weeks.
Have you had any mentors in your career? If yes how have those mentors affected your career/life?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a mentor in my career, but there are dietitians that have inspired me. One dietitian in particular is Jamie Meeks, who is now the sports dietitian for the New Orleans Saints football team. What inspired me about her was that she created the sports nutrition program at LSU as a graduate student and turned into a career after she graduated. Being a sports dietitian and working with collegiate and professional athletes has always been my dream job.
Why do you think diversifying the field of nutrition is important?
It’s important to diversify this field, because there are so many unique ethnicities and cultural practices. The United States for example is literally a cultural melting pot. People also tend to listen and relate more to others who look like them and have similar cultural backgrounds.
What is a piece of advice you would give a student of color interested in entering the field of dietetics?
I think it’s important to inform students about all the steps and obstacles they may face while embarking on the field of dietetics. If the student decides that they want to pursue this career, I would recommend that they make sure to select a university that’s accredited by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, maintain a high GPA, start researching dietetic internships early, and find a dietitian that can act as their mentor.
I feel that passing the RD exam is one of the biggest challenges in becoming a dietitian. So I’ve started a Facebook group called RD Exam Prep where I answer questions and provide free notes, study guides, and practice exams to nutrition students and dietetic interns that are preparing for the exam. I also have a YouTube channel titled “EatRightGuy” where I've made numerous videos on different nutrition and dietetics topics.
Germaine is a full-time renal dietitian. He spends his busy work weeks reviewing and explaining labs to patients, educating new and existing patients on various aspects of the renal diet and rounding with Nephrologists and Nurse Practitioners. You can follow him on Instagram and on his Youtube Channel EatRightGuy. Germaine was also recently featured on Kim Rose’s YouTube Channel, talking about his experiences working as a renal RDN in prisons. Check it out!
Do you know an RDN of Color who we should feature in our Spotlight Series? Or are you an RDN of Color who would like to be featured? Contact us today!