How to Become a Nutritionist – Susan Bowerman Interview
This morning nutritionist Susan Bowerman visited Herbalife and we seized the opportunity to ask her a few questions. If you’ve ever wanted to know what motivated Susan to become a dietitian or about whether she ever indulges in guilty treats, then read on.
Welcome to Herbalife Headquarters, Susan. Thousands of people read your nutrition posts each week and everyone wants to know about how you stay healthy.
Since it’s early, what do you typically eat for breakfast?
Susan Bowerman: Well, I do love my protein shakes in the morning! I keep a variety of fruits in my freezer, so every day I have something a little bit different. The shakes really fill me up and keep me going until lunch, and I love that I’m getting so much nutrition in one glass. When I have a little more time, I might switch it up and have some yogurt and fruit, or an egg white omelet with spinach.
Great to see that you follow your own advice about breakfast setting you up for the day. Has healthy eating always been important to you?
Susan Bowerman: I would say so. My mom was a good cook, and she was health-conscious, too, so I should give her credit for starting me out on this path. Every night she would make a huge green salad – a ‘tradition’ that I’ve carried on with my own family – and, other than fresh fruit, we never had dessert unless it was someone’s birthday. I got very interested in food, nutrition and cooking while I was still in high school, and I became an avid home gardener by the time I started college.
So, how did you end up studying nutrition?
Susan Bowerman: I actually started college majoring in Literature! I loved it, but couldn’t quite see a career developing from it. At some point, I took an introductory biology course as an elective, fell in love with science and switched my major. One day, my cell biology professor began talking about nutrition and I never looked back. Studying nutrition brought together my love of science, food and health. After I graduated from the University of Colorado with my Biology degree, I went on to Colorado State University where I did my thesis research on nutrition supplement use, and received my MS in Food Science and Nutrition. After my internship at the University of Kansas, I obtained my R.D. (Registered Dietitian) credential.
How did you become interested in Sports Nutrition?
Susan Bowerman: Years ago, I had a private practice in Beverly Hills, and one of the physicians in the office was the team doctor for the (then) Los Angeles Raiders. He introduced me to the team trainers, and for six years I was a consultant to the team, as well as to the cheerleaders, the Raiderettes. Working with a professional sports team was challenging and very rewarding, and I loved every minute of it. When the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics offered a board certification in sports nutrition, I took the exam and was awarded the CSSD credential, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. It’s a big honor. Fewer than 600 dietitians nationwide hold this credential.
You also do a lot of work with the Herbalife Nutrition Institute. Can you tell us about a few projects that have been particularly interesting?
Susan Bowerman: Yes, this has been a wonderful project to work on with Dr. Heber. The Herbalife Nutrition Institute (HNI) is dedicated to educating people on the way in which diet and lifestyle impacts health. Dr. Heber has assembled an outstanding Editorial Board of nutrition experts from around the world who contribute articles on a variety of health and nutrition topics that are posted on HerbalifeNutritionInstitute.com. In addition, the Herbalife Nutrition Institute sponsors annual scientific meetings for the science and medical communities to learn more about the latest in nutrition research, and to learn about Herbalife’s global “mission for nutrition.’ It’s been an incredible opportunity for me to work with so many outstanding scientists, and the establishment of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute also demonstrates Herbalife’s commitment to providing outstanding education in nutrition science to support its program and philosophy, which really builds brand value.
It must be rewarding to see the impact of your work in projects like this, and in your work with private clients. Is there one question you hear from clients again and again?
Susan Bowerman: Well, of course, a great many of them want to know how to lose weight! Even before I began consulting for Herbalife nine years ago, I was a big fan of meal replacements, and encouraged my weight loss patients to use them twice a day for weight loss. My patients love using shakes because it takes away much of the calorie-counting ‘guesswork’ and, more importantly, they feel good and they get the results they’re after.
With such a detailed understanding of the effects of food on the human body, do you ever reach for a guilty treat?
Susan Bowerman: I get asked this all the time. I’m human, too – so yes, I eat treats from time to time. But I’m discriminating. I can easily pass up chips or candy, but if you put a warm, fudge brownie in front of me, I’m all over it.
As a mom, how did you instill healthy eating values in your kids?
Susan Bowerman: My “kids” (daughter Melanie, 27, and son Stefan, 23) both love to cook and they both eat really, really well. When they were little, they loved to help prepare meals, and we always had a vegetable garden, so I think they developed an appreciation for healthy foods at a very early age. I didn’t keep junk foods in the house, so they never really developed a taste for them. We had a few treats around, but they were reasonably healthy, like frozen fruit bars or low-fat cookies. Since nothing in the house was ‘off limits,’ they both grew up with a healthy respect for an occasional treat. For us, that strategy worked – treats were there if they wanted them, but they just weren’t a big deal.
Thanks, Susan. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.