Dietetic Career Spotlight: Livia Ly, Brazilian Dietitian
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 1, 2015
Making connections is so important and Livia Ly knows how to meet people and build her network. I met Livia at FNCE 2014 in Atlanta. She told me her amazing story of being a dietitian in Brazil. After she moved to the United States, she learned she had to go back to school to pursue her dietetic dreams since the degree did not transfer. Determination and motivation drive Livia. Read on to learn where she is going to go after she completes her internship and passes her exam. – Sarah
– LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/livialy
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nutrition.ly.livia
– Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/livialy/
– Twitter: https://twitter.com/nutri_livialy
– Instagram: http://instagram.com/nutri_livialy
Website (if applicable):
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
During high school, I always enjoyed biology, until one year where we had a career week where my school invited speakers from different fields to talk about their work. I remember a dietitian came in and gave an exciting presentation that was extremely interesting to me. I learned I could help people avoid and help treat diseases with food. I already enjoyed going to the gym, doing yoga and dance classes, and thought that learning how to eat healthy, and helping others do it, would be perfect for me.
School you are studying at now?
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
What area of dietetics do you want to go into once you graduate?
I will open my business that will focus completely on wellness and prevention. My clients will want a diet personalized to their DNA, where they will find ways to prevent diseases that they are susceptible to. Others will want to do a lab diagnostic test and go on an elimination diet to avoid specific nutrients that trigger a particular condition they may have, like migraines. Also, my clients will be recreational weight-trainers that want to follow a healthy diet and incorporate the right supplements for their goals. I want to work with a holistic approach that take into consideration their body, skin, hair, nails, and also mind.
My favorite client population is the one who is interested in nutrition. People who care about their health and want to get deeper into what they can do to improve it even more. My clients will not be satisfied by only hearing – eat six times a day, more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and avoid this and that. They will want to have more of a personalized diet plan that would only fit their personal needs.
Describe your dream job:
I have noted through my experiences that, with the epidemic of lifestyle-related chronic illnesses, the healthcare system lacks patient-centered and preventative approaches, specific nutrition recommendations, and whole-food treatment strategies. My dream job will fulfill this gap. I believe that listening to client stories and looking at the interactions among genetic, food sensitivity, environmental, cultural, and lifestyle factors can influence long-term health.
Any special projects or nutrition endeavors you are doing?
This semester I am finishing up with my master’s degree at UIC and in December 2014 I will be eligible to sit for the RD exam. Through a public class at UIC, I am currently volunteering for a non-profit organization that focuses on after-school programs for underserved children in a Chicago neighborhood. I am creating a project for the students that will promote nutrition discussion and education.
I have been still contributing to multiple nutrition related sites in both languages, such as writing an article, or managing a social media page. And, I am working on learning Spanish as my third language, reviewing the nutrition content for the RD exam, and preparing to launch my first business as an entrepreneur.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
My native language is Portuguese. I am from Brazil and naturally know about cooking, exotic and “super” foods. Also, in my family, we learned early on how to be responsible and fight for what we want in life while being humble and caring for others.
Along the way I learned how to enjoy challenges and easily adapt to change. I learned how to be self-motivated, action-oriented and constantly focused on time management. I learned that nutrition and healthy foods are the keys for good health and that a diet can be personalized based on the reactions that your body has to certain ingredients or even all the way to your unique genes. I am from Brazil and am a dietitian trained there. I met my husband, moved to Chicago, and started looking for nutrition jobs. I was having a hard time finding any, until I realized later that I had to go back to school and complete the whole program to become a dietitian here. This year is my 10th year studying nutrition, but gladly my final one to be eligible to become an RD in the US. I believe that my background and degree from Brazil give me a unique perspective that allows me to bring diversity and fresh ideas that can benefit the health field.