Dietetic Career Spotlight on Anu Kaur, MS, RD, RYT
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on FEBRUARY 20, 2014
Anu (Sandeep) Kaur, MS, RD, RYT, finds mindfulness and balance through her yoga practices, yoga teaching, and nutrition education. Working with clients in a well-balanced environment is key to Anu’s successful private practice. She found her career path by working with a registered dietitian business coach! – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
As an undergrad, I majored in Psychology and minored in Biology and initially had planned on becoming a Clinical Psychologist. However, during my senior year, I took a Social Work class and gained some practical experience doing social intake assessments at the Whitman Walker Clinic in Washington, DC. I was working with terminally ill HIV patients and it was the first time I thought about how there was a role for early nutrition intervention in this patient population.
After graduating, I took a year off to explore which career path I was destined for. I considered a Masters in Public Health, optometry school and of course, nutrition. During that year off, I shadowed a dietitian and was both inspired and motivated to focus on how nutrition could influence the HIV population. I believe it was because of my social work class that I ended up becoming a dietitian and did my graduate research on the HIV population when I was completing my Masters at JMU.
Your Job Title:
Founder and Owner
Company you are with now:
A Nu Healthy You (Kaur and Singh, Inc.)
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
- Get up do a yoga practice for 10-15 minutes
- Do one thing that has to get done for the day so that I feel satisfied for the day no matter what (doesn’t happen every day but try!)
- Network in the community – from meeting with local farmers to talk about diverse cultural recipes to attending a networking event
- Go to teach a yoga class or teach a nutrition workshop
- Break with exercise
- See clients
- Teach a Weight loss management class
- Go to a yoga class to release and relax or do a home practice of meditation and/or journaling
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I went from working with many allied health professionals to just myself. Also, I had trained myself into thinking that a successful dietitian was a clinical dietitian. Part of that came from my desire to have a strong science background. After I had my first child, I needed some flexibility and started working part-time with a home infusion company. While working part time, I started thinking about what I was truly passionate about. The turning point for me was when I started working with an RD Business Coach.
My coach asked me to figure out what my “natural gift” was and part of the assignment was to ask my friends/colleagues what they viewed as my strengths. That exercise helped me realize that I was not using my personal strengths in the ICU setting to my full capacity. Even after figuring out I wanted to do private practice I knew I did not want to lose my clinical edge – it is what allows me to bridge together nutrition and wellness and now yoga. There were times I felt very alone in making the transition and actively seeking out mentors has proven to be very helpful. The first person I ever contacted was extremely encouraging and played an influential role in my transition into private practice with a focus in wellness and writing.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have a natural affinity to meet people and receive energy from others and enjoy to teach, share and write.
Skills I have learned along the way… are to be calm, be persistent, be more organized, to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
Another skill I have learned in the last few years is meditation and yoga. , I was doing Kundalini yoga regularly and I felt a huge shift in my life. It really helped with stress relief and I thought that this would be really helpful for many of my clients. I have started my teacher certification in Kundalini Yoga and am expected to complete it in May. I currently discuss the benefits of yoga in “teatime” sessions or one-on-one if clients are interested. I foresee myself further integrating yoga into my practice by offering classes and workshops for my clients and even other health professionals. I have come to appreciate yoga as a science, even though if it is different from Western medicine.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Find your balance in showing up everyday and tweaking things so that you can continue to do what you are passionate about and still get the bills paid.
For private practice, I started out using The Academy Guide to Private Practice available through the Academy website. It was a great place to get started, but as I mentioned earlier, I used an RD Business Coach. This really helped to move forward at a more productive rate and overcome personal blocks. One thing I learned while building my practice was that it is really important to know what areas of nutrition you like, as well as what areas you do not like. Determine your area of expertise and create a niche for your private practice. I also recommend joining the DPG for Nutrition Entrepreneurs – you will network with some very successful dietitians and it is very encouraging to learn about them. They have been a constant source of inspiration.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
I would love to be paid with people sharing their thoughts in a journal format. In fact, when I teach yoga at a community college, that is the gift and essentially the payment I receive that keeps me coming back to do more. I love to see people grow and explore especially with going inward and trying meditation.