Meet Jess! Jess is an amazing friend I’m so excited and grateful to have met as an MGH intern this year. We both finished the internship a few weeks ago already and are both deep into studying for the RD exam. She’s sharing some of her passions and goals for the future - as well as some exciting travel plans she has coming up (take us with you!). Read what she’s been up to this past year and then follow along to see what exciting things she’s up to next!
SO let’s start off with introductions, tell us a little about yourself!
Helloooo everyone! Wicked excited that The Wellful asked me to be a Wellful Face! My name is Jess Schores and I JUST finished my dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital (so crazy!!). I've lived in the Boston area my whole life and completed my undergrad at UMass Amherst. I luckily got accepted to my #1 choice internship right out of undergrad (dreams really do come true) and have spent the past year working hard like all the other RDs2be.
My life outside the nutrition world keeps me very busy! One of my favorite hobbies is dance; I have danced throughout my whole life and am currently part of DanceWorks Boston. Sadly, I will have to take next season off due to some travel plans...more on that later! I also am part of the Big Brother Big Sister organization and I am a brand ambassador for Biena Snacks. You can always find me hanging out with my friends whenever I have free time, especially on weekends! My fav ways to relax at on weeknights are cooking and watching some quality TV (Masterchef or Bachelorette).
The most exciting thing happening in my life at the moment is that I am planning an extended vacation after the internship and (hopefully) after I pass the RD exam. I am a big believer in doing what makes you happy and not worrying too much about the future. At this moment in time, what makes me the happiest is traveling so I am SUPER excited to have finally planned out this trip. A summary of my itinerary includes France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Singapore and hopefully more; lets see how much I can squeeze in in 45 days.
How did you get started? How’d you get into nutrition and start @EatBestwithJess?
The one big moment that stands out in my mind on how I got hooked onto nutrition is in high school. I was at a dance camp and there was a speaker who presented to us on sugar. At the time I freaked out about how bad sugar was for you and cut it out of my diet completely (lol). From there, I became extremely interested in how the food we put into our body affects us and makes us feel. Of course, my nutrition mindset has changed throughout the years, and the way I thought about food as a high schooler freaking out about sugar is completely different than how I think now, but hey we all gotta start somewhere! It is cool to look back and see how my nutrition mindset and values have developed over the years. Even looking back on my instagram which was started last September, I love to see how my pictures/recipes/ideas have progressed so much over the months.
When did you start your instagram? What was the inspiration behind @EatBestwithJess?
EatBestwithJess started at the beginning of my internship in September. I find cooking very therapeutic and I cook all the time for my family. I wanted to find an outlet for family and friends to use recipes I created while also keeping it as a way for me to track what I have made. I did not expect people to actually follow my account as my first intention was not trying to get my recipes/nutrition message out there. It was created in a lighthearted and fun way for me to push myself to work on food photography and cooking/baking. I am extremely honored that so many of my friends, family and random peeps follow my account! I love love love to cook and now with a wide variety of people following me, I am so inspired to continue to develop my page to more than just recipes and also focus on my main nutrition/health values and ideas.
Your Insta bio says “good food, good mood | mindfulness” can you explain a bit more about what that means for you?
My insta bio at the moment is pretty simple and it definitely needs some work. However, at this point in my career, I believe it’s all I need. This past year I have learned alot about myself, and the mind body soul connection. To see how stress, anxiety and food we consume all takes a physical and mental toll on the body has made me passionate about exploring what the body needs and wants. “Good food good mood” is a saying that has been around for years, but I think it is fun and relatable to everyone. You should give your body the food it needs to be happy, whether that means going out to eat and having some burgers and fries, making a traditional italian meal at home or having a simple salad or bowl of cereal as a quick meal. I love exploring how the “”good food” I consume will hopefully affect my mood in a positive way.
The second part of my bio, “mindfulness” is a very general term. I did not want to put mindful eating or anything too specific because I think being mindful in all aspects of life is important. For me, being mindful of my happiness, being present in the moment, and living the most stress free life as possible is “mindfulness”. I hope to continue to post pictures and messages that relate to how I work on mindfulness throughout my life. Currently, all of my Instagram is food photos, I hope my followers realize I am not posting these photos to show people what is “the best/healthiest” thing to eat, but to get across my passion for cooking as an art form and how I am using food to make a positive impact on my life.
What’s the the most challenging part about being a dietetic intern? What’s the most rewarding?
The most challenging part of the internship is always being on your A game. Every day is like a new first day of work, you worry about making a good first impression, keeping your cool and also proving yourself. The most rewarding part is seeing my progress and growth as both an RD2be and a person. Also, being able to see the other interns succeed in such amazing ways is so rewarding and has motivated me to try my best all the time! (quick shout out to MGH DI for being the most supportive and amazing gals!!)
In your internship, you experience a lot of different rotations, what’s been your favorite so far? What’s been the most impactful so far for you?
AH. Such a hard question. Throughout the internship I have been that intern who has said “wow I really liked this rotation” for many rotations. But my favorite would have to be my concentration - a 6 week rotation where MGH lets you specialize in an area of nutrition that you are most passionate about. I picked pediatric nutrition, both in an inpatient and outpatient setting. I love to work with children and find it so inspiring and amazing to see how nutrition plays such a vital role in their growth and development. I feel I nerd out when I start to assess the growth a child in such a detailed manner by assessing weight changes by the day and then implementing nutrition interventions to help. This concentration has been the most impactful as I have been exposed to a variety of different pediatric clinics that work with such aggressive conditions and diseases - such as Short Bowel Syndrome, GI disorders, Seizure disorders etc. It is a hard population to work with, it is very challenging to see how sick some children are, but to be able to use my nutrition knowledge to intervene in a way that positively benefits them is very rewarding.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to pursue their RD?
Be confident and go for it! Whatever reason might be holding you back, throw it out the window and tell yourself you can do it. The internship is a challenging year, but so worth it and you learn SO much.
When someone finds out you study nutrition and are going to be an RD, what’s the most common question you get asked and how do you answer it?
“Can you help me lose weight”
“So do you like eat wicked healthy?”
“Im not eating carbs and I am losing weight! What do you think about that?”
It is always hard to answer some questions that people say right when they find out I study nutrition. I always want to be respectful but also stay true to what I believe. When you tell a person that all foods fit and its finding a balance of knowing what makes you feel good and what foods are more nutritionally dense, they might look at me like I’m a little crazy. Diet culture is so embedded in our society. It is hard to explain that restriction and following a specific meal plan might not be the healthiest and most sustainable or enjoyable way to live! I also will respond by asking more questions to see if a person is truly happy with how they are eating. For example, if someone says they aren't eating carbs, I might ask why they decided to, and if they ever feel unhappy with this decision? Sometimes they will respond in ways that makes themselves realize maybe they are restricting too much! I never want to push my ideas on someone, especially if they are asking in a social/casual setting, but I do enjoy having conversations about what I believe in and why weight loss/restriction is not the best method to be healthy.
What’s been the biggest learning curve you had of the internship or of sharing your voice online?
I think the biggest learning curve was finding confidence in my clinical and critical thinking skills. Especially during the internship in the clinical setting, it's so easy to second guess yourself. I have learned to trust my judgment and be confident in my recommendations and opinions. Same thing goes for sharing my voice online, not everyone will always agree with what I am posting as everyone has different options. It is important to remember to always respect others opinions, keep a professional and polite manner and still share what you are passionate about!
As an RD what do you hope someone takes away after visiting your instagram or having a session with you?
In regards to my instagram, I hope people would become inspired to cook and explore new ingredients while also focusing on what their body wants. Its such an awesome experience to learn to listen to your body and see what type of food it needs. Also, I know not everyone is in tune or knows how to listen to their body. Many of my friends say their favorite part of my instagram is learning about new, delicious recipes. So, I always try to keep variety in the messages I am sharing. I hope people take away just one positive idea/recipe/mindset after visiting my insta. As an RD, I will always want to meet people where they are at, and help them find ways to live the happiest and healthiest lifestyle, whatever that means to them. I want people to feel good about the decisions they make themselves in regards to food, movement and mental health while also educating on any nutrition information that would benefit them!
What’s your dream job?
AH! Such a hard question. A dream job of mine would be to work in an outpatient pediatric clinic. Like I have said before, I love working with children and want to be able to work in a positive environment in a team setting to help little kiddos. I find GI related issues / nutrition support very interesting and think a pediatric job in that field would be awesome! In addition to that, I would love to work part time as a corporate wellness RD. I love public speaking and the community nutrition setting and I feel this would be a such a fun area to work in!
What’s something you wish you learned in school?
During undergrad, I wish I learned more about HAES (health at every size), intuitive eating and the overall relationship between physical/mental/emotional health. I am very happy with the education I received at Umass Amherst, however I feel that these ideas should have been taught in much more depth instead of just 1 or 2 slides in a single presentation. Especially HAES, it is so important to be exposed to how weight stigma affects many people, and to be educated on all of the evidence that suggests weight is not a direct indicator of health. We do not need to focus on someones size when trying to improve their health. I think all health care providers would benefit from more HAES training. I am excited to currently be learning and reading more about these topics to further educate myself and implement them in my values as an RD2be.
Take us through a typical (or not-so-typical) day!
A typical internship day would be as follows:
5:45am - Wake up, roll out of bed and get ready wicked quick. Grab overnight oats out of my fridge and drive to Oak Grove to hop on train.
6:30am - Sit on orange line for ~15-20 minutes, either meditate using the Headspace app, listen to a podcast, or listen to a fav song on repeat. Get off train and have a nice 10 min stroll through Boston to MGH
7:10am - Grab a coffee from Coffee Central at MGH and start my day! In my fav rotation (pediatric concentration), would start looking into patients, go to rounds at 8:45am, then see my patients and write my notes.
12:00pm- LUNCH TIME. luckily at MGH they give us $7/day for lunch, my fav go to is a chicken salad wrap on a whole wheat wrap with lettuce, tomato, onions, banana peppers ... YUM.
3:30pm - Wrap up all patient care/notes for the day, chat with my intern pals and head home
4:30pm - 5:30pm: Try to get some movement in, usually the gym, walking a lake that is near my house or a jog around my neighborhood.
6:30pm - Cook something or if i am too tired my lovely mom will cook a delicious dinner
8:30pm - Wrap up any extra internship work/readings while watching my fav shows
10:00pm - Head hits the pillow and I'm out
What’s your biggest goal as of now? (personal or career-related)
My biggest career related goal as of now is to find a job that I am very passionate about. As a young RD2be I can see my career path going in many different directions, but at the present moment I hope to find a job that allows me to look forward to going to work every day knowing I am making a difference. ( very vague goal but the truth for right now!)
What’s something you’re currently obsessed with? (people, things, products, habits, places - can be anything!)
Hmmmm...one thing I am definitely obsessed with if you couldn't tell already is traveling! I am so eager to explore as many places as possible to see the culture and lifestyle of other parts of the world.
Another thing I am obsessed with right now is learning to slow down my life. I tend to overcommit myself and I am enjoying trying to find time to slow down, meditate, and be more picky about opportunities I volunteer myself for.
A third thing I am obsessed with is cooking, OBV! I really want people to see my passion for cooking through instagram and I hope that no one leaves my page thinking that my posts are how they should be cooking. I find cooking to be a fun outlet for me and that's what I love to share in my posts!
What does “health” mean to you?
Health is such a hard term to define, and there shouldn't be one definition of health that all individuals should follow. To me, health is being happy with your mind, body and soul. Feeling good about the choices you make and truly listening to your body. Nutrition is a huge part of health to me, I want to nourish my body with the foods it needs, which varies from day to day. I also think movement is a key part of health. My healthy movements mostly include dance. As when I do this type of movement, I feel good, both during and after. Again, health can mean something different for everyone, a person with chronic diseases/conditions will have a different definition of health compared to a young adolescent. Learning to adapt to an individuals needs as a health care professional to find what health is for them is something I look forward to doing as a future RD.
How do you see (or hope to see) our perception of health and nutrition changing in the near future?
I hope to see health and nutrition move away from the diet culture and more towards an all inclusive health approach. Taking the foundation of HAES, intuitive eating and mindfulness to allow all people the ability to find their own definition of health. Right now, the health field is too focused on outward appearance to define health, which is detrimental to all individuals. We as health professionals need to work together to shift the focus on acceptance - accepting all body sizes, accepting all opinions, accepting people for who they are - to better their lifestyle. I know right now so many RDs and RD2bes are doing amazing jobs with changing the perceptions of health and nutrition and it has motivated me to do the same. I hope the role of the RD focuses more on meeting a person where they are at, actually LISTENING to the them and helping them with their individual wants and needs to have them reach their own goals.