Nowadays, it’s definitely no surprise to hear about friendships that started on social media.
Take the three superwomen from the Girl Gains for example.
Another great example of the power of social is the genesis of the friendship between two dieticians, who later came to create the Rooted Project: “We originally became professionally acquainted as dieticians on Twitter, but a few years ago we met in person in Bali where I was living at the time and Rosie was visiting on holiday. We realised pretty quickly that we had a lot in common and that we both had similar views about the industry and how we could help people to pick through all the confusing and conflicting nutrition information presented to the public. “
Today, evidence-based information and a more responsible approach to nutrition is a very hot topic, however, back in 2015 Rosie and Helen noticed a gap in the industry “for credible, evidenced based advice from qualified people. When I returned to the UK in 2015, Rosie pitched the idea of The Rooted Project to me and so it was born!”
With different avenues and qualifications in the health and wellness industry, the overall quality of nutrition courses can vary considerably.
Rosie and Helen’s motivation for becoming dieticians were pretty similar: “we both wanted to study a nutrition course which was grounded in science and also one which gave us clinical nutrition skills to be able to work with people who have complex nutritional needs. The Registered Dietitian qualification not only provides this knowledge and skill base, but is a standardised and regulated profession which is why only people who complete certain courses which meet certain training standards can call themselves an RD. It’s not an easy route, but it’s one we are both glad we took.”
Something that clearly surfaces when looking at the events, is that they set a very specific criteria for the speakers picked for The Rooted Project: “We look for leaders in a nutrition field who have a combination of high academic achievements and experience in the area we are bringing to the public.” The same approach is taken when it comes to topics, as they really want to tap into trends and misconceptions: “we take suggestions from people, look for trends in the food industry and also topics which are particularly confusing and where there appears to be recurring misinformation.”
In order to make such topics more approachable, they love explaining nutrition topics in the form of infographics: “this is a really helpful tool for the public to use alongside reading books and articles. What would be extremely complex in the form of words and graphs can be translated into a simple message very powerfully.”
You stress the role of your speakers and their qualifications: which role do you think qualifications have when it comes to the health industry?
We think that when you are in the business of giving people advice about their health you need to be coming from a background of knowledge and adhere to the ethic of “first do no harm”. Robust qualifications not only give you knowledge and the skill base you need to sort through information, but they also allow you to recognise what you don’t know, as well as where your scope of practice ends and somebody else’s begins. This is really important for ensuring you are practising safely, which we all have a responsibility to do.
How do you see the role of qualifications changing and gaining importance in the next six months?
People are starting to put more importance on credible qualifications and evidence-based practice within the nutrition industry, however we also predict that there may be an influx of people claiming to be evidence based, without really knowing how that practice works, which is a bit concerning.
What’s the role of a disclosure, and how can it support bloggers and influencers alike?
A disclosure helps people make sense of the information they are receiving and decide how to use it. Additionally, transparency and ethics are vital for bloggers to retain trust and also ensure that they are operating within their scope of knowledge and being safe and responsible with the information that they put out into the world. It’s a simple and easy thing to implement, but it’s really important.
What’s one thing that can be done to make evidence-based nutrition accessible to the masses?
Two things, we think. Firstly, more highly knowledgeable and qualified people need to come forward and speak directly with the public — we have provided one platform for them to do that through The Rooted Project, however, that could be through blogs and other media as well. Secondly, people need to demand higher standards from the people they are taking advice from and ask people to back up any health claims with evidence.
On top of their events, The Rooted Project also established a book club based on health and nutrition based literature to encourage an in depth exploration and critical debate of the content: “It’s a great forum for connecting the public directly with health professionals who are skilled in critical analysis, to see if their views match up!”
Among their favourite books they both spotlight Dr Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science because “it’s a refreshing, clever, witty insight into the misuse of science [which] helps you to think more critically about all these misleading nutrition claims we’re bombarded with in the media.”
When it comes to upcoming books, keep your eyes open for The Angry Chef’s book which is due out in July this year: “it’s going to be funny, involve swearing and be full of nutrition myth busting.” It’s called : The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating and can be preordered on Amazon.
To find out more about The Rooted Project and their events check out their website here.