March is National Nutrition Month, and we wanted to introduce you to Jennifer McManus RD LDN, a registered dietitian at Pendulum. She provides support and nutrition education to our customers. Jen obtained her undergraduate degree in dietetics from Florida State University. Upon graduation, she went on to complete her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She started her career in the clinical setting covering numerous disease states including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and acutely-ill patients.
Jen has a passion for education and teaching. She loves guiding and motivating her clients to reach their nutrition and health goals!
Tell me a little about yourself!
Hello everyone! My name is Jennifer McManus and I am one of Pendulum’s registered dietitians. I have been a dietitian for over five years now and am very passionate about nutrition education and disease prevention. I reside in Florida with my husband and sweet puppy, Palmer (the cuddliest golden retriever!). When I am not working with Pendulum customers to achieve their health and wellness goals, I enjoy attending fitness classes, watching college football (go Noles!), and (I know this may be odd) shopping at any and every grocery store.
What motivated you to become an RD? What do all those credentials behind your name mean?
My dad has a few autoimmune diseases that require tedious nutrition interventions to keep him healthy. Growing up, I always loved helping him navigate the refrigerator and the pantry to choose the best foods for his conditions. Years later, I still provide him with unsolicited nutrition advice (which I am confident he no longer appreciates). Helping individuals like my dad who rely on nutrition education and interventions to control their disease is my biggest motivation!
The credential “RD” stands for registered dietitian which allows me to practice nationally. “LDN” stands for licensed dietitian nutritionist which is a state licensure. You might also see the credential “CDCES” floating around our website and which stands for Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. This is a national board certification for diabetes educators that I plan to obtain this year!
In a nutshell, what does it take to get a degree in dietetics? What is dietetics?
Per Merriam-Webster, dietetics is defined as the science of applying the principle of nutrition to the diet. A degree in dietetics is very science-oriented (organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology are all required courses to obtain a degree in dietetics). But we also get to take many fun food-focused courses like food science, nutrition, metabolism, and (my personal favorite) lifecycle nutrition.
Which foods contain carbohydrates and how does that affect blood sugar?
Most of the foods we love the most! Breads, pasta, crackers, beans, fruits, legumes, chips, cereal, cookies, cakes, candies, rice, potatoes, corn, peas, winter squashes, milk, yogurt, juices, and other sugary beverages. Consuming carbohydrates will cause our blood sugars to increase as it is our body’s natural response to sugar. However, choosing carbohydrates that are higher in fiber (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes) will slow the absorption of sugar and subsequently, help improve our blood sugars.
What tips would you give someone for managing blood sugar levels?
- Choose foods that have a higher fiber content such as whole-grain breads and crackers.
- Avoid sugary beverages such as soda, punch, and juice.
- Do not deprive yourself of the foods you love! Everything in moderation is the most important advice I could ever give someone.
How can I improve my microbiome?
Your microbiome changes over time due to many factors -- aging, environment, stress, diet, medications, and more. The best way to improve your microbiome is to diversify your diet. What you eat greatly impacts your gut microbiota. Foods high in fiber (whole fruits and vegetables, oats, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and other legumes) are the main fuel source of the microbes in your gut! Adding foods that directly introduce live active cultures into your gut like fermented foods, yogurt, and kefir can also help introduce healthy bacteria strains into your microbiome.
What pointers would you give when navigating eating out?
As the world starts to re-open up (hopefully) and we get back to eating out at restaurants, my number one pointer would be to watch your portion sizes. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the past fifty years. If you are going to a restaurant that you know has larger than usual portion sizes, I recommend asking your server for a to-go container so you can box up half (or some) of your meal for the next day. Another perk is that you get a scrumptious meal for lunch the next day - double bonus!
Why is it important to focus on nutrition along with taking Pendulum Glucose Control?
Nutrition is a very important component of having success with Pendulum Glucose Control. The bacteria strains inside that little purple capsule LOVE to eat fiber. If we are not feeding those little buggers the foods they like to eat, they are not going to want to stay and camp out in our microbiome. Of course, eating a well-balanced diet consisting of whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats will also contribute to your success!
What do people inevitably ask you when they find out what you do?
“Will you write me a meal plan?”
I personally love planning and prepping my meals! However, everyone’s preferences, allergies, and dietary restrictions are different. It is best to work with a dietitian to find a well-balanced, individualized plan that will work best for you!
What is your favorite healthy snack?
I love fruit! Berries are a staple for me year-round, but my ultimate favorites are summer-time Georgia peaches or winter-time Sumo Citrus oranges.