Germaine Guy, MS, RD, CSR, LDN
Board Certified as a Renal Nutrition Specialist, American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Eat Right Guy’s Nutrition & Fitness YouTube Channel, Instagram
Though unintentional, Germaine Guy has been a role model for lots of people throughout his life. He started early changing his habits while others watched. Later he started to share what he knows about nutrition and physical activity on social media and demonstrated his strong commitment to always being up to date on clinical care in his jobs.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana was where his interest in health and nutrition was born on a football field. He played lots of sports through school and discovered that nutrition related to physical performance. “Nutrition wasn’t talked about in school or the locker room,” Germaine shared, “so I started reading fitness magazines.”
His teammates and family, his father was a chef, saw he was making healthier decisions like cutting soda from his diet, but he didn’t try to influence them, nor did they seem to follow suit. “I have never been a follower,” he said. “No one ate healthy food. People make their own choices.”
When time came to go to college at Louisiana State University, he didn’t know what to major in or that dietetics was a profession. Biology led to nutrition which led to a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition/Dietetics. Classes were a challenge, but he did well enough to land a dietetic internship at Southern University. “I didn’t have confidence going into the internship. I didn’t feel like I knew anything. It was discouraging,” he shared.
But once he started his clinical rotations at the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, he quickly realized that his classmates didn’t know any more than he did. He set about working and studying really hard. When he got home from a day at one of his rotations, he reviewed old textbooks and medical therapy nutrition notes from college. He also learned a lot from the hands-on experience he was getting. He had 4 weeks of food service and did clinical rotations throughout the hospital: surgical floor, orthopedics, psychology, ICU, and dialysis. During all this time, he worked on the weekend at Walmart to cover some of his expenses.
A Series of Jobs
He became a well-rounded dietitian and felt prepared when the hospital offered him a full-time job after the internship ended. Throughout this time, Germaine was active on social media and has a YouTube channel, a website and blog. “I don’t really like recognition or awards for what I do, but I like my peers.” People contacted him and asked for advice and their questions were the inspiration for his posts. He has a unique perspective as a male, African American dietitian and posts a lot about weightlifting, healthy eating for athletes and very practical tips.
Ready for a change, Germaine applied for jobs out of state and landed in Florida at an outpatient clinic for the US Department of Veterans Affairs where his focus was more on education related to weight loss and diabetes. “I used to get stressed out trying to teach people because they weren’t listening. I gave them other avenues to expose them to healthy eating like documentaries on Netflix and that seemed to help,” he said. At this point, he was thinking about nutrition 24/7 and he needed more balance in his life, so he stopped the social media contributions.
Having accumulated a lot of different professional experiences, Germaine kept coming back to his interest in kidney disease. He wrote his thesis on kidney disease in graduate school and is board certified in renal disease. “I always liked working with kidney disease because it is complicated and I find that before people get on dialysis, they are super motivated to learn and change their behavior.” Not surprisingly, his current job is working at DaVita Kidney Care in Coral Gables, Florida where he is happy to help people live better with their disease. When he leaves work, he enjoys other activities like hiking, weightlifting, boxing and going to see animals.
In the future, Germaine thinks he would like to move into a management position, become a lead dietitian, but is comfortable that he has accomplished what he wanted to do in nutrition. Perhaps he will start writing blogs and making videos again so he can share his knowledge with his fans. Hard to know for sure how many people you help in a profession like nutrition, but for sure Germaine teaches and influences with his words and actions.
Future of the Profession
Germaine is not enthusiastic about the direction the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is going by mandating master’s degrees for dietitians. He says that the salaries aren’t enough to pay off the debt, many internship sites won’t be able to meet the requirements (reducing internship sites), and more education isn’t necessary to be a better dietitian. “Experience made me a better dietitian, not my master’s degree,” he claimed. He knows people who decided to become nurses or physician assistants because the pay is better and the training no more arduous.
Advice for Others
When asked what he thought were the most important skills to be successful, he said unequivocally, communication with colleagues and patients. “I have seen what happens when nurses and dietitians don’t have good relationships and I don’t like that” he shared. The second most important skill he thinks is a strong work ethic. “Do your own research and continue to educate yourself. You must understand the human body and answer from the top of your head,” he explained.
The best time to start a healthy lifestyle is during childhood. The second time is now.Germaine Guy