I'm so excited to give you all an "inside look" into my journey of creating, developing, and ultimately owning and running The Rite Bite Nutrition Counseling, PLLC. It will be a tough one to get my story into a short read, but I am up for the challenge.
I began my interest with nutrition at a young age. Both of my parents were in healthcare and both always had a zest for health and wellness. I look back and now see how and why it was so easy to have grown such a passion for the career I have today. My young tastebuds had a hankering for vegetables and fruits, which both my parents still laugh at to this day. My sister still says I was "the weirdest child" with my food preferences. I don't want to be cliché, but I really was born into this career... I swear. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy my fair share of salty, sweet, and pasta (LOVE me some pasta, I have happily eaten a whole 3/4 of a pound of pasta in one sitting before... and no it was not whole wheat! We all have to live sometimes... right?).
I knew early on that I wanted a career in nutrition and found that becoming a Registered Dietitian to tie myself more into the medical community was the best route for me. I attended the University of Rhode Island for my undergraduate where I majored in Nutrition and Dietetics and minored in business. (Fun fact - I met my husband at URI in Econ class, who was a born and raised Rhode Islander). Since I loved my undergraduate experience at URI, I decided to continue on there to complete my graduate degree in dietetics, while simultaneously completing my dietetic internship with a concentration in pediatrics. Once I completed my undergraduate, graduate, and dietetic internship I was then ready to sit down for my boards exam and then could proudly call myself a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
My first career as a new RD was a clinical dietitian working at St. Charles Hospital where I worked on all of the floors of the hospital including ICU, pediatrics, med-surg, etc. It was wonderful to develop my skills furthermore and help patients from an inpatient setting. Although I made some wonderful friends and loved that job, I also knew I wanted my own private practice where I could use more of my creativity and follow patients from more of a long-term perspective and cheer along with them on their successes. This is where The Rite Bite Nutrition Counseling, PLLC was cultivated. I converted my healthy recipe instagram/blog from a hobby to my actual business name for my practice and here we are today!
I started my practice while working at St. Charles through my father's dental practice in one of the spare entrances/offices he had and was able to build from there. I thank him to this day for that incredible opportunity that many otherwise wouldn't have had. I remember lugging from an 8 hour day at St. Charles and seeing patients in that office in Patchogue for another 4 hours at night. From there, my practice grew and we moved to a larger location in Miller Place (where we are now) and I have able to make my practice my full time job about a year and a half now (The Rite Bite Nutrition is 3 years old). As many of you already know, our practice now houses myself and two other dietitians and is continuing to grow exponentially even through the pandemic.
I could not be more grateful for the amazing patients we have, dietitians I employ, and the fact that I get to do what I am most passionate about in life. I can truly say that I love my job and everything about it and it's something I am so sooooo beyond grateful for. The hours of course as any business owner can be long, but like Lori Greiner said once, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week." I could not resonate with this quote more! If you love it, you love it.
Outside of The Rite Bite Nutrition, I love creating new recipes in the kitchen (especially with either of my heritage cuisines of Italian or Colombian food - I'm 50% Italian and 50% Colombian), spending time with friends/family, fishing (salt or fresh water), painting, and dancing. I recently just got married to my husband Joe after postponing our original wedding date from 2020 and we are currently enjoying the newly married life (hence the new last name, Cataldi).
I am so happy to be working with you all and welcome anyone that is looking for nutrition counseling. My personal philosophy with nutrition is working on mindfulness and setting ourselves up for small, sustainable changes that last us a lifetime. I pride myself on my realistic approach with all my patients and celebrate the small, tiny successes of everyone I work with because like the great James Clear says better than I can "If you get one percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done."
If you are not actively a patient and are looking for more support and guidance decluttering the confusing nutrition world, we are here for you at The Rite Bite. If you are interested in an appointment with me, I am currently booking out for 1 month out. You can make an appointment with me by calling the office.
[Top Left Photo: Me and my King Mackerel Catch in Fl with charter captain, Top Right Photo: My husband Joe and I at our wedding, Left Middle Photo: Joe with his Bonito fish catch, Right Middle Photo: One of my favorite acrylic paintings I painted in the past, Bottom Left Photo: Joe and I skiing in New Hampshire, Bottom Right Photo: My Old Office.]
Until Next Time,
Jackie (Iannone) Cataldi, MS, RDN, CDN