Job Title: Registered Dietitian, Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network
Why She’s Top 40: She’s helping educate Edmontonians about nutrition and how to be their healthiest selves.
If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “For me, it would be increased access to recreational centres, making them more accessible for people.”
Lalitha Taylor spends most of her time interacting with patients one-on-one. She helps them decide what lifestyle changes they might want to make and what nutritional tools to use. It’s not just about weight loss, she stresses: “It’s really about educating, empowering and giving the most accurate, credible and evidence-based information.”
Taylor was recently named a national spokesperson for the Dietitians of Canada; she is passionate about educating the public as well as her patients. She created a program where dietitians spread their nutritional expertise during grocery-store tours, and she appears monthly as a lifestyle panelist on CTV Two’s Alberta Primetime. “I want more of a strong voice out there when it comes to nutrition,” she says. With individuals nowadays constantly bombarded by the media’s updates on the newest superfoods and fad diets, Taylor says, nutritionists need to make their voices heard and help control the messaging about those nutritional claims.
Taylor was born in Edmonton but grew up in Lacombe, and credits her teachers with ingraining in her a love for volunteerism. She clocks in hundreds of hours each year volunteering, including helping Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) and Red Willow Community Church in St. Albert.
Taylor maintains balance by involving her family whenever possible – even when it comes to staying fit. She’ll train for half-marathons by running alongside her biking daughter. “It’s a fabulous workout, because she’s so fast!”
While she certainly encourages leading a healthy lifestyle, don’t expect her to wag her finger at a patient because that person opted for a slice of pumpkin pie instead of a green salad.
“Food isn’t all about clean eating,” she says. “Food is tradition, food is culture. Food evokes so many types of definitions for people, and who am I to take that away from somebody? It’s really about trying to empower patients about balance and how to achieve that.”