Eat Well Be Well
Approximately 70% of all causes of death in the United States are related to lifestyle. This means that choices, exercise habits, and tobacco exposure significantly impact people’s health. Diet plays a big role in these outcomes. We know that healthy food choices can help lower people’s risk for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancers, and strokes.
Working with a registered dietitian is an effective way to obtain dietary advice and suggestions based on your individual needs. Individual nutrition counseling takes your medical history, food preferences and lifestyle into account and then provides you with recommendations tailored to your personal health concerns.
Studies indicate that individuals who receive nutrition counseling from registered dietitians experience significant cost savings compared to those who choose to take cholesterol-lowering medication without nutrition therapy.
Diabetes is a progressive disease that can lead to expensive treatments and long-term medications. Medical nutrition therapy can reduce or eliminate the need for oral medications that work to decrease blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Control and Complication Trial, which was a thorough investigation of the disease, indicated that maintaining blood-glucose levels within an ideal range reduced the complication of diabetes by 60%.
The goal of treatment for individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure is to attempt to improve blood pressure with lifestyle modification before starting medications. Nutrition therapy for high blood pressure includes counseling for weight loss, if recommended, and reducing sodium in the diet. By working with a registered dietitian, people with hypertension can prevent the need for medication, which results in significant cost savings. The benefits of nutrition therapy extend beyond cost savings. Years gained from leading a healthy life are invaluable. People are amazed at how small lifestyle changes such as drinking more water or eating more fruits and vegetables result in lasting improvements in their health.
Ayla Shaw, RDN
Currently one of the only board certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist’s (RDN) practicing in the Virgin Islands, Ayla Shaw MS RDN is a nutrition and health expert specializing in a variety of areas. Over the years, she has worked with dozens of patients suffering from various forms of cancer. In fact, it was a personal experience with a beloved family member, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that sparked her passion for nutrition.
Originally from the state of Georgia, Ayla completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in Statistics. After working for several years as a catastrophe risk analyst, she decided to return to school and pursue a career in nutrition. She obtained her Master’ degree in Nutrition at Georgia State University before traveling to Connecticut to complete a yearlong intensive dietetic internship focused in clinical nutrition at Yale-New Haven Hospital. During her internship, Ayla completed several special interest rotations in both inpatient and outpatient oncology.
Upon finishing her internship, Ayla moved to the Virgin Islands and began working as a clinical dietitian covering all inpatient services at Schneider Regional Medical Center. Today, she owns and operates Island RDN, a nutrition consulting company that offers outpatient counseling through several locations on island. Additionally, Ayla works as a consultant and freelance food and health writer. When she is not working she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Dobby.