Podcast Episode 118: Culture, Food & Faith – Zach Cordell

Apr 15, 2019

Zach Cordell MS, RDN, LDN

Zach Cordell, RDNZach Cordell is a dietitian, professor, podcaster, public speaker, and author. Zach approaches food behaviors with individuals by helping them understand the culture that influences them. Zach earned his bachelor’s degree in human nutrition from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, his master’s degree in community nutrition from the University of Massachusetts, and performed his clinical internship at Yale New Haven Hospital.

I believe in utilizing cultural beliefs, behaviors and best dietetic practices to increase the wellness of communities and empowering individuals through nutrition education and outreach.”

How to connect the dots between food, faith and culture

Zach believes that who we are is shaped by how we see the world, whether that is our faith, our community, our family. They all create our culture. Understanding someone’s culture can help you support them in making lasting behavior changes.

Zach shares these tips for health care professionals:

  1. Understand that culture is not limited to race, location, socioeconomic status.
  2. Determine if you are ready to ask a client about religious status. If you feel strongly about religion one way or another, for or against, then maybe you are not ready to discuss religion. You are not doing missionary work, you are assisting your patients.
  3. Be aware of what information is already there. If you are a clinical dietitian many times that is already in the patient’s file. Asking them if their faith influences their dietary intake is a simple, non-threatening question.
  4. You do not need to be an expert in world religions to allow faith to be a part of your conversation around diets. Asking what restrictions they have allows you to build rapport with clients. Allowing them to own their culture helps them to invest in the change they are making by creating connections to belief, culture, behavior, and health.


Zach’s Website
Zach’s podcast: The Latter-day Saint Nutritionist
Zach’s book: The Creation Code: God’s Blueprint for Creating the Future You Want
Zach on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Related Episodes:

Decreasing the Cultural Distance in Diabetes – Sound Bites Podcast episode #114 with Constance Brown Riggs

Boys & Body Image – Sound Bites Podcast episode #95 with Heather Mangieri & Amy Reed


New Partnership!

American Association of Diabetes Educators

Sound Bites is partnering with the American Association of Diabetes Educators! Stay tuned for updates on the podcast, blog and newsletter!

MAY 19-22!

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Today's Dietitian Spring Symposium with Melissa Dobbins

Apply to join a limited-space workshop on Wednesday, May 22, from 9–11 AM. Check out the description and, if attending this 2-hour, 2-CEU workshop interests you, please fill out the application. Those who are selected will be informed well ahead of the Symposium for planning your day on Wednesday.

Music by Dave Birk

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