By Denise Reiter
Your mother was right. You are what you eat. And there’s no clearer advice about how Carmel residents can lead healthier, longer and more robust lives than in the message Roche Nutrition delivers — personally, to your door!
Patti Roche, M.S., R.D., is a lively and spirited brunette who could convince even the most devoted fast-food fan to consider changing their errant ways. You can easily see Roche’s commitment come alive when the subject of diet and nutrition is discussed. The excited flash in her eyes and animated body language can be quite contagious as she intently focuses on her life’s calling: teaching healthy eating habits.
Roche is passionate. She is an expert in her field. And she makes house calls!
That is what’s new and different about Roche Nutrition. This new Carmel-based company offers the public diet counseling by registered dietitians who work with clients in their homes. They teach how to plan nutritious, economical meals and provide shopping and cooking strategies that will keep you out of the fast-food take-home line.
“I’ve provided diet counseling to thousands of patients who were acutely ill in the hospital,” says Roche, when asked about the origin of her company. “Hospitals are not ideal environments to teach diet and lifestyle changes because patients are typically stressed out, ill and unable to absorb the information that can truly help them.”
Through her work with home care and hospice companies, she discovered the effectiveness of meeting with people in their day-to-day surroundings. There, in the comfort of their own homes — where they are well, relaxed, with their own foods and in their own kitchens — Roche believes it is the best possible time to help people learn how to make good choices for themselves and for their families.
She explains, “Lifestyle and food choices are the primary contributions we have control over in our own health care. It makes sense to offer diet education services to the general public and to physicians who seek partners for patients with health care issues.”
In a world where we know the importance of food for good health and disease prevention, research suggests a shorter life expectancy for the next generation, partly due to current nutrition choices. With time and energy at a premium, our lifestyles often don’t include planning and cooking healthy meals.
“Fast, easy and tasty is the focus, unfortunately,” adds Roche. “The dollar meal is cheaper than cooking a meal. Fast-food and convenience-food industries are more than happy to accommodate those who lack knowledge or skills around nutrition.”
With obesity at epidemic levels and millions of people with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, hypertension and diabetes — nutrition is a key component in preventing disease and in managing our health.
A native of Chicago, Roche grew up in a house with 10 children where family discussion and healthy controversy at the dinner table were common. Food and diet was a recurring theme. So much so, that it spurred her toward studying nutrition in order to learn the facts. When Roche took her first nutrition class at Southern Illinois University, she was sold.
“The subject of nutrition has never bored me,” she states. “In terms of my career, it answered two important questions — ‘What does the world need?’ and ‘What is important to people?’”
Roche has been a registered dietitian since 1980 and holds a master’s degree in food science and nutrition. Dietitians like Roche and the Roche Nutrition team are held accountable to high standards. They are required to take a national exam and keep up their continuing education credits, and they must get relicensed each year.
As the consumer protection liaison with the Indiana Dietetics Association Board, Roche participates in the certification approval of other dietitians and helps sponsor bills for licensure. She is also a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dietitians bring to the table a respect for individual style and cultural preferences. They work within a client’s framework for taste and budget. Dietitians don’t sell or endorse any brand or product. They fill a void by offering pivotal knowledge that helps us make good food choices and live healthier.
What can you expect from a Roche Nutrition appointment in your home? “The first question we ask a new client is, ‘What are your goals and what do you want to achieve?’” Roche explains.
“Our initial visit is a fact-finding and client-focused one. We take a diet history to understand what you consume in a typical day. Also, we ask things like, ‘Who does the cooking?’ and ‘Who shops for the food?’ These are helpful in building an individual’s diet.”
Roche Nutrition clients include those who are interested in their own or their family’s health and nutrition. Some are referred by their physicians. Some have chronic health issues that can be managed through diet counseling. Others have a family member with a food allergy or a food intolerance or who is simply a picky eater.
The new philosophy of health care is trending toward preventive care and the management of chronic disease. Roche and her team are positioned well.
Roche relates what keeps her going are the successes and “aha moments” in her practice.
“Dietitians can sound like a broken record because they say the same thing, generation after generation. But guess what? The human body has the same nutritional needs — generation after generation! When it clicks with a client that food should not always come from cans, boxes or a drive-thru, that ‘aha moment’ is what motivates me!”
Roche Nutrition covers central Indiana, including Carmel, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Bloomington and Bedford. For more information, visit rochenutrition.com