If you’d like to explore another exciting avenue to interact with fellow RDs and other health care experts and help spread evidence-based nutrition information, consider joining Clubhouse.
Clubhouse is a new type of social network—based on audio—where people around the world from every walk of life come together to talk, listen, and learn from each other in real time. The app is less than a year old and suddenly has exploded in popularity among dietitians, poets, podcasters, chefs, investors, athletes, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. Think of it as a town square on your phone where audio-only conversations are happening around the clock.
The app is available on iPhone. Once inside the app (you have to be invited by an existing member to join), there are thousands of audio chat rooms happening every day with moderators, speakers, and audience members who can raise their hand and come onto the virtual stage to ask questions.
I joined the app a few weeks ago (follow me!), and immediately connected with California-based dietitian Jasmine El Nabli (her first name is pronounced “Jas-meen”), “The Clubhouse Dietitian.” El Nabli jumped onto Clubhouse in November 2020 and has been working (almost full-time) to establish herself on the platform.
I reached out to Jasmine with some questions about the app, how RDs can join the myriad food and nutrition conversations happening every day, how they can make their mark on the app, and how dietitians in every sphere of practice—including entrepreneurs and media RDs—can use the app to spread evidence-based nutrition messages to the masses.
RD Lounge (RDL): Why are you excited about Clubhouse?
El Nabli: It is so unique compared to other social media platforms in that there’s a live, real-time component. The value from the app comes from listening, learning, and contributing. Clubhouse is all about building community, real relationships, and real connections.
The number of connections, friends, knowledge, and opportunities I’ve gained over these last three months are more than I could have ever imagined in three years.
RDL: How does the app work, and what can dietitians expect if they join?
El Nabli: Clubhouse is a place where you join live audio chats. I like to think of Clubhouse as a live, casual conference with thousands of conversations on various topics. When you open the app, you’ll see “rooms” full of people talking about various topics around health, nutrition, medicine, tech, human behavior, leadership, mindfulness, entertainment, business, comedy, storytelling, and more. All rooms are open, so you can explore a wide variety of different conversations. If there isn’t one you’d like to join, then you can easily start your own. Once in a room, you can simply listen to the moderators and speakers leading the conversation, or you can “raise your hand” and be invited on stage to speak and share your ideas, thoughts, and knowledge.
RDL: The app can seem overwhelming to navigate. What are the steps dietitians should take to get started?
El Nabli: Yes, at first the app can seem overwhelming to navigate because it’s still in beta [mode], but a good first step is to join my club, “Ask the Dietitian,” so you can get comfortable with the app while you explore. In “Ask the Dietitian,” you’ll be able to network, meet other dietitian/health care experts, and interact with people interested in improving their health and wellness. I’d also recommend following or becoming a member of clubs around topics in which you have interest. This is one of the best ways to be notified when conversations in the club are happening. In addition, it’s important to note that currently you can only follow a maximum of 2,500 people on the app and that the people you follow can play a huge part in what conversations appear in your “hallway.” Both the clubs and people you follow on this app are important.
RDL: What sets Clubhouse apart from other social media platforms on which RDs can promote themselves and their businesses, network, and spread nutrition messages?
El Nabli: One of the greatest advantages of Clubhouse is that you can speak in real time with other experts and thought leaders in their respective fields. On Clubhouse, you have the opportunity to connect and speak with individuals you may have never been able to reach on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
RDL: How did you become “The Clubhouse Dietitian,” and what role have you established for yourself?
El Nabli: I gain personal fulfillment from educating and helping others, and from the time I joined Clubhouse, I discovered that this was a platform where I was able to do that and feel a personal connection with others. I soon established myself on Clubhouse as “The Clubhouse Dietitian” through building strong and trusted relationships with other users, moderating conversations surrounding nutrition and health three to five times daily, being particular about providing evidence-based information, and creating the first Club founded by a registered dietitian nutritionist, which became “Ask the Dietitian.” Becoming recognized as “The Clubhouse Dietitian” is truly an honor and one that I don’t take lightly.
RDL: What was your purpose and goal of creating “Ask the Dietitian.”
El Nabli: I created “Ask the Dietitian” to provide “a space where science and the art of healthy living coexist.” When I first joined Clubhouse, there were no registered dietitian–led clubs, so I decided to create a safe space to build and support a community for dietitians and expert health professionals, but also share evidence-based tips and knowledge to help individuals improve their overall nutrition, health, and longevity. When the club formed, discussions flourished around nutrition and gut health, brain/cognitive health, physical fitness, and human behavior. Topics developed further into meal planning, eating healthfully on a budget, mindfulness, balanced recipes, and healthful lifestyle habits. The range of topics, conversations, and unique user perspectives keeps growing.
RDL: How can RDs find out about the various food and nutrition conversations happening at any given time on the app? Are there certain clubs, weekly chat rooms, or people they should follow?
El Nabli: As the app continues to build, its algorithm will become more personalized to show you conversations related to the “topics of interest” you choose when you join Clubhouse. One way to increase notifications and hear when your favorite dietitians are speaking is to follow them and click the notification bell by their name. Current weekly chat rooms in “Ask the Dietitian” club include “Nutrition News and Research,” “Personalized Nutrition,” and “Family Meals,” with many more to come. The advantage of Clubhouse is that the nutrition space isn’t heavily saturated, which gives dietitians an amazing opportunity to shine. I welcome and invite fellow dietitians and health experts to collaborate on “Ask the Dietitian” to showcase their expertise.
A few clubs I recommend include “Human Behavior,” “Plant-based,” “Leadership Reinvented,” and “Talk Nerdy to Me.”
RDL: How can dietitians promote their businesses in the app, or is self-promotion frowned upon?
El Nabli: Self-promotion in the app generally is frowned upon, as the goal of the app is to build community, share knowledge, and engage in insightful conversations without a sales pitch. Dietitians can indirectly promote their businesses by building followers and community and directing them to Instagram or their personal website where listeners can learn more about the services they provide.
RDL: How can dietitians in various specialties (eg, women’s health, eating disorders, entrepreneurship, and media) use the app to educate individuals and the masses and/or educate themselves?
El Nabli: They can join clubs focused on their respective areas and also [reach] out to other experts in their field to lead conversations on the topics that interest them.
RDL: How can RDs make their mark using the app?
El Nabli: RDs can make their mark using the app by being an active listener and participating in conversations. Participating is key, so even if you don’t know what to say, jump in and be yourself. Think about how your expertise and personal experience can bring value to the conversation. RDs will find that if they love the topic, they’ll be inspired to share their knowledge and contribute. RDs love helping people, and this is a great way to do that. Even more, if you can deliver evidence-based information in a clear and approachable way, then you’ll begin to gain the trust of others and prove to be a credible source in health and nutrition.
RDL: Social media can be a megaphone for misinformation, so how can dietitians establish themselves as “the experts” during conversations about nutrition and overall wellness within the app?
El Nabli: The best way for dietitians to establish themselves as “the experts” is by abiding by the [Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/Commission on Dietetic Registration] Code of Ethics for the Nutrition and Dietetics Profession. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, it is of the utmost importance to promote high standards of professional practice, use evidence-based approaches, focus energies within our scope of practice, demonstrate integrity, and promote inclusive perspectives on health and wellness.
RDL: What should RDs do if they hear a speaker or an audience member promote false nutrition claims or promises?
El Nabli: Speak up and provide information that’s evidence-based, and cite your sources. In the case that someone is adamant about a certain claim, I kindly ask for them to provide their sources so it can be reviewed. I think it’s also important to note that Clubhouse is a place where RDs can share evidence-based information, but not individualized recommendations. When [people join] my club, I provide the disclaimer that information discussed in the club is for general educational purposes only and is not to be a substitute for qualified and licensed medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment.
RDL: What do you do when you’re not on Clubhouse? What is your specialty and where do you work?
El Nabli: Outside of Clubhouse, I’m the health and wellness director for Parentis Health, a multidisciplinary and progressive health care company located in Southern California. In my current role, I educate residents, patients, employees, and community members about disease prevention, healthful living, and building strength in an accessible way. On any given day, I could be doing public speaking, Q&As, videos, blogs, or strategic program planning. In addition, I do media work and partner with companies as an educator and speaker.
In my free time, I keep up with the latest research in health and nutrition and I’m also an active member in the fitness community. I have a particular passion for strength training and bodybuilding.
RDL: Where can RDs find you online and on social media?
El Nabli: You can find me on Clubhouse (@nutritionandbeyond), Instagram (@jasmineelnabli), LinkedIn, Facebook, and my website, www.jasmineelnabli.com. I would love to connect on all of these platforms and continue building the future of our RD community!
— Liz Weiss, MS, RDN, is a mom of two grown boys with a specialty in family nutrition. She’s the voice behind the family food podcast and blog Liz’s Healthy Table, and her website is filled with easy, flavorful, and nourishing recipes that appeal to both kids and adults. She appears regularly on Boston’s NBC lifestyle show called the Hub Today, and she’s a Have a Plant Ambassador for the Produce for Better Health Foundation.