Carla Marie Sauza, MS (RD Eligible)
2021-2020 CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Liaison and Recipient of the Outstanding Dietetics Student Award for a Dietetic Internship at the University of New Haven
Where were you born/where did you grow up?
I was born in New Haven CT and grew up in Meriden, CT.
What inspired you to become a RDN?
I have always been fascinated with food, and my love for cooking began at an early age thanks to my family, which instilled strong Mexican and Italian traditions. My mother taught me how to cook and I always appreciated what a unifying force her meals were. Not only did these meals bring everyone together, they were the perfect platform to discuss various health topics and medical terms that my parents had encountered at work. My father, a doctor, and mother, a nurse, always demonstrated compassion for others through the medical advice they provided, which inevitably sparked my desire to help people as well. In that perfect storm of a food and health conscious family, my passion for culinary arts and nutrition was born which lead me to pursue a career in dietetics.
Where do you work now and where have you worked in the past?
Being a recent graduate from my dietetic internship, I do not have a job currently, but I am applying everywhere. In the past I have I completed a year of service with AmeriCorps FoodCorps where I taught cooking, gardening, and nutrition to children in the Hartford Public Schools. I have worked in a local Italian restaurant called Spartan II in Southington CT doing everything from creating specials, desserts, making pizzas, prepping, and working the line alongside the head chef. I have also worked for a small food company based out of Salem, NH called Cucina Aurora Kitchen Witchery selling and demoing infused olive oils all over New England. Lastly, I have worked as a personal chef catering parties, a wedding, and making weekly meals for a couple in Farmington.
What is your favorite recipe/food?
My grandmother’s eggplant rollatini. Nothing can compare to her homemade sauce and homegrown eggplant. She always makes it for me when I ask for it. Her recipe is one I will cherish and pass down in my family.
How is food related to your culture?
Food and culture is everything to me. I am so proud to be a mix of two cultures and marrying into a third culture, all of which have some of the best cuisines. All my family traditions are centered around food and family meals. When I travel abroad to new countries, I am not one to make a b-line to the obvious hot spots. I am more interested in eating the most basic traditional food and eating like a local. I like to experience other cultures through their food, not through tourist attractions.
General tip for improving diet?
Having everything in moderation is key, as much of a cliché as it is, it is true. Improving one’s diet takes baby steps and a willingness to change. It is not something that will happen overnight and following fad diets are not realistic. If those type of “diets” worked, we would not need to start one every year.
If stranded on island-what one food or beverage you would want an unlimited supply of?
I would want an unlimited supply of Byrek, which is an Albanian version of Greek Spanakopita.
What is the best part of your job?
Since I currently do not have a job, I cannot answer this fully. No matter what position I land, I know the best part would be doing exactly what I love. I have been lucky enough to study and pursue a career that makes me happy.
Where do you want to see the RDN/NDTR profession in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to see our profession respected and be more prominent in the medical field. We are the experts in nutrition, and we should be treated as such. I would like our profession to be more affordable for aspiring dietitians and I hope to see a greater gender and race diversity amongst RDN/NDTRs
Anything else you would like to add?
I think that covered it all!