Ashley Blust is not only a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian (RDN, LD), but she is also one of the newest faces in Miami University’s dining services. Blust, an alumna of the University of Cincinnati, worked in food service throughout her undergraduate studies and comes from a background working at hospitals in the Cincinnati area.
Bringing a wide range of nutrition knowledge and food service experience, we thought we’d take a moment to sit down with Blust and find out more about our new general food service manager.
Q: What does it mean to be a registered dietitian?
A: Being a registered dietitian essentially means you went the extra mile. Anyone can call themselves nutritionists, but to be a registered dietitian, you are required to take classes, do an internship and then pass the exam. The exam was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
To me, being a dietitian means you’re committed to the continuous learning about nutrition. Things are constantly changing and you have to keep up.
Q: Why is it important that Miami has a registered dietitian?
A: I think it’s important because when people think of college dining, they may think it’s a luxury of sorts, but really, dining is about nutrition. Nutrition is something we provide for our students, and we do everything we can in order for them to live a nutritious and well-balanced lifestyle. I think having a registered dietitian, who is an expert in everything they would need nutrition-wise, helps in that mission.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Miami Dining so far?
A: I think my favorite thing so far is how above and beyond we go for special events and the variety at the various dining locations across campus. I mean, they’re so cool. From the concepts at Maplestreet with all those options, to the simplicity of Western, the Allergen Station and the wide range of options we have, I think it is the coolest thing in the world. I’m such a nutrition nerd, but I think it’s really incredible. If I were a freshman and I were looking at the school I wanted to spend four years at, and I saw this, especially being interested in nutrition and everything, hands down, I’d go here. I should have gone here, honestly.
Q: Could you briefly describe yourself personally?
A: I would describe myself as someone who is easy-going and easy to talk to. I understand that we may, as dietitians, promote A, B and C as the best way to do something, but there’s always a Z way to do something. Nutrition requires a personal approach and, in that sense, I like to think I’m easy to talk to and realistic.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I didn’t plan on being a dietitian. I wanted to be a physical therapist when I was a freshman and then a slew of other things. I decided I didn’t want to pursue a career in physical therapy, so I thought about an occupational therapist, which isn’t that different. I then switched to education, special education and then medical imaging before deciding I wanted to be a dietitian. I did not even think about being a dietitian until I was a junior, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a world of possibilities that I never imagined.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?
A: Anything outside. I have two dogs. I have a Boston terrier named Thor, and then I have a German shepherd named Zeus. I take them for hikes and runs and things like that. I really like to kayak. I have my own kayak that I take on vacation to Florida and to different places around here. I like to fish out of the kayak as well. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it.
Q: Favorite dish to prepare?
A: I’ve been trying to venture out and try to make more ethnic foods. Recently, I made a really good butter masala. I’ve also been taking recipes back to the basics and trying to make them from scratch. I’m really good at making potato skins. It’s a pretty fool-proof one, but I’m really good at that.
Q: To eat?
A: My favorite dish would probably be this dish I created called body-builder casserole. It’s roasted sweet potatoes on the bottom and then you put kale, feta cheese and really lean ground beef. You top it with more feta cheese and bake it all into a casserole. It sounds super gross and it looks gross, but it’s really good.
Q: Least favorite food?
A: Olives. Nope, no olives.
Q: Favorite TV Show?
A: Right now my favorite tv show is probably Girls on HBO. I don’t watch a lot of TV or cable. I watch a lot of the streaming services like Netflix, HBO and Hulu.
Q: Cat or Dog?
A: Dogs. All day long.
Q: Cake or Pie?
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