With more than 50 years working in the field of nutrition, Registered Dietitian Renie Tharp is still excited to work with her patients – and she’s still finding ways to take her work to new levels.
As Carson Valley Medical Center’s resident dietitian, Tharp said her goal is to help people improve their health through their choices in nutrition.
Tharp counsels patients on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, a diverse role that allows her to work with healthcare teams to make nutrition interventions for acute illness as well as chronic diseases.
Tharp has worked extensively in diabetes management and reversal, and takes a holistic approach to her treatment plans.
“I’m not your traditional dietitian,” she said. “I’m Western trained, but with a very holistic, integrative approach to my work.”
Renie completed her dietetic internship at New York Hospital’s Cornell Medical Center, and went on to work extensively with Dr. Dean Ornish focusing on reversal of heart disease.
Tharp has also closely followed the work of Dr. Andrew Wilde for more than 14 years.
“The whole foods – real foods – approach is a new emphasis, and they’re seeing some results from that,” she said.
Tharp adds the she pays special attention to the Omega 3’s in one’s diet. “Omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory, and Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory.”
Most patients who have received nutrition consultation from Tharp, or who have attended one of her many free community nutrition classes, have likely learned about the power of the Omega fatty acids in overall health.
Another key ingredient in her instruction and nutrition evaluations is triglyceride levels.
“Triglyceride levels are an independent risk factor for heart disease – especially in women,” Tharp said. “150 mg/deciliter or under is what I’m looking for. And if they’re not, I really try to get that patient to an outpatient counseling.”
Tharp has conducted numerous nutrition classes, most of which are free to the public through Carson Valley Medical Center’s wellness seminar series.
Classes are typically 45 minutes to an hour long, and are at times followed by a light lunch that demonstrates the food qualities that Tharp encourages in her seminars.
Tharp said that she enjoys this approach because she is able to correlate what she teaches with a delicious, satisfying meal.
Most recently, these classes have entered the local restaurant setting. One of Tharp’s local favorites, The Pink House in Genoa, has hosted a number of “dine and learn” events.
She chose The Pink House because of the restaurant’s emphasis on whole, fresh foods.
For Tharp and her patients, the social outings have many benefits.
“Some of my patients are afraid to eat out, they think they can’t eat out,” she said. “So if we go together I can give some healthy options, and support them and answer questions.”
She also notes the therapeutic aspect of introducing people to good tasting, gourmet, healthy food.
“My goal is to see my clients be able to achieve and maintain optimal health, and still have fun,” she said.
After 50 years in the field, Tharp’s passion for her work continues to flourish.
“I’m fascinated by the changes that we can put in to effect just by altering our dietary intake,” she said. “I feel like my mission is to help others to the point of better living, better life and better health. And I’m excited about it still.”
Nutrition counseling services at Carson Valley Medical Center are covered by some insurance companies.
If billing your insurance, a doctor’s referral may be necessary. Without insurance, nutritional counseling appointments can cost as little as $25. For more information, visit cvmchospital.org/nutrition or call 775-782-1667.