Self Reflection- Have You Tried?

It’s that time of year again. As we get ready to ring in the new year, have you started to reflect on how your year went and what’d you like to accomplish in 2019? As much as on the surface, life seems to be the “same same”, 2018 is a milestone year for myself.

As I sit down to reflect, it’s been 10 years since I graduated from university. This coming year (2019) will mark my tenth year as a practicing Registered Dietitian. Over the past 10 years, there have been so many changes and I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring.

I’ve been married for 6 of the 10 years since graduation. Marriage has been wonderful. We’re really savouring every moment of each other’s company before others come into the picture. 2019 will bring new challenges as we both get ready to welcome a mini golden doodle at the end of January 2019. We’re ready to test our parenting skills. Wish us luck! 😉

Over the years, as a Registered Dietitian, I’ve been able to interact with vastly different demographics.  Completing my internship at St. Michael’s Hospital opened my eyes to counseling individuals with NKA (no known addresses) and/or individuals in orange jumpsuits. 😉  Having worked in a diabetes education centre for 2 years allowed me to see firsthand how the diabetes epidemic is real. It’s interesting to see how the diagnosis of diabetes can really motivate some individuals to make lifestyle changes whereas the diagnosis of diabetes can cause depression and denial for others.

Living in a multicultural city like Toronto has allowed me an opportunity to work in a long term care home catered for Chinese Canadians. I personally find elders to be quite cute but this opportunity allows me to be in touch with my own heritage. In today’s aging population, it’s not only important to take care of the elders but also of the caregivers. When another organization who caters to the Chinese Canadians asked me to give talks to caregivers, I happily obliged. Although I am a Canadian Born Chinese (CBC), I am proud to say I am fluent in three languages (Mandarin, Cantonese and English). It’s funny to think that individuals only began to realize I could speak other languages since becoming part of the workforce.


Being a retail dietitian for almost 8 years has allowed me to gather invaluable consumer insight and stay on top of food product trends. The retail dietitian position has allowed me to truly translate nutrition into practical terms  (i.e. provide simple, healthy and delicious recipes for both meals and snacks). The retail dietitian position has also allowed me to gain a solid product knowledge base; this skill comes in handy for individuals living with food sensitivities and/or allergies. Consumers may say they know how to eat healthy; however, how many individuals are doing “healthy eating” correctly?

alternative background color cooking

Throughout my career as a Registered Dietitian thus far, I have been blessed with many media  opportunities be it newspaper, magazine, radio and/or TV. I think back to my segments done in the earlier days and I can personally see how much I have grown and developed not only as a Registered Dietitian but also as a person. As scary as live TV and/or radio may be, I enjoy the challenges these types of segments present as these experiences can help further enhance my flexibility, adaptability and ability to think quick on my feet.

Being an individual who is relatively open to suggestions and giving individuals recommendations, this is how Rowena Recommends was born. I’ve been thinking about creating a personal blog for some time now; however, in April 2018, I finally took the leap of faith and started blogging twice per week. I’ve gained a new level of respect for bloggers. Blogger life is not easy! 🙂

Be it in personal and/or professional life, I love mentoring individuals. It is so rewarding to see others succeed at what they want to do. Having said that, I have always been a strong advocate for mentoring nutrition students, interns and newly graduated dietitians. As much as individuals learn from me, the nutrition students, interns and newly graduated dietitians also teach me a lot as well. I truly am grateful for all the nutrition students, interns and newly graduated dietitians I have met and/or mentored. I would be not be the person I am today without you all.

group hand fist bump

In an earlier post, I hinted at the fact that I was not always comfortable in the kitchen. Since November 2017, I have been diligently attending culinary courses through George Brown College to sharpen my skills. In 2018, I completed Rustic French, Northern Italy, Mexican, Sushi and Knife Skills. I’m registered for BBQ next.

In 2018, my husband and I went to France for vacation. Because I have not spoken French for ~15 years, I decided to take some private tutor classes to brush up on this language. I am by no means fluent; however, I was very proud of myself to be able to make conversation with Parisians while in France. In today’s society, the focus and/or goal is to be a global citizen. Knowing one more language fluently will position you better. Knowing I have a good base in French, it makes me really want to better my French language skill.

arche de triumph

Over the past year, my husband and I also have talked about buying a piano. We have not made the purchase yet. For someone who has completed level 10 in piano, I am shocked at myself as I have not touched the piano for at least 20 years. Although my fingers have some muscle memory, I have lost so much of the technical skills. Piano is a skill I’d like to rebuild as I now realize how lucky I was to have become so accomplished at an instrument at an early age.

chords sheet on piano tiles

In 2018, I finally feel like I achieved a good work life balance. I don’t know what 2019 will bring but I look forward to 365 new days. 🙂

Wishing you the very best in 2019!!!!!!

happy holidays


Food For Thought: What are your takeaways from 2018?


One thought on “Self Reflection- Have You Tried?

  1. Wow! You are so lucky to experience these things in 2018. Personally, it wasn’t much of a good year so I hope 2019 will be better. Thank you for this inspiring post 🙂

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