L- Cysteine in your diet
Last week my fellow interns and I had the opportunity to visit the Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore. The Vegetarian Resources Group is a non- profit organization with the aim of providing education on vegetarianism and any other issue related to health, nutrition, and world hunger. This organization has a website where consumers can visit at anytime. The organization also publishes vegetarian journals, sells cookbooks, and pamphlets. We spent our time discussing a vegan diet and vegan “MyPlate”. We also discussed reading food labels and looking up ingredients in food products. One of the food ingredients we discussed was the use of L-Cysteine as a food ingredient. Why is it important for dietitians to know about L- Cysteine?
What is L-Cysteine?
L-Cysteine is a non- essential amino acid used in bakery products as a dough conditioner. It helps to keep the dough from shrinking in pizza crust and pita bread. It also helps to reduce the mixing time of the flour dough. Cysteine is used in bagels, croissants, hard rolls, cake donuts, some crackers and melba toast. It is also used as a nutrient in baby milk formula and dietary supplements. L- Cysteine is made from human hair, chicken feathers and synthetic material.
Why RD’s should know about L-Cystiene?
Registered Dietitians work in different environmental settings with different age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is also important for healthcare providers to understand and respect a person’s background and cultural values. For example Cystiene is considered “Haram” (prohibition given to anything that would result in sin) in Muslim religion especially if it is made from human hair because the Islamic doesn’t allow consuming any part of human body. As a dietitian it is always important to know not only the medical condition of client but also cultural background of people offering the service to ensure that they are providing appropriate recommendations with in clients religious and clutral beliefs. With the growing diversity of the U.S. population, dietitians are increasingly called on to make their service more widely available in racially and ethnically diverse localities.
Getting my hair cut!!
Tips on how best to reach prospective clients
- Visiting local community centers and gathering spots such as ethnic grocery stores can help you become familiar with particular culture.
- Contact local gov’t agencies to find out what demographic data they can provide for the geographic area you serve.
- Seeking the assistance of community leaders in assessing community needs is essential. Ask for help from community leaders in understanding a culture.
When you are initiating outreach to diverse community groups, remember that you are the newcomer and trying to build a relationship with a new group. So as a dietitian help prospective clients to understand how your professional services can be beneficial.