Makena Whitaker, RDN, LD, MS
Currently accepting new clients
Accepts many insurance providers
Makena’s nutritional philosophy is: eat what you love and define your diet by what you can eat not by what you can’t.
The application of this philosophy flows into her practice by utilizing principles of intuitive eating and the discovery of wellness with a weight inclusive approach. It is a way of eating that does not include rigid meal plans or restrictive discipline. It does involve following your internal cues or signals like hunger, satisfaction, and your individual symptoms/sensitivities/strengths that are present in your body.
Education & Background
As a young teen, Makena began to question her assumptions on The Food System — the big business of farming & agriculture to the consumption of food and its effect on the body. These questions led her to pursue a degree in Nutrition and Food Science & minor in Sociology at the University of Vermont in Burlington. After graduating, her passions for teaching and belief in food as medicine drove her to pursue a combined master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and a Dietetic Internship at Oregon Health & Science University. She studied anatomy and physiology, human nutrient metabolism, and therapeutic nutrition for disease prevention.
Makena is currently practicing as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with us at Ruby Health & Wellness at the Bend location. She sees clients with nutrition and health problems or concerns.
Working with Clients
Makena works with clients to help them understand that an intuitive eater can eat whatever they want without guilt because they trust their body to tell them when, what, and how much to eat. Sometimes, we have to rediscover the body’s internal voice to get to this point. Makena says that for her, “I feel alive and energized when I eat bright colored foods. I feel warm and grounded when eating a satisfying dessert or a hot beverage. By listening to what my body wants, I feel satisfied with my meal, and I am content. I don’t usually overeat to feeling stuffed because I trust when my body says it’s had enough, and fortunately if I get hungry later, I have more food to choose from in my refrigerator or my backpack if I’m on the go. Staying in tune with my body’s needs is what intuitive eating is all about.”
Makena knows this shift to eating intuitively doesn’t always come quickly. She works with clients to get them there and says that this is part of the process of sustaining health and wellness. She also points out that it can be more difficult if you have other issues going on such as digestive distress, blood sugar ups, and downs, insulin resistance, chronic stress, hyperlipidemia, or psychosocial problems. She reassures clients that additional benefits to mastering intuitive eating are linked to higher self-esteem, more satisfaction with life, higher HDL cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels, and lower rates of disordered and emotional eating. Ruby Health & Wellness can help clients reach specific intentions, goals, or milestones with personalized nutrition counseling.
Makena is passionate about local food and is a co-founder of Around the Bend Farms, a hyperlocal organic vertical farming, and STEM education center in Central Oregon. In her free time, she gets fresh air on a hike, camping trip, or at the mountain. She feels happiest during the summertime enjoying being on the water in one of the many lakes, rivers, waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest or visiting her namesake “Makena Beach on Maui. She likes reading new books on all kinds of subject matter including food, diet, farming, Eastern medicine, women’s health, mental health, and digestive health.