Connect
To Top

Life and Work with Marissa Martorana, Registered Dietitian (RD)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Martorana, RD; Owner of Marissa Martorana, RD; Nutrition Consulting Services.

Marissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I knew from the time I was in high school, that I wanted to study nutrition on a professional level, with the goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. I was completely intrigued how food and physical activity could work with or against the body to manage and even prevent chronic health conditions. I completed my undergrad studies at Baylor University, followed by a dietetic internship at Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center. I was never quite sure what area of nutrition I wanted to focus on and started out as a nutrition manager at a Head Start program, followed by many years as a renal dietitian for DaVita dialysis. During those years, I slowly started my consulting business where I consulted for various Head Start programs, as well as with individuals seeking guidance for nutrition-related conditions. I realized that I wanted to focus solely on consulting work in order to help more people, as well as to spend as much time with my kids while they are young. Working for myself in private practice offers me both, and for that, I am very grateful.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not always been a smooth road. I actually did not get matched with a dietetic internship the first time around. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, and I would advise other dietetic students to not get discouraged if that happens to them. You will end up where you are meant to be, when you are meant to get there. I tell myself that same advice today. Another challenge I had since deciding to consult with clients in a private practice setting, is I didn’t have my own office. I didn’t have the financial resources to justify that. I ended up being granted a great opportunity from a family friend to utilize their office space when they were not practicing their work. I was able to use that time to build up a solid client base, get credentialed with insurance companies, and learn the administrative side of the business.

Recently, I have been able to move into my own office space on a regular basis. Private practice isn’t as glamorous in the beginning as new RD’s may think. I operate as a sole proprietor and am basically on my own. That means I do most of the administrative work, which was a huge learning curve at first, especially the insurance side. I reached out to my mom who has experience with billing insurances, and she taught me a lot on that end. I also reached out to other dietitians for support who have been in the business longer than me. The entire process is beginning to get smoother and I’m happy to have learned so much on my own and from others. I think it’s made me a stronger businesswoman.

Also, not working for an employer full time has meant that I chose to give up a typical benefits package such as company health insurance, PTO, 401K, and sick leave. I had to seek out those options through other sources. It may not be everyone’s idea of a safe choice, but the benefits of working for myself are worth it in my opinion. Another current challenge I face on a day to day basis is trying to find that work and home life balance. With 2 small children, it’s a juggle. It requires multi-tasking, flexibility, creativity, and a positive attitude… as well as some strong coffee. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive husband, as well as a flexible schedule that private practice offers.

Please tell us about Marissa Martorana, RD; Nutrition Consulting Services.
My practice consists of both children and adults. Most of the children I work with have parents who are concerned about their selective eating habits, blood test results, food allergies or intolerances, weight, or other nutrition challenges. I absolutely love working with this population because I have the opportunity to play a small role in guiding these children to develop a healthy relationship with food, and healthy eating habits at a young age. I believe it sets these children up for carrying those habits through adulthood. The parents play a huge role in supporting those behaviors, and my job is to also support those parents as well. Many of the adults that I see have medical conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, hyperlipidemia or IBS for example. These clients require intense counseling focused on managing their condition through food.

Other clients I see, though they don’t have a medical condition, want to focus on improving their nutrition, achieve a different weight, are vegan or vegetarian (and want to make sure they are “doing it right”), improve their relationship with food, or are in recovery from disordered eating patterns. With all of my clients, children or adults, I spend at least 1 hour with them at their first appointment, which allows me time to review their medical history, labs, eating habits, and what they hope to accomplish by working together. This process allows me to develop a trusting relationship with each client, as well as guide them to their individual goals. My approach with all of my clients is practical and real. I want them to know that what they hear and see on social media or on the internet, is not necessarily the truth or ideal for their particular situation. I encourage practicing mindful eating, listening to their bodies, setting realistic goals, and practicing sustainable habits.

In addition to seeing clients 1:1, I also do contract work as a dietitian for various companies. Most currently, I am a contract dietitian for Morrison Community Living at a long-term care facility, “The Canterbury”. I have also been a contract dietitian for “The Salvation Army, Campus at Crestmont”, and various “Head Start” programs.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Growing up, I was very fortunate to have the support of my parents to pursue a college education and career in the field I desired. They were also great examples of what it meant to work hard and provide for their family. Having a family of my own, I want my kids to see the importance of education and hard work.

I can remember back to the time when I was old enough to choose and prepare my own food. I really had a mixed up idea of what “healthy eating” was. It was with these thoughts and “diet culture” messages that were deeply reaching so many people (including a young me), I felt more compelled to actually learn about proper nutrition and the bodies response to it. Being able to teach research-based nutrition to my clients and hopefully remove any misconceptions they may have on food, is an accomplishment.

Contact Info:

  • Website: marissathedietitian.com
  • Phone: 424.570.1306
  • Email: marissa@marissathedietitian.com
  • Instagram: MarissaTheDietitian
  • Twitter: MarissatheRD


Image Credit:
Marissa Martorana, RD and Ann Gomez

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in