Noelle Citarella (DeSantis), MS, RDN, CDN
My career as a dietitian began in 2017 when I became credentialed as a Registered Dietitian, but my passion for food, wellness, and research began many years before that. As I earned my B.S. in Nutrition from San Diego State University, I spent many hours volunteering in the community and conducting research, all while working full time in a fine dining restaurant. All of this experience has helped spark my desire for evidence based nutrition recommendations, which are not only tailored to each person’s bio-individuality, but personal preferences, and physical limitations as well.
I returned to Buffalo, NY in 2016 to complete a dietetic internship at the University at Buffalo. After completing over 1200 hours of supervised practice, I began my career as a dietitian doing research. I developed and implemented a nutrition protocol for a randomized, controlled, intervention study at The University at Buffalo. I was also working on my Masters Degree and writing my thesis, which was a sub study of the larger project that I was working on. My research involved diet manipulation and effects on various outcomes including symptoms, exercise performance, the hormone Leptin and other biomarkers in people with Multiple Sclerosis compared to healthy controls. I was inspired not only by the physical therapists, neurologists and other practitioners working on this study, and their passion to help this population but also by the MS participants I got to work with, and their passion to advance the body of knowledge around MS. This is when I decided to dive into neuronutrition and autoimmune nutrition.
I started working at Bennett Rehabilitation Institute in January 2018, a leading physical therapy clinic specializing in neurological disorders. I offer nutrition counseling for patients managing neurological disorders, autoimmune disease, as well as other nutrition related disease and weight loss. I completed the certificate of training for Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine and incorporate these philosophies in my practice. I consider the whole person and their environment, as there are many influences on our biology that can impact our wellness in addition to food.
Food is more than just fuel for our bodies. It has the ability to interact with our DNA, turning certain genes on or off. It can influence our immune system, for example promoting or inhibiting different responses. It also impacts our gut microbiome, which plays a large role in immune and neurological health. Food also has the potential to promote neuroplasticity and neuroregeneration. I am passionate about helping those I work with to improve the quality of their diets and improve their quality of life.
Enjoying your food is also something I find very important. This can be a challenge for those that do not have experience in the kitchen, have chronic pain or have physical limitations that make preparing meals more difficult. This is why I recently published, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Plan and Cookbook, which considers the physical, mental and social barriers to lifestyle change. While this book was written with those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in mind, the recipes and lifestyle recommendations can be applied to other inflammatory chronic diseases. My experience working with people managing Multiple Sclerosis and studying the role diet plays in disease modification, prompted me to author this book. I have experimented with recipe modifications for years. I have led hands on cooking demos and classes for the MS community as well as other groups. I truly enjoy teaching cooking skills, healthy cooking techniques and inspiring creativity. My recently published cookbook has allowed me to share recipes, substitutions and tips on a larger scale, and help even more people reach their health and wellness goals. I also hope it encourages people to be more adventurous in the kitchen. Becoming more adventurous in the kitchen can help make eating for your health more fun and delicious.
I work with my patients to develop individualized plans to help them manage their symptoms and/or chronic disease. I meet my patients where they currently are, and work with them to develop SMART goals. There is no one size fits all diet, as we all have different genes, microbiome, environments and lifestyles, which is why I think it is so important to tailor nutrition interventions to your unique biology, needs, and preferences.
I am an active member in my dietetics community here in Buffalo, NY. I am the reimbursement representative for the Western New York Dietetic Association (WNYDA), 2018-2019. I was the student representative from the University at Buffalo for WNYDA 2016 - 2017. I volunteered as coordinating cabinet co-chair for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017 - 2018. I also work per diem as a clinical dietitian for the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Buffalo.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics '
Commission On Dietetic Registration (CDR)
Certified Dietitian Nutritionist - University of the State of New York
Education Department Office of the Professions
Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND)
Dietitians In Integrative & Functional Medicine (DIFM)
Nutrition Entrepreneurs (AND Dietetic Practice Group)
Research Dietetic Practice Group (AND Dietetic Practice Group)
Western New York Dietetic Association, Reimbursement Representative (WNYDA)
New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND)