Ask the dietitian expert

Meet Tammy Jardine

Get to know more about Tammy Jardine – why she became a dietitian, her ongoing passion to help people living with diabetes and partnering with Diabetes Focus.

Tammy Jardine (42) lives in Roodepoort, Gauteng with her husband.

 Tammy Jardine is a qualified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian. Living with diabetes for over 15 years means that she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to achieve and maintain optimal blood glucose control with good lifestyle habits.

She believes that diabetes affects every person differently and takes the time to understand how it’s affecting the individual and to help them manage it effectively.

With more than 20 years of experience working as a dietitian in the UK and SA, she has a passion for helping people live a better and happier life with good food. Tammy currently works from Wilgeheuwel hospital.

Becoming a dietitian

When Tammy was in grade two, her parents took her to see a dietitian as she was a chubby child. It was this visit that initiated Tammy’s career path. “I was inspired by the dietitian I saw and developed in interest in nutrition and helping others eat better,” she explains.

Tammy completed the standard dietitian degree and post graduate diploma. She then did a masters in dietetics and her thesis was on nutrition and diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes diagnosis

In 2005, at the age of 26, Tammy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “I pretended it didn’t exist and collapsed in 2007 then started on insulin.”

Currently Tammy is on a basal-bolus insulin regimen where she takes a standard night time dose of insulin. She then takes rapid-acting insulin up to three times a day, depending on her blood glucose and what she eats. “I also make use of a modified carb counting strategy to manage my blood glucose and control my insulin usage.”

Diabetes nurse educator

“In South Africa, dietitians are not able to specialise in a certain area of medicine like doctors can, but we can take a special interest in an area. With a history of diabetes in my own life, I wanted as much knowledge as I could get to help other people in the same position as a diabetes nurse educator,” Tammy explains.

Since there is no qualification to become a diabetes nurse educator, only the need of additional knowledge, Tammy completed a diabetes management course in 2010 which allowed her to add diabetes nurse educator to her resume.

Loving her job 

Tammy loves her job as she says it is never boring. “Every patient is an individual and how diabetes affects people is different. As much as the medical fraternity tries to give one solution to a condition like diabetes, the truth is that every person with diabetes needs individualised advice for how diabetes is affecting them,” she says.

Partnering with Diabetes Focus

“My aim with partnering with Diabetes Focus is to help people with diabetes to learn more about the condition and understand how it is affecting them and to identify what works for them and what doesn’t. So, please ask as many questions as you need to!”

Ask Tammy

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