What is a Nutritionist?
In the United States, the term “Nutritionist” is completely unregulated. Literally anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, whether or not they have any formal education in nutrition. Crazy, huh?!
A Registered Dietitian, on the other hand, is a licensed professional who has at least a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, has completed a 6-12 month internship, and passed a licensing exam. For several years, I was en route to become an RD. Instead, I chose to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach. Some may say I took the easy way out, but in reality, I took the path that was most in line with my beliefs and values.
My nutrition background
In college, I studied Psychology and Nutrition, so I have a pretty heavy background in the sciences. I wanted to take the RD path for a while, but ultimately decided it was not the best route for me.
In addition to my nutrition education in college, I completed three additional certifications in Nutrition. I studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, AFPA, and the completed the T. Colin Campbell Certification in Plant Based Nutrition. This is in no way me bragging by the way, I just want to clarify!
I have studied anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, body metabolism, nutritional biochemistry etc. But in addition to studying the core sciences, I have also completed courses in Herbal Medicine, Ayurveda, Sports Nutrition, the Psychology of Disease and more.
What is a holistic nutritionist?
Holistic nutrition focuses on a natural approach to a healthy diet and lifestyle and looks at the whole person, rather than focusing on individual parts. This approach incorporates emotional, spiritual and physical health to create a state of well-being for optimal health. Health is not merely the absence of disease.
I do not like to focus on what is “normal” but instead focus on how we can create total body health to not just survive, but thrive. As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, I look at how all parts of your life affect your health. From your job, relationships, diet, environment, toxin exposure, medication history and more. I do not like to only focus on diet, since this is just one part of the health puzzle.
Why I became a holistic nutritionist and health coach
When I developed my own health issues, I realized my education up to that point fell short in a lot of ways. I didn’t know where to begin with my healing journey, and realized food alone couldn’t do it. If I didn’t know how to heal my body, how could I help others heal theirs?
In short, I chose to study Holistic Nutrition because I wanted to learn how to heal my own body. While I certainly learned a lot about health and the human body in college, there was a lot that was missing and so much I still wanted to learn.
How to become a certified health coach
If you are interested in studying at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, follow this link to fill out an application. I had a wonderful experience studying at IIN. It led me to question some of my pre-existing beliefs, but reinforced others. The curriculum was fresh and unbiased and I was able to learn about hundreds of dietary theories and practices.
I would recommend it without hesitation. When you study here, you join a community of individuals who DO believe in the work you are doing and support your pursuits 100%. Additionally, since I am an ambassador for the program, you can mention my name (Claire Cary) you can save a fair bit on tuition! The exact amount fluctuates so I can’t give an exact number, but it’s anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. Yes please.
So, IIN vs. AFPA: which is better?
I get this question a lot, and it honestly depends on what you are looking for! Because of my background in nutrition, I wasn’t really looking to learn more anatomy, physiology, etc., but more so wanted to understand how to set up my caching practice, different dietary theories, and more of the emotional and psychological aspects of health- because these are SO important! I love how IIN approaches these aspects of health and leaves any bias at the door.
I personally preferred IIN because of both the teaching style and content. AFPA was entirely self-taught (which is fine) but the content was not in line with what I was looking for to further my education. IIN was more interactive and well structured and I preferred the content overall. AFPA is a bit bias in their approach of dietary theories (they only preach one) and IIN really understands that food is not the only determinant of health and there is not one diet that works for everyone.
IIN prepares you more for coaching/setting up your business, gives you an amazing overview of dietary theories, presents BOTH sides to different dietary debates, etc. You also have the opportunity to work with other students (virtually), watch lectures from SO many different guest speakers, and complete the program at more or less your own pace.
IIN is more expensive, but you get a lot more for what it’s worth! It’s more well recognized and you can use my name to get an awesome discount! You can’t necessarily go wrong with either program, it just depends on what you’re looking to gain. Feel free to send me an email if you have any specific questions, I’m happy to answer! Click here to learn more about IIN!