Practitioners of holistic nutrition consider the whole person when they prescribe natural healing protocols. Conventional western medicinal practices generally diagnose diseases based on physical symptoms displayed by patients, but alternative medicinal approaches like holistic nutrition potentially help patients to uncover non-physical causes of poor nutrition that leads to disease. Holistic nutrition is not yet recognized by the government as a viable discipline that is subject to license and certification. However, there is enough of a demand for holistic nutritional knowledge to prompt schools to provide training, professional credentials and even career assistance. Here are some of the primary principles of holistic nutrition, a common career path of holistic nutritionists and the professional organizations that support the budding career field.
Essence of Holistic Nutrition
Holistic nutrition analyzes a person's physical, emotional and spiritual health and offers the patient a roadmap to recovery based on sound nutritional principles. For example, holistic nutritionists know that the body performs chemical processes constantly to function normally. When foods are laced with synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers and hormones, then the body's normal chemical processes are impacted. These abnormal substances negatively affect brain functions which can lead to poor decision making. Those bad judgment calls can cause long term physical, emotional and spiritual damage to a person. Holistic nutritionists usually recommend natural or organic foods and herbal supplements that support the body's normal detoxification functions. These protocols help the body to correct chemical and hormonal imbalances that is needed to improve overall health.
Becoming a Holistic Nutritionist
There are a couple of paths that people take to become holistic nutritionists. Many holistic nutritionists start their careers as conventional nutritionists and develop interests in holistic health later. These people typically have an undergraduate degree in nutrition or nutrition science and a license to practice nutrition. They become holistic nutritionists by completing graduate degree programs in holistic nutrition or taking professional development holistic nutrition training programs. When they gain over 500 hours of professional experience, they can obtain a professional certification. Other holistic nutritionists skip conventional medical and dietary training altogether and gain professional degrees in naturopathic medicine. These holistic health professionals supplement their naturopathic doctor credentials with a certificate in holistic nutrition if their doctor of naturopathic medicine degree program does not allow them to specialize in holistic nutrition.
Holistic Nutrition Professional Organizations
Professional organizations provide industry resources, networking opportunities and career assistance, and there are several professional associations that support holistic health and nutrition practitioners in these areas. One of the most prominent of the organizations is the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). NANP members cross all categories of holistic health and include naturopathic doctors as well as natural chefs. NANP began the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) that certifies holistic nutritionists upon completion of 500 hours of professional service and a comprehensive holistic nutrition exam. Another holistic wellness association is the American Holistic Health Association which provides holistic health practitioners and the public with self help and formal wellness education.
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Nutritionists are experiencing an explosion of popularity as people discover the links between poor nutrition, their failing health and rising medical bills. Education about consuming cleaner, whole food based diets is abundant. However, many people find it hard to stick to healthy diets recommended to them by conventional nutritionists due to emotional eating issues or food addictions. Holistic nutrition helps people to identify the triggers that sabotage healthy eating and gives them certain tools to bring about positive change.