Brocklebank, Samantha - Holistic Nutritionist

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[edit] General overview

A Holistic Nutritionist is someone who works with people either individually or in a group with the focus of educating people on proper diet and lifestyle[1]. Coming from an all-natural approach, a Holistic Nutritionist takes into account treatment plans that benefit the mind, body, and spirit[2]. The main goal in this practice is to provide people with nutritional advice that will help them maintain good health and/or provide relief from common ailments. This goal is achieved by creating individualized meal plans for clients along with recommendations of supplements they might also need[3].

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

The goal of a Holistic Nutritionist is to help others achieve a healthier diet and lifestyle by providing advice and diet plans that are customized for each client[4]. General job duties and responsibilities include:

  • Meet with clients in person, over the phone or online[5]
  • Assess client needs and create individualized meal plans[6]
  • Keep organized and up to date files of each client to track their progress[6]
  • Work in conjunction with other holistic health care practitioners[1]
  • Provide ongoing support and education for clients[6]
  • Educate the public and/or health care professionals through published articles or workshops[1]

[edit] Typical workday

The work hours associated with this job can vary greatly depending on the type of environment. If a Holisitic Nutritionist were to open their own practice then they would essentially create their own hours. However, if a Holistic Nutritionist were to work in a hospital, school or other type of health care centre they might work more regular shifts during usual business hours[7][8]. The work setting would usually be in a private office where you could meet with clients[5]. The clients would vary from different backgrounds. Co-workers would likely include those who are also trained in holistic medicine, such as: Naturopath Practitioners, Homeopathic Doctors, Registered Massage Therapists, Yoga Instructors, and Acupuncture Therapists[9].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

There are currently no government restrictions in the field of Holistic Nutrition in Canada. Those who practice Holisitic Nutrition come from different academic backgrounds and are usually trained in either a certification or diploma course, in which the length and depth of these programs vary[3]. Some programs are as short as 4 months and others are upwards of 3 years[10]. The majority of these programs require applicants to hold a highschool diploma and are approved by various Holistic Nutrition associations. For example, the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners approves the 3-year Holistic Nutrition diploma offered by the Pacific Rim College[10]. Whereas, the Institute of Holistic Nutrition offers a 1-year certification and is approved by Certified Nutritional Practitioners Council of Canada and The International Organization of Nutritional Consultants[11]. The types of courses that are usually studied during holistic education include: nutrition, anatomy, preventative disease, food preparation, supplementations and herbal medicine[12]

Program Links: Institute of Holistic Nutrition, Pacific Rim College, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, The Edison Institute

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

This job requires a person who is dedicated and ambitious. Much of the job involves interacting with other people so someone with more extroverted characteristics would likely excel in this area. You must also be honest, supportive and straightforward with clients because much of the work will be challenging for the clients to implement and maintain. You must be a person with a love for food, education, health and overall well-being[13]. In addition, it would be an asset to be an individual who is open-minded, has good communication and organizational skills, knowledge and interest in health and food and an overall relatable personality[8].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

A Psychology undergraduate degree, although not necessary for this profession, provides many opportunities to learn more in depth about the human body and how it functions. Learning about lifespan development, personality, critical thinking, health and stress provides a wealth of background knowledge, which can be used to support a health care practice that works with individuals with differing mental and physical needs.

The Lifespan Development course at Brock University (PSYC 2P12) stresses the importance that nutrition plays on developing human beings. Nutrition, or lack of, can affect both brain development and behaviour and can lead to a variety of internal issues. A Holistic Nutritionist with a Psychology background would have a better understanding of these important issues and would be better able to educate their clients while providing them with optimal nutrition advice[14][15]

Courses such as Personality and Individual Differences (PSYC 2P25), Fundamentals of Social Psychology (PSYC 2P30) and Introduction to Brain and Behaviour (PSYC 2P35) provide a well rounded understanding of how and why people differ in their behaviours through social, biological and psychological explanations, which is valuable knowledge when working with people of the public, especially in terms of individuals' health[15].

Critical Thinking in Psychology (PSYC 3P30) helps students develop analytical skill through various assignments that focus on interpreting research articles. As the main focus of this course is to strengthen student's thought processes and interpretation skills, it would likely be strong asset when assessing patients and making nutrition plans[15]

Lastly, a few other key courses that would be valuable in terms of a profession in the field of holistic nutrition would be Health Psychology (PSYC 3P51) and Stress Psychology (PSYC 3P75), both of which provide detailed knowledge of how the immune system functions in relation to internal and external factors[15].

[edit] Salary potential

Average starting salaries for Holistic Nutritionists range from $40,000-$55,000[16]. Many people in this area of work also contribute to magazines or offer educational workshops in addition to their practice, thus increasing their annual salary.

[edit] Job outlook

Service Canada believes this is a field that will continue to grow due to the large aging population and the increased awareness and interest of holistic health. They are also estimating that this field will grow three times that of other jobs opportunities with good future prospects for graduates[3].

[edit] To know more

To see a more detailed breakdown of the code of ethics and the scope of practise for a Holistic Nutritionist CLICK HERE.

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. (2015). What is a Holisitic Nutritionist? Retrieved from:
  2. Miller, T. (2015). What is a Holistic Nutritionist? Retrieved from:
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Job Postings (2014). Registered Dieticians versus Holistic Nutritionists. Retrieved from:
  4. Miller, T. (2015). Nutritional Counseling. Retrieved from:
  5. 5.0 5.1 Miller, T. (2015). Services. Retrieved from:
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Natural Healers. (2015). Nutritionist Job Description. Retrieved from:
  7. (2015). Registered Holistic Nutritionist: Salary, job duties and requirements. Retrieved from:
  8. 8.0 8.1 National Career Services (2012). Nutritionist. Retrieved from:
  9. The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (2015). Employment opportunities. Retrieved from:
  10. 10.0 10.1 Pacific Rim College. (2015). Diploma of Holistic Nutrition. Retrieved from:
  11. The Institute of Holisitic Nutrition (2015). Admission requirements. Retrieved from:
  12. Joyous Health. (2015). What is a holistic nutritionist. Retrieved from:
  13. Joyous Health (2012). Considering a career in holistic nutrition? Retrieved from:
  14. American Psychological Association (2009). Psychology and Nutrition: Welcome partners in global child development. Retrieved from:
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 2014-2015 Brock University Undergraduate Calendar. (2015). Psychology. Retrieved from:
  16. The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (2015). FAQ’s. Retrieved from:

--Sb10dt 23:28, 26 March 2015 (EDT)

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