What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist?
(as appeared in the North Grenville Times dated November 18, 2013)
Imagine if for every dollar spent on prevention, ten times this could be saved on the cost of ‘health care’, our system of caring for the sick. Who then could argue with the concept of a preventative approach to wellness through nutrition? It is a well-known fact that all living organisms require food for vitality. Nutritious food is essential for the maintenance or restoration of good health. Under optimal conditions our bodies are amazing, self-healing machines. How many of us are in an optimal state of health? What is the quality of the food we eat, the fluids we drink, the air that we breathe? How is your stress or energy level? Are there digestive issues, allergies or skin issues? These can be signs that may help determine if your healing system is coping optimally, or that the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms are under duress, sometimes despite consuming nutritious foods.
This is where a trained Nutritionist can help. What makes a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) different? To begin with ‘holistic’ comes from the word holism, the root being holo, meaning ‘whole, entire’. The full definition; “A theory which regards nature as a unity, made up of ‘wholes’ which are more than a mere aggregation of different elements.” (Universal Dictionary of the English Language). RHN’s are trained to support every individual as bio-chemically unique, to assess physical, mental and environmental factors in order to work towards overall wellness and to take into account existing conditions, medications, supplements and of course, diet and lifestyle. Their purpose is to guide and educate clients on appropriate nutrition with the goal of encouraging them to accept responsibility for their own health through their daily choices and actions. Ideally a nutritionist will work co-operatively with other health disciplines to best serve the client’s needs.
As their code of ethics promotes the use of a diet rich in wholesome, fresh, clean foods while protecting and sustaining the environment, Nutritionists support the “know your food, know your farmer’ concept and encourage shopping locally. We value products that are as organic, natural and nutrient dense as possible; clean meats fed naturally and treated humanely by their farmers, eggs from free range chickens, real maple syrup and raw honey instead of refined white sugar, drinking lots of clean water, eating lots of fresh greens and steaming instead of boiling vegetables. These things help us take responsibility for what our bodies are exposed to and provide it with the ability to effectively detoxify. Overall, this is a healthy combination of common sense and getting back to a simpler, cleaner way of caring for one’s own wellness.
Protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes are the ingredients in these wholesome foods that can rebalance the body on a cellular, hormonal, or physical level. A Nutritionist sees the signs and symptoms a person has as clues, rather than labels, to understanding what is under or over functioning in the body and potentially causing chronic physical, and often emotional, pain or discomfort.
As with any profession, it is important to be informed as to what practitioner’s credentials are. Graduates of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition are granted the designation of RHN, a designation specific to the school that is registered federally with the Canadian Intellectual Property office of Industry Canada. CSNN has 11 locations across Canada, the first having opened in 1995. In Ontario the school is certified by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. See www.csnn.ca
Students must complete a demanding course of study, which includes 17 different course modules, and maintain an 80% average. Studies are down to the cellular level with classes in bio-chemistry and cellular biology. They are taught how the nutrients from the substances we ingest, once absorbed by our bodies, affect the tissues, organs, and all body systems, through classes in anatomy & physiology, pathology, and symptomatology, fundamental and preventative nutrition. Students study what the body needs to maintain vitality and strength through all life stages, from pre-conception, to senior years and includes nutrition for athletes. More specific studies include the mind, body, spirit connection, eco-nutrition, allergies, diets, literature research and business fundamentals.
Practical training includes 14 supervised case studies focusing on nutritional, supplemental, lifestyle recommendations, and menu planning. A minimum of 50 practicum hours, which can include additional information on a variety of topics or case study reviews, and both an oral and written exam are required to graduate. Teachers may have backgrounds as Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, and practicing Registered Holistic Nutritionists with BAs, Masters or PhD’s in biology, chemistry, environmental studies and nutrition.
Although RHN’s are not listed in the Regulated Health Professionals Act, Nutritionists abide by very high moral, ethical and technical standards in order to provide a professional service in preventative health care and nutrition education. Consequences in breaching the code of ethics are losing their right to practice and their RHN designation. For further information contact the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Professionals at www.cannp.ca or the Canadian Association of Holistic Nutritional Professionals at www.cahnpro.org
Registered Holistic Nutritionists may be found in locations such as Natural Health and Wellness Centers, Medical clinics, Health Food stores, Athletic Training Facilities, Chiropractic or Physiotherapy clinics, Senior or Home Care services to name a few. The following are examples where RHN services are being used; The “Ontario Integrated Cancer Center”, The Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Healthy Gourmet” has invited Julie Daniluk, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, as their voice on Nutrition & Health. Several valued “household name” cookbooks are written by Registered Holistic Nutritionists. The most well known locally are the Looney Spoons sisters, Janet and Greta who are on the Food Channel with their show “Eat, Shrink and be Merry.
RHN’s are not in a position to diagnose, cure, prescribe or perform any procedures, but will provide service in a non-judgmental, respectful, and responsible manner and ensure complete confidentiality for their clients.
The intent of this article is to educate the general public on the role of a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is in no way defending or speaking on behalf of others who claim to be Nutritional experts.
Carol Pillar RHN
Asta Barsauskas RHN
The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
Carol Pillar will be providing Nutritional Counselling services in the Kemptville area beginning in December. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 613-258-7133.