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Certified Holistic Nutritionist (TM)



As of a couple of days ago, I am no longer a R.H.N. - Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Instead, I am now a C.H.N - Certified Holistic Nutritionist (TM). "Certified" definitely sounds like a step down from "Registered," but I assure you our level of education (diploma) has not changed. The Alberta College of Dieticians launched a court case against the school and certifying body for Holistic Nutritionists in Alberta. The concern was that the "R" in our designation could confuse consumers into believing that we are regulated. And we are not. We do not have to achieve a certain benchmark year over year to maintain our designation. Once we graduate with the baseline education offered to us by the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, we are left to create our own practice and self-certify in whichever branches of holistic nutrition we best align with. For example, I am taking the "simple" approach to nutrition - basic, whole foods - and am in the process of certifying as a Primal Blueprint nutrition specialist. Some of my classmates went on to specialize in herbology. Others in sports nutrition. So, no. We aren't regulated, and that's kind of nice. You can find a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (TM) that best aligns with you. I know several dieticians and, honestly, haven't the faintest clue how their profession differs from ours, apart from theirs requiring a four-year degree; their regulatory stuff; and I think I've heard that they are a little more obligated to buy into Canada's Food Guide than we are? (This may or may not be true...). RDs likely have the opportunity to branch out and specialize too. I definitely don't mean to imply that a C.H.N. is any "better" or "worse" than a Registered Dietician. And I don't believe the Alberta College of Dieticians set out to derail us with this court case - they just wanted clarity on our level of regulation versus theirs. I'm just trying to make sense of my new designation, so that I can figure out how to articulate it with clients. (As a side note: I do still have a registration number, so if your group benefits provider allows some coverage for naturopathic medicine and other "alternative"-type practitioners, you can submit my invoice for reimbursement.) As it is, many of my clients have specifically searched out a Holistic Nutritionist because their experiences with more traditional medical practitioners have left them feeling like they want to self-experiment with a different approach. I don't feel as though this is going to cost me any business. I think there is room for both C.H.N.s and RDs. There are a lot of sick or becoming-sick people out there who need professional help getting their nutrition on track.


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