Holistic nutrition is growing in popularity lately, and it’s a career that interests a handful of people. So, how exactly do you become a holistic nutritionist?
Like most other nutritionists, those in holistics require a bachelor’s degree (4 years) in order to get started. Course requirements range from natural healing, herbology, culinary arts, medicine, massage, and nutrition. Digestive physiology also plays a role in the education process; students must understand metabolism and biochemistry to understand why holistic choices are correct for the nutritional benefit of the person in question. Students must grasp internal as well as external benefits of consumption/application with certain foods, oils, etc.
Psychology and Philosopy
Believe it or not, a nutrition specialist is considered part of psychology. Even though the physical act of eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle seems simple enough, a holistic nutritionist must understand the key components of a patient’s needs for holism. Generally, nutrition begins for patients when they are in a position of unhealthy lifestyle choices; unhealthy eating and living can come from poor choices in diet, or struggles with an eating disorder. For those outside of the problem, they see a person choosing to be unhealthy. However, holistic nutritionists must see beyond the outer layers society places on a single person. Nutritionists in holism must understand the basic needs of sustenance and the plagues of society’s pressures or surrounding encouragement to consume unhealthy products. Psychology is an important factor in all of the medical fields, simply because it teaches us to treat others with respect when confronting their struggles.
Although philosophy does not seem likely, it is. It’s important for students to understand the backgrounds, origins, and history of holistic medicines and nutrition. There are certain philosophies behind holism: physical, biological, mental, economical, chemical, and linguistics are an entirety of a whole system, which is the definition of holism. This means that we function greatly as a unit, rather than separating ourselves from the benefits of our whole psyche. To put it simply, the healthier you are in entirety, the happier you are. A holistic nutritionist is trained to know the steps toward a healthier mind, soul, and body.
Holistic nutritionists also require an internship in most cases. It’s important that, as a nutritionist, you receive your education with hands-on experience rather than simply from a classroom. This is considered field work and can be used on a resume when applying for work. To become licensed, nutritionists must understand the importance of the patients’ health and the specification of their needs, as not every patient will suffer from the same health problem or eating habit. Even so, eating habits are not the only thing patients can suffer from: sleeping troubles, muscle pain, headaches, and psychological disorders are just a few of the problems that patients seek to aid through holism. With this hands-on experience, a holistic nutritionist will be able to easily spot an outcome for a patient suffering from one of many possible problems.
Holism requires a certain therapy taught to nutritionists; students must learn fasting techniques to flush a patient’s body of toxins or allergens that could be causing setbacks in mood, overall health, or illness. Wheatgrass therapy, for example, is theorized to help kill toxins in the stomach if a patient is having problems with digestion.
In the end, a holistic nutritionist must know to teach patients to eat, not feed, for their hunger problems. In today’s world, we seek the quickest solution to hunger, which is often times not healthy or satisfying to the body. Holistic nutritionists must teach their patients to have a healthy and strong connection with food, in order to heal and treat what problems may occur.