After many years of being overweight, I decided to make a change and do something good for my body. I started going to the gym, I changed my diet and went vegan, and I started practising yoga again after a few years out. When I first went vegan, I went to see a private dietician, just to check I was getting everything I needed. I'd done a fair amount of research, as I wanted to make sure I was having a healthy diet, but I just wanted some reassurance that I was on the right path.
The dietician I went to see had obviously never come across a vegan before (this was in 2008 not 1968!) and struggled with the advice she gave me - she offered me yoghurt and fish. As a vegan, I choose not to consume, wear or use anything that contains animal products, or have been tested on animals. So yoghurt and fish went out the window.
I went away feeling disappointed, and like I'd wasted my money! And I figured if I feel like this, surely other people do too? So I decided I wanted to further my training and enrol on a course so that I could help myself as well as others.
A dietician is more scientific, whereas a nutritionist, or nutritional therapist, is more of a holistic therapist. Unfortunately this means that the title 'nutritionist' is not protected or regulated by law, whereas a dietician needs a certified degree. Therefore, when choosing a nutritionist, it is always important to check they are registered with an association that confirms their qualification. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but the governing bodies ensure that accepted members have relevant and up to date qualifications from approved schools of knowledge. Unfortunately at the moment, there are lots of people selling supplements, protein powders and 'nutrition' products calling themselves nutritionists - an example of where the regulations need to be stricter.
So what does a qualified nutritionist do?