How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist (Or Get the Dream Job YOU Want) [Bonus: A Review of the Nutritional Therapy Association]

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

 

By now, your probably know the realistic stat: Approximately 70% of people don’t enjoy their work (report here and here); and other happiness experts claim as much as 75% of people don’t know their passion. 

 

And, unfortunately, many people continue to walk a career path, or pursue a job field, or stay entrenched in habits that they…hate.

 

But why?

 

You tell me. Do any of these sound familiar?

12 Reasons People Can’t Leave a Job (or Routine) They Hate

 

  1. “I can’t find the motivation.”

 

  1. “I’m not ____ enough” (creative, good, smart, qualified, good looking, etc.)

 

  1. “I always struggle with _____.”

 

  1. “I spent 4-8 years studying something or working towards something that I can’t stand doing now…but it’s way too much work to try to do something else.”

 

  1. “There’s too much competition.”

 

  1. “It’s too hard.”

 

  1. “What if I fail?”

 

  1. “It’s just a passion or hobby…not something I could really do for work.”

 

  1. Maybe someone else could do it…but never me.”

 

  1. “Work is just a part of life—not something you can really be passionate about.”

 

  1. “No one else really enjoys their job.”

 

  1. “It provides financial security (but I don’t love it).”

 

I, too, was one of ‘those people.’ (Been there, got the t-shirt).

 

Prior to Thrive Wellness & Recovery…I was searching.

 

Searching high and low for what it is I was ‘meant to do’—and how I could put my college degrees to use.

 

After spending 8 years pursuing higher education—as a journalist, and then onto graduate school to study occupational therapy…I had plenty of education under my belt…but still was unfulfilled.

 

I knew what I wanted to do…but

 

The problem?

 

The job, business and mission that I was passionate about did not exist.

 

I desired to bring change to our society’s current health and wellness as a whole. We live in a world where:

 

  • Doctors whip out their prescription notepads after 5-minutes of meeting with a client;
  • Pizza and French fries are called “vegetables” in the school system
  • When someone passes in older age, we ask what disease he or she died from (“old age” no longer stands alone)
  • 46% of every food dollar is spent on meals and snacks away from home.
  • Convenience stores have increased by 50% in the last decade.
  • The typical American consumes 48 pounds of high fructose corn syrup annually, usually in soft drinks.
  • Americans consume 3 lbs. of sugar every week

 

The list goes on.

 

Specifically, my mission was to transform the treatment model for eating disorder recovery—specifically through a client-centered, holistic framework (real food nutrition, physical healing and fitness, goal setting, passion and purpose connection, spiritual wellness).

 

The standard treatment centers and programs were anything BUT that.
As a survivor of a severe eating disorder of 14 years, in the past, my experiences in treatment centers, clinics, and programs were seemingly the same model (a model that never really worked for me).

 

 

  • Forced feedings of Pop-tarts and takeout pizza, Egg McMuffins and Little Debbie snack cakes, Coca Cola and chicken nuggets, Ben & Jerry’s and Eggo waffles

 

  • Sitting around on couches, talking and talking and talking about “ED” or the reasons I turned to “ED” or the “voices” of ED…but never really talking about life outside ED (What did that look like? What were my goals or dreams? What could be possible?)

 

  • Never being asked what my personal goals were for my recovery process

 

  • Skeptics and criticism for getting sick (physically), from my body having a bad reaction to dairy products (I am lactose intolerance) and staff assuming I was ‘overreacting’

 

  • Meetings with psychiatrists who tried to convince me I needed medication to cure or fix my brain (no, I needed real food)

 

  • Being told I was trying to overexercise if I took the stairs or stood up from my chair during ‘down time’ in between group therapies, and told that what I enjoyed doing for movement was not acceptable (yoga was the one and only, primary mode of movement preached and accepted throughout recovery it seemed)

 

  • Feeling like sheep or cattle, herded and corralled with my other treatment ‘buddies’ from meal to meal by the recovery coaches who watched our every move

 

  • Being seen…but not heard (“it’s the eating disorder speaking” or “she doesn’t know what’s best for her”)

 

 

Time and time again, I’d go into treatment, only to undergo a 3-4 month “recovery experience”, and then discharge right back to the streets—(perhaps with a little more weight on me), only to run right back my eating disorder and still have a horrible relationship with food, my body and fitness.

 

That is until I discovered REAL FOOD; a healthier relationship with FITNESS; connected to my GREATER PURPOSE, my GOALS and my FAITH outside ED…And knew, without a doubt, that I had to pay it forward (share the good news).

 

(#Lightbulb Moments)

 

Enter: My decision to further my education through the Nutrition Therapy Associations’ Nutrition Therapy Practitioner (NTP) Program —a 9-month certificate nutrition program, established in Washington, but hosted in various cities worldwide.

 

 

After doing much research on several holistic and nutrition programs, Universities, grad programs, online programs and trainings to compliment my therapy degree…I was sold on the school’s philosophy:

 

Essentially: Food is medicine; Nutrient-dense foods paired with an individualized, clinical and lifestyle approach to well-being.

 

NTA gives students the education, foundations and tools they need to improve (and transform) our country’s current health crisis and epidemics.

 

From digestion to hormone balance, immunity, women’s and men’s health, sports performance, hydration, mineral and vitamin balance, adrenal fatigue and stress, blood sugar handling, endocrine dysfunction, children’s health, mental health and more, the NTA curriculum covers an array of topics. In addition, the program equips its practitioners with a special skill set of clinical testing and functional evaluation to create customized nutrition therapy protocols and recommendations, based on individual body needs.

 

Ultimately, the NTA program equips students to march out into the real world—and reach their population, missions and callings of choice. Be it:

 

  • Victims of the Standard American Diet
  • Women with whacky hormones (hello menopause)
  • Men’s health
  • Pre and post partum moms
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Chronic headaches
  • Weight management
  • Kids’ with ADD/ADHD and autism
  • Sugar cravers
  • Super stressed, drained or adrenally fatigued clients
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Allergies and low immunity
  • Diabetes/Pre-diabetes
  • Kids’ health
  • Individuals on statin drugs and being  told to watch their saturated fats by their doctor (actually, sugar and processed foods are the culprit)
  • Athletic performance
  • And more!

 

Over the course of 9-months, students complete a total of 15 modules, each with a laundry list of required and recommended readings, video and audio lectures, quizzes and tests, essays, discussion boards, homework and projects.

 

In addition, about 80-hours-worth of classroom hours are required (three workshop weekends), and the NTA partners with various host cities every spring and winter semester to bring the classroom to life for each current class (Austin, Texas just so happens to be one of those cities). These workshop weekends were a large selling point for my decision to move forward with the NTA—time away from the screen, alongside my class of about 29 other individuals from around the world (many of whom have become dear friends and now, colleagues).

 

Initially the primarily online-based learning was something I was skeptical about; however, to my surprise, the NTA’s comprehensive guided online education experience actually surpassed the 8 total years of higher education I had in traditional University.

 

If you are looking for a program that gives you a hands-on clinical skill set in the realm of nutrition, coupled with an extensive amount of practical education and knowledge on more than just a food pyramid, USDA guidelines, calorie and macro-nutrient counting…NTA is it.

 

 

While I can’t speak to the host of other nutrition programs and certifications out there: from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, the University of Western States, the 21-Day-Sugar-Detox Coaching program, etc., what I can say is that I did a lot of digging and research before pursuing the NTA, and as I may have mentioned before, the hands-on clinical skills, coupled with a foundation of non-biased nutritional wisdom (i.e. “the facts are the facts”; and there is no ‘one’ size fits all approach for individuals) in a total of 15 modules seems subpar to none.

 

So we go back to the original idea: “Doing what you were meant to do.”

 

Are you living out your purpose in all areas of your life—your line of work included?

 

While work most certainly does not have to be your life…you can do something you love to do for a living.

 

If the realm of holistic wellness, nutrition and/or improving others’ lives through healthcare is on your radar, check out the NTA, or don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. I’d love to shed insights to any questions you may have.

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