Hi Friends- I hope that you have had an amazing week!
I will be honest and say that my week has been kind of rough. I mentioned in this post last week that the Las Vegas shooting hit me pretty hard. Then I found out that one of my classmates from growing up committed suicide, and a former coworker’s daughter was killed in a car accident. It was just a lot to take in at one time and I have been walking around all week with this sense of sadness and grief in the pit of my stomach.
Something that I am able to do now that used to seem impossible for me is giving myself a little grace when I’m having a rough time. I had blocked off 3 days in my schedule for podcasting, but I ended up finishing podcast recordings last week and then had 3 open days with no clients. I decided to leave the days open and have some calm days working from home. I ran some errands that I had been putting off and finished a big marketing project that had been hanging over my head all summer.
I gave myself some grace by doing things like taking a nap in the middle of the day, going out to lunch and officially cutting off my workdays at 5pm so that I could spend time with Lily and B, relax and cook dinners (which is something that I really enjoy ). I’m sure I will resume the hustle and bustle of my crazy schedule on Monday but it was nice to have a slow week. I also thought it was interesting that I was MUCH more productive and motivated to take care of certain tasks when my schedule wasn’t cramped and I was taking some time for myself. It’s never a bad idea to give yourself some grace from time to time.
Nutrition Advice = Freedom of Speech?
In other news, I wanted to talk about something that has been circulating in the RD news world this week: Health coach claims Florida licensing laws violate First Amendment
If you don’t want to read the whole article, basically a health coach in Florida was told that she could not give nutrition advice because she was not licensed in her state. She has filed a federal lawsuit saying this violated her first amendment rights. Many states, including North Carolina, are known as “Red states” and have licensing laws around nutrition services that prevents unqualified individuals from giving customized nutrition advice. Health coaches, personal trainers, and “nutritionists” who do not have the RD credential fall into this category and are typically not eligible for state licensure.
I have so many thoughts about this and just wanted to share them with you! FYI This is a big topic amongst RDs. I just usually try to not to complain about it on the blog because I don’t think that’s productive for anyone. But I’m glad this article is giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts!
A few quotes from this article didn’t really sit well with me:
“The Institute for Justice argues that dietary advice is widely available though books, television and the internet, and those formats do not require any type of license.”
“Further, Kokesch Del Castillo “shouldn’t need the government’s permission to give advice to other adults on what to buy at the grocery store,” the Institute wrote in a press release.”
So lets back up. A lot of people don’t really know there is a difference between a health coach, “nutritionist” and a registered dietitian. Basically, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist if they want. The term is not protected, so someone could really read a book about nutrition and decide that they are now a nutritionist. There are also many certification courses out there.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) is a popular health coach certification program so I will use them as an example. I actually looked into the program and spoke to one of their reps prior to writing this post because I did not want to spread any misinformation. She told me their program is 1 year and requires 5-8 hours per week of learning time. The program is designed to be part-time with training in the areas of nutrition, business development, business training and coaching skills. The rep explained to me that they stress to their students that their role is supposed to be complimentary to medical care and RD counseling. I found it interesting and a bit disappointing that their verbiage about their program says a health coach focuses on the individual vs. RD programs use a “one-size-fits-all” approach. This is actually not true, but anyway…
In comparison, a registered dietitian has to have a bachelor’s degree, complete an accredited dietetics program, finish a 1200-hour internship with rotations in the area of clinical nutrition, food service and community nutrition, pass boards and then maintain continuing education- 75 units every 5 years. You may remember that I had my degree in nutrition and exercise but actually had to go BACK to school for 2 years to complete the extra 13 classes of accredited coursework in order to be eligible to become an RD.
So this leads me to the article…
I’m happy for clients and patients that more states are moving towards not just anyone out there being able to give nutrition counseling. Nutrition counseling is SO intertwined with health and medical care, so it makes sense that certain training in those areas should be expected. I don’t think giving nutrition advice falls under the protection of the first amendment. This is like saying anyone should be able to give medical advice even if they aren’t a doctor because it is their freedom of speech. All types of professions have to maintain state licensure to practice in their state, like teachers, physical therapists, counselors, doctors, accountants, etc. I don’t think the expertise of dietitians should be minimized just because nutrition is a trendy topic and talked about a lot online. It would be lovely if my practice was really as simple as “giving advice to other adults about what to buy at the grocery store”, but that really just skims the surface of what a dietitian does. Before I even start nutrition counseling with a client, the first thing I do is evaluate their health history, medical conditions and medications. Sometimes I need to speak with their physician. It requires training to be able to do these things.
By the way. I think health coaching is great and I love that there are training programs that help with nutrition education. Our country is in bad shape when it comes to wellness, so I appreciate anyone who wants to center their career around helping that. I just think that when it’s time to delve deep and talk about customization and meal planning that I can see why states would put licensure laws into practice.
WOO. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts!
What are you up to this weekend? I have a hair appointment this weekend. I’m thinking about getting rid of my highlights and going back to my natural color. What do you think?