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To keep it simple - anyone can call themselves a nutritionist whether they have any qualifications or not. Anyone who calls themselves a nutritionist may have an entire degree in nutrition or just a weekend crash course, so ask them for their qualifications first before working together!
A registered dietitian (RD) on the other hand is a protected title and requires an accredited undergraduate degree in nutrition & dietetics, ~1500 hours of supervised practical experience (an internship) and passing the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE) managed by the regulatory College of their province. Dietitians are also required to complete continuing education credits every year and since they are regulated must adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to maintain their RD title.
The simple answer is that I went vegetarian in May of 2015 because of my concerns about how animals are treated for our food. I then transitioned to a vegan diet in January of 2016.
Going vegan is what inspired me to start learning more about nutrition to ensure I was getting everything I needed to be healthy and still live my life! I learned that plant based diets are also incredibly good for health; most medical organizations recommend a plant-based diet for things like heart disease and stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer's and dementia - and the longest living populations in the world (the blue zones) eat 90% plant based too!
I also learned that eating plant based is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Choosing plant foods more often can help decrease the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from animal agriculture and often they come in less packaging too. So the long answer here is that I truly am vegan now because of all three things - animals, health and the environment.
Vegan diets eliminate all animal products - no meat, poultry, seafood, dairy or eggs; they eat fruits and veggies, grains and legumes 100% of the time. Vegans also don't use any animal products for other items in their life like clothes, cosmetics, cleaning, etc. Plant based diets are simply focused on eating mostly plant foods but can still involve eating meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs about 20% of the time. In addition, vegetarians avoid meat, poultry and seafood 100% but will consume dairy and eggs as often as they'd like. There are also sub-categories for vegetarians - some will choose to eat only fish (pescatarian), others will choose to avoid either dairy or eggs (lacto- or ovo- vegetarian) and some will eat only poultry (pollotarian). So many choices but we're all different people with different needs and beliefs!
No and no! I understand how big a role foods play in your day-to-day life. Food is not only tied to our emotions and memories but our culture and traditions too. Food can also be a very sensitive subject because of varying budgets, access and medical conditions. While I will encourage you to think about adding more plant foods to your plate and choosing plant based options at least a couple times a week, you're always in the drivers seat with your health and we can determine your goals together and stick with that. I never want to encourage the stereotype of a 'vegan pushing their own agenda'. There's a reason I am working to be a regulated professional - your health always comes first - not my bias or 'agenda'!
My goal is to work with people who are either interested in just adding a few more plant foods for their health and wellness or with those who do want to transition to a more plant based lifestyle, but the choice is up to you and I will support you no matter your choice!
It may be simpler than you think... eat more plants & thrive! Although diets seem to have "easy" and simple steps to follow, up to "two-thirds of dieters regained more weight than they lost on their diets". Diets are not sustainable long-term and can do more harm than good. However, adding a few more plant foods to your week is an easy and healthy way to get more delicious nutrition into your day without stressing. Trying 'Meatless Monday' and incorporating more plant proteins, adding a new vegetable to your grocery cart every week or keeping frozen vegetables on hand to easily add to any meal are easy ways to get started. Read more here!
I understand that weight loss may be your goal; mine is to help you achieve this in a healthy way that focuses more on feeling good and being healthy versus just "being skinny". Plant foods are often less calorie dense and have more nutrition compared to animal-based, processed and packaged products. So by choosing plant foods more often, you will most likely be eating less calories, which can contribute to weight loss without sacrificing good nutrition.
There has been a lot of evidence emerging recently showing us that striving for increases in cardiorespiratory fitness is a stronger determinant of health than striving for weight loss alone. Health professionals have been trained to think that a larger body is unhealthy but this is not the case. We (health professionals) must step away from this biased opinion and look at the TRUE markers of health -- fitness, biochemical markers, nutrition, and the individual needs of the person in front of us -- not just weight or BMI!
Though I do all that I can to spread the most accurate and current information and genuinely believe that everything shared on this website is factual, please understand that due to the fact that I am a student, my views on nutrition and diet are constantly evolving with my education. It is possible that I no longer hold some views shared on older posts. Before making any changes to your current eating plan, check in with your registered dietitian, especially if you have any intolerance's, allergies or medical conditions. The advice offered on this blog is intended for healthy, young adults with no pre-existing health conditions and is not meant to be taken as individual recommendations. Nothing posted on this blog is intended to cause harm or offense of any kind.