Frequently Asked Questions

How does a holistic approach differ from a conventional approach?

The conventional approach in most types of healthcare is to look at the physical symptoms of a disease or illness and treat those as separate from the rest of the body. While this approach is often necessary in acute or emergent situations, it can be limiting when looking to heal in a long-term way. A holistic approach takes into account the person as a whole, their physical symptoms coupled by their mental and social health; this approach sees all parts as vitally interconnected in creating and sustaining one’s health and well-being.

How is a R.H.N. different from a dietician or nutritionist?

A Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ is specific to individuals who have completed the natural nutrition diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. They have undergone an intensive nutrition education program that includes practicum hours and passing a nationwide board exam. A R.H.N.’s approach is centred on assisting people with their health in a well-rounded way. While this primarily focuses on a client’s nutrition, a R.H.N. takes into account the client’s whole life—stressors, lifestyle, passions, hobbies, partners, dependents, finances and spiritual practices, to name a few. This approach often includes, though is not limited to, the philosophies of numerous models of care, like Western medicine (conventional Canadian healthcare), traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine. Most importantly, a R.H.N. views each client as an individual, personalizing their approach to best meet their client’s specific goals.

A Registered Dietician (R.D.) is a designation achieved by individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a food and nutrition program as well as a year-long internship. They are professionals licensed to practice and regulated by their corresponding province's regulatory body, such as the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. R.D’s often work in hospitals, clinics or private practices and their services are usually covered under provincial health plans. Their approach relies heavily on scientific studies and can often emphasize government-funded programs like the Canada’s Food Guide. While there exists diversity amongst the profession, the general approach offered by a R.D. often focuses on diet-only recommendations, like specific nutrients, caloric content, and the food groups dictated by the Canada’s Food Guide. As such, they can be limited in terms of individualizing their approach to incorporate all aspects of a client’s life.

A nutritionist is an unregulated term in Canada. It can expand to cover people with no nutritional education to someone with a PhD in nutrition. Some R.D.’s refer to themselves as nutritionists, but nutritionists cannot refer to themselves as R.D.’s. Nutritionists do not work in clinical settings and often are not trained in common illnesses or diseases. The range of education and skill is therefore unique to each person referring to themselves as a ‘nutritionist’; they may be highly educated and trained in numerous diet-related practices (such as food allergies/sensitivities and alternative therapies) or have no formal education in the area whatsoever. This is why the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition has trademarked the designation Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ to distinguish their graduates from the ‘nutritionist’ designation.

How can a holistic nutritionist help me?

If you have ever had an experience in a conventional healthcare system that you didn’t find helpful and you’re looking for a different approach, a holistic nutritionist may benefit you. They will assess your symptoms and offer recommendations that look at addressing the root cause of where these symptoms are coming from. This will include dietary and lifestyle recommendations and may also incorporate supplemental and/or spiritual recommendations as well. Holistic nutritionists also consider alternative approaches not often seen in conventional healthcare, such as food allergies, sensitivities, toxic loads, and nutrient imbalances.

What can I expect from working with you?

My approach will always be tailored around who you are as a person—your priorities, preferences and dislikes. As I learned in my role as a nurse, it is imperative to treat the person before the illness. No matter what complaint, symptoms or illness you come to me with, I will always prioritize you over your illness. When working with me, you can expect an authentic and honest style in an open, non-judgemental environment. Together, we will move forward at your own pace and comfort level.

Is a plant-based lifestyle different from a vegan one?

Not particularly, but it has a slightly different focus. As veganism gains popularity, big industry has responded in kind in order to gain a foothold in the vegan market. While the increase in food choices and availability is largely positive, one has to exercise caution in the quality of some of the food being produced. It is not necessarily guaranteed to be healthful just because it is vegan. Processed vegan food can still have a lot of the poor nutritional qualities and physiological actions in the body as non-vegan processed food, namely from the addition of sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I choose to refer to my lifestyle as a “whole foods, plant-based” approach over a “vegan” one to emphasize the priority in eating as minimally processed, whole foods as possible. While I still strongly identify with the vegan community, for those considering a partial of fully vegan lifestyle, the term alone can elicit a polarizing effect in their own community, which in turn can intimidate people from adopting this change.

What if I don’t want to be fully plant-based (vegan), can we still work together?

Of course. While my education and passion will focus on a plant-based approach, I am fully appreciative of whatever amount you are open to integrating into your life. Working with me does not mean you have to be completely vegan; if all you are looking for is to include some healthier meal/snack options into your routine, or help restore balance to your health, then that works for me, too!

What kind of commitment is required of me to work with you?

On my behalf, you can rest assured that you will receive 100% effort and commitment level to helping you work on whatever goals you are looking to achieve. Your commitment level is entirely yours to be accountable for. If something is not feeling right or not working for you, we can reassess and come up with different alternatives to find a fit that best works for you at any time. My packages and services all come with varying time commitments, from a couple of sessions to several months, depending on what you feel you need or can accommodate for in your own schedule. Ultimately, you will get out of this as much as you are willing to put into it.