I get many wonderful emails from brothers and sisters in Christ who have a passion for helping others get healthy for God. To avoid having to re-type the same answer over and over, I thought I would just put it into a blog post that I could simply forward to those who are wondering.
First of all, let me point out that this is not the field to get into if you are looking for a substantial income from it. There are many reasons for this, which I will list below.
1. If you are passionate about it, you will not refuse to help someone who is need of help based on their inability to pay.
2. Most Americans do not value health to the point that they are willing to pay for it, even if it’s just $50 to get on the right track.
3. State laws make it difficult to work within legal parameters to legally get paid as a non-governmental nutritionist/dietitian. To remedy this, you could just graduate from their programs and practice accordingly. The reason I refuse to do this, however, is to avoid the biased, skewed nutritional information taught in those programs supported by companies such as Coca Cola and Abbott (makers of Enfamil infant formula).
(However, in my state of Minnesota, Statute 148.632 subsection 9 allows for the Biblical Health Counseling that I do.
Nonetheless, I believe God is rising up an army of people passionate about reversing these dietary-induced disease trends that are so prevalent among us. If you’re willing to continue this pursuit knowing the points listed above, keep reading.
While I originally planned to receive my certification through the American Academy of Nutritional Consultants, I have since changed my mind. I will not be pursuing certification at any financial cost. Why? Because the only thing certification does is make you look better to your clients. The disadvantage to that, however, is that it puts you in a dangerous legal position. For instance, if I followed through with my certification exam as planned and passed, I would market myself as a Certified Nutritional Consultant (C.N.C.). The problem with that is according to my state’s laws, anyone claiming to be anything with the word “nutrition” in it must have gone through a state-approved program (ie the biased, government-run programs listed above). If they have not done so, they do not have the right to claim to be certified in nutrition without opening themselves up for liability and prosecution. (This is why I now prefer to refer to myself as a Biblical Health Counselor.)
That is why I have decided not to pursue certification. I would essentially be spending $400 for my certification exam only to open myself up to further liability. I have spent years showing my clients, friends, and fans the extent of my nutritional knowledge. If that is not enough for them, then I don’t need to waste my time helping them anyway.
Besides, I prefer to base everything I do on God’s Word, as this is the only thing that has stood the test of time, even when it comes to health and nutrition. Consequently, I have chosen to be a Biblical Health Counselor rather than a nutritionist or dietitian. (See above for specific MN statute allowing for this.)
Your state may have different laws. If it does and you want to pursue nutritional education and possibly certification, here are some resources that I could point you to. I personally did not attend any nutritional school per se, so these are just other ones I have noticed over the course of time. In order to qualify for the certification exam I referred to above, a student needs to have at least one year of related nutritional experience. I qualified from my time as a freelance writer for health publications under the guidance of a doctor, meaning I could take that experience, along with the personal study of approved curriculum necessary for passing the certification exam, and become certified.
If you do not have any related experience like I did, there are a couple of things you could do to get started. You could go the AANC’s website and look over their recommended reading list for the certification exam. Purchase these books and study them as much as possible. Just reading these books will teach you more than you ever thought you could know about true nutritional healing. Then read at least a couple of the books listed on the left side of my website.
If you want a formal school program, check into the Institute for Integrative Medicine or Trinity School of Natural Health. Keep in mind that you may be paying for a program and a title that will open you up to liability and check your state’s laws.
However you decide to do it, I would offer one final cautionary recommendation: Stay in the Word of God and keep it as your foundation. Even the natural health field is filled with discrepancies and differences. Some say to avoid meat; some say to eat tons of it. Some recommend that we never eat grains and some say it’s important to soak them. Line up your nutritional beliefs with the Word of God before you lead people astray. Dietary trends will come and go, but the Word of God always withstands the test of time.
May God bless you as you honor Him with your body and help others to do so!
Sara Jo Poff