Holistic Nutrition Degree

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

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Holistic Nutrition Degree

Postby Alikay2 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:56 pm

I am in desperate need of a career change and I have always been interested in getting a degree in holistic nutrition. I am a vegan, don't really believe in taking medications, and follow a McDougall diet not to lose weight, but because that's what I have always come to know is healthiest (whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods). I have been trying to do a lot of research in finding a program like this but have only found "online degrees" that are questionable at best. Do you know of any good universitities out there that offer degrees in holistic nutrition? Thanks!
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Postby Adrienne » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:43 am

Hi Alikay

This topic has come up before. Unless he has changed his mind since this posting, here are Jeff's thoughts on online holistic nutrition programs

However, as you know, I am not a fan of this courses, and have taken several of them. I would rather see people take traditional courses in biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, etc many of which are available online from traditional universities. Many of them can also be done at your own pace and for a reasonable price.

The reason I feel this way is if people really want to help other people and be effective in helping other people, then they need to really learn these issues in an effective way. I have yet to find one of these courses that effectively covers these or teaches these skills in an effective way.

In most all professions, there is regulation and accredited licensing and certification. While it is not perfect and does not guarantee quality, it does serve a purpose.


Jeff has listed universities that offer online Registered Dietician programs.

Programs Offering Distance Education

ALABAMA
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa

ILLINOIS
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
North Chicago

MASSACHUSETTS
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst

Northeastern University Burlington

MICHIGAN
Central Michigan University
Mt Pleasant

Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti

NEW JERSEY
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Newark

NEW YORK
New York Institute of Technology
Old Westbury

NORTH CAROLINA
East Carolina University
Greenville

TEXAS
Texas Woman's University
Denton

I hope this helps
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Postby Alikay2 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:29 pm

Thanks so much for the response, that definitely helps! I guess I would just prefer a program to attend (not online) that is friendly to this type of thinking. I would of course want to take the more traditional classes but would like to also attend a school that offered some courses on vegetarianism and perhaps a way to specialize in vegan/vegetarian nutrition. Otherwise, how will you get the exposure to such nutrition in order to teach others? Any ideas anyone? I'm really trying hard to find some!
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Postby serenity » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:35 pm

Alikay2 wrote:Thanks so much for the response, that definitely helps! I guess I would just prefer a program to attend (not online) that is friendly to this type of thinking. I would of course want to take the more traditional classes but would like to also attend a school that offered some courses on vegetarianism and perhaps a way to specialize in vegan/vegetarian nutrition. Otherwise, how will you get the exposure to such nutrition in order to teach others? Any ideas anyone? I'm really trying hard to find some!


Have you tried reading and posting at Mark Rifkin's Health Careers board?
http://www.vegsource.com/talk/nutrition/

Don't forget to read "About this board" to see where he's coming from.
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Postby momof4 » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:22 am

Alikay2 wrote:Thanks so much for the response, that definitely helps! I guess I would just prefer a program to attend (not online) that is friendly to this type of thinking. I would of course want to take the more traditional classes but would like to also attend a school that offered some courses on vegetarianism and perhaps a way to specialize in vegan/vegetarian nutrition. Otherwise, how will you get the exposure to such nutrition in order to teach others? Any ideas anyone? I'm really trying hard to find some!


I'm thinking of Loma Linda University in CA, which is run by Seventh Day Adventists. Maybe they run other schools in other parts of the country, too? Other than that, I don't know of any program that would be friendly specifically towards vegetarianism. I got my BS in nutrition from the University of Nevada, Reno, and we were taught the normal stance of the ADA--that everything is okay in moderation :mad: . It wasn't anti-veg, but at that time at least (the 80s), it wasn't taught as something desireable.
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Postby Alikay2 » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:58 pm

Thanks for all the great feedback, people!

I checked out that website and basically it seems that there isn't any credibtable institute that involves vegan or holistic nutrition. Bummer!

There just has to be institutes out there that are friendly towards people who desire to write and study the effects of a vegan diet on health. I'll definitely look into Loma Linda. I'm just afraid that I'll go to a program and argue with my professors about things like the well established link between animal protein and cancer (The China Study). :?

Any other institutes people know of??
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Postby JeffN » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:04 pm

Alikay2 wrote:Thanks for all the great feedback, people!

I checked out that website and basically it seems that there isn't any credibtable institute that involves vegan or holistic nutrition. Bummer!

There just has to be institutes out there that are friendly towards people who desire to write and study the effects of a vegan diet on health. I'll definitely look into Loma Linda. I'm just afraid that I'll go to a program and argue with my professors about things like the well established link between animal protein and cancer (The China Study). :?

Any other institutes people know of??


Regardless of the profession, you will never (ever) find a course of study that will suit your beliefs 100%. But, that is not a bad thing. While you and I may think we know better, it is still good to be open minded and see what is taught in traditional education. After all, it is good to know what everyone else is being taught, what they know and why.

In addition, what we are really trying to learn is the basic fundamentals of the science and not how they may (mis)apply the application. This is an important issue. Nutrition is an art and a science. The amino acid content of the foods is a science. Do plants have all the essential amino acids or not? The answer does not depend on your belief about it. But, how they (or you and I) may choose to apply this information, is the art and may be influenced by their beliefs.

Also, you will have the opportunity to present papers and do some research along the way in your areas of interest. In addition, you could do things like start a journal club, to review the new and relevant research. This is something that I did as an RD Student.

Yes, many of the professors and instructors and institutions you will work with hold outdated, inaccurate beliefs. But, remember not everyone may have gotten into the profession for the same reason you are. It is really helpful to not see it all as an "us" and "them" because while many of them may not seem to be on the side of "us", they are not all willfully on the side of "them" either. They may just not know any better, or ever been exposed to any different info.

You may want to go to a RD conference or communicate with some of the RDs in the Vegetarian Practice group and talk to them about what they think about their careers and what they thought about their education. I think you will find that most all of them are quite satisfied with their education (in spite of its limitations) and greatly satisfied with their careers and the opportunities that their education gave them

http://www.vegetariannutrition.net/

Somebody once said that they best way to change a system is from within.

Come on in.

In Health
Jeff
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