What is Holistic Nutrition?

The philosophy of holistic nutrition is that one’s health is an expression of the complex interplay between the physical and chemical, mental and emotional, as well as spiritual and environmental aspects of one’s life and being. As such, professionals who are trained in holistic nutrition approach health and healing from a whole-person perspective. Using nutritional education as a primary tool, holistic nutrition professionals emphasize the building of health by approaching each person as a unique individual. This requires fully engaging the individual in her health recovery process and honoring her innate wisdom by working in an empowering and cooperative manner to chart a course to optimal health.

"Nutrition Professional" vs. "Nutritionist"

The following states restrict the use of the occupational title “nutritionist” and require a license, or state certification for their use: Alaska, District of Columbia, Louisiana , Minnesota, and New Mexico require a license to use the title nutritionist. Virginia requires state certification to use the title nutritionist. Because of these limitations, we use the term, "Nutrition Professional" which encompasses all types of careers in our field, such as Nutrition Educator, Nutrition Consultant, Natural Chef, and so on. 

For more information about title usage, go to Nutrition as an Occupational Title and Use.

What Does a Holistic Nutrition Professional Do?

A Holistic Nutrition Professional advises individuals, families and groups on how to improve diet, lifestyle and attitude to promote health. He/she may work with a licensed healthcare provider to help individuals with previously diagnosed illnesses identify biochemical imbalances and toxicities that contribute to poor health. His/her advice and support is founded on evidence-based and holistic principles.

A Natural Chef teaches clients and groups to eat for health, and provides healthy meals for them.

A licensed Healthcare Provider (MD, ND, DO, DC, RN, etc.) may work with a Holistic Nutrition Professional to educate patients on the benefits of whole foods, lifestyle improvements and appropriate supplementation relative to their health issue, or provide these services themselves.

Holistic Nutrition Professionals Typically Offer the Following Types of Services:

  • Diet and lifestyle evaluation
  • Teach healthy eating
  • Shopping tours
  • Family meal planning
  • Suggestions for improving lifestyle
  • Suggestions for managing stress
  • Meal plans for improved weight, mood and energy
  • Teach classes on wellness and holistic nutrition
  • Advise clients on basic wellness supplementation

Holistic Nutrition Professionals Might Offer the Following Therapeutic Services:

  • Intake
  • Advise therapeutic menu and nutrients
  • Research health issues
  • Provide follow-up support
  • Review laboratory assessments
  • Summarize case and group findings
  • Provide recommendations
  • Teach health professionals and consumers
  • Consult with licensed practitioner

Role Delineation:

Our job is to bring non-biased health and nutrition information to friends, neighbors, associates and the media. We educate the public on the cost/benefit of eating unprocessed local, fresh, plant-based foods. There is value in taking quality nutritional products to manage chronic nutritional deficiencies and toxicities associated with lifestyle and environmentally-related health problems.


  • Practice Medical Nutrition
  • Diagnose and treat disease
  • Make unproven health claims
  • Misrepresent training
  • Use unproven devices, assessments or therapies
  • Use network marketing or product sales in lieu of individual client education.


  • Promote active lifestyles
  • Teach healthy eating

Holistic Nutrition Professionals' Distinguishing Features:

  • Fresh, natural-foods basis
  • Educational emphasis
  • Client based, not method or product-based
  • Refers to doctors for medical conditions
  • Highest standard of accountability and integrity
  • Uses informed consent and full disclosure forms
  • Adheres to NANP Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics.