nutritionist vs dietitian.

As if nutrition isn’t confusing enough already. Where you get your nutrition advice from can be just as confusing and sometimes harmful.

All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.

What is a Nutritionist?

A nutritionist can be anyone.

Anyone who claims knowledge of nutrition at any level can call themselves a nutritionist.

Anyone with or without sound knowledge or understanding of dietetics, which includes the study of macro and micronutrients, anatomy & physiology, etiology of disease, prenatal and pediatric nutrition, tube feeds, fluid-restricted diets, the lifecycles of aging and its effects on nutritional status and intake, not to mention, nutrition assessments,
nutrition counseling, interventions, monitoring and evaluating [holy run-on sentence] can call themselves a nutritionist.

Quite frankly, there is so much more!

While I do believe nutritionists can offer a lot to the conversation of nutrition, many fail to recognize dietetics fully. From my experience, nutritionists tend to be primarily weight-loss focused, and honestly, weight is not everyone’s health problem.

While some nutritionists may be degreed, they are not required to complete training or internships to hold their title. An increasing number of nutritionists do not have degrees or certifications in nutrition, health, dietetics or any related field.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) is a protected title accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

The Academy is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. It’s comprised of students, educators, researchers, retired and international members who help in constructing, advising, advocating, and influencing food networks, nutrition therapy, and food policies.

So, if you eat (which if you’re living, you probably do), The Academy and its members play the largest role in improving and advancing the food and nutrition industry.

To become a Registered Dietitian, one must:

  1. Have at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, although many have higher degrees.
  2. Complete 1200 hours of supervised practicum, commonly referred to as a dietetic internship or DI for short- many DIs are unpaid rotations in clinical, community, and food service settings.
  3. Pass the national RD exam which consists of at least 125 questions about the Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems.

Beginning in 2024, ALL RDs will be required to have a master’s degree in addition to the three REQUIREMENTS listed above.

In most states, Oklahoma included, RDs must also become licensed under the state medical board in order to practice.

This post is not to discourage nutritionist is doing their thing, but to enlighten those practicing nutrition how important it is to vet evidence-based information.

Some people may be under the false pretense that registered dietitians or those becoming dietitians spend years studying fad diets. With the blatant, “stay in your lane,” mentality, now more than ever, staying abreast of fad diets is now part of the job. Misinformation is so harmful to public health.

Now, lemme go eat my pasta!

❤ Krystal

q&a peace corps namibia edition no.1

After living in Namibia for a year, I constantly forget that friends and family back home still have many questions related to how I survive and function here.  I thought it would finally be nice to answer some of these questions for all you curious people out there.

Q: What do you eat in Namibia?

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A: Pretty much anything I can afford within my PC stipend. As a PCV, I am given a monthly stipend to buy essentials- food is obviously one of them. So, I am in control of many things I eat. My normal grocery list contains items such as bread, protein sources such as tuna, beans, or lentils (if the prices are right), vegetables, and chocolate. When produce is in-season, I typically purchase it from my neighbor, but all other times, I will buy from the store in my village or shopping town.

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Kapana and oshifima from the open market in Ongwediva.

 

When it comes to traditional foods, I typically eat those foods with my host family, because, I really don’t know how to prepare them well at all. Since my host family is large, there is usually more than enough to share. Some nights, I am in the mood for oshifima (traditional porridge) and ombidi (wild spinach), and my host family lovingly shares with me. I do enjoy trying new foods and traditional staples and snacks.

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On weekends, I may find myself away from site to run errands or visit volunteers. If I am in a town, there are typically a few decent selections of restaurants to dine at. Not necessarily chain restaurants, but some tried and tested places. Local hotels or guest lodges serve burgers, pizzas, or green salad, but it also comes at a high cost on a volunteer budget. Volunteers also enjoy cooking together.

Q: What is a koombi?

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It’s hell on wheels. Okay, it’s a large van. One or both of these statements are true.

A koombi is a large van which is a common form of transit when traveling across the country. For every koombi in this country, I have a comedic story to follow. Koombis are one of the most frustrating forms of traveling IMO. Most fit between 15-20 passengers, and drivers won’t begin the trip until almost all of those seats are filled. So, the trick is to get to the koombi early, but not too early, or you’ll be waiting for it to fill up. But, not too late, because then that means you may be on the road well after dark, and then the driver won’t take you to the location you paid for him to take you, and then you’ll have to pay for a taxi, but because it’s so late you’ll have to sit in a taxi for 45 minutes while the driver takes a nap waiting for more customers, then it will rain because it’s not dramatic enough unless there is rain…

Koombis suck.

Q: Do you shave your legs?

A: Sometimes, but not most of the time. I mean, as a PCV there is no requirement to do or to not do so. I personally have found it to be a chore these days than anything. I live on a homestead with an outdoor shower. So, shaving requires extra time for me to stand outside naked. I’ll pass. I could shave my legs in my room. But, then that requires me to make a trip or two collecting water to lather and rinse while trying not to end up covered in sand while doing so. No thanks.

Q: What time zone are you in?

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Namibia is in the West African Time (WAT) zone. During daylight savings time, most of Namibia moves to West Africa Summer Time (WAST) for the summer months (beginning of September to beginning of April in Namibia) so we share the same time as Botswana and South Africa.

So, throughout the course of the year, I am anywhere between 6-8 hours ahead of CST.

Q: What is the main religion in Namibia?

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Many Namibians identify as Christian. The two largest Christian groups in Namibia are Lutheran and Roman Catholic. Other religions practiced in Namibia include Isalm, Judaism, Buddhism, and Baha’i Fatih.

Q: Do people in Namibia speak English?

English is the official language of Namibia, although there are multiple langauges spoken in the country. During apartheid rule, there were 3 official languages of Namibia: Afrikaans, German, and English. After Namibia’s independence in 1990, English became the official national language. Although English is the official language, it is regularly spoken by a small percentage of the population and rarely the first language learned by Namibians. Oshiwambo and dialects of Oshiwambo are spoken in nearly 50% of Namibian households, followed by Damara/Nama (11%), and then Afrikaans (10%).

❤ Krystal