Sunday, 1 July 2012

Dietitian or Nutritionist?

When we saw the gastroenterologist last week she said that she was more than happy for us to try the blended diet with Faith but we she wanted us to have support on the nutritional side. At first we thought we thought we would just consult with a dietitian allocated to us by community health but a few things changed after I talked to her. All we needed was someone to go over our calculations for calories, check that we were getting the balance of foods right and make any suggestions and work with us to get Faith to the optimum health. That is and will always be our goal. But on first encounter, on the telephone, of our allocated dietitian she appeared to want to take control of our situation already starting to boss us around and telling us to change things. She didn't even know us or have a history. She was assuming Faith had problems with protein and allergies as that is why we would take up a blended diet. She wanted to see how everything was prepared, to take photos, she wanted to know everything, she had the book Homemade Formula Handbook too so I said I used it as a base but it didn't seem good enough for her. She appeared to be indicating that I wasn't preparing foods correctly, this all happened in the matter of five minutes. I was not impressed. I wasn't sure what our options were so I made an appointment and after I got off the phone I felt I had made the wrong decision so I cancelled the appointment. 

I was talking to my mum and she mentioned that a friend of hers knows a nutritionist who is wonderful and she is also a lecturer at a university and is very acredited in her field. She has a private practice about a hour away from us. I spoke to her on the phone and was very impressed. We got on really well and though she hasn't had direct experience with a blended diet she was more than confident she could help us and support us in our journey and that is what she said support us in our journey, how good is that! She said she would discount her price for us. As it was Friday she said have a think about it over the weekend and get back to her the following week. I felt so much better about this lady and after some research and reading about her qualifications on her website, I thought it would be a good match for us. I was excited. I would cancel our other appointment with the dietitian who just didn't understand our needs and make a appointment with the nutritionist who understood our needs. I wanted to understand what a dietitian and a nutritionist was so I did some research on the interest and this is what I found.

What is a dietitian and a nutritionist?
Accredited Practicing Dietitians (who sometimes call themselves nutritionists) are accredited by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia. To qualify as an APD takes a minimum of four years’ university study in nutrition and dietetics. It’s the dietetics qualification that separates a dietitian from someone with a degree in nutrition science alone. Dietetics is the study of how food and nutrition are used to manage or treat health problems. For a qualification in this area, dietitians need to have supervised experience working with clients.

Nutritionists or nutrition medicine practitioners need a qualification that complies with the the Australian Natural Therapies Association – generally a degree such as a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Nutrition Medicine) or a three to four year Advanced Diploma of Nutrition or Nutritional Medicine. Naturopaths accredited with the Australian Natural Therapies Association can also offer nutrition services if they’ve majored in nutrition – typically through a degree such as the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy).

Our appointment was on Wednesday and the rain was bucketing down and it wasn't a nice day to go out but out we went and I am so glad we did. The nutritionist spent just over two hours with us going through Faith's medical history. She was so thorough, moreso than most health professionals that we have seen before. We arranged to meet the next evening to go through her thoughts. The next evening we could see that the nutritionist had taken a lot of time to go through what we had told her. Her first thought was to make our lives easier by suggesting a computer program called FoodWorks , she had it on the computer to show us. The program would allow us to enter our blend ingredients and would show us information on the nutrients in it and what we need more of and where we didn't need so much. We could also enter the formula information to get a more complete picture of Faith's diet. It would guide us and save me spending hours working out the nutrients and calories and it is all to Australian standards. We could also print information and then be able to show the doctors. She would guide us and help us understand more. It was exciting. As with everything with Faith, we take it slow, she suggested moving to Flax seed Oil as it has better omega 3s so that is what we were starting with. Other suggestions included, molasses, more red meat, more grains, those type of things. Really good helpful advice. It is really important to have someone like our nutritionist to share the load and share the journey.

1 comment:

  1. The attitude of professionals makes such a huge difference. Seems you have found a the right one through word of mouth.