“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

What Hippocrates means by this quote is that food serves as medicine to your body as well as a great natural way of caring for your health.

Hippocrates was an important figure in the history of medicine because he was among the earliest to assert that diseases were caused by natural processes rather than the gods.

Past the age of Hippocrates, we have learned that this is somewhat true. Although some serious illness and diseases can only be cured by modern medicine, some can be treated by the right foods and what's more, they can be prevented with the right diets.

Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can be prevented and treated with a healthy balanced diet. And in the age where rates for chronic diseases seems to increase by the minute, it is more important now than ever before to truly take Hippocrates’ words into consideration.

Nutritionists are the experts in the field of understanding what food works as a treatment for illnesses, but they will also help you decipher what meals to prep in order to become healthy generally.

Certified nutritionists have in-depth knowledge about nutrition research and the science of dietetics. The American Dietetic Association can accredit registered dieticians; others have certifications from nutrition programs from a qualified university. They focus on understanding nutritional science and applying it to the nutritional needs of each patient in order to advise on food choices.

Diabetes in Houston
Many more Houstonians might have to begin insulin treatment due to a rise in diabetes diagnosis. (Photo by Akash Deep on Unsplash)

Nutritionists are responsible for helping their patients become more knowledgeable about the risks of unhealthy eating and the best ways of incorporating a good diet into their lives.

Do you need a Nutritionist?

“Houston's health crisis: by 2040, one in five residents will be diabetic” - Tom Hart, The Guardian

This alarming headline made news in 2016 after research data from Novo Nordisk showed that the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Houston is 9.1% – with an estimated one in four of these being undiagnosed.  

This is a disheartening fact because Type 2 Diabetes is, in fact, a preventable disease. This chronic condition affects the way your body processes sugar and shuts down the production of insulin (used to maintain normal sugar levels). Type 2 typically presents itself in adults with excessive caloric intake combined with poor diets and exercise patterns.

Contacting a nutritionist to aid you in nutrition education and counseling is critical to prevent and treat diabetes.

To combat this statistic, Houston is taking action! Different programs and organizations throughout the city are spreading information and knowledge about the importance of nutrition and health.

For example, DAWNis a free community-based diabetes education program that focused on developing diabetes self-management skills. It helps Houstonians diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes get the tools and support necessary to live a healthy life. Members have the benefit of working with a nutritionist and taking a group cooking class in the same place.

Accredited dieticians can help inform you about your risk of diabetes or can counsel you about the best clinical nutrition treatment options.

Nutritionists in the Houston Area

Similar to other major cities in the US, Houston is home to a multitude of qualified nutritionists and dietary clinics.

One thing is for sure in Houston, you are bound to find the nutritionist that works best for you!

Here are a couple that are highly recommended:

  • Houston Family Nutrition - At this clinic, founder Moe Schlachter (MS RD CDE) and staff dietitian Katie Arlinghaus, (MS RD) combine clinical nutrition counseling with culinary expertise to help you achieve your health and nutrition goals. They utilize motivational interviewing to provide medical nutrition therapy that delves deep into your core way of thinking to understand what’s been stopping you so far and help you create a plan to reach your goals.
  • Herbivore RD - Nicole Cornelious (RD, CSO, LD) a registered dietician that specializes in vegan nutrition planning, medical nutritional therapy for cancer patients, and corporate wellness.
  • Chews Food Wisely- Nicole S. Fennell is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist as well as a Certified LEAP Nutritional Therapist offering group and individual nutrition education. By using advanced, state-of-the-art laboratory testing, Nicole is able to dive deep into your cellular nutritional status and individualizes nutritional recommendations for each patient.
vegan bowl
Nutritionists help you learn how to balance a plant-based diet and still receive the necessary nutrients. (Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash)
  • Appetite Health - this private practice based in Houston, founded by Sarah Galicki, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LD, practices mainly with patients of Weight Loss Surgery and Medically-Supervised Weight Loss Patients. He also has formal training in new emerging weight loss technologies such as gastric balloons, vagal nerve blocking devices, aspiration therapy, and very low-calorie diet programming.
  • Wholesome Start - based in Houston and founded by Samina Qureshi, this private practice celebrates body and cultural diversity and practices Health at Every Size (HAES). During your sessions, Samina will establish your health goals & develop a personalized nutrition care plan including nutrition education, meal planning, intuitive eating, movement, stress management, sleep, hygiene, and other lifestyle factors that improve your well being. Work with her from anywhere using your phone, tablet, or laptop!

These private practices have varied scopes of specialization. Some focus on clinical nutrition for diseases while others on diets and weight loss. Closely researching the services they provide can help you decide which dietician is the perfect match.

What to Expect From Your Nutrition consultation?

New clients of nutritional therapy will commonly ask the question, “what will my first appointment be like?” 

Depending on the nature of your visit and the type of dietician you have made an appointment with, your initial consultation will vary from a 15-minute review to a 2-hour long examination. 

For your first visit, you should expect an in-depth interview with a practitioner to understand your personal story. The health professional will assess lifestyle choices, core imbalances, metabolic pathways and networks, biomarkers of health and nutritional status, and signs and symptoms.

They may also ask about your family health history in order to determine any predisposing factors. So come ready to answer an abundance of questions. A great tip is not to hold back on information; the more information you supply your nutritionist the more useful their assessment and advice will be.

Your diet might not be the main focus during your initial visit. A discussion on the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of life could take the forefront. A discussion of diets and therapies that you have completed in the past may also help your dietician find links to what might work best for you.

Tips From Professional Nutritionists

Jumping from one crash diet to another does more harm than good for your health.

According to nutritionists at Mindful Eats,

“Research shows that 95% of the time, dieting leads to short term weight loss and long-term weight regain. Actually, diet cycling leads to a higher body weight over time – not lower.”

So if diets are not actually useful, why does the diet culture persist? The short answer is that our society has come to be fat phobic. Social norms and ideas have pushed the notion that being thin means that you are healthy but this is not always the truth. You can be unhealthy at any weight.

using scales to diet
Skip the scale! The numbers will prevent you from being mentally aware of your progress.

Nutritionists at Mindful Eats Clinic, based in Houston, have some tips to how you can break the diet cycle and make peace with food.

  1. Toss the scale - The number on the scale is merely a number and will prevent you from being able to be mindful and connect to your internal wisdom.
  2. Eliminate “good food” and “bad food” talk - Instead, see food in a more holistic way.
  3. Practice reconnecting to your hunger/fullness cues - This means eating enough food often enough.
  4. Practice being aware of your feelings - If you have a craving for something, ask yourself: What is this craving telling me? Sometimes it’s a true physical craving. Often, it is a metaphor for an unmet need or underlying emotion.
  5. Find joyful movementMove your body out of self-love and appreciation, not to achieve a number on the scale.
  6. Challenge judgmental thoughts about food and your body - Practice body compassion instead.
  7. Don’t delay your happiness - Make a list of everything you’ve been waiting to do once you lost the weight and start doing it today.
  8. Consult with an expert - If you’re struggling with chronic dieting or body image dissatisfaction and want to make peace with food – schedule a consultation with a dietitian and/or therapist who specializes in a non-diet, intuitive, mindfulness eating approach.

These are simple ways of breaking the diet cycle, but if you prefer to have more personalized guidance, you can look into finding a nutrition expert though private practices in and around Houston or check out the nutrition tutors right here on Superprof!

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