#11 How to Become a Holistic Dietitian or Nutritionist

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"If you want to become a Holistic Nutritionist then it's important to understand the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist. A dietitian requires an extra year of study at university, and you're also qualified to work in hospitals with chronic disease. So things like cancer, liver disease, diabetes, obesity, and all sorts of eating disorders."

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In Episode 11 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how to become a holistic nutritionist or holistic dietitian.

  • Nat & Kate’s Updates. Hint: Kates is super exciting!
  • Nat elaborates a little on her new book Healing Digestive Discomfort and how it can help you if you have IBS.
  • Our personal journey to become Holistic Dietitians
  • Discussion and advice on the path to take if you would like to be doing what we are doing. Including the Pro’s and Con’s of going down the University path.
  • Updates on Kate’s Healing Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Program

Natalie K. Douglas 0:02
Hello and welcome to the holistic nutritionist podcast. My name is Natalie Burke, holistic dietitian and nutritionist from health by whole foods.com.iu. And with me I have the holistic nutritionist Kate Callahan from the holistic nutritionist calm. How UK?

Kate Callaghan 0:19
I am fabulous. Thanks, Matt. How are you?

Natalie K. Douglas 0:21
I’m not too bad, pretty hot again in Sydney, which is kind of nice when you’re outside at the beach, which I’m not, but I will be at some stage.

Kate Callaghan 0:33
I didn’t want to know that it’s warm here. But it’s like gale force winds so you can sit behind the window and look after their side to get blown away. Yeah, right.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:44
That’s not good. Fun fact, my partner is actually like, scared of the wind. Just in case anyone wanted to know or everyone wanted to know. It’s like he gets creeped out when it’s windy. And I’m sure I’ve just like completely ruined these black masculinity to the webs now

but just let you know that

Kate Callaghan 1:04
I get stood up by

Natalie K. Douglas 1:06
Yeah, I guess that’s like, it’s just stuff keeps like being blown around and then there’s noises behind you. And it’s all Yeah, I personally last night while walking the dog. And thing that scared me was this some hooligan like with his head out the window yelling out like profanities about some lady named back and just scared me. My heart jumped and it was like, eight o’clock at night and nobody needs their cortisol to jump that high. At that time. I was very, most upset.

Kate Callaghan 1:37
For sure for you.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:38
I know. Right? I really should just wrap myself in bubble wrap. And we’re emails when I walk outside. I already walk the streets and like my dressing gown, so I probably shouldn’t do that. It’s true. I know. I know. It’s really bad. I should stop but it’s not

Kate Callaghan 2:00
just so comfortable and boring. And we don’t even do my teeny tiny tiny town of 5000 people. Yes, okay. Tiny cul de sac when no one goes past again I gotta go outside

Natalie K. Douglas 2:16
you gotta try it’s pretty liberating. No not just stick with the normal clothes anyway and I’ll send us how your anything significant to report

Kate Callaghan 2:29
him Well, as you know, and as you’ve known for a while, I am expecting another meaty human to into my life in about six months time, or Yeah,

Natalie K. Douglas 2:46
that’s very exciting. I’m very very excited for you and I have been it’ll be all over all over again excited excited all over again. I

Kate Callaghan 2:55
think I have quite a little belly. Right now it’s I’m kind of about the size that I was when I was 20 weeks or more last time it’s just really popped out. And which they do say happens in the second pregnancy but I think it’s also to do with the fact that I had a diagnosis and my first pregnancy which is where you’re nothing to do with my rectum it’s the way your abs split split down the middle so you’re reckless and ominous actually split down the middle so it’s kind of weird when you lie down in into like a crunches sit up you can actually feel a gap and feel down into your organs its

Natalie K. Douglas 3:35
course that is really almost strangers may walking in the street to my dressing gown. So it looks like we’re even now

Kate Callaghan 3:45
I have no control of my splitting Thank you very much.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:48
I’m just a victim to what feels good.

Kate Callaghan 3:52
Leader us with you. Let’s move on from the dressing Gala.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:58
Well, I’ve just released my a book finally. So it’s called healing digestive discomfort and it is on sale on my website right now. And that’s been really exciting for me. So that’s my first paid a book that I’ve released and has all my thoughts and knowledge and experience on treating different digestive issues. So things like Fahd maps sensitivity, food intolerances, CBOE, parasites can data leaky, got all these kind of things that could be causing you to have an irritable bowel I have listed them out and gone through how to get diagnosed, because I think a lot of people, we’ve got issues get really just like confused and got go on a bit of a a while what’s that called thing where you go around and chasing your tail, there was something else I was thinking about. But I got distracted, because I looked outside anyway, chasing their tails too, try and find out what exactly is causing all they got issues. And they end up with a diagnosis of IBS. And that’s irritable bowel syndrome for anyone who’s not familiar with that abbreviation. And I just don’t believe that IBS is a diagnosis. I believe it’s a symptom of something else going on. And I believe that it’s totally tradable. And I think that people just need to know. Okay, so what are the main symptoms of each particular underlying cause to my IBS? And how do I actually treat that and helping them find those resources, in order to get to the bottom of it and get out of that horrible, horrible place where you know, you’re feeling bloated and constipated, or then you have diarrhea, or you’re gassy? Or all these type of things? Because it does really affect the quality of your life. And I know that because I had them had got issues for so many years. And it just makes you feel horrible.

Kate Callaghan 5:55
Awesome. Yes. Yes. Your book. Thank you.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:58
Yes. So that’s the available and if you need to find it. It’s been advertised on all my social media challenges and challenges, channels. And it’s also available directly from the website.

Kate Callaghan 6:13

Natalie K. Douglas 6:14
So today, everybody, we decided that we would talk about how to become a holistic nutritionist or dietician or practitioner, because it’s a question that we get a lot in terms of, how do we actually, I guess, get to where we are? And how, what do we think is the best path there as well? Because that’s, I know, Kate, you get that question a lot. And I have definitely had inquiries in the past. But I think it’s a really good idea that we share maybe a bit of our journey. And also just some general advice if people want to do something similar, or maybe some alternate options, because I know I’ve, I’ve had people ask, well, would you do it differently? And I’ve come up with an answer, but

Kate Callaghan 7:02
we should enter the end.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:04
Yes, we will. So Kate, let’s start with you. We do kind of have similar journeys. But let’s start with you. And do you want to tell us a bit about your path to like doing what you’re doing today?

Kate Callaghan 7:17
Sure. And we don’t need to go back as far as why I got into nutrition because that could take forever. And but I worked in PR before I worked in nutrition in the beauty industry. Actually, I was a beauty publicist, for anyone who cares. Not like natural organic skincare, it was like full of toxins that smelled really good skincare stuff. The names you wouldn’t know it. Anyway. Um, so I like unit studied nutrition and diabetics at university. So it was a four year degree and very mainstream. So the way my brain works, I kind of want go into things, choosing the best thing that I can, potentially the hottest, potentially most highest qualification thing that I can do, because I think that will be the best and have the best outcomes. That’s the way my brain works. And it’s not always the case. And I know that sounds probably, or maybe our again to something like that. But that’s how my brain used to work like Well, that’s the highest qualification you can get in nutrition. So I should go and do diabetics and become a dietitian, still lived in Sydney when I went travel down to one long every day or every second day to go and study it. And, and so basically diabetics, it’s nutrition, you don’t come into the nutritionist, but they come out as a dietitian as well. And the difference between just being a nutritionist and even like, say, Justin, nutritionist, because that’s not very nice. But the difference between being a dietitian nutritionist is, well, you have an extra year or two of study at university. You’re also qualified to work in hospitals with chronic diseases, so things like cancer, liver disease, diabetes, obesity, all sorts of chronic diseases, eating disorders, although nutritional something can work with eating disorders, you just need to be a little more careful and covered by health funds like Medicare and private health funds. And so that’s kind of the difference. You can work with a broad range and work in hospitals, if you want to speak to dietitians are adamant about being dietitians will probably say there’s more difference in that. But that’s my take. So I went into the four year degree is studied my butt off, I worked really, really, really, really hard. And again, that was kind of my personality, very much type A personality very much brought up that grades were really important. And so I really had and got really good grades, and it ended up passing with first class honors and got quite a few awards with the Dean’s merit list. And which is I’m not boasting about that. It’s the reason why I bring it up is because I get a lot of people saying, and we’ll come back to this as well. And the thing that you know, they want to go to university and they want to do diabetics, but they’re turned off by chemistry, so maybe they won’t, or they’ll just kind of do what they can to get through chemistry or biochemistry and even in university people will say, you know, please get degrees with something like nutritional with diabetics, I disagree on that. And because I think you should have a solid understanding of biochemistry and that I mean physiology. So you can then read and understand the research and also work out what is actually appropriate for the human body in terms of food. Because what you would find in dietetic is there’s a bit of a mismatch in terms of what what biochemistry says we should be eating and what anatomy and physiology says that would work well for our body and what the government suggestion say we should be eating. And so dietetic does involve going through, you know, the Healthy Food Guide, Australian guide to healthy eating, which is based in based on the USDA guidelines, very, very, very mainstream, you know, food pyramid style that’s changed, obviously, and be a very mainstream and so what I had to do and what that had to do as well, and kind of have to just go with the flow on that and do the hard work and pass your exam. So we had to do that. It was a lot of stuff that I did not agree with, but I had to pretend that I didn’t, because I had exams to pass in to know that would say, for example, if you have a weight loss client, this is a very simplistic, should they be eating a high fat or low fat diet? And obviously, you would have to say they have to be eating a low fat diet because fat makes you fat, which is not what I agree. Okay, gosh, headaches, one on one. Exactly. And cholesterol, you should not be eating eggs.

And all saturated fat, saturated fats, the devil. So I, in the middle of my university degree, I went quite heavily down there, the Paleo Diet path is at odds with diabetics. And I was like staunch paleo.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:34
She was scary. She used to come into a tribal dance at lunchtime. Really kidding. I wish you did.

Kate Callaghan 12:41
But I was very outspoken and probably to the point of annoying and rude if I look back at it now. And so I would argue with the lecturers when they would say things I would disagree with and say, you know, what about this and bring my own research and I probably should have just sat sat there in, held my tongue, but I, I felt the moral duty to speak out about how that’s not the devil. And anyway, I was silenced after our lip quite literally silenced my diabetics, then what do we call her? machine? organizer? Yeah, the organizer of the degree, she basically called me and said, Stop asking questions like quite literally, she called me and said, Stop asking questions. You know, you’re not a dietitian yet you don’t know. And stop asking questions. And to your defense,

Natalie K. Douglas 13:28
a lot of the questions you asked and the research you brought up, I was sitting there being like, Yeah, what she said just really silently, Nicola.

Kate Callaghan 13:36
Yeah. I got in trouble. It was actually quite upsetting. It would have faith because you’re not,

Natalie K. Douglas 13:42
you’re not out to hurt anyone you would just genuinely asking, well, Hey, have you heard of this? And you know, that doesn’t sound quite right. So I don’t blame you for speaking up and asking those questions.

Kate Callaghan 13:55
Caitlin, Wonder Heidi new shoes. So Lindsay, this Well, anyway, that was me. And I tweeted about being silent the next day and mentioned Rob Wolf, and he retweeted to his multitude. Then I got in more trouble. Anyway, so I graduated with mainstream dietetic blah, blah, blah. And but I didn’t agree with a lot of it. So I didn’t want to work in a hospital. And as interesting as working in a hospital can be that wasn’t my path. And because I didn’t agree with a lot of the guidelines, and I didn’t want to be affiliated with them. So I went down the path of private practice, and then became more of a holistic practitioner doing my own research, and reading textbooks, going, attending webinars, going to events and things speaking to other practitioners, and reading up on blogs that repeatable blogs and podcasts like Robb Wolf and chris chris. And just people who I really knew and trusted and Chris, Master john, people are really read the research and knowledge talking about. And then I incorporated more of my own life experiences as well, that I use to help me through my journey, and more of that holistic practice. So the not just through everything else around it. And, and I continue to do that today. So it’s kind of an ongoing process with nutrition, you need to always be learning and health, always learning, still learning and still changing if that needs to happen. And that’s how I made it. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 15:30
Awesome. Yeah. And I think acid, our stories are very, very similar in terms of our journey there, like we did go to three unit together. So through that four year degree together, I didn’t do anything before diabetics, I just went straight from high school to uni and did diabetics. And for the first half of the degree, I was still thought down that mainstream path. And then like, Kate started to change for me about about halfway through the degree of and I disagreed with all the things I was hearing, it didn’t make sense, to me, given the research that I was reading at the time. And also, given the kind of experiences with trading conditions that we were talking about, that I happen to have as well. It didn’t make sense that this these recommendations were working, or even just with people I knew who were asking me or Hey, how do I, for example, weight loss is an easy example, as we used before, but how do I lose weight and telling these people to do that, and it not working for them? And so yeah, I started to think differently as well. And I do, I do think that the first kind of half of the dietetic degree is probably quite similar to a natural medicine type degree in that you all are just learning the basics of the human body, and it’s not so influenced by government organizations, and food industry, and all those different things that come into play when you start getting further down the degree. So in the first kind of half ish, you’re more learning about chemistry, about biochemistry, about physiology, and that forms the basis of like Kate said, being able to be independent in your thinking and look at the research and make your own decisions. And the reason why, a question I get a lot is, well, you know, Why didn’t your life once you realize what they were teaching? You wasn’t quite right, why did you keep going into the degree? Why don’t you go and do natural medicine instead? Where you thought there was more solid information to go off? And my answer to that is, because I was already halfway through a degree. And

because I thought,

you know, if I finish this degree, and I get this qualification, then I have the power to change the way at least one dietitian, Amy, treats people and get different results, different results. And really, the end goal was to make people healthy. And I needed the degree in order to Yes, have that foundational knowledge. But also just to be able to practice what I’ve learnt. And essentially, it gave me a qualification to be able to practice what I had learnt in the first half of the degree in terms of the stuff that wasn’t quite biased, and then choose not to apply a lot of the things that I disagreed with, and with what the research disagreed with. And like Kate did a lot of my own research, by reading papers by going to different symposiums and seminars and all these type of things that you would do anyway for professional development. And always being open to learning more and also always being open to being wrong. Another question I get a lot is, if I had my time over again, would I do something like an apathy or nutrition through college through a natural health college instead of doing a dietetic degree. And up until probably about a year ago, I probably would have said, No, because I am kind of where I want to be in terms of practicing with patients. And I’m, you know, I know how to read research, and I know how to acquire more knowledge in that way. However, sometimes it’s really hard for me because I go back and forth. And in in one way I do. If I had, if I was to start my time over again, I potentially would go through and do nutritional medicine or nurture apathy, or both, even just because I actually find the way that that degree has is taught. The more holistic approach it takes much. I guess, more accurate, that I’m sure like, I haven’t been through the degree, but just from talking to people who haven’t, and, you know, listening to what they’re being taught and whatnot, there are, there are still probably many things that maybe I don’t agree with. But for the most part, I would say that it is taught better than nutrition and diabetics for uni, in my opinion. And I also, I do actually find herbal medicine quite interesting, which is another reason why, if I had my time over, I would probably go and do something like that. However, I am saying that I am going to go back to college part time and study metropolis, Metropolis e this year, so I’m not really missing out. But you ought to know. Okay, what are your thoughts? Have you gone back and forth on that kind of question? Or do you just,

Kate Callaghan 20:58
I don’t regret doing it. I think if I did have my time, again, I’d maybe just to do the first three and nutrition component. Because I think it gives you a really solid understanding of science and research. And I think the the University of government universities have more facilities available than, say, the colleges and I don’t know this from experience, I could be wrong, and someone tell me if I’m wrong, but you know, we got to work in the cadaver labs with, with bodies, and actually, and this is going to grow some people out. But you know, we got to dissect bodies, and actually look and see where things were, and what you know, the stomach looks like and what intestines look like and what different pathologies look like. And it was so, so fascinating. And we got taught how to read, Steve will get taught statistics, which was frickin horrible, my goodness, you know, but it sets you up to be able to read the research, and we had access to all these journals. So we could go straight in and actually search for the information ourselves and then know how to pull it apart. And they know how to apply it to our solid understanding biochemistry, and anatomy and physiology. And but then I would probably go into natural for the own yet functional medicine, nutritional medicine after that. And I may still do that in the future, after, when I get some sort of a

life back after 10 or 20 years,

just, I’m hoping like five or six when I go to school. Somebody will laugh at me when I say that. But um, I would I would add that caveat, if someone’s thinking of, you know, doing Dianetics, and then going down into the natural path, the route, if you do diabetics, and then you become registered with, say, the dietitians association of Australia, they will take issue with you practicing that trophy and probably try and take your accreditation of you. And I’ve had the issues with the do because they don’t agree with me. And I didn’t agree with him. And that’s why I’m not a part of the day anymore. And I don’t want to be a part of the DA. But just to be mindful that dietitians in that mainstream it. If they’re a dietitian, they’re definitely not a naturopath most of the time.

Natalie K. Douglas 23:08
Yeah, I agree with that. And I’ve had similar experience or similar, I have similar, like thoughts around that as well in terms of they, what they promote and what and I and I was with them for a period of time. But I’m not anymore out of my own choice. But yeah, look, I think that’s a really sensible suggestion in terms of doing the Bachelor of you know, nutrition, and then going or Bachelor of Science majoring nutrition, and then going on to do something lacking or apathy. I think that’s a good balance between the two, because I think you’re really right, in that we were given a lot of really good opportunities and a lot of exposure to Yeah, the kind of things that you mentioned before, and that was really helpful. And it was like, it was really hard. Like, I reckon the degree was the hardest at the beginning. But for people who are like, Oh, my goodness, chemistry, I can’t do it, it’s so scary, and it’s quite overwhelming for you, I would just say like, you really can do anything you put your mind to. And I didn’t like I didn’t do chemistry in high school at all in terms of like through my HTC or anything, I didn’t do the bridging course that they recommend. But I did study my ass off when I got to uni in chemistry, in particular, to understand it, and you can get through it. I think the if you apply yourself to anything, you’re able to get through it. And usually there are lots of resources available to you, in order to help you get through that as well. But in saying that there’s you still have to do chemistry, if you’re in biochemistry, if you do it through a natural health organization as well. So just keep that in mind. You can’t escape it, because biochemistry and chemistry eSports of nutrition and how the body works. And as Kate said, it is really important to understand what you’re learning in those subjects. Because it does make things make sense later on in the degree. And also, it helps you become more of an independent thinker and be able to analyze research and results and data and all that kind of stuff later on in the degree when things start to get a bit more that way. So I do I do think that university degrees have the advantage. But also that you can’t really escape biochemistry.

Kate Callaghan 25:40
I read the textbook for chemistry textbook before I started, and Aaron always pays me out about it. Oh yeah,

Natalie K. Douglas 25:45
I used to at lunchtime, I used to take it and go to the library and just study all my lunch on. I didn’t hang out with anyone I just and just everyone, you don’t have to do that I was a big fat nerd, I used to do that. And on the train, there were just like an hour and on the train back which I was was like an hour. So and it was because it didn’t come naturally to me that like with with that stuff it It did take understanding it. But it’s one of those things when you you learn one concept and it feels like forever until you understand it but then you understand and it’s like the simplest thing in the world. So like persist with it and and don’t let yourself fall behind in terms of like, don’t be like or I’ll just listen to all this. And then I’ll start studying when it’s, you know, a week or two away from the tests like learn as you go because it makes it so much easier.

Kate Callaghan 26:37
Yeah, the definitely there were times where I wanted to stab myself in the eye with a pencil and chemistry. Oh, yeah, totally. Throw through many tantrums because I didn’t understand it. Awesome. Yeah, I get that YouTube helps a lot actually. Yeah, it does. Yeah. I’m different people explaining things. So if you just Google what you what you searching for in, in chemistry, that’s our YouTube it. They’ll be all these different tutorials and listen to multiple, you’re going to get them from all different perspectives individually real quick.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:03
Yeah. So hopefully that helped some faithful because it’s hard. Like we can’t tell you what to do, or we can tell you is what our experience is or has been, and what we feel like we got from our degree and maybe what we feel like we missed out on but you know, I’m with you, Kate. I don’t regret anything. And I think there’s a lot that. Like, there’s a lot offered from both degrees. It’s just more about what resonates more with you. And yeah, speak to different people and their experiences and just follow your instincts in that regard. The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to understand the basics. Be an independent learner and an open minded thinker. And don’t be afraid to be wrong.

Kate Callaghan 27:51
And know what you want to do at the end of it if you don’t want to work in hospitals and you don’t need it edition.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:56
Yeah, I agree. Yeah, I didn’t

Kate Callaghan 27:59
get my being simplistic. I’m gonna get hounded

Natalie K. Douglas 28:04
you are you gonna get bounty hunter? I don’t actually know what that means. Sorry. Okay, well, everybody. It’s coming up to the end. So I think we pretty much gave our important updates at the beginning like I spoke about my book, which you can find online. But Kate, did you want to just give everyone a quick update on your healing hypothalamus, amen. Maria, cool. cs. How’s that going? In terms of is it open

Kate Callaghan 28:36
yet? It’s not open yet. I’m opening up next Monday. I think that’s the 23rd of January. So open it up for enrollments that week and will only be open it for enrollments for a week. If that last time I had to close the cut early because it was full and I do cap it because I like to give each participant as much individual attention as I possibly can and I just can’t do with huge numbers. So if you’re thinking of doing it Do not delay getting early otherwise you may miss out and need to wait another however long Yeah, it’s like this pregnant lazy mama to do another

Natalie K. Douglas 29:15
awesome alright, well edit your anything but ladies you bought some

Kate Callaghan 29:20
sun Christmas Day Three.

Natalie K. Douglas 29:22
Oh, that’s pretty good. Yes, that is very impressive. Anyway, with that all said in all seriousness, do keep an eye on on Kate’s social media channels because that is definitely something you don’t want to miss out on. If you’re struggling with hypothermic, amen, Maria. So I’m sure she’ll keep you posted on there. And apart from that, I hope everyone has a lovely day and we will chat to you all again in a couple of weeks time. Have a good day to Kate by

Kate Callaghan 29:52
you tonight. Bye.


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

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Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas shows women with Thyroid problems how to heal themselves in less than 30 minutes a day. Guaranteed.

Over the past decade, she's helped treat over 10,000 Australian women, trained more than 5,000 health practitioners.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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