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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Evans

The Catalyst Difference

What’s interesting about dietitians is that we play so many roles for our patients.

One patient wants to lose weight. Another wants to put on muscle. Another needs to consume a whole new diet to manage heart disease.

We do it all, sometimes on the same day.

The other point to remember about dietitians is that there are so many of us! Even here in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley, you have your choice when you need to see a registered dietitian nutritionist. As a patient, you have to make the best decisions for your health, but it can be confusing to sort out the differences among dietitians in our area.

Should you see a dietitian in a large healthcare network? Or do you go small and visit a private practice?

Here at Catalyst Nutrition and Training, we offer our patients plenty of value that sets us apart from everyone else. For National Nutrition Month 2024, we’ve prepared this primer on dietitians in general and our practice in particular so you can learn who we are, what we do, and, most importantly, how we can help you!

It’s all about that Catalyst difference!

Brooke Evans, M.S., RDN, LDN - CEO and Founder
Brooke Evans, M.S., RDN, LDN - CEO and Founder

What Is a Dietitian?

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are medical professionals who are experts in using food and nutrition to manage health and treat disease.

The overall term for what we do is medical nutrition therapy (MNT).

Think of dietitians as expert consultants in what and how you should eat to achieve your health goals!

Dietitians Vs. Nutritionists

You have probably heard the terms “dietitian” and “nutritionist” used as if they’re the same, but there are some important differences to understand.

The primary one is that dietitians have extensive education and training in the medical applications of food and nutrition, while nutritionists are general educators in healthy eating and don’t have to have any formal training in nutrition.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist in Pennsylvania involves several steps:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree from a “regionally accredited college or university, including a major course of study in human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics, or food systems management,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

  2. As of January 1, 2024, earn a master’s degree to be eligible for the registered dietitian credential.

  3. Enroll in a dietetic internship approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). These programs require students to complete at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice.

  4. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

  5. Apply to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for a registered dietitian nutritionist license.

  6. Renew licensing with the state every two years with evidence of at least 30 hours of continuing education in the field.

Becoming a Nutritionist

Unlike the title of registered dietitian nutritionist, no state laws or boards govern who can call themselves a nutritionist. Anyone providing food and nutrition advice to others can effectively sell their services as a nutritionist.

This is why patients seeking health and wellness guidance from a nutritionist should perform their due diligence and make sure the person is experienced and educated enough to advise patients on proper nutrition.

Many aspiring nutritionists opt to earn bachelor’s degrees or state licenses to open up more career opportunities for themselves. The right combination of education and credentials can allow nutritionists to work as nutrition consultants, weight-loss advisors, or researchers.

What Do Dietitians Do?

After becoming licensed, dietitians can work in all kinds of medical settings. Hospitals, clinics, government agencies, higher education, and private practice are all options for registered dietitians!

The primary work of dietitians is to treat patients using their expertise in food and nutrition.

Catalyst Nutrition and Training is a private practice that sees numerous patients every day. Each of those patients comes to us with a different nutrition concern that we help them navigate (while also taking into account food allergies, personal preferences, and dietary restrictions).

In a single day, we treat patients for any of the following conditions, and more:

At Catalyst, we treat patients’ medical problems through our nutrition counseling program. Most of our patients see us in person at our Kingston, PA, office, but we’re also a telehealth practice! You can see us in person or online for nutrition counseling and online for nutrition coaching or fitness coaching (Brooke Evans, our leader and CEO, and Megan Farrell, who writes custom workouts for Catalyst, are both certified personal trainers!).

Megan Farrell, CPT - Certified Personal Trainer
Megan Farrell, CPT - Certified Personal Trainer

Why Do People See Dietitians?

People see dietitians for many reasons. The majority of our patients at Catalyst take advantage of our advanced education and credentials and visit us for nutrition counseling on their medical problems. Those could include any of the conditions we listed above and many others.

We also really enjoy helping our patients with something called body recomposition. This involves exchanging body fat for muscle with a personalized nutrition and exercise plan. Whether you want to train for a marathon or realize the version of your body you’ve always wanted, Catalyst can help you with that.

How Does Seeing a Catalyst Dietitian Work?

It’s easy to see us at Catalyst Nutrition and Training! Here’s how it works:

  1. Call us at (888) 862-0803 or submit an online form to tell us about yourself and what you’re experiencing.

  2. We schedule an appointment with you for an initial consultation.

  3. You make an account on our HIPAA-secure Healthie platform, which we use to store your information and communicate with you.

  4. On Healthie, you submit various intake forms, including for your medical history and insurance information.

  5. At your first appointment, we learn about your health goals, review your medical history, and collaborate on designing a nutrition approach that suits your lifestyle.

  6. We make ourselves available between appointments through the Healthie chat, where we can answer questions and cheer you on when you need a little boost!

Why Choose Catalyst for Your Dietitian Services?

In this post, you learned about dietitians, our education, where we work, what we do, and the conditions we treat.

But there’s still one question you may still have: why choose Catalyst Nutrition and Training as your trusted registered dietitian nutritionist?

We stand out through our philosophy, which we can boil down to three essentials:

  1. Nutrition doesn’t exist in a vacuum: everything in your life affects the food you eat, from your environment to your resources to your culture.

  2. Empowerment through education: we aren’t here to tell you what to eat. We empower YOU to make healthy choices by educating you on everything you need to know.

  3. Food is fuel, food is comfort, food is emotional: we understand that food isn’t just what we eat to keep ourselves going every day. Food gathers families and friends together. Food makes us feel better. Food engages our emotions. And food has the power to change lives.

As a Catalyst patient, you have our full attention during your appointments. You aren’t a number, and you aren’t in and out in five minutes as you might be at a large health network. We see only a handful of patients every day so we can devote as much time to you as you need. Our initial consultations can last up to two hours! We like to give you the space to speak what’s on your mind and feel completely comfortable with the process.

Our dietitians understand that everyone’s relationship with food is different. Improving YOUR relationship with it can control disease and make you healthier and happier overall. We’ve seen it over and over again with our patients.

We would love the opportunity to continue spreading the power of nutrition to people here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. Whether you need to manage the symptoms of a disease, lose weight, or put on muscle, Catalyst Nutrition and Training is here to help.

No judgment. No pressure.

Just education, encouragement, and understanding.

That’s the Catalyst difference!

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