If you are on the fence about seeing a vegan nutritionist, you have to read this!
Find out why they are important, who they actually help, and examples of some vegan Dietitians making waves online!
Disclaimer: This article provides the writers own opinions. It is not providing personal medical or dietary advice. Talk to your own doctor about any health concerns. See our Disclaimers for more details.
A Note About the Word “Nutritionist” : I used this term in the title because, per my keyword research tool, it was a more commonly searched term than dietitian.
This article is not about seeing any nutritionist, but about the importance of seeing a credentialed expert known as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
5 Top Reasons You Should See a Vegan Nutritionist
- Dietitians are credentialed nutrition experts.
- You want extra help and practice veganism, or a vegan diet for religious or environmental reasons.
- Many new and well seasoned vegans have a nutrition knowledge gap.
- Several practitioners are against vegan diets.
- Some vegans have more complex nutrition needs
1. Dietitians are credentialed nutrition experts.
As a dietitian myself, I may be a little biased. But there’s a lot that behind the RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) credentials!
In the US, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN’s) must obtain a degree from a accredited dietetics program (in 2024 a masters will be required), complete a supervised internship, and pass a national exam.
Some states have licensure, and all RDN’s need to complete a certain amount of continuing education to maintain the credentials(1).
In contrast, if you decide you want to call yourself a nutritionist, you don’t necessarily need to do anything (although, some states have rules about using the term) (2).
That’s why it’s wise to choose a nutritionist who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!
If you are a vegan who needs extra help with the nutrition side of things, would you rather go to someone who has a background in the science of nutrition or someone who just read a book about nutrition one day?
2. Many new and well seasoned vegans have a nutrition knowledge gap.
There’s a reason why many automatically thing of “meat” when you hear the word “protein.” Or: “dairy” when you hear someone mention calcium.
Nutrition education has centered animals as an important source of nutrients for a long time. So It’s no wonder that it will take some time to learn how to meet your nutrient needs without them.
You’re knowledge is going to be leveled up by learning from our vegan nutrition resource library. I’d definitely suggest starting with my Vegan for Beginners Guide here.
But, if you want individualized advice, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who provides nutrition counseling and expertise on a vegan diet is ideal.
3. You want extra help and practice veganism, or a vegan diet for religious or environmental reasons.
If reading this, I’m guessing you either are vegan or thinking about being one (need some tips? Check out 5 steps for transitioning here!).
Maybe you’re here because your religion advocates for a vegetarian diet.
Or maybe you just want to do better for the environment by choosing more whole food plant based options.
Well, if that’s you and you’re looking for individualized advice, consider a dietitian who understands vegan nutrition and struggles.
And my next point is a (perhaps the) driving reason why you may want to look for a vegan identifying dietitian if you are vegan.
4. Many practitioners are against vegan diets.
True story: I told a doctor that I was vegan. They asked why.
I responded: to reduce my contribution to animal suffering.
Their response?: “You know, that’s not going to save animals.”
Unfortunately, that’s where the conversation stops for many vegans seeking healthcare.
Our values are not understood or accepted. Sometimes we are told that vegan diets aren’t healthy with no explanation.
While we don’t have to agree that vegan diets are the healthiest, we do know that many of us can live healthy lives on this eating pattern(3).
If a doctor has a specific reason why one cannot consume a vegan diet, we need to know why in order to make an informed decision. After all, you didn’t choose a vegan lifestyle because it was easy.
A dietitian who identifies as vegan is more likely to understand these frustrations. He/she can give you references, and questions to ask your doctor.
And of course, it’s possible that your doctor doesn’t even know dietitians with vegan expertise exist. Chances are, he/she will be more comfortable knowing you are getting expert nutrition advice.
5. Some vegans have more complex nutrition needs
Here are some examples of more complex area’s that could benefit from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist’s help (FYI: not a comprehensive list):
- medical conditions (examples include diabetes, chronic kidney disease, food allergies)
- very active occupations or activities (for example, body builders or those who train for marathons)
- older adults
Additionally, it’s ideal to see a Registered Dietitian if you have weight loss goals.
While dietitians learn about a variety of conditions, some further their knowledge by becoming board certified specialists in areas like renal and oncology nutrition.
If you are vegan and you have more complex nutrition needs, finding a RDN who is well versed in plant based nutrition can make a big difference.
How to Find a Vegan Nutritionist Near Me
Finding a vegan nutritionist can be as simple as a google search.
You can google “vegan Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in ____ (fill in the blank your area). I’d highly recommended looking for the RD or RDN credentials, and reaching out first to see if they can work with you.
I also have work-in-progress database that includes plant based (including some vegan identifying dietitians) over here.
And just for fun, I thought I’d share with you a few examples of vegan identifying dietitians (some of whom I’ve met via the Plant Powered You Podcast! 🙂 )
Transitioning to a Vegan Diet: Rhyan Geiger, RDN
Rhyan helps new and well seasoned vegans level up their knowledge through nutrition coaching.
She also offers meal plans and has written her own slow cooker book, filled with vegan recipes. You can learn more about Rhyan on Instagram @PHXVeganDietitian
Vegan Pregnancy Nutritionist: Maya Bach, MPH RDN
Having gone through two plant based pregnancies myself, I know the struggles and challenges that come with living in a meat centric country! (P.S. you can read more about my last pregnancy (including birth story!) here).
Maya Bach, MPH, RDN is a dietitian, and vegan who knows how overwhelming it can be to try to figure out “veganized” prenatal nutrition. She offers group counseling for vegans who are pregnant.
You can learn more at VeganPrenatalNutrition.com
Vegan Kids Dietitian: Karla Moreno-Bryce MDA, RD, LD
Raising vegan kids can so feel isolating sometimes. It seems like once you say your kids are plant based, everyone has an opinion about nutrition!
Learning from an expert is especially important when discussing nutrition for littles.
Karla Moreno-Bryce MDA, RD, LD is both a vegan mom and dietitian who offers a course all about vegan nutrition for kids ages 6 months to 8 years old. She’s even added a baby lead weaning course, as well as a vegan recipes cookbook! (of course I had to try it! You can check out my thoughts over here)
You can find Karla on Instagram @Vegan.Kids.Nutrition or on her website to learn more.
Intuitive Eating: Angela Wortley, RDN
Intuitive eating is a framework of 10 principles that can help you listen to your body cues for nourishment in a weight neutral way.
There are several dietitians who can help you understand how to use this frame work, but some might be unfamiliar with combining your values as a vegan with intuitive eating.
Angela Wortley, RDN is a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and vegan who helps individuals apply this frame work. As a vegan herself, she also knows that intuitive eating an veganism can coexist!
You can reach out to Angela at her website: AngelaRDN.com. She works in a wide range of areas from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) to eating disorders.
Sports Nutrition: Anna Titcomb, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
Want to make gains in the gym, on the field, or recreationally? A dietitian specializing in sports nutrition can help!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Titcomb, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN on the the Plant Powered You Podcast (You can check out the episode here).
She helps active people who are interested in plant based nutrition, and just so happens to be a vegan herself.
You can reach out to Anna on her Instagram @A.T_R.D
Bariatric Nutrition: Ashley Krautkramer, RD, CSOWM, CD, CDCES
Ashley Krautkramer, RD, CSOWM, CD, CDCES helps those who want to be (or continue to stay) plant based after bariatric surgery through her group program that you can learn about here.
She is worked with this population for more than 6 years, and has been vegan even longer!
Get to know Ashley a little better by listening to this podcast episode where we talk about communicating with your doctor about your values as a vegan.
Renal Nutrition: Kate Zalewski, RDN, CSR, LDN
Kate Zalewski, RDN CSR, LDN is a board certified specialist in renal nutrition, and she’s passionate about supporting clients with kidney disease through a plant forward diet.
You can hear more about how she became vegan, thoughts about vegan diets and kidney disease, and Lizzo over on this podcast episode!
Find out how you can work with Kate on her website: YourKidneyDietitian.com
Vegan Moms (Postpartum): Leonila Campos MBA, RD
Leonila Campos MBA, RD is a vegan of over 2 decades! She developed her passion for helping moms after working at a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and grew even more after having her first son.
She teaches vegan moms about nutrition via her practice: Fueled By Leo, alongside her sister who offers personal training.
I hope you found this article helpful!
If you were loved it, you might be interested in some other articles related to veganism like:
THE 2023 List of Plant Based Diet Book Picks from Dietitians
How I Became A Fully Plant Based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Is the Future Vegan?
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