At the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, we prepare our students as much as possible to set them up for success in working the health field. We arm them with a variety of skills, from meal prepping to recipe development to how to teach classes, along with the knowledge about nutrition they’ll need to help others. The work is challenging yet rewarding, and delights in ways our graduates never would have expected. Still, there are some misconceptions about working in culinary nutrition that we’d like to de-bunk today!
7 Misconceptions About Working In The Health Field
Myth #1: Competition is Fierce
Some areas of business can be extremely competitive, with entrepreneurs willing to go to any lengths to keep others down. This isn’t the case in culinary nutrition, where we believe that the rising tide raises all ships. We are here to support one another and raise the bar in our industry: when one of us does well, that opens up more room and opportunity for the rest of us.
Each culinary nutrition expert has something unique to offer, and there is enough work to go around.
“The people in this new arena that I work with have the same goal and the support we show for each other’s health has been totally unexpected,” says Heather Gill, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert in Springfield, Tennessee. “I’m beyond blessed to be where I am today.”
Myth #2: Change Happens Overnight
Patience is a virtue in business and culinary nutrition. Often, we have high expectations of ourselves and our clients, and of course, it is important to do our best and inspire others to strive for the same.
Still, creating long-lasting changes and habits that clients will actually stick to can take time. Celebrate the small wins as they happen and inch forward as you go, and you’ll be surprised at what you and your clients can achieve!
“Educating people about changing their lifestyle and eating habits doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be overnight,” says Laura Mierza, a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert in Ottawa, Ontario. “Once they start changing their health, really look at what they’re eating and noticing benefits, they want to keep it up long term. When they come back feeling like a new person and they’ve recruited other people in their lives to make changes, that feeling is amazing!”
Myth #3: Online Businesses Create Easy, Passive Income
Everyone wants to create an online business these days. And yes, we do live in a virtual world where our client base can multiply exponentially when we open up our services to people no matter where they live. However, the idea that you can set up a website and watch the money roll in is false. In our view, passive income doesn’t really exist – you really have to hustle to sell your products and services online, from the work involved in creating them to the ongoing product management to the online fees you incur to host and maintain an online business.
There are a lot of amazing nutrition tools that can help ease the process, but there is still a ton of work involved – and nothing worth having is easy, right?
Myth #4: Clients Need to Be Dragged Into Healthy Eating Kicking + Screaming
As a nutrition professional, you might be accustomed to being the weird, crazy health nut among your friends and family members. Clients who seek your guidance will not share that opinion. They want to know what you know and are eager to implement the recommendations you make. For someone dealing with a serious health issue, or confusion about what diet trend is best, the knowledge you have to share, the recipes you create and the menu plans you provide are a valuable lifeline.
“One of my favourite things about working in this field is seeing lightbulbs go off for people during cooking classes when they realize healthy food doesn’t have to taste gross or be overly complicated,” says Caitlin Iles, a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and program coach in Saint John, New Brunswick. “Getting people fired up and passionate about the things they eat, the thoughts they think, and the people they surround themselves with is such an incredible experience that I don’t believe I get to do it as my job!”
Myth #5: You Can’t Start Without a Slick Website
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy website in order to do the work that matters to you. The best way to get started is to get started – the combination of social media, as well as word of mouth, goes a long way. Many of our graduates start off with Instagram accounts, Facebook pages or free WordPress.org sites. As long as you are professional in what you present, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a website filled with bells and whistles.
Myth #6: You Have to Stay in One Place
Many career opportunities in culinary nutrition are not in offices or clinics from 9 to 5. The business you design can be whatever you want it to be! It could be in your home, in a commercial kitchen, in a community centre, the local library, a coffee shop or none of the above.
“I am a backpacker and I never thought my passion for health and wellness would be something I could do while I travel and earn money. I have realized that it is possible to follow both my dreams of travelling and helping others through offering online health and wellness coaching off of my website,” says Michaela Kascak, a 2018 student in the culinary nutrition expert program from Stratford, Connecticut. “I have also been able to share my passion face to face with people I have met around the world. It’s an amazing feeling when I go to check on friends I have met abroad and see their lifestyle and eating habits have changed for the better.”
Myth #7: You Have to Know Everything About Nutrition
It’s impossible for you to know absolutely everything, no matter how long you have been practicing culinary nutrition. Knowledge builds over time, and the landscape is always changing as we learn more about food, health and wellness. This is where your research skills and resourcefulness come in! If you don’t know the answer, dive in and do the research. Whether your clients want to know about mood-boosting foods, sleep-inducing foods or a heart-healthy diet, you are equipped to help them. Research is the name of the game!