Consulting a Vegan Dietitian vs Nutritionist

If you’re vegan, you know what it’s like to scour the internet for nutritional information only to find generalized answers that don’t align with your values. Without proper guidance on what constitutes a healthy plant-based diet, you may bump into nutritional deficiencies or not feel your best. 

Thankfully, dietitians and nutritionists trained in plant-based nutrition are out there to make your journey easier! 

But first–what’s the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

Both nutritionists and dietitians are health professionals who can work with you to create a customized plan to suit your diet and lifestyle needs, but they differ in their certification backgrounds.

Dietitians are registered professionals who have education, training and qualifications to provide health advice whereas nutritionists may not be certified or have credentials to support their claims. If choosing to see a nutritionist over a dietitian, it’s important to do your research and make sure whoever you see is experienced in their field.

Do you need a dietitian?

Not everyone needs to see a dietitian, but almost anyone can benefit from one. Dietitians help with a broad range of health challenges ranging from diabetes to disordered eating. Heart disease and obesity counseling are also commonly offered by dietitians, along with specialized nutritional guidance for transplant patients, athletes or individuals with specific dietary needs. 

Vegans may need guidance for addressing certain food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies or support in transitioning away from animal products. For this reason, it’s important to find a dietitian with knowledge of plant-based diets or at least experience working with vegans. 

Unfortunately, dietetic education focuses on food science and physiology rather than how plant-based diets affect the body. Despite veganism’s outstanding growth in the past several years, nutritional research is still lagging in regards to plant-based diets. Finding a dietitian or nutritionist who provides safe, unbiased information on vegan diets can be tricky.

When looking for a vegan dietitian or nutritionist:

Check for credentials

If you aren’t seeing a dietitian, we recommend at least seeking out a nutritionist or health coach with a certification in plant-based nutrition.

Look for reviews

Google, social media or website testimonials may have feedback from former vegan clients.

Find someone you click with

Feeling comfortable with your dietitian will allow you to speak freely about your dietary choices and health challenges.

Beware of gimmicks

Look out for health professionals who push products, supplements or commercialized weight loss programs.

Find a dietitian with experience treating your issue

For difficult-to-treat conditions such as autoimmune disease or rare chronic illnesses, you may want to find a plant-based dietitian that also specializes in your issue.

Finding a plant-based dietitian takes the guesswork out of getting healthy. We encourage you to reach out to any of our favorite, vetted-vegan dietitians below!

Dr. Fergusson is a registered dietitian with a PhD in nutrition and 15 years of experience. She’s worked as a dietitian in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia for organizations such as Unicef and the World Food program. 

Dr. Fergusson enjoys bringing wellness and fitness into her own life and that of others by using the power of activity to help improve mental and physical health.

Lindsay Schwarts is a dietitian and nutritionist specializing in disordered eating, binge eating, emotional eating, orthorexia and plant-based nutrition. 

Lindsay prioritizes person-centered, compassionate care in her pursuit to help others and their relationship with food. She believes that positivity, compassion, and curiosity will allow people to find solutions that work best for their individual goals, needs and personal path to better health.

For the past 34 years as a vegan, Tracye McQuirter’s passion for plant-based living has never waivered.  She aspires to make going vegan a comfortable, fun and delicious experience! 

Tracye removes the stress of learning what to eat, how to get all the nutrients, how to make affordable and delicious meals, how to plan your meals, how to eat out socially and so much more!

Shawna Barker is a registered holistic nutritionist, vegan chef, college instructor, and an expert in plant-based nutrition. She became vegan 25 years ago and grew determined to learn everything she could about nutrition, food science, natural health, and how to thrive on a vegan diet. 

Shawna founded Synergy Nutrition to teach, inspire, and motivate her clients and students about the benefits of nutrition and natural health. 

She works with both vegan and non-vegan individuals to create a specialized comprehensive program including individualized diet, supplement and lifestyle recommendations.

An enthusiastic woman all about family and nutritious eating, Radhi is your next vegan best friend and dietitian. Her vegetarian upbringing, Indian heritage and immigration to America inspired her drive to learn about food in a more holistic way. 

She earned her degree in Ayurvedic Health at the California College of Ayurveda and is now an Ayurvedic Health Counsellor. Her passion has led her to inspire and educate others on conscious cooking–where the mood, mindset, and energy of the person cooking is infused in the food and absorbed by the person eating it. 

Radhi believes that cooking with love and devotion and even saying a little prayer before a meal is a loving practice that has the ability to nourish the body, mind and soul.

Matt Ruscingo, athlete and registered dietitian, has been vegan for 20 years. He earned his Nutritional Science degree from Pennsylvania State University and a masters in Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University. 

Vegan athletes have to be specially educated to ensure their health needs are met. Matt’s seasoned background and passion for sports has allowed him to teach athletes about plant-based nutrition and how to build muscle on plants. 

Matt not only works with plant-based clients and athletes, but was also the chair of the Vegetarian Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Jennifer Rodrguez is a registered dietitian who describes herself as a dietista–Latina business woman, science nerd, and animal & life lover.

She started her brand “Food is Vida” to offer nutritional education and professional food photography services. Vida means life in Spanish, and through her nutrition consultations, recipes and food videos, Jennifer inspires others to view food as life! 

Food is life because it represents so much more than what’s on our plate. The memories and cultural traditions associated with eating connect us with people and our communities. As a dietitian and nutrition expert, she hopes to teach others about plant-based, preventive nutrition and healthy food relationships by promoting how food and its roots are vida.


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