I want to help others cure or manage mental health disorders through the Paleo diet but also through implementing Paleo living habits. I believe that certain disorders also require supplements or bio-identical hormones, at least in the beginning so I’d like something that gives me legitimacy so that I can work with labs and private high quality nutraceutical companies. Does anyone have any suggestions? A Naturopath degree would work but it requires 4 plus years of education at $40K/year and doesn’t focus on Paleo principles. I’ve called some labs and they said that they would work with a dietitian but as they teach Conventional Wisdom I don’t think that it is the proper path. Does anyone do this for a living or have any suggestions? I’m willing to put in the work to learn and become legitimate I just want the work to be relevant. I asked Robb Wolf is he planned on creating a cert program and he said it’s in the works. Perhaps getting a couple of "minor degrees" such as the Robb Wolf course coupled with some others would be the way to go? I have a 4 year undergrad degree from a top University.
Some background if interested (but not necessary);
I’ve been dealing with depression, anxiety and ADHD since 14 yrs old (but didn’t know the diagnosis). On my own I went to Kaiser to see doctors and then psychologist and psychiatrists. I was so messed up that I could barely function. Was misdiagnosed as Bipolar II and put on meds for this and anxiety. Meds took a small fraction of the edge off but it wasn’t working. Went from doctor to doctor to doctor and then post college I got myself off of all of it (was taking a large handful of pills a day) through the use of amino acids and certain vitamins. Was much better than when on meds but still struggled. Still worked with a psychologist but on the side set off on a path that would have me literally try everything; acupuncture, acupressure, massage, Chinese herbs, mindful meditation, yoga, Western herbs, vitamin mega dosing, all organic (conventional) food, exercise, religion, hypnosis,CBT,self-help books etc... If it’s out there I’ve probably done it and spent a ton of money desperately trying to heal. About 1.5 yrs ago I went to a top clinic in Orange County and tried the doc route again. Had my brain scanned and it came back as I had ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder and depression. Took medicine and supplements from them for about 6 months before I found Paleo. Through trial and error (and the very helpful Paleo community) I got my diet to the point where about 40% of the issues went away (and no more meds). The other 45%-50% fell away with Paleo habits (dark rooms, social circles, more Paleo-esque exercise, sleep patterns, stress management, sunlight exposure, thought patterns, etc..). I’ve seen this work and I want to help others. I’m 30 yrs old now and when people meet me they probably have no idea that I’ve gone through all of this and think that I’m very healthy (Paleo!!!). My Myers-Briggs is ENFP so I naturally gravitate and should do well in teaching/counseling/psychology type positions. I think that the majority of mental (and physical) ills we see in today’s society just stems from the fact that we are not living in our natural habitat or eating the foods we evolved to eat. I’d like to help people recreate these lost needed patterns and diet to regain their health while living in the modern world. Sorry about the long post…
Maybe a slightly unorthodox response here.
The "problem" with Paleo/Primal solutions to health problems is that, for 80% of cases (What do I do for joint pain? depression? fat loss?), the answer is always the same:
You don't have to obtain credentials to know this and to help people figure it out (although they may not listen to you because you're not a credentialed "expert").
Actually, I think the hard part is not so much convincing people that you know what you're talking about, but rather getting them to actually do the things that they need to do. Once you understand the basic principles above, successful lifestyle coaching is more important than raw knowledge IMO. So if you really want to help people, look into this, would be my advice.
Of course, for special cases (say, specific thyroid disorders), you may need to know a LOT more than "eat real food." So if you want to be an actual expert who can deal with these cases, you'll need to invest in knowledge, and perhaps a credential or two.
If you want to work with labs and commercial companies, I cannot imagine that it would be enough for you to get a credential through Robb's upcoming certifications (although I would love to be proven wrong). You may have to suck it up and invest the time in a credential that you think is meaningless, but that the market will accept. Figure out which one will be the least of all evils and pay your dues.
If you just want to know enough to help a lot of people, then forget about the credentials or get a minimal credential, read everything you can get your hands on, and try to network with Robb, Chris, et al. Badger someone into letting you do an internship or something.
Best of luck.
Getting a nutrition degree or a naturopathic degree might not be optimal options. Personally, I went through the public health then nutrition route, and it is an okay route. My sister went the naturopathic route, and you will always have credibility problems.
The best route, if you can stomach it, is the MD route. My workplace is comprised of roughly 80% MDs and 20% PhDs or other. Even in projects where no one knows anything about the topic, MDs take over. When communicating research findings, MDs are quoted more often. It takes an ungodly amount of dedication if you don't actually want to practice allopathic medicine, but it opens doors that are very hard to open otherwise.
A second, interesting route is going with a good personal training certification, and getting a dietetic license. The RD field is rife with misinformation based on current dietary guidelines, and would be awesome to have more (any?) paleo in there.
Perhaps this is an option?
On a related note, I want to recommend http://www.amazon.com/Depression-Cure-6-Step-Program-without/dp/0738213136 which says a lot of the things said in this thread.
You should check out Bastyr, I've been thinking about this myself. They're a great school, that focuses on holistic health. They have programs for Naturopaths, and dietitians, and the like. I'm thinking about pursuing their Clinical Health Psychologist and Nutrition program. I believe it is a school that would be very open to the paleodiet philosophy, especially as the focus on real, whole foods.
I, like you, have discovered how much effect our modern diet and lifestyle can have on the brain. I opened up to this way of thinking when I had an episode of clinical depression (I usually experienced mini-depressions 1 week or less, this was the only one that lasted 1 month), and I decided to go to a naturopath before going to a conventional doctor for treatment, as I wanted to avoid meds. I was pretty surprised when he told me that I needed to increase my protein consumption. At that time I was a semi-vegetarian (ate chicken & fish, but really mostly ate bread products). Did the trick. Eventually I realized that for my mental health, I needed to eat more meat, and more frequently. Now, I no longer go through those "down" periods, that I regularly experienced.
I wish you well on going out and helping others!
What are your thoughts of this program "*http://www.trinityschool.org/programs.php?id=5" I know it's not accredited but it's seems like a great curriculum for a great price, and you can complete through distance learning!
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