Do Raw Food Teachers need to be "certified" in the US???
I am starting a raw foods business. Currently I have been teaching classes and am also working on my recipe book. My question is: HOW MUCH CAN I TEACH PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING A NUTRITIONIST OR DOCTOR?? Can I only show them how to prepare food or can I teach what to eat and what it does to the body? Do I need to be a nutritionist to recommend foods to eat? Who certified the original "raw food teachers"? Can i start my own raw food certification program/school? Can I be a personal raw chef with no "personal chef" experience? (I was a chef in a restaurant for 4 years) I have never taken any classes, I am one of those lucky folks who lives in a town so small I can count the vegans on one hand and I am the ONLY raw foodist. I am teaching a class on raw foods to 100 people in 3 weeks, most of whom have NEVER heard of raw foods. Does anyone have any advice for starting my raw business? Can I just whip up some business cards and call myself a raw coach/chef? I'm putting my business plan together, but i haven't been able to find the info I'm looking for. I've been teaching classes for one year, I would like to make this a fulltime thing. Thank you for any help!
No advice? I wanted to calrify: I have been studying raw foods on my own for a number of years. I have read every book available, studied 80/10/10, Natural hygiene, veganism, etc. I have taught classes on food prep and raw food basics. I have hosted raw gourmet dinners and raw potlucks. I now have people who would like me to teach them personally and also prepare meals. Is this something I can just set up an LLC for and get going?
This will be a long post, so apologies in advance.
I took a holistic nutrition course here in DC (for my own self-improvement, not to be a nutritional consultant as a career). The course was 5 weekends long. Lots of holistic nutrition courses are available online as well. Completing a holistic nutrition course will prepare you to get a certification from an organization like the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) (http://www.nanp.org/). Note: the certification from the NAAP is NOT recognized by any state or locality in the US. However, having it would show potential clients that you took the time and trouble to attain some knowledge about the topic and had some experience doing dietary consultations. Personally I would not want to go to someone for nutritional advice who did not have some sort of coursework or training in it. Nutrition is very complex and giving someone the wrong advice or suggesting the wrong supplements could be harmful to them.
My instructor was a naturopath and she emphasized that you have to be really careful about the way you give nutritional advice--obviously you don't want to harm anyone, and you could get sued for practicing medicine without a license. She was emphatic about that. She definitely recommended that anyone who wanted to be a holistic nutrition counselor should get insurance (I think the NANP might offer policies); sadly, we live in a very litigious country.
I learned a lot from the course and really enjoyed it, but quite honestly I didn't think that it was rigorous enough to prepare me to actually dispense nutritional advice to people.
People don't like hearing this, but in my view the very best thing to do for anyone who is really serious about becoming a professional nutritionist is getting a 'real' college degree in nutrition, becoming a registered dietician, and coupling that with a holistic nutrition course (which is a walk in the park compared to a B.S. in nutrition, where you take biochemistry and anatomy and physiology and so on). That way, you can *legally* dispense nutritional advice without worrying about lawsuits, since R.D.'s are licensed by the state. I'm not saying that I would only go to a person with the credentials I have described, but I would know that the person really knew his or her stuff. Check into Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis' book called 'Becoming raw'--Brenda and Vesanto are registered dieticians who are also raw vegans. 'Becoming raw' is an absolutely essential book for raw foodists, in my opinion. It is packed with superb nutritional information by people who really know the topic.
In short, if I were thinking of consulting someone for nutritional advice, I would definitely want to see evidence that the person had studied the topic.
About being a raw chef--speaking for myself, I don't think credentials matter (i.e. going to a chef school) so much as knowing how to make really great food, which it sounds like you know how to do already. :-) Since you would be self-employed, having a degree from a chef school wouldn't matter.
What does matter is knowing about food handling and food safety. If you are making food for sale, your food prep area would need to be inspected to see whether it meets safety regulations. This is so no one gets food poisoning. If you are only talking about preparing meals for a couple of people now and then and doing a few raw food demos, that's one thing, but if you want to do something like raw catering or raw meal prep for paying clients on an ongoing basis, the safe way to go about it would be to get a food handler's permit and get your kitchen inspected. For the food handler's permit, you need to take a very brief class--check with the health department in your city to find out what you need to do. Here's some info: http://www.ehow.com/how_5083755_food-handlers-permit.html
There's a guy here in DC who has a cafe close to my house. He's a raw foodist. I don't know if he went to any 'certified' raw chef course (like Cherie Soria's course at the Living Light Institute), but his food is really good and that's all I care about. Because he runs a commercial operation from a storefront, he has to have permits from the city. Even if you are running your operation out of your home, it would be a really good idea to get the kitchen inspection and food handler's permit that I mentioned.
Sorry for the length, and hope at least some of this was helpful. Best of luck, and it sounds like you already have people who love your food!