About our Credentials

What is a Nutritionist?

While the title ‘Nutritionist’ describes someone who practices nutrition in some form or another. There is no legal classification for the designation of nutritionist, nor specific education required to call oneself a nutritionist. Therefore, anyone may call him/herself a nutritionist, whether or not he/she has completed a certification program or self study, or has actually completed a degree in nutrition. However, since it is a descriptive title, both Ying Yu and Julie Starkel call themselves nutritionists.

What is a Certified Nutritionist (CN)?

In the state of Washington, a Certified Nutritionist is someone who has completed a master of science degree in nutrition and passed a state mandated HIV/AIDS course. CNs’ areas of focus include nutrition education, counseling, preventative care, and research. CN is a state certification and its definition varies between states. In Washington, most services provided by a CN are reimbursed by insurance companies equally to that of a Registered Dietitian. Ying Yu has her MS in nutrition and clinical health psychology and is a Certified Nutritionist.  Riana Giusti, now practicing at Starkel Nutrition, also has her CN.

What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)?

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is a national credential. An RDN must have a master’s degree in nutrition or a related science. Either within the degree curriculum or in addition to it, the student must complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) which includes courses stipulated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in three areas: clinical nutrition, community nutrition and food service. After completing her/his studies, the student then must complete a 1000 hour internship with rotations in a variety of settings where nutrition or dietetics is practiced. Once the internship is completed, the intern then takes a board exam covering the three areas of nutrition, and when passed, becomes a RDN. In addition to this national credential, each state then licenses or certifies the registered dietitian. Julie Starkel has her master of science in nutrition and is a Registered and Certified Dietitian.  She now practices at Starkel Nutrition.

What is a Certified Dietitian (CD)?

A Certified Dietitian is a Washington state credential. If someone has an RDN, they apply for a CD at the state level. No additional criteria are required.

What is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)?

In the state of Washington, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is someone who has completed a masters in counseling psychology and has passed a national exam.  Ying Yu has a master degree in clinical health psychology, which is a specialty field within counseling psychology that studies how behaviors, beliefs, emotions, perception, sociocultural conditions, and biological factors impact wellness and disease.  The field of nutrition integrated with clinical health psychology is new, and further focuses on the interrelationship between nourishment, psychology and disease.  LMHC is a national licensure and its credentialing requirements vary slightly between states. In Washington, most services provided by a LMHC are reimbursed by insurance companies.

What is a Certified Health Coach (CHC)?

A Certified Health Coach practices an integrative model that promotes health, balance, and nourishment, not just in what we eat, but also how we live, including areas such as career, exercise, relationships and spirituality. CHCs are professionally trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest and fastest growing nutrition education school. The curriculum covers traditional and modern, eastern and western dietary theories, and are taught by guest speakers such as Andrew Weil, MD, author and leader in integrative medicine, Deepok Chopra, MD, author and leader in mind-body medicine, and Walter Willett, MD, Chairman of Nutrition at Harvard University. CHCs are nationally certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Ying Yu is a Certified Health Coach.

What is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN)?

A Certified Clinical Nutritionist is someone who has at least a bachelor of science degree, has completed a series of pre-requisite courses at an accredited school, completed a rigorous program offered by a private non-profit educational organization, the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board, and sat an exam. Some nutritionists, CNs, and RDs like to complement and expand their knowledge by completing this program