During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we’re selecting 25 grads to showcase this year. Meet our first featured grad, Candace Bell, an AFPA Certified Holistic Nutritionist, who's utilized her certification to build a one-on-one holistic nutrition counseling business and a successful gluten-free recipe and lifestyle blog.
Why did you choose to get certified with AFPA?
I chose to get certified with AFPA because they are accredited and the knowledge that I was going to learn seemed so comprehensive.
I searched and searched for a certification online. I found AFPA, and just thought it was so legit. I compared it to other programs, but honestly, the comprehensive amount of knowledge that I knew I was going to get from this program compared to others was very clear.
I loved looking through the curriculum and knowing that I was going to get everything from food, nutrition and wellness information, but also be taught how to counsel people and how to work one-on-one with my clients. There was not only information on foods that are healthy, how the body works, and how each system in the body works, but they also gave you so much good branding information, business information, and how to go about helping people with different ailments.
I picked the Holistic Nutritionist certification because I was really looking to be able to help clients one-on-one, so this certification really gave me that.
What is your career now?
I do one-on-one nutrition counseling. I see clients of all ages, and they come to see me for a variety of different reasons. From clients with Type 2 diabetes to moms that just need more energy to chase after their kids, every day is different, and it’s really fun to be able to help people in their nutrition and wellness journey.
I also run a food blog. It’s a food, wellness, and lifestyle blog called The Wheatless Kitchen. I use my knowledge to give people a lot of health information and teach them about different wellness topics, and I create gluten-free recipes since I have Celiac disease. I started my blog before I got certified, but since then, I’ve really been able to kick it up a notch, not just in recipes, but also just in wellness topics. With my knowledge from my certification, I can provide my readers with more wellness and lifestyle topics that they might not find anywhere else.
How has your career changed since you’ve gotten certified?
I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education before, but getting this certification on top of it really me helped learn how to counsel people and help with whole body wellness instead of just telling them what foods are healthy.
Before I was certified, I wasn’t doing any actual nutrition counseling or seeing clients in any way, so that’s completely different. With the certification, I now see clients, bring in clients on my own time, and make my own schedule.
I get to wake up every day now and help people. Every day is different, every client is different, and bringing in income while getting to do what you love is a real blessing.
How did you become interested in health, wellness, and nutrition originally?
I actually grew up in a not so wellness-minded family. We ate a lot of fast food and things like that growing up. I was a gymnast and very active, so I never really thought much about my own health or wellness, other than just doing my sport and going home and eating pizza. That was how my teenage life was.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and that was really the turning point in my wellness journey because I had to change everything. I had to change the way I ate and the things I put in and on my body because the way that you take care of yourself when you have an autoimmune disease is very different.
How has your overall life changed since you’ve gotten certified?
The way my life has changed before the certification compared to now is like a complete 180. I definitely could not have counseled people the way I do now without the knowledge that AFPA gave me.
The certification has really impacted probably every area of my life, especially when it comes to my own personal well-being as well as my family’s. Now that I am about to have my first baby, the knowledge that I got from my AFPA certification has really taught me how to nourish my body and baby during pregnancy, but also it has given me the tools and the confidence to go into raising a child into a healthy home.
This is the only body we get, and I really believe in taking care of it and feeling your best every day.
What was your favorite part about the Holistic Nutritionist Certification program?
The at-home, at-your-own-pace process of the certification was one of my favorite parts and definitely one of the most convenient. They give you everything you need, and then you take the test when you’re ready.
Did anything surprise you about the program?
I was surprised the most when I realized how much I was really learning. I knew that I was going to be learning a lot. I knew that there were so many different topics that they covered in the program. But at the end, I learned so much new information and things I wasn’t expecting when it comes to plant-based diets, whole body wellness, and how to not just tell people what to eat or that fruits and vegetables are healthy, but to help them with various ailments such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases with different types of diet.
Would you recommend the AFPA Holistic Nutritionist certification?
I had a really great experience with AFPA. I would absolutely recommend it for anyone who’s wanting to get deeper into their health, wellness, and fitness career. I loved the program because it was so comprehensive, not just teaching you about nutrition, but also teaching about the business and brand side of how to really be a nutritionist and work one-on-one with clients. So if you’re trying to get into the business to help people every day, I would absolutely recommend it.
If you had to sum up the AFPA Holistic Nutritionist Certification in one word, what would it be?
Comprehensive. The amount of knowledge and the number of topics that you’re taught in this program is absolutely comprehensive. Every wellness topic that you can think of, you probably learn in this program.
What would you say to anyone who’s considering making the leap into health, nutrition, and wellness?
Just do it. You have to just start and just do it. I sort of leapt into it and did it, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Everyone’s different, and I think there are different certifications and programs that are right for other people, but this one is right if you’re really wanting to help people every day and help them achieve whole body wellness.