SFHN Certificate Overview
Individuals interested in learning more about the benefits of whole foods and nutrition or adding nutrition information into an existing health-related practice can earn a Certificate in this informative program. Graduates of this program are eligible to enter into the advanced level of the Nutrition Consultant program which utilizes the knowledge gained in the foundation courses and applies that knowledge to work with clients. A high school diploma or GED are prerequisite for entry into this program.
You’ll be guided by an instructor and information that is engaging and accessible. Courses feature audio lectures and webinars available for download from your personal student portal. Practical application of the reading material is deepened through written assignments, practice exercises, and other community projects. Each course concludes with a Skype conference with your instructor that is graded. Students must pass a Foundation Level Exercise prior to receiving a Certificate of Completion for the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition Program.
- Category: SFHN
The concept of Whole Foods is central to Hawthorn's program of studies. Whole Foods Nutrition explores the value and necessity of quality whole food and its relationship to health and wellness. Current research demonstrating the health risks of the Standard American Diet (SAD) is presented. A variety of promoted dietary programs including the USDA food pyramid, the Atkins high protein diet, Dean Ornish's high complex carbohydrates diet, John Robbins' vegetarian diet and Ann Wigmore's raw foods approach are critiqued. The concept of biochemical individuality, benefits of fresh, whole, plant-based foods, and a chemical-free, transitional diet as well as lifestyle improvements options are explored. (3 Credits)
NC 1 Course Objectives:
- Define the differences between whole foods, and processed, refined foods
- Compare and contrast the effects and consequences of consuming nutrient dense whole foods vs. consuming processed or nutrient deficient refined foods
- Formulate a strategy to observe, monitor and track food intake and activity
- List and explain factors that influence and impact food and lifestyle choices
- Identify the S.M.A.R.T. elements of food and lifestyle goal setting
- Distinguish between the characteristics of various dietary systems
- List and define environmental factors that affect health
- Evaluate benefits of plant- based eating
- Identify lifestyle factors that support or diminish health
This course demonstrates the importance of remaining abreast of recently published research findings in the continuously evolving field of nutrition. Students use a critical thinking process to understand and evaluate research studies, discern the quality, accuracy, and validity of published materials as well as the advantages and limitations of experimental designs and outcomes. The elements of drafting a research report, including proper structure and formatting for text, citations, and bibliography, are presented. The art of oral presentations is also explored. Students are introduced to valuable Internet sites, public and medical library systems, as well as clinical nutrition and medical journals. (3 Credits)
NC 2 Course Objectives:
- Discuss the importance of remaining current with recently published research findings
- Outline the critical thinking processes used to understand and evaluate published findings
- Restate the guidelines for responsibly sharing information
- Identify and summarize worthwhile health and nutrition information sources
- Locate and use specialized tools to search the internet
- Define and outline the key steps and elements of drafting a research report
- Utilize citation guidelines for responsibly sharing information
- Describe the “healthiest way of eating” plan to achieve healthy eating goals
- Explain the fundamentals for the concepts of nutritional adequacy, status, assessment and planning
This course discusses the specific organs, glands, chemical messengers, and digestive secretions involved in the process of digestion, absorption, and metabolism. Students travel through the exotic terrain of the alimentary canal from the mouth to the large intestine, learning the intricate mechanics involved in converting food to energy. Specific food, herbs, lifestyle factors, and supplements that enhance digestion and utilization of food are presented. Common health conditions related to poor function of the digestive system are reviewed. The application of holistic nutritional tools are introduced and practiced. (3 Credits)
NC 3 Course Objectives:
- List and define the organs and glands associated with the process of digestion and absorption
- Describe the independent and interrelated functions of digestive organs, glands, hormones, and secretions
- Summarize the common symptoms and conditions associated with faulty digestion
- List and compare the assessments used to identify the health status of the digestive system
- Describe the various food, herb, and supplement strategies that are used to support digestive health
- Explain the difference between acids and bases, and how the body maintains pH balance
- Describe how cells regulate their intracellular and extracellular environments
- Explain the process by which nutrients are liberated and absorbed by the body
Macronutrients discusses carbohydrates, proteins and fats, the components of whole foods that provide calories for human energy. A description of the biochemical nature and classifications for each macronutrient is presented. Complex vs. refined carbohydrates and their effects on metabolism, particularly on blood sugar regulation, will be emphasized. Special attention is given to the remarkable health value of essential fatty acids as well as the therapeutic use of amino acids in nutrition therapy. Students learn how to determine the individual dietary macronutrient requirements of each client. (3 Credits)
NC 4 Course Objectives:
- Summarize the function and healing qualities of each macronutrient
- Understand the process of digestion with reference to the absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and fiber
- Summarize the origin of healthy macronutrient choices, and how such choices can be used in a meal
- Restate the recommended intakes for each macronutrient to maintain or improve health
- Employ the nutrient analysis software to calculate macronutrients in an average day’s food intake, and calculate the ratio of each macronutrient to total caloric intake
- Identify and classify the conditions resulting from deficient or excess intake of each macronutrient, fiber and essential fatty acids
- Define the restorative use of each macronutrient
- Describe how blood glucose levels are maintained, how glucose is taken up by the cells, and how energy storage in the body is regulated
Micronutrients presents the nutritional value of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and their fundamental impact on growth, metabolism, cellular integrity, and repair. Food sources of these essential regulators are identified. How they are metabolized, absorbed, transported, and stored in the body is discussed. Students learn each nutrient's function, mechanism of action, and the intricate interaction with other nutrients. Deficiency and excess nutrient symptomology is explored. Dietary reference intakes and Recommended Dietary Allowances vs. Optimal Daily Recommendations are discussed. Nutrient supplementation is reviewed, including the impact of the manufacturing process on product quality. Superior over-the-counter brands are presented and students are introduced to worthy companies selling professional product lines. (3 Credits)
NC 5 Course Objectives:
- Outline and discuss the function and healing qualities of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (also referred to as phytonutrients)
- List and describe the factors influencing the bioavailability of micronutrients
- Outline and discuss the importance and regulation of water in the body
- Compare and contrast a variety of nutrient rich food sources
- Provide recommendations on how to select, prepare and store foods to optimize their nutrient content
- Outline the recommended intakes for individual micronutrients to maintain or improve health
- Employ the nutrient analysis software to calculate micronutrients in an average day’s food intake, and calculate the ratio of each micronutrient to total caloric intake
- Identify and classify the conditions resulting from deficient or excess intake of each micronutrient
- Define the restorative use of each micronutrient
This course provides information and tools which can assist in determining an individual's nutrient needs, and in evaluating the nutritional value of a particular diet. Students learn to use food/nutrient tables and computer software to analyze diets and calculate total caloric intake as well as individual macronutrient and micronutrient breakdown of a diet record. Emphasis is placed on distinguishing high quality, nutrient dense foods that support health from poor quality, nutrient depleted “foodstuffs” that contribute to poor health and disease patterns. Appropriate dietary methods which support a client's health concerns and goals are reviewed. The process of transitioning individuals toward an optimal diet is taught and practiced. Health hazards, such as stress, toxins, trauma, malnutrition, and addictive coping that contribute to illness and premature aging are explored with suggestions for guiding individuals toward a path to wholeness and well-being. (3 Credits)
NC 6 Course Objectives:
- Define and summarize diet planning principles and guidelines
- Interpret a food label from a common product in lay terms
- Examine and assess the various positions on the alkalinity and acidity of foods
- Evaluate nutrient values in diet records and determine an appropriate intervention strategy to improve the health of the subject, and select foods that suit the needs and preferences of an individual
- Discuss the origins and use of the philosophy of Nutritional ID
- Review the findings of the Vegan Health Study
- Explore the influence of food and lifestyle on genetic expression
- Describe the qualities of a well crafted educational handout
This course presents tools and skills needed to build relationship, understanding, and trust between practitioner and client. Students receive instruction on the art of listening, building rapport, and giving positive feedback and direction. They learn how to gather important information from, and evaluate information about a client. Specific client intake forms and questionnaires, which enable a practitioner to explore patterns contributing to an individual's current health concerns, are introduced. Counseling skills and the structure and development of a client's healing program are practiced. (3 Credits)
NC 7 Course Objectives:
- Define nutrition counseling and nutrition education, and apply the characteristics of an effective counselor
- Evaluate and integrate the self-efficacy, the health belief, the transtheoretical models, the theory of planned behavior, and motivational interviewing
- Summarize and assess a variety of counseling strategies
- Explain and utilize the essential components of effective listening skills
- Identify the components of readiness to make a behavior change emphasized in the health behavior method
- Prepare for and conduct a client interview according to generally accepted practices
- Collect and interpret specific diet and health information data from personal consultative interviews with clients
- Instill trust, confidence and develop rapport in client relationships
- Create effective, appropriate goals with a client that are specific, achievable and measurable, and develop a plan of action for a goal
- Develop a health-supportive suggestions for a practice client
- Identify effective ways to enhance education in a nutrition consulting session and evaluate counseling effectiveness
This course focuses on the nutrient requirements for sustained good health in each stage of human growth and development. The most common health conditions associated with each life stage are discussed. Nutritional tools used to assess health status and specific protocols to support health recovery and maintenance are introduced. Students review case studies and assessments. An opportunity to practice the intake, planning, and educational phases of nutritional consultation is provided. Students develop an individualized, nutritional healing protocol. (3 Credits)
NC 8 Course Objectives:
- Define energy metabolism
- Discuss how ATP is uniquely suited as an energy source for cells
- Discuss the regulation of energy balance and how energy intake and energy expenditure are estimated
- Discuss the influence of growth, development and aging on nutritional requirements across the life span
- Define and classify the stages of illness
- Detail nutritional needs associated with pregnancy
- Summarize the common health conditions associated with each phase of the life cycle
- Devise a nutritional support strategy to address weight management and fitness issues
- Summarize the importance of cultural competence for health and nutrition professionals
- Develop nutritional intervention strategies for all stages of the life cycle
- Summarize and integrate a facilitator’s responsibilities for leading workshops, classes and counseling groups of individuals
- Summarize the process of conducting a needs assessment for a target audience
Upon successfully completing all the SFHN courses, students must demonstrate their understanding of the materials prior to receiving their certificate by passing the Foundation Level Exercise.
- Category: SFHN
Why learn online at Hawthorn University?
- want to expand your personal knowledge.
- want to enhance your existing professional practice.
- want to learn more about the whole foods approach to nutrition.
- are motivated to learn and work at your own pace.
- want to engage in online discussions with students and faculty.
- want to educate others about how to maintain good health.
- want to further your education and prefer a holistic approach.
- are interested in improving personal health habits.
We are excited about new educational opportunities available to online learners paired with the support and tutoring of your Hawthorn instructor. Educational tools include audio lectures, textbooks, journals, websites, and individual teacher-student interaction. Successful students actively participate in their studies, apply the principles being learned to their own lives, and share their information and experiences with others as well as network with other professionals.
- Category: SFHN
Hawthorn University welcomes students who have graduated from high school or have earned a GED to be considered for enrollment to the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition program. Basic computer proficiency, access to the Internet, and E-mail are required.
Students who wish to take just an individual Holistic Health course as a non-matriculated student, must fill out a “Continuing Education” application available in the Continuing Education section and indicate their desired course. As a non-matriculating student there is NO application fee. Students must supply a photo ID.
Complete and return the online application. A non-refundable application fee of $60 will be charged to all matriculated students. Your application will be reviewed and qualified applicants will be contacted.
Hawthorn University does not provide English as a second language instruction and all classes are taught in English. Hawthorn University requires prospective international students to have an academic background equivalent to an education in the United States, to fulfill admission requirements and to speak and write fluent English.
For more information on the application process, click the admission's link or contact Kathy McDermott, Director of Admissions & Student Management, at
707-986-4153, Ext. 401 during office hours, 9 am - 5 pm ET.
- Category: SFHN