Haleh Olsen, MS, CN, ‘11, Lifestyle Nutritionist and the owner of Honu Nutrition, has clinics in both Bellevue and Kirkland. After graduating with her Master’s in Nutrition, research in 2011 from Bastyr, Haleh knew that she wanted to help people by providing quality and accessible services to the community.
Working in the community and making nutrition an accessible part of self-care is a notion about which Haleh is deeply passionate and committed. She believes that seeing a nutritionist does not have to just be about dealing with a particular ailment or diagnosis, but that nutritionists can also be educators for patients and helpful for those who just want to feel better or become healthier. With every person, she says “There is no wagon, there is no ‘on the wagon or off the wagon,’ this is a partnership. You show up and are willing to work, and I will show up and together we will achieve your goals.”
Overcoming obstacles with her patients and watching them improving their health is what keeps Haleh motivated. As there is more and more fear around the notion that seeing a nutritionist must mean a person is sick, she says that patients often forget that the most important part of her skills is to improve their overall health.
Haleh witnessed first-hand the impact that nutrition can have on a person’s life, as it provided her grandfather a boosted immune system and a higher quality of life as he battled cancer. Through her years working on a community pilot program in the Auburn school district, she saw that just 45 minutes a week of nutrition education and hands-on learning resulted in children grades kindergarten through 6th having higher grades, making better overall food choices, and taking that information home with them to their families.
When Haleh was a student at Bastyr, one of her professors said to her that it doesn’t matter how well one knows the subject or the textbook - what matters is how that information is transferred to patients. “That really stayed with me” she said. “As providers we have to take a step back and see our patients where they are. We may know exactly how to help with a specific illness or a goal, but if it doesn’t fit into our patient’s lifestyle or capability, we’re never going to be successful together.”
She attributes her success as a practitioner to the education and experiences, both scientific and human, that she received at Bastyr. “The sense of community is extremely important to me. Through all of my years at Bastyr, that sense was always present. I tasted it, I was immersed in it and for me, I have taken it with me to my practice and am passing it along to the world.”
She recalls a quote by Howard Thurman - “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
For Haleh, “Nutrition and helping people improve their lives is what makes me come alive.”