Interview: Nutritionist Focuses on Better Living Through Gluten-Free Diets

Cathy Cohn was interviewed by Gil Zeimer for the Intuit Small Business Blog. Here’s the interview.

It’s true what they say: You are what you eat. So it’s always shocking to discover that the kinds of foods people eat every day can cause far-reaching health problems.

As a nutritionist for six years, Cathy Cohn (pictured) of San Francisco’s Better Living Through Nutrition is an expert in nutrition with a focus on the currently hot gluten-free space. We asked Cathy some questions to understand what feeds this business.

ISBB: What business challenges have you faced during the recession?

Cohn: Surprisingly, my business has been growing – all this stress is not making for healthy times!


How have you advertised and built your business?

I have not done any direct advertising. I rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals because I’ve found that one happy client can generate two or more in return.  I meet people everywhere who think nutrition may be a positive step for them. Taking that step shows their readiness to address their diet and lifestyle.

My website and its many testimonials serve as a reference for people who are interested in learning more about my approach.

Is gluten sensitivity becoming more common?

Clients come to me looking for ways to get healthy and address specific issues – the process includes looking for underlying factors that may be promoting those issues.  Gluten sensitivity is a common discovery as one issue.

In fact, I am impressed with how many patients have food sensitivities. Gluten, in particular, has broad reaching effects that undermine good health or initiate chronic conditions and diseases. These sensitivities are far more common than when I first became a certified nutritionist in 2006.

What percentage of your clients are now gluten-free?

My clients have a number of food issues, but I’ve discovered that about one-third have a gluten sensitivity. Fortunately, virtually all of my clients who been identified as having gluten sensitivity, including myself, are not touching another grain of gluten because they don’t want to put their health at risk.

The plus side is that many people have moved to a healthier diet overall consisting of  far fewer processed foods and far more quality-sourced foods like organics, more fruits and vegetables, and whole gluten-free grains.

How has working with gluten-free diets helped your small business?

When a person’s health changes for the better, it generates strong word-of-mouth referrals for me.

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