Lindsay Christensen, MS, CNS, LDN, CKNS
Welcome! I’m Lindsay, functional nutritionist and expert in nutrition therapy for Lyme disease, gut and cognitive dysfunction, and complex chronic illness. I believe that vibrant health and a strong, resilient body are your birthright. It is my mission to help you discover the best diet and lifestyle to reach your health goals so you can live your life to the fullest.
My journey to becoming a functional nutritionist specializing in Lyme disease recovery began with my personal experience with Lyme disease. I first began to struggle with a complex array of symptoms at age 16. At the time, I was running for my high school’s cross-country team and training hard throughout the summer. After my early-morning training sessions, I would come home and need to nap for hours before continuing on with my day. At the same time, I began to experience gastrointestinal symptoms. I thought I was simply worn out from training and didn’t give my symptoms much thought. However, looking back, this was probably when I first acquired Lyme disease, as I was regularly running through woods and prairies in the Midwest, where Lyme disease is widespread yet vastly under-recognized.
Two years later, in my first year of college, my health truly began to crumble. I was a high-achieving student at the University of Iowa, beginning my studies in pre-med when I started to suffer from an array of bizarre symptoms. My symptoms included severe insomnia, debilitating gastrointestinal pain, depression, fatigue, an eating disorder, and other neurological effects, including tingling sensations that felt like bugs crawling beneath my skin. I sought help at the university’s health center, only to be told I was likely dealing with just depression and needed counseling and antidepressants. Of course, neither of these treatment strategies worked. My health only continued to worsen. Eventually, I had to withdraw from the University of Iowa due to severe mental health struggles and an inability to carry out my studies.
Looking back, the following four years are now a bit of a blur. I saw dozens of healthcare providers as my health steadily worsened. I had to withdraw from college during my undergraduate education 6 times because my fatigue and brain fog were so bad by the end of each semester that I could barely function. Eventually, I ended up in a naturopathic doctor’s office, who advised me to begin a Paleo diet for my severe gastrointestinal issues. I recall that my gut immediately began to feel better on the Paleo diet, and my mental health also started to improve! However, I still had lots of healing to do.
About 5 years into my ordeal, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, mold illness, HPA axis dysfunction, IBS, and mast cell activation disorder and began treatment. Lyme disease was an underlying thread beneath all of these issues. My journey since my Lyme diagnosis has had its ups and downs but has trended in a very positive direction. A nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet has remained the cornerstone of my health maintenance program I’ve created for myself, and it has truly been imperative for my recovery process. My experience using nutrition to facilitate my own Lyme recovery led me to pursue my Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and ultimately become a functional nutritionist!
Today, I am a completely different person than who I was in my late teens and early twenties, when I struggled immensely with my health. I am living in my dream home in the mountains of Colorado with my soulmate and our beloved dog and running a successful functional nutrition business. I have authored a book on nutrition for supporting Lyme disease recovery and am healthy enough to climb mountains, backcountry ski, and run high-altitude trail races! Most of all, I feel vibrant, healthy, and at home in my body. My hope is that my challenging health experience can inspire others with Lyme disease to continue pushing forward in their recovery processes. Healing is possible!
What is a CNS? How does a CNS differ from an RD or “nutritionist”?”
I have my Master of Science in Human Nutrition and am a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN). I am also a certified ketogenic nutrition specialist (CKNS). While the LDN credential is pretty straightforward, I am frequently asked the question, “What is a Certified Nutrition Specialist?” A Certified Nutrition Specialist is an advanced, credentialed health professional who provides personalized, evidence-based nutrition care to clients. All CNSs must fulfill the rigorous requirements of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) to certify their knowledge of nutrition science and medical nutrition therapy. The CNS credential can only be earned by Masters or doctoral-level health professionals from regionally-accredited universities who have demonstrated expertise and experience in clinical nutrition.
A Registered Dietitian (RD) is also professionally qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for various health conditions and must complete a dietetic internship. However, not all RDs are required to have a Masters degree, although some do.
Some states allow anyone to offer nutrition advice and call themselves a “nutritionist” without an appropriate education or credentials. The title “nutritionist” is often given by short-term certificate programs. When you work with a CNS, you can rest assured that you are receiving high-quality, scientifically rigorous, evidence-based nutrition care.
My Educational Background and Professional Experience
- Graduated as valedictorian with a B.S. in Biomedical Science and an emphasis in Nutrition from National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois in 2016.
- Graduated summa cum laude with my M.S. in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in 2019
- Completed 1000 hours of clinical nutrition supervised experience to obtain the CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist) credential from the BCNS (Board for the Certification of Nutrition Specialists).
- Received my Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist license in 2021.
- 2021 graduate of the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program. Completed the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program and received the ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach certification in November of 2021
- Completed the Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist (CKNS) program through the BCNS
- Became a certified ReCODE practitioner in 2021; the ReCODE program, an individualized health program designed to reverse cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Author of The Lyme Disease 30-Day Meal Plan
- Technical writer for Quicksilver Scientific, a premier nutraceutical company
- Research Assistant and writer for Chris Kresser LLC
In my functional nutrition practice, I combine nutrition science with ancestral health principles to provide my clients with personalized, evidence-based nutrition care. My approach utilizes functional medicine testing, nutrition, herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes, and health tracking tools to provide my clients with comprehensive, customized nutrition care.
I derive great inspiration for my work from nature. When I am not researching and writing, I can usually be found outdoors rock climbing, hiking, trail running, or skiing!
- Graduated as co-valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biomedical Science and an Emphasis in Nutrition from National University of Health Sciences in 2016.
- Graduated Summa Cum Laude with my M.S. in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in 2019.
- Member of the American College of Nutrition and the American Nutrition Association
- Author of The Lyme Disease 30-Day Meal Plan
- Guest writer for Chris Kresser LA.c. Check out my most recent guest blog, “Help Clients Recover from Lyme Disease with Diet and Nutrition.”
In my free time, I enjoy trail running, backpacking, hiking, skiing, and (most recently) mountaineering!