News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 30, 2013

Living healthfully

Dietitian opens independent office in Terre Haute; helps clients make better, health-conscious decisions

Dustyn Fatheree
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hauteans too often are making poor nutritional choices, adding to startling statistics: 32.8 percent of adults were obese in Vigo County in 2009, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and 29.6 percent of people were obese in Indiana in 2010.

Sara James, a registered dietitian who recently opened her own independent office in Terre Haute, wants to bring those numbers down, and help people live healthier lives.

James previously worked at a local hospital, assisting patients whose medical issues often prompted them to need to make immediate lifestyle changes. James sees a benefit in working with people who recognize on their own that they need to make better nutritional choices, but who need help to accomplish their desired outcome.

James, who opened “Nutrition to Grow” at 401 Ohio St. in early June, uses her knowledge and approachable manner to guide clients, not to push them.

“I sit down for hourlong sessions with patients,” she said. “I also offer the service of going to people’s houses and conducting family counseling sessions.

“I have a lenient teaching style,” the dietitian said. “I look into the lifestyle of the individual and help them form a plan. I don’t stick to any specific diet or chart, I take everything into consideration.”

James also follows up with patients after a few weeks to check in on their progress, keep them motivated and answer any questions they may have. She strives to be seen as the community dietitian for families, she said.

Pediatric care is a passion for James, who would someday like to work with Vigo County schools and local day cares to improve children’s nutritional choices and the options available to them. She also would like to expand her clinic in the future, staffing it with dietitians with varied specialties to address specific client needs.

James said transitioning from a hospital setting to an independently owned office has presented some challenges.

“The good thing about working for someone is that they took care of all the billing, Medicare and Medicaid side of it,” she said. “I also have to learn the marketing aspects of a business and make sure all the policies are in accordance with the IRS.”

Navigating the new demands associated with being independent takes time and effort, James said, but the upside has been rewarding.

Setting her own schedule enables the dietitian to plug in time for continuing education and research of the latest diets, studies and seminars, she said. This keeps her more well-rounded to more effectively advise people.  

Mindful of clients’ varied financial situations, James offers discounts for group and family counseling, among other services.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit, call 812-917-4229 or email

Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached at 812-231-4255 and