Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about having a consultation.
You can save time by reading these before emailing with questions.
For FAQ about plant-based nutrition, see our Nutrition FAQ page.
How do I book in for a consultation?
The easiest way to book in is to use our online booking service, accessible from the Bookings page. You will need to provide your name, email address, mobile phone number and payment details when you book in. (But you will not be charged until the appointment time.) You'll be emailed confirmation and a link to an online form to fill in prior to your consultation. (The form is to give me background on your health etc, and enables us to make best use of the consultation time.) If you have any problems with the online booking system, or can't find a time/day to suit you, please get in touch via email.
Who conducts the consultations?
All consultations are conducted by Dr Amanda Benham, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist and Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine who has over 25 years experience in helping people with plant-based eating. You can read more about Amanda's qualifications and experience here.
What happens after I book in for a consultation?
Confirmation Email and Pre-Consultation Form: After you book in you'll be sent an email which is important to read. It tells you when and where your appointment is as well as how to get there and where you can park for free (if driving in) plus Tele-health details (for online appointments). You will also be sent an email with a link to an online form, the Pre-Consultation Form. (Note that this is a secure form which is encrypted before being sent to me, to assure your privacy and confidentiality.) Please fill out and submit this form at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment time.
This form asks questions about your current and past health concerns, your current medications and supplements taken (if any), your current eating pattern, activity level and other relevant information. By completing this form before the appointment it enables us to make best use of the consultation time, as I will already have a lot of information about you before we meet.
What does a consultation involve?
- Information gathering: First of all well go over the information you supplied in the Pre-Consultation Form, and ask you more questions about your health, diet and related matters.
- Assessment: Next step is an assessment of any current or potential nutrition-related health issues, plus factors impacting these.
- Goal-setting: Together we'll decide upon some realistic goals.
- Action Plan: We'll outline an action plan for working towards your goals. This will involve me providing practical recommendations (such as a suggested meal plan) and relevant resources.
- Follow-up Plan: A follow-up plan for subsequent consultations, which will involve ongoing assessment, action plans, support and advice.
Where are consultations conducted?
Currently, all consultations are offered online (Telehealth) or via phone, due to the Covid-19 virus. Consultations are available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If these days do not suit, please get in touch to see if an alternative can be arranged.
Are online and phone consultations available for people living both inside and outside of Australia?
Yes, consultations can be provided to English-speaking people anywhere in the world. If you are in Australia, you can book in via our online booking system. (Note: The appointment times are in Brisbane time, and we don't have daylight saving, so don't forget to allow for this,) If you are overseas please send us an email so we can book you in as the online booking system gets confused by overseas phone numbers.
What is the cost of consultations?
INITIAL CONSULTATION COST (one person): $150 (approximately 55 minutes) ($120 for Health Care Card holders)
INITIAL CONSULTATION (couple living together or family): $195 (approximately 1 hour 20 minutes)
SUBSEQUENT CONSULTATIONS: $75 (approximately 25 minutes) ($60 for Health Care Card Holders)
NOTE: If you have the appropriate health insurance cover you may be eligible for a rebate from your health fund. Medicare rebates apply (for up to 5 face-to-face consultations per year) if you have a referral in the form of a Chronic Disease Management Plan from your GP. If you have an Eating Disorders Treatment Plan you may be eligible for up to 20 consultations per year. (The Medicare rebate of $54.60 will be refunded upon payment of the full fee above. Note that rebates are not payable on cancelled appointments.)
What payment methods are accepted?
When you book in online for your consultation you will be asked to provide your payment details. Payment is taken at the time of consultation via Visa, Mastercard, cheque or cash (for face-to-face consultations). For tele-health consultations (online or phone), payment can be made via Visa, Mastercard or via Paypal. (Paypal payments need to be made prior to the consultation.)
Please see cancellation policy below. In order to confirm your appointment, provision of Mastercard or Visa card details or prepayment via Paypal is required.
What is your cancellation policy?
Please try to give at least 48 hours' notice if you wish to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you cancel or reschedule your appointment with less than 24 hours' notice, the full fee is payable. If you cancel or reschedule your appointment with 24-48 hours' notice, 50% fee is payable. This applies to all appointments.
Will I get a rebate from my private health insurance fund?
If you have cover for dietitian's appointments you will be eligible for a rebate. You will need to check with your fund to find out how much the rebate payable is, annual limits etc. I will give you an itemised receipt upon payment for your consultation.
Are there Medicare rebates on consultation fees?
Medicare rebates apply to dietitians' fees if the consultation is part of a Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP, also known as a "Care Plan"), which needs to be supplied by your G.P. If your G.P. refers you with a CDMP you will be eligible for a Medicare rebate of $53.80 per visit for up to 5 visits per year. You will need to pay the gap between my fee and the Medicare rebate, unless prior arrangements have been made. Medicare rebates normally apply only to face-to-face consultations, however, they are currently available for online and phone consultations as well, due to Covid-19. You need a current Australian Medicare card to be eligible. (Bulk billing is available by prior arrangement only, and appointment time is 20 minutes.)
I would just like an assessment of my nutrient intake. Can you do this?
Yes. All consultations include an assessment of your nutrient intake, based on the information you provide on your eating pattern. If you would like a computerised assessment of your nutrient intake you will need to complete a food diary for at least 3 days on the Easy Diet Diary app and email that to us before your consultation. If you want only an analysis of your nutrient intake (no consultation), you can order one on the Shop page. Private health fund and Medicare rebates do not apply to an online nutrient analysis without a consultation.
Do you provide advice on taking vitamins and other supplements?
Yes. At your first consultation you will be asked you about any supplements you are currently taking (if any) and advice given on the suitability of these for you. You will be advised on any supplements recommended (based on your nutrient needs, current intake etc), including the type and dose. This information will be supplied in writing. We do not sell supplements but can advise of where to obtain the recommended supplements if required.
I'm new to plant-based eating. How can you help me?
Yes. I will help you make sure your plant-based eating is starting off on the right track, to make sure you get the maximum benefits from it and avoid any common pitfalls. I will assess your nutrient and nutritional health needs and advise on how you can meet these. I'll also provide advice on meal planning and food choices to help optimise your health, both now and for the future, as well as to ensure your diet is varied and interesting. You will be able to ask me all your questions about plant-based eating and receive ongoing support and advice via follow-up consultations.
Do you provide advice on raising children on plant-based diets?
Yes. Raising a healthy child starts prior to conception and I can provide advice on optimising your plant-based diet before conceiving, throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding, to help your baby have optimal health. I can also advise you step-by-step on introducing "solids" to your baby in a way that will help them to enjoy eating healthy food and avoid fussy eating later. I can help you provide optimal nutrition and a happy healthy approach to mealtimes from weaning and all the way through to adolescence and beyond. I hold qualifications in paediatric nutrition and dietetics from both the Dietitians' Association of Australia and the Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne) and I raised my children (now grown-up) on a vegan diet.
I have health issues. Can you help me?
Many common and chronic health issues are diet-related. A tailored plant-based meal plan can be used to treat, prevent and even reverse the following diet-related health issues:
- obesity / overweight
- diabetes (type 2 / adult onset)
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- chronic constipation
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive issues
With some health issues (such as gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, depression etc) it may not be immediately apparent whether it is diet-related or not. This will be assessed at your initial consultation, and further testing recommended if required.
Even if you have a health issue that is not directly diet-related, having your diet assessed and getting advice on improving it can in many cases help improve your overall health, putting your body in a better position to overcome any current or future health issues.
I feel low in energy. Can you help me?
This is a common complaint in our society and in many cases it is diet-related. Often, even though we think our eating pattern is alright, we are actually not getting all the nutrients needed in adequate amounts, or in the right balance. This can lead to a whole range of problems, the first of which is commonly fatigue.
Once I have assessed not only your nutrient intake but other factors (such as the timing of your meals) I can advise on changes recommended to help restore your energy levels and feeling of well-being. In some cases I will ask you to get further diagnostic tests done (such as blood tests) in order to help diagnose any potential health issues that may need treating.
I have food allergies or intolerances. Can you help me?
Yes. If you have identified food allergies or intolerances I can help you with meal planning to make sure you get all the nutrients you need while avoiding the identified foods.
If you have suspected food intolerances I can help you to identify them (via dietary manipulation) and then advise on appropriate meal planning. (Note: I do not provide a food allergy/intolerance testing service - you need to see a medical specialist for this. I can refer you to an appropriate person for this if indicated.)
My doctor says I should eat meat and/or dairy products. What should I do?
Perhaps ask your doctor why, and bear in mind that most doctors have studied very little if any nutrition, so are actually not qualified to give nutrition advice. In over 25 years of practising as a dietitian I have never encountered a person or a condition that required the consumption of animal products. However, (as with all eating patterns) proper planning is required in order to thrive on a plant-based diet. In a consultation I will provide meal planning advice, plus provide advice on ensuring you meet all your nutrient requirements, tailored to suit your nutritional, lifestyle and health needs.
I have been on a vegan diet for many years. What services can you offer?
When you come and see me for a consultation I will assess your current eating habits and nutritional health and advise on appropriate changes to improve your nutrient intake and health outcomes. I will provide advice on how to best meet your nutrient needs, including types and dosages of any supplements recommended. I can also help you set nutrition and health goals and advise on how to achieve these, with ongoing support in follow-up consultations.
As plant-based nutrition is an emerging area of knowledge and new research is being published regularly, I can update you on this and advise on how to apply current research findings to your dietary practices. I can also provide ideas on meal planning, food preparation and recipes to help keep your diet nutritious, varied and interesting.
Can you help me with my school/uni assignment on plant-based nutrition?
I'm sorry, but as I now get asked this several times a week, I can no longer provide help with this. However, feel free to use any information from my ebooks, provided you credit the information to my name and title (Amanda Benham, Accredited Practising Dietitian). You might also find my Nutrition FAQ helpful.
How do I book in for a consultation?
Please use our online booking service, accessible from the Bookings page. You will need to provide your name, email address and mobile phone number when you book in. You'll be emailed confirmation and a link to an online form to fill in prior to your consultation. (The form is to give me background on your health etc, and enables us to make best use of the consultation time.) If you have any problems with the online booking system, or can't find a time/day to suit you, please get in touch via email.