A Course On Nutrition


12 weeks ago I started a nutrition course at The College of Naturopathic Medicine in Central London, the course is drawing to a close and I'm happy to say that I passed the exam. I've loved every minute of it; the lectures, the homework, knowing that I'll be talking and thinking about food for 2 hours every Tuesday night. I started it because my huge love of cooking and food has gradually grown to include a fascination with nutrition, naturopathy and ways which we can fuel our body properly with healthy and natural ingredients. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone, whether you think you need it or not! All of the information is essential for everyone- not just people who like cooking, go to the gym, want to lose weight or whatever your reason for thinking about nutrition! It's the basics of how our bodies run and why we need to give them certain foods. Eating is something we all do every day and I think it's really important that we understand the affects our food choices have on our bodies and the way they work. 

The key things which I've learnt and found especially interesting are:
You are what you eat. This is probably the most important point of the whole course, don't be put off because it conjurs up images of that woman who looks like a raw turkey and used to look at people's poo on tv (Gillian McKeith). It means that we are made up of all the things we put in to our bodies, whether this is from food, water, beauty products or toxins around us. I already had some understanding of this, up until a year ago I had been eating lots of sugar, refined carbs and nutrient-low meals (pasta with cheese sauce) and suffered from headaches, exhaustion, anxiety and often felt really low and unhappy. But what I know now is that my body didn't have enough good stuff to run on, and it was acting accordingly. I remember hearing school teachers talk about a "balanced diet" and thinking it sounded completely dull, but now I get it! It needs to be balanced so that we get everything we need, total light bulb moment! 
Why organic is so important. I never realised how much gross stuff is pumped in to non-organic foods. If your food isn't organic that means it could have been sprayed with toxic pesticides and chemicals, grown unnaturally in greenhouses, forced to be fatter/bigger/a certain shape or colour, treated awfully and kept in unsanitary environments. All of which results in meat, fish or veg which is lacking in the nutrients we're supposed to get from eating them. What made me feel the most sickened was to learn that un-organic meat is not only kept in terrible, unclean conditions but also regularly fed antibiotics to stop the animals from getting diseases. We then eat the animal and therefore eat the antibiotics. Eurgh! If, like me, you're on a budget and have to be selective with your organic choices then I recommend checking out the Dirty Dozen list - this shows the foods most and least contaminated by pesticide use.  
Our diets are completely individual. Not one size fits all. I can't believe I've not cottoned on to this before. Every single factor of our lives affects how much and what we need to eat. There's no blanket terms, no diets which suit everyone. It's the same reason that some people turn in to vile monsters when they try the 5:2 diet (me) and some people lose weight and become a focused, energised, productive person (not me). We are all completely individual, in our lifestyles and genetics, therefore we all require different amounts of fuel and energy. Don't base your diet off some girl on Instagram -give your body what it requires. 
Skinny isn't everything. It's easy to become obsessed with eating certain things to stay or get to a certain weight. We've all been there, spending 25 minutes putting every bloody ingredient of your dinner in to MyFitnessPal just to find out your 150 calories over. This isn't a healthy way to think about food. Food isn't just calories, it's nutrients and fuel and it's doing a lot more than just making us gain or lose weight. It's not important for us to be skinny, it's important for our our blood to clot, our brain to function, our cells to renew, our bones to strengthen. Since I've learnt this I feel so much more relaxed about what I eat and understand why I need to eat a variety of things to get all that goodness!
Whole foods are best. Supermarkets are trying to sell you stuff. They're the bigger, more powerful version of a guy at a market trying to flog you something from the back of his van.They mostly want to make money with minimum cost. What this means is that our food can often be produced to get a job done whilst saving the supermarkets a few quid. Okay, this isn't all supermarkets and it's not all foods but you would be surprised once you start checking the labels on things to see how many additives are put in to different foods to enhance the flavour, colour, texture or shelf life. For this reason, it really is best to buy whole foods and make your own any chance you can. That way you know exactly what's going in your food and what it will do to you! 

The course is called Nutrition For Every Day Living at CNM and I can't recommend it enough! 

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