Studying a nutrition degree as a mature aged student at Endeavour College

I’ve just completed my second year of a Bachelor of Health Science degree Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine at Endeavour College of Natural Health. I’m a mature aged student and while at times it’s hard work, I’ve actually loved the experience so far. For me my favourite parts have been learning about the science behind nutrition, such as biology and biochemistry (I don’t have a science background by the way), and listening to the lecturers who are full-of knowledge gained from their own experiences as clinicians and from their studies. 

Meredith East-Powell nutrition yoga

I first became interested in studying a degree to become a nutritionist at Endeavour because of my own health issues with endometriosis and SIBO; I soon discovered how powerful nutrition and natural remedies can be as a tool for improving well-being. 

When I started my nutritionist degree, I was working part-time (in my corporate job) and thanks to the flexible learning options at Endeavour, I was able to study part-time and do one subject on campus and two subjects online; studying this way helped me transition and manage my priorities.

Things to consider before studying a nutrition degree as a mature aged student

When you’re mature aged there’s often competing priorities, which can be challenging. You need to be passionate and driven because study will take up a good part of your life in-semester. I think this is where the flexible learning options at Endeavour work well for mature aged students.

Another challenge is earning an income while studying, if you’re working in a demanding career, having the energy to devote to study can be difficult, that’s why finding balance and time away from your desk is key, otherwise it can lead to burnout.

Another consideration is that most of the Nutrition degree needs to be completed on campus, while in your first year most of your studies can be completed online, the following years will need to be done on campus. Just ask Endeavour if you’d like to know exactly how much study can be completed online.

While there are challenges with being a mature-aged student, there are also clear advantages; having experience in the workforce means you know how to prioritise and organise your time effectively. You will also be able to bring other skills used in your previous or current career to your studies and new career in natural health.

I think as well when you’re a mature aged student, you’ve had life experiences and you may also have had experience managing your own health issues; having this life experience will only benefit you in your studies and as a clinician, as you’ll be able to relate and empathise with your client’s situation.

From what I’ve seen, mature-aged students are often passionate and ready for the change; they’re driven and willing to make sacrifices to follow their heart. This is exactly what I’ve done and I’m loving my new direction.

Natural health is a growing industry that is becoming more important and relevant, it can treat ill health but also prevent it. If you’re passionate about improving your own health and want to help others do the same, head over to Endeavour College. 

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Blueberry and dragonfruit smoothie bowl

This is a favourite breakfast for me and on high rotation now the weather is so much warmer. 

Go for organic blueberries because the regular kind are sprayed heavily with pesticides, which is something women with endometriosis are best avoiding. 

Blueberry and dragonfruit smoothie bowl

Dragonfruit is available in supermarkets all year around in Queensland, but if you can’t find it you could always replace with some papaya or half a banana.

Why do I love this recipe? It’s easy, delish and jam packed with nutrients. It’s also macro-nutrient balanced with protein, healthy fats from the chia seeds and complex carbohydrates. I also use a prebiotic fibre called partially hydrolysed guar gum, it can be found online here.

Think of prebiotic fibre as food for our gut bacteria, it helps feed our friendly gut bacteria and has a range of benefits for digestion, our immune system and even our mood. Partially hydrolysed guar gum (or phgg) is great for those with IBS and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

I also use a protein powder called Inca Inchi, it’s packed with nutrients including calcium which is so important for women with endo – especially if you’re dairy free. The other type of protein powder I like is hemp powder which is available at most supermarkets and health food stores.

I use a combination of pure coconut milk and calcium enriched rice milk in this recipe but you can choose whatever plant based milk you prefer.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/2 dragonfruit chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia, plus 1 teaspoon reserved to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup of plant based milk 
  • 2 teaspoons of partially hydrolysed guar gum (phgg) (optional)
  • 1/2 a cup of homemade granola (or a low sugar brand such as Food For Health which is available at super markets)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a blender except for the reserved chia seeds and granola. Pour into a bowl and top with seeds and granola.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Mushroom quinoa pilau

I recently reintroduced mushrooms after removing them for SIBO treatment and am so happy to have them back in my life! They have such an amazing flavour all of their own and are good sources of B vitamins, chromium and selenium and offer modest amounts of protein. I’ve used oyster, wood ear and shiitake mushrooms in this recipe, if you’re on a low FODMAP diet swap the shiitake for shimeji mushrooms, or just omit the shiitake mushrooms.

Quinoa is a seed that I love as an alternative to rice and other grains – it’s gluten free, a complete source of all amino acids (protein), it’s also rich in fibre, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium and other trace minerals. Quinoa doesn’t have a great flavour on it’s own, so it’s important to rinse it thoroughly before cooking and I also cook it in a broth or stock. I’ve used an amazing mushroom broth in this recipe by Nutra Organics. You don’t have to use this brand for the broth, but I’d highly recommend it for the flavour and the health benefits.

I’ve used goats cheese, but it’s also lovely with a fried egg on top. You could always replace the goats cheese with a vegan cheese (a nut based cheese) to make this vegan.Mushroom and quinoa pilaf 2

Serves 3-4

You’ll need:

  • 150g mushrooms sliced (I used oyster, wood ear and shiitake)
  • 1 cup quinoa washed
  • 4 teaspoons of Nutra Organics Immune Wellbeing vegetable broth combined with 2 cups of boiling water to make a broth / stock
  • 2 zucchinis chopped
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1/2 cup of goats feta to crumble on top OR a fried egg placed on each serve
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil

Method:

Place quinoa and broth in a saucepan, bring to the boil then turn down heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a larger saucepan / frypan add the olive oil on a medium heat, add the zucchini, salt and pepper and saute for about 3 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for 30 seconds, add the spring onion cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the quinoa and combine all ingredients, stirring for a further minute. Serve in bowls and top with crumbled feta or an egg.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Protein pancakes

High protein, low carb and oh so easy to whip together – this pancake recipe has only 4 ingredients that just need to combine and pour into the pan.

Low carb, high protein pancakesMost of us seem to wait until the weekend for pancakes – but this recipe is so quick to make I’ve incorporated it into my mid-week routine as well.

I think this recipe is great post-workout, but it’s also good if you’re struggling with digestive issues such as SIBO and if carbohydrates give you symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. Low carb, high protein pancakes

I’ve used black-strap molasses, if you’ve never tried it I’d recommend it as it’s rich in iron, magnesium and calcium, but a warning the taste is strong! Try small amounts to start.

Serves 1

Pancake ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp protein powder (I used hemp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of plant based milk

Topping suggestions:

  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Berries
  • 1 tsp of seeds (I used a combo of chia and sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp black-strap molasses
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup

Method:

Add the eggs to a bowl, whisk gently, then add the remaining ingredients, combine and whisk until mixture is smooth.

Heat a fry pan with a teaspoon of oil (such as coconut or olive oil). Pour the mixture in, cover the pan and in a few minutes, when the pancake appears to be ready (the edges should be cooked), flip the pancake. When cooked, slide the pancake onto a plate and add your toppings.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Travelling with IBS and food intolerances

This week’s blog update is coming from guest blogger Angi, who travels extensively, while still managing to look after her gut, by finding eateries that are food intolerant friendly.

Do you love travelling? If yes, you’re the same as me. My name is Angi and I’ve been wandering the world for over a year – with my gut issues always by my side.
I have IBS-C and many food intolerances (lactose, fructose, wheat, onion and garlic, just to name a few). And even though this obviously sometimes gives me a hard time, it’s been the best year of my life!Angi The Intolerant Wanderer
Travelling has always played a huge role in my life. It’s my passion and I said to myself that I won’t let anything stop me from doing it. Was it difficult at times? Yes! And overwhelming? Absolutely! Especially at first. But with a little preparation and calmness everything is doable. Also it gets easier with time. And along the way I learnt a lot about myself and how I deal with different situations. It’s definitely been a journey in every aspect – for my body as well as for my mind. If you want to read some more tips on how to travel with food intolerances, check out the article I wrote for intolerant.me.

intolerant.me is a platform I created together with my partner Pam while travelling. Our main goal with it is to make life a bit easier for people with food intolerances and allergies. There is a lot of information out there scattered around. That’s why we try and channel some of it on our Instagram profile by sharing worldwide recommendations for restaurants, products and recipes – all food intolerance and allergies related. Currently most of the action happens on Instagram. But we’ve already organised some events and have many more ideas what to do next.

Besides this, I have my personal Instagram profile the intolerant wanderer on which I talk about personal stuff, my travels and how I deal with my intolerances. It has helped me a great deal to openly speak about my gut issues and interact with others who go through the same. It’s people like Meredith who give me so much and keep me going. Thanks! Also for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself here.

About Angi:

Angi is originally from Switzerland but feels home wherever she is in the world. As the intolerant wanderer she portraits her journey. With that she wants to help others and show that it’s still possible to travel and enjoy a location independent life, even if you have food intolerances. Together with her partner Pam, she also created intolerant.me which is a platform for people with food intolerances and allergies. It’s supposed to be a place for inspiration, information and interaction – and to make life a bit easier.