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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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.

 

SIBO diet kitchen essentials

Having your kitchen stocked with the right ingredients is going to help set you up for SIBO treatment success. It’s not just about what to have in the kitchen, it’s what not to have; if you’re anything like me if there’s chips or chocolate readily available, I am very, very tempted, especially if I know it’s restricted, so keeping these things out of your house while you’re going through treatment is going to save you a lot of heartache.

SIBO friendly salad and kitchen essentialsLet’s go through the staples that are going to set you up for success:

Eggs

Unless you’re intolerant, eggs are your best friend; fry, scramble or boil them, make a frittata or Spanish omelette, shakshuka (eggs cooked in tomato, spices and veggies), pancakes or add them to a stir fry. These nutrient dense little powerhouses will keep you going.

Protein powder

Find a protein powder that works for you, it’s important to try and find plant based sources of protein and fats as the SIBO diet can be very animal protein heavy which isn’t great for your body. I like Sacha Inchi protein powder personally. Adding a quality protein powder to a smoothie will help make it into a meal.

Salad ingredients

Crunchy fresh salads are usually avoided during herbal treatment, this is because we don’t want to give our gut microbes food to ferment. Sometimes though you just feel like a salad, especially if the weather is warm so I suggest keeping the fridge stocked with ingredients like fresh herbs, capsicum, cucumber, celery, cabbage and lettuce.

Coconut aminos

During my treatment coconut aminos were a saviour! Such a great substitute for soy sauce and so much better for you.

Garlic infused extra virgin olive oil

Another saviour if you miss garlic in your food, just don’t heat extra virgin olive oil because you’ll lose the health benefits.

Ghee and coconut oil

Ghee and coconut oil are my two top oils for cooking as they have a high smoke point.

Mustard

Get it from your health food store and read the label to make sure there’s no onion or garlic. Mustard such as Dijon can be added to extra virgin olive oil and lemon to make a salad dressing, or can be a great accompaniment to a steak.

Bone broth

Try to keep some in the fridge so you can have some as a drink but so you can make wonderful nutrient dense soups to heal your gut.

Tinned wild Alaskan salmon or sardines

Add them to a salad or maybe mash the sardines on some SIBO friendly toast. These will be a source of calcium on a dairy free diet.

Nutritional yeast

This one may be controversial being yeast, but it’s a form of yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii which has been shown to have health benefits for IBS. However, if unsure ask your health practitioner. I love it because it adds a cheesy flavour to food.

I hope this list helps you navigate your SIBO / IBS diet journey. It’s not exhaustive by all means, so if you have any pantry essentials you love – leave a comment below.

Health and healing,

Meredith

 

My experience with the Fast Tract Diet for SIBO and IBS

I posted back in February about the Fast Tract diet for SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). For those who aren’t familiar you can read up on the Fast Tract Diet here, you can also read my previous post here.

In summary The Fast Tract Diet helped me, but I needed to personalise it to my own needs; there were certain foods that just don’t agree with me and given that I have endometriosis I’m cautious with dairy – I only eat organic dairy and preferably made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, cheese is ok for me but yoghurt or milk isn’t.

The Fast Tract Diet

So I should share with you that I didn’t follow the diet extremely closely and didn’t add up the points manually, I just learnt the diet and scoring system then ate accordingly. I roughly eat anywhere between 30-40 fermentation points per day (my understanding is 25 fp points per day is recommended initally).

I think the Fast Tract Diet has worked well for me because I can eat many different high FODMAP foods including garlic and onion, which is why I wanted to give this approach a whirl as the low FODMAP diet wasn’t assisting me greatly. I think if you’ve tried a lot of different approaches for dealing with SIBO (such as low FODMAP) and aren’t getting anywhere, then perhaps The Fast Tract diet could be worthwhile trying.

I am feeling so much better since I’ve been on this diet, but it hasn’t just been the diet that’s helped, as I’ve also been taking prescribed nutrients and strains of probiotics and prebiotics (partially hydrolysed guar gum). I also meditate and practise yoga regularly as I believe the mind body connection is extremely important to healing.

For me personally I’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying different approaches to treat my health concerns and it can be isolating and confusing going it alone. I’ve learnt that long-term health issues such as SIBO and endometriosis warrant the ongoing support of a qualified health practitioner. I think if you’re completely confused about what to eat, see a nutritionist and let them take the complexity away so you can instead focus on healing and most importantly – enjoying life.

Health and healing,

Meredith x

 

 

Eating out with diet restrictions

Do you feel a pang of anxiety when you get invited to lunch or to an event where food is being served? Or perhaps you’ve looked at the menu and realised they don’t cater to your diet?

I can relate. In fact I’ve been personally dealing with this since I started following a diet to manage my endometriosis after I was diagnosed in 2013, then things got really complicated after I was diagnosed with IBS and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). I was feeling unsure about what to eat at home let alone what I could eat at a restaurant!

Here’s the thing, I LOVE eating out and trying different types of food so I decided I had to learn how to get around my diet restrictions. I’ve also learnt that declining invitations and events because of my dietary restrictions is isolating and depressing. Socialising with others and feeling like you have connection with others is key to good health – we all need human connection.

eating out with dietary restrictionsSo how do you tackle these situations? Well, read-on!

  • Is the restaurant / cafe menu completely unsuitable? Why not suggest you all go somewhere else instead?
  • If this isn’t possible or you don’t feel comfortable asking to change the venue, then read the menu online, if it’s just a coffee catch up, do they offer herbal tea or an alternative you can tolerate?
  • Be the driver of change! Call the cafe and ask them how they can cater for you; for example, do they offer cow’s milk alternatives? Think of it as a service to them; you’re actually helping the cafe by educating them about food intolerances, allergies and dietary restrictions, some businesses won’t change or offer alternatives unless people demand it!
  • Make friends with the waiter; they are your link between you and the kitchen, ask them what’s possible, I’ve had plenty of success doing this, more times than not they are happy to help accommodate your needs.
  • Learn what types of food you do well with; for example, I don’t make Japanese food at home but I love it and my body tolerates it quite well, I usually just avoid tofu and fried food and pick the healthiest items off the menu such as; green tea, sashimi, sushi and salads and keep the soy sauce to a minimum.
  • Remember, what matters most are your regular eating habits (how you eat majority of the time), if you are tempted while out then don’t beat yourself up, just enjoy the moment and move on. If you are going to indulge, seek out the healthiest version or choose what’s going to give you the least amount of symptoms. Sometimes, denying ourselves things we crave make us want them even more, from this an unhealthy relationship with food can develop – I think it’s always good to keep this in mind.

Do you find it challenging eating out? I’d love to know your tips and any of your favourite eateries in Brisbane that cater to dietary requirements.

Health and healing,

Meredith x