Posted by: Kennedy | January 11, 2011

My return to student life

“Back to school… back to school…” I could practically hear Billy Madison’s awkward singing voice in my head as I waited for the bus yesterday morning.

I was a bundle of nerves as I walked into my first ever class at IHN, but they quickly faded as I chatted with my neighbours and read the course outline of my first class – Fundamentals of Nutrition and Health.

As we waited for the class to begin, the room was abuzz with all things nutrition. Sidenote: you know you’re in a holistic nutrition school when absolutely every student has an aluminum water bottle sitting in front of them next to their notebook.

As I glanced at the lecture topics we’ll cover over the next few months (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, digestion & elimination, vitamins, water), I found myself actually looking forward to studying them.

As our instructor spent three hours talking about soil composition, food cultivation, and the structure of our cells, I hung on his every word and didn’t look at the clock once (well, maybe once, right before our lunch break…).

And later, when I got home and opened my textbook to do the assigned readings, I thought to myself: “This is a book I would buy at Chapters, read on the train, and then talk about constantly to anyone who will listen.”

I know I’m in the right place.

In just two short days of classes, I’ve already learned so much. If it weren’t so interesting, I’d probably be feeling utterly overwhelmed.

I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to recall some of the concepts from my high school biology classes (mitochondria, anyone?), which will perhaps make the onslaught of readings and tests somewhat more manageable.

Even the final assignments we’ll be doing sound like a lot of fun. They will be work, yes, but they won’t feel like work the way the papers for my university communication theory classes did.

I’ll be taking a total of 12 courses this semester, two at a time. In addition to Fundamentals, I’m also taking Nutrition and the Environment, another class with a fascinating-sounding curriculum.

Two days in, I’ve already had some of my beliefs and assumptions challenged. I’ve already begun thinking about changes I can make to live a more optimally healthy lifestyle.

I promise I will use the blog to elaborate on some of the things I’m learning – I just have to learn them first! But I know there are a few eager nutrition beavers out there, so here are a few tidbits that I’ve found particularly interesting thus far:

–       In order to become a certified organic farm, a conventional farmer has to let the land lay fallow for three years (that’s three years without income). Then they must pay out-of-pocket for inspectors to later visit their farm and verify that it is, in fact, organic. Not the most affordable process.

–       Pesticides are added to the soil in which our food is planted, not just sprayed on top of produce that has already grown. That means pesticides aren’t just contaminating the surface/skin, but rather the entire food item (read: won’t come off no matter how much you wash them).

–       Pesticides are fat-soluble, meaning there is a higher concentration of toxicity in foods that are higher in fat, like avocados, nuts, and dairy products (a.k.a foods I have never before even considered buying organic).

–       99 per cent of items purchased in North America are thrown away within six months.

–       Our connective cells (tendons, ligaments, joints, bones) need collagen to be healthy, more so than calcium. What does your body need to produce collagen? An array of vitamins and minerals in addition to calcium.

And that’s only a small taste of all the information I’m digesting right now. As you can imagine, it’s been a pretty full couple of days and I don’t expect the pace to slow anytime soon. Certainly not with two tests next week…

I have, however, found the time to make a few delicious meals:

Recovery Rice Bowl: a warm lunch I made following a long, chilly run on the weekend. I came home cold and starving, so I wanted a quick lunch that would not only fill me but warm up my insides.

I started by prepping a bunch of random veggies and ingredients… leftover brown rice, leftover quinoa, black beans, dried parsley, mixed greens, grape tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, garlic and olive oil.

Then I sauteed it all together. First I heated the garlic and onions, then added the rest of the veggies, then the beans, the greens and parsley, and finally the rice and quinoa.

I threw the leftovers, along with a handful of spinach, into a wrap the next day to make a great first-day-of-school lunch:

And for dinner during my study break last night, I made Angela’s Spicy Rainbow Rice and Bean Salad.

This smelled amazing brewing on my stove… the spices really make this dish.

There are tons of leftovers – the recipe makes about 6 cups.

Leftovers are a very good thing for me these days as there are very limited options for buying lunch on campus, but I’m on the hunt for things that don’t require heating as there is no microwave at school (hence the leftovers-turned-wrap on Monday). Any great ideas??



  1. I’m glad youve made the right choice. I know you’ll love it. I just handed in my fundamentals assignment. Just wait till your class get comfortable enough to openly talk about and ask specific questions about elimination. lol. My close group of classmates enjoy talking about our eliminations lol.

    • Hahah! Yes, I expect those classes will be entertaining… judging by the detailed photos in the textbook!

  2. So glad you’re loving it. It is inspiring to see you follow your dreams – I couldn’t be prouder.

    • Aww.. thank you friend! That means so much 🙂

  3. so great to be excited about learning. you are definitely in the right place kennedy.
    Follow your dreams!

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