How Studying Nutrition Online Changed My Life

Tess Patrick TESS PATRICK

Most of us have an idea of what we want to be when we grow up from a very young age. At first, I wanted to be a dancing doctor, so I could ‘make people happy and make people better’ and my mother likes to remind me of this from time to time. As I grew over the years I played with seemingly every idea under the sun; acting, fashion design, a volcanologist (a scientist specializing in volcanoes), but nutrition was a field I never imagined myself working in.

At school, I loved the subjects like drama, English, and history and I finished with science at the earliest possible opportunity. Sure, I always loved to cook and grew up in a relatively healthy household with a holistic mindset, but I never considered working in the field.

I discovered first-hand the powerful healing benefits of food…

It was around my third year of university that I became increasingly fascinated with nutrition. I had been predominantly plant-based for the two years leading up to this point, purely for ethical reasons, and began to dive deeper into the space of raw foods and using foods for healing. At the time I shared a house with three friends and we brought a whole host of eating complications to the table - so we learned to cook foods that made us feel good almost right away.

It’s a value that’s stayed with me ever since, but sometimes life catches up and values slip to the wayside. Journalism was the next port of call after graduation; a true pressure cooker environment. Long hours, low pay, a dog eats dog food chain, and dirty looks if you actually took a lunch break. I was chronically stressed, barely moved my body, gained 15kg, and was the unhappiest I had been in my life. Typically, that would look like rock bottom, but somehow it got worse.

My own health hit rock bottom...

About 10 months into the role I completely burnt out. I had depleted all my body’s nutrient stores, the stress became too much, and I eventually lost my vision for three weeks. With total honesty, I can say that it was the most terrifying experience of my life. Frustrated with dead-ends at the doctor’s office (I was given a pill for migraines) and inconclusive MRIs, I turned to a naturopath for results. And with the right herbs and a plan to tackle the chronic stressors in my life, I began to heal almost immediately.

Your greatest lessons have the ability to shape your impact on the world. So as I looked for an exit strategy from the newspaper I worked at and armed with a newfound passion, I enrolled to study Health Science at an online university, majoring in Naturopathy & Nutrition. And with total honesty once more, I can say that it was the best decision I ever made.

I was able to study online...

Online university was such an earth-shattering experience, getting to learn about my biggest passions each day from the comfort of my own home, at the hours I chose, all while diving deeper into the space that I cared so much about. If you’re reading this, I know that you’re an advocate for this kind of lifestyle, so I’m sure you would have loved it too. To help cover my course fees, I worked in community care with the elderly. Many of them were living with advanced dementia, and while taking them shopping each week, I could see firsthand how a lifetime of misinformed food choices was influencing their overall health. It only furthered my passion for this space.

Now I get to work with the most incredible team...

After my first year of studying, I applied for a summer internship at Food Matters. Never did I think I would land it, but armed with my background in media and my love for holistic nutrition, it was the perfect match. Now a year on, I’m a full-time employee, waking up and getting to research and write about nutrition every day (and enjoy lots of beautiful foods along the way). It’s not the typical industry pathway, but I’ve found a way to marry my two loves, so it’s the perfect pathway for me.

I’m happy, I’m healing, and I can’t believe the doors that have opened from my studies; the most important door of all being the one back to self and thriving health.

Writing for a global health and wellness company is just one thing you can do following an online nutrition course. If you’re interested in the space, even just as a passion, there’s a way you can fit it into your daily life too. Discover the Food Matters Nutrition Certification Program to find out exactly how!