I was never a fussy eater growing up as a child, eating whatever delicious meal was put in front of me. I was from the generation that I call ‘the youth of the outdoors’, where in the summer months, after breakfast we would put on our shoes and run off outside to play, coming back when the pangs of hunger came and having the ability to tell time by the food aromas wafting through the air. Oh it’s time for dinner!
I feel privileged to have grown up with such a lovely array of home-cooked meals. Mam was and still is an excellent cook. She always creates delicious meals and wholesome snacks, getting inspiration from seasonal vegetables. In my younger years, she included me in the kitchen (which I loved) helping her to prepare dinner. I used to pretend I was a chef on TV, describing what I was doing (which was probably making a mess) but this was the start, the start of my nutrition journey.
My teenage years saw a shift, a bit more of a rollercoaster. There was a lot more influence coming from the outside world and I got introduced to the concept of ‘dieting’. This was completely new to me. Everything seemed more complicated. It was like I had been in my own little bubble just enjoying food and then stepped out of that, to be bombarded with so much information or should I say misinformation. The question circled my mind “what should I be eating?”
By chance (or fate) in my early 20s after college, I began working in a health shop. I got such great training and met some wonderful people and my knowledge and experience around health, wellness and nutrition grew. I felt inspired!
I wanted to help people and really enjoyed giving customers as much time as I could, talking with them, listening and advising to the best of my knowledge. I could feel my passion for nutrition and health growing. As my background is science based, I felt I could apply my science knowledge perfectly with what I was learning in the world of nutrition. Family and friends were (and still are) regularly seeking my advice (which I love) and once I start talking about nutrition, it is hard to shut me up. But I felt my own tug of ‘guilt’ that I should be working in science, in a lab because that was my field of study, so off I went. I spent the next few years working in both lab technician and administration roles. All the while, I would often be found with my head stuck in a nutrition book/article/research paper, wandering around health shops, listening to wellness podcasts and researching jobs that were even vaguely related to nutrition. I was lost. I knew what I was interested in but didn’t know how to get there.
When I came across IINH and this course (BTEC Level 4 Diploma in Professional Nutrition and Health Coaching) and made the initial call to enquire about the course, I still remember the feeling. I was delighted. I had a spring in my step. It was a no-brainer decision for me to do it. I am near the end of this course but I am at the beginning of a whole new chapter.
Guest written by IINH student Kate Gildea-Byrne
You can follow Kate on her Instagram page: @nutritiouslykate