I studied nutrition because I believed in Hippocrates: “Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine”. I thought if everyone could be taught the healing power of mother nature. Then we could all have an equal chance at health. Being born and raised in a country without free healthcare services. I believed this to be a loophole. A safer, more sustainable and cost-effective way for all to prevent themselves from illness. But in this world, the fat cat just keeps getting fatter. And I couldn’t have been more naïve.
After my first year of biomedicine – anatomy, physiology and pathology. I became infatuated with the human body. I eagerly awaited my second year of actual nutrition. The joys of finally being taught how to utilise food to prevent human disease. Or else once an imbalance (disease) is already underway. How to utilise food to reverse, slow or seize its progression. I relocated from Cape Town, South Africa to London, England. To further my studies.
Before I explain my naivety. I want to express my gratitude for every privilege that I have been given. And every opportunity that I have taken and worked towards. I am immensely blessed for the knowledge that I have gained. And that is what I want to share most. Knowledge. And thus, I share as openly and honestly. What I have learnt and feel could benefit others. This includes gender-neutral topics but with a passionate focus on women's health. I also want to raise awareness around menstruation and female sexuality. Which has been shamefully suppressed throughout history. I chose to use what I have learnt to empower women. Something I believe to be far greater and all-encompassing than nutrition alone. It bridges a gap and provides a voice. And it is free for all. Sharing knowledge and being informed is free for all.
In my second and third year of studies. I had been told a million times over how I should be eating. Each professional with a different opinion. Food is often vilified in the health industry. Meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, gluten. The list goes on. Nutrition separates us into diets. Nutrition projects superiority, guilt and shame. I am told that non-organic food is toxic. Sugar is poison. That tap water is deadly. That the soil is depleted of nutrients and so is all of our food. That the only way to overcome this is with supplementation. This is somewhat true. And I believed that this should be shared. But devoid of judgement. And with sensitivity.
Being raised in South African surroundings. I will never imply that a single diet is superior over another. Not when food insecurity is as rife as it is back home. I will never disregard free fresh tap water as dirty. And something to be avoided. Not when people back home walk for hours in the blazing sun or icy snow to gain access to any running water at all. I will never vilify food. Not amongst cultures so diverse. I will never vilify food. Not when there is a pre-existing fear of food so deep-rooted in eating disorders. I will never disregard non-organic food as toxic. Not when food choices and availability is as limited as they are back home. I will never instil fear of poor food quality and thus the need for supplementation. Not when so many back-home go without food and nutrients day after day.
Not only does the fat cat keep getting fatter but it somehow lives longer too.
I quickly learnt that nutrition does not provide every person with an equal chance of being healthy. And that sometimes in this world we live in. Ignorance is bliss. There is no “good” or “bad” when it comes to food insecurity. As food for more than 800 million people is simply survival. And although this is not as prevalent in London, England as it is across Africa and the rest of the world. It does not mean that it should be forgotten.
I want to support you along this journey towards optimal health. But with heightened sensitivity towards those less fortunate. And the environment.
Celebrate food. Embrace being a part of such an advanced and innovative food and health industry. Uplift and support all those around you. Agree to disagree.
As my mum always said. Eat, sleep and be merry as tomorrow you may DIEt.