Sunday, 25 November 2018

Too much politics for me?

I just wrote this (fair to say I'm having a wobble about my future!):

Is it all just too confusing now to know what to eat?

When was the last time you ate something with total confidence?

You read so much from so many places and just when you think you might have cracked the code on the mystery that is 'healthy eating' you hear some new bit of research which tells you how wrong you have it.

I'm frustrated.  I'm being honest.

For me, things are a little different as I have both crohns disease and celiac so of course I need to take those things into account.  Yet as a nutritionist (the type without a degree - yet!) I find it's near on impossible to give the right advice to the entire audience.

A dietitian who I previously respected has published a rant about all the type of 'clean living' which is apparently a new fad.  The BBC publishedthis show about the dirty secrets of clean living.  The blogger who hosted it was quite open about what she was trying and the advice she was getting from various fad diet gurus.  After watching it, I had to agree with a lot of what she said, there is a lot of bad advice out there.

Yet something that makes me really cross is how they portray us poor old 'nutritionists'.  
There seems to be a war between the quackary of being a nutritionist and a dietitian who is one to be obeyed.  
In fact, to set the record straight, we take the same degree qualification and the only difference is that Registered Nutritionists do not have to undertake hospital placements.  Generally,  once qualified and Registered with the Association for Nutrition, a Nutritionist will need to practice with as much credibility as a dietitian.  

I started out my degree to become a dietitian.  I changed my mind after 4 months as I realised that I would be tied to a 'one rule fits all'.  Sadly, I had a bad experience with a dietitian and I'm sure this was an isolated incident.  When I was first diagnosed with Crohns and fighting to keep my bowel in tact and not have it removed with surgery,  the dietitian I saw at my hospital knew nothing about adjusting my diet in accordance with inflammatory bowel disease, nor did my gasteroenterologist beleive I could make improvements in my health by changing my diet.

"you can't control your symptoms without medication or surgery, or both."  He said as I cried.
The dietitian advised me to eat from the Eatwell plate which I am sure would have left me in a state of needing the surgery.

I proved them wrong.

I won't go into my advice to you in this blog post. I simply want to  point out that if you believe one way works for you, then it's likely it will.  

However, while we have spent two years studying hardcore science and about to get into the minefield of research to complete our degrees at university, I can't help but wonder if I'm trying to enter an industry that seems to love a bit of politics.

That worries me.  

Friday, 9 November 2018

A week off sick

Everything got the better of me as I had my first cold in about 5 years!

I was so reluctant to take any time off but I was left with no choice.  Still now, I have no voice! But I'm back to studying and to be honest, I'm a little worried about what I have missed.

Meanwhile, up at the beautiful Greenwich campus, I have been undergoing training for a student ambassador role helping 6th formers with their A levels.  It's a role I am very keen to get my teeth stuck into.  Mentoring.  Nurturing.  My kind of thing.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

week 3

The real learning begins this week.  Up until now have we just been 'playing' at university students?  I had a feeling that things were going to start getting serious in the learning department.  Well, this is what we are here for after all.  Part of me feels so excited about the new challenges and getting switched on once again to stretching my brain (this isn't biologically possible I'm so sure!). The other part of me is feeling slight panic.  Who will take care of everything at home?  The fairies I hope.  Then of course there is work to juggle.  All while still over thinking things as I so often do.

Where will this degree take me?
What will I do at the end of it?
Will I write for a living or see patients?
Will I teach others?
Will I travel to far places and cure the hunger crisis?

Monday we saw the start of our first lecture with a fantastic tutor who taught us the basics (apparently) of amino acids.  This is one of the areas I am very keen to learn as I know just how essential it is to my course yet one of the areas I have not yet learnt very much about.  

Making lots of notes, I realised there is so much to go home and learn.  Di-sulphide bridges,  classification of Amino acids and ionisable - what are these?  Time for some Youtube videos once again.

Tuesday we all headed to the lab.  This was great fun and everyone within the group seemed to really feel it was a welcome sense of 'using ones initiative' and good old common sense.  Of course, there is much to learn but also a lot of the above needs to be applied.  I did have a quiet grin to myself as our tutor (with an accent like mine; local) said,
"Morning everyone, I'm Andy!" yet when you look up his email on the system, his name begins with Dr.

He was great! I could hear him clearly in the lab although I did wear my hearing aid for fear of not being able to be near the tutor.  Chemistry.  I am beginning to feel a love for chemistry.  Especially the fact that they gave us our very own drawers, with our very own glassware equipment inside.  All secured with a lovely 4 digit code.

During the afternoon lunch break I was once again finding myself with difficulties of negative conversations.  This was beginning to affect me and I was feeling a real sense of wanting to get away from this and simply work.  Where could I go to do this?  I would have to find a quiet hiding place.

Biology in the afternoon lab was fantastic.  Lots of sessions of learning how to pipette things (not things,  serial dilutions in fact).  I was so glad once again that I had experienced the time I had at London Met last year.  Valuable experience indeed.  People seemed to get the impression that I really know what I am doing and my collegues were asking me many questions.  I helped where I could of course.  It's what I love to do.  As we collected our ipads that afternoon,  I realised I had left my ID badge at home.  I needed this for the collection of the ipad that I would make friends with in the next 3 years.  
"It's ok, I'm local.  I'll pop home and get it quickly." I told the technician excitedly.  I wanted to get my ipad ready to go, loaded with the apps and set for my Friday lecture.

This is also the day I registered with the Nutrition Society.  Feeling very much like a real trainee nutritionist now.  What a beautiful, exciting career to have.

Friday I made many notes.  Isomers.  What were they?  I now know it's simply a name for the same number of atoms but joined differently! Go me.
Chiral  - Still to get to grips with the meaning of Chiral.  
Something about benzine.  It's special for a reason I haven't found yet.
Biology on Friday afternoon was a delight of wonderful cells and organelles.  Once again,  I wrote ATP in my notes.  Knowing this is likely something about energy but not being quite sure, I need to look it up.  I keep thinking something to do with active transport,  yet I know this makes no logic!

ATP is: Adenosine triphosphate. A molecular unit of currency.  ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.  

Lovely,  now I know something I hadn't known before.

Monday, 22 October 2018

My student diary youtube channel has gone live!

While I was trying to figure out about uni as a mature student, I Struggled to find what i needed.

So I decided to create a very VERY RAW And real channel, mostly with chatty videos about my university experience. I'm so excited to finally begin launching this video series from 3 years ago.

If you take a look and like what you see, I would love it if you subscribe and follow the journey!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Lab reports - how to do them

- 100 to 200 words summary of the purpose of the report, the data presented, and the author's major conclusions.

- Define the subject of the report: "Why was this study performed?"Answers to this question may be derived from observations of nature or from the literature.
- Provide background information and relevant studies: "What knowledge already exists about this subject?"The answer to this question must review the literature, showing the historical development of an idea and including the confirmations, conflicts, and gaps in existing knowledge.
- Outline scientific purpose(s) and/or objective(s): "What are the specific hypotheses and the experimental design for investigation?"What is the specific purpose of the study? The specific hypotheses and experimental design pertinent to investigating the topic should be described.

Materials and Methods
What materials were used? 
How were they used?
Where and when was the work done? (This question is most important in field studies.)

        Describe special pieces of equipment and the general theory of the analyses or assays used


  • Concentrate on general trends and differences and not on trivial details.
  • Summarize the data from the experiments without discussing their implications
  • Organize data into tables, figures, graphs, photographs, etc. Data in a table should not be duplicated in a graph or figure
  • Title all figures and tables; include a legend explaining symbols, abbreviations, or special methods
  • Number figures and tables separately
    and refer to them in the text by their number, i.e.
    1.        Figure 1 shows that the activity....
    2.        The activity decreases after five minutes (fig. 1)
  • Interpret the data; do not restate the results
  • Relate results to existing theory and knowledge
  • Explain the logic that allows you to accept or reject your original hypotheses
  • Speculate as necessary but identify it as such
  • Include suggestions for improving your techniques or design, or clarify areas of doubt for further research
  • suggest future experiments that might clarify areas of doubt in your results
General style
  • Strive for logic and precision and avoid ambiguity, especially with pronouns and sequences
  • Keep your writing impersonal; avoid the use of the first person (i.e. I or we)
  • Use the past tense and be consistent within the report
    note: "data" is plural and "datum" is singular; species is singular and plural
  • Italicize all scientific names (genus and species)
  • Use the metric system of measurement and abbreviate measurements without periods (i.e. cm kg) spell out all numbers beginning sentences or less than 10 (i.e. "two explanations of six factors").
  • Write numbers as numerals when greater than ten (i.e. 156) or associated with measurements (i.e. 6 mm or 2 g)
  • Have a neutral person review and critique your report before submission

Time management

Say no more. The car is being serviced so I sit here and work!