With a passion for road-biking (hence the Instagram name @blueberrybiker) as well as the love of oats (hence the blog name oatsandends), these two factors have given us common ground, but Megan is here today to talk about her university studies. As a current Nutrition and Dietetics student in Scotland, she has seen it all, so when it comes to ‘de-bunking’ food myths, she’s pretty much an expert! I decided to ask her some questions, to see the view of a Dietetic on the current state of the ‘health’ community, as well as a few more friendly questions on the end too.
1. As a training dietitian, do you now see health claims differently as to how you did before university?
I think that being a trainee dietician has made me able to spot how many gimmick’s are out there and how companies/organisations take advantage of the public’s lack of nutritional knowledge to exploit them into buying their products and services.
2. What is your favourite/most surprising fact that you’ve learnt so far?
I honestly can’t answer this question! We learn so much every single week that it would be impossible to select one individual fact. I suppose while studying metabolism I was surprised by just how complex each of our many pathways are and how cleverly they interact with one another. I miss the days of when glycolysis just meant glucose —–> pyruvate!
3. What made you want to study Dietetics and Nutrition? And where are you currently studying?
So I am currently in my second year of studying Nutrition & Dietetics at Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen, Scotland. What made me want to study my degree was mainly my obsession with diet. While going through my teenage years and right up until recently this obsession was unhealthy so by studying dietetics I hoped to turn this obsession into something positive and useful.
4. What has been your favourite part of the course so far?
Just recently I passed my first ISAK level exam in anthropometry which for those who don’t know is all about body measurements. It involved lots of measuring, landmarking and use of callipers on the human body and I found it fascinating!
5. How do you feel about the continuous rise in fad diets and food health claims?
In terms of benefits to the population, I think it depends on the individual entirely. Overall, no, I don’t think any of these diets are neccessary and the majority of them are not going to work in the long term. However I think it has to be recognised that some people’s personalities require these exact examples for them to feel committed to something. For myself and many of my fellow bloggers, the idea of healthy eating involving the correct foods, moderation and more common sense that strict guidelines is easy to get our heads around but this isn’t the same for everyone. If a diet plan works for you then stick with it, I don’t believe it will be sustainable in the long term but it could definitely get people pointed in the right direction.
6. If you could create a compulsory lesson that all children had at school, what would it include?
Since I can’t really think of a new lesson I am going to say one that is probably going to be very unpopular with a lot of people – more physical education! Childhood obesity is on the rise and the more we get young children interested in sports and fitness the better. Less emphasis should be put on competing so that everyone is treated equally even if you are only taking part for fun.
7. What sources would you recommend to find factually correct information?
In my dream world, I would recommend good old fashion books as the best source to find correct information. However the world is progressing so fast that the internet really is the only way to stay on top of new information. I can’t really recommend exact sites but in general using official body websites is a good place to start.
8. In your opinion, how do you feel about the unrestricted standards for the title ‘Nutritionist’?
So when I applied for university I got an offer for both a Nutrition degree and a Nutrition & Dietetics degree, only the dietetics degree was accredited and this is the one I chose. Personally I think that nutrition is a complex area that can seriously affect an individuals life and wellbeing, if you choose to work in such a fragile area and take responsibility for someones health, then you should have a degree behind your name. At the end of the day it is down to the client and who they are happy to put their trust in.
9. What’s the one thing you would tell your younger self about healthy living?
I was extremely lucky and grew up with an amazingly healthy lifestyle so the one thing I would tell my younger self would be to never take it for granted! It’s s an honour to be able to live a healthy life, run around in fresh air, eat good food and sleep well. Don’t assume these things will come easily when you move away to university, you have to work for them and then appreciate them.
10. Due to your future profession, do you feel obliged to eat a certain way, because of expectation?
Personally studying dietetics has not changed the way I eat because this is how I have been eating for years, it just so happens that the foods I like fall into this typically healthy category. Of course my diet can always have improvements made but I believe it is currently already a good example of a healthy balanced diet. In general though I think that it is crucial practise for dieticians to practise what they preach. This doesn’t mean eating one particular diet but it does mean setting a good example for your clients and also giving them confidence in you.
11. Currently what’s your favourite dinner?
Being at university limits my time for evening cooking so what I tend to do is have some sort of stir fry everynight. My favourite ingredients to put in this are mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, tofu, peas, sweetcorn, spinach and if I’m feeling hungrier than normal i’ll have rice noodles too.
12. Best smoothie combination?
My favourite smoothie is peanut butter protein powder (Thatprotein), Cacao powder, banana and then lots and lots of oats, so good! This makes a super thick consistency especially if you add in ice.
13. Best toast topping?
Since going gluten free due to my health, toast is a rarity for me because I am not a huge fan of gluten alternatives. However when I do get a craving my go-to topping will always be crunchy peanut butter (Coconut & peanut from meridian preferably) with banana and agave. Second place would go to peanut butter and raspberry jam!
14. How do you spell the famous chickpea dip?
Although I probably spell it different every single time, has to be hummus.
15. What’s you favourite way to eat oats?
I love oaty smoothies! When I make a smoothie it has to be super thick and oats are the perfect thickener along with ice and banana’s. Some people seem to dislike the taste that oats give smoothies but I think it just makes them creamier!
If you want to find Megan online, find her on Instagram @blueberry_biker, at her blog https://Oatsandends.wordpress.com or via email Blueberry_biker@outlook.com
Thank you for taking your time to read this interview, if you have any questions or opinions, comment on the post down below. If you know anyone who you think I should interview next also give me a hint!