If you have an interest in healthy living, food, and wellbeing, it can often be intimidating to try and find the best resources to help you learn more, especially with the constantly changing and faddy ways health is often presented in the media.
When I first realised that blindly going to the doctor and guzzling down whatever medications they gave me wasn’t the only thing I should be doing, I went on a several month long internet binge, reading and watching everything I could to try and educate myself about all the different health and dietary theories out there in order to try and start making sense of what things I could try out.
At the same time, I collected a small library of books across a wide variety of subjects, although at the beginning when I was trying to brainwash myself into becoming a vegan, there was definitely a theme to many of the books that I purchased!
Today I thought that I’d share my top online resources for those looking to either gain a more professional grounding in health and wellbeing or those just looking to learn more for free!
For me, having to spend a huge amount of time resting and in bed means that I’m often cut off from traditional educational routes, but with these courses you can learn at your own pace, anywhere. Even in your super comfy robot bed.
Institute for Integrative Nutrition
I have almost completed my year long course at IIN and it has been a great experience. A huge number of dietary theories are covered, but there are two things that really made the school stand out for me. Firstly, while there is a large focus on diet and nutrition, they work on the basis of “bio-individuality” – the idea that everyone is different. So we learn all these different, often conflicting ideas, in order to help ourselves and others figure out how to make the best choices for themselves. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how important I believe this to be.
But, as I mention time and time again, diet isn’t the be all and end all. The main focus is actually on what IIN calls “primary foods” – the aspects of our lives like our social networks, family, friends, work, exercise – all those things that make us happy and the role that this plays in our health.
The course is not just a dietary course. I’m taking the specific Health Coach Training programme, so once I graduate I will be a qualified Health Coach, and I really hope to work with people suffering from chronic illnesses to support and help them figure out what works best for them in managing their conditions. If you’d be interested in working with me, please do send me an email!
Because of this, we learn a lot of coaching and business skills, and I really feel that it has impacted the way I think about my own health, and hope that I can relay this onto others in the future.
One thing I would say about IIN is it’s a very wide-reaching programme. I don’t really feel like it’s ‘school’ or a training programme in the sense of a degree or an academic course I would take. It has mainly satiated a general curiosity and opened me up to other ideas as a starting point for further research.
If you’re interested in learning more about plant-based cooking, the best place to learn this online is with Rouxbe’s Online Video Cooking School. The plant-based programme is set up by the incredible chef Chad Sarno and teaches you everything you need to know from basic knife skills to advanced recipe development. I love the simple details of the in-depth look at different ways to prepare different vegetables and really understanding plant-based cooking.
This is a professional qualification, and the programme is recognised by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (phew long name!)
I started this course last year but have unfortunately been too unwell to continue with it. I really hope to be able to pick it up soon, as it’s a way to learn cooking skills from trained chefs without having to leave my own flat.
The Free Stuff!
If you’re not interested in gaining a professional qualification online at the moment, there are still a tonne of free ways to learn more – including from some of the best universities in the world. Here is my first roundup of my favourite courses and playlists that you can find!
Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science – via Harvard University on edX
Nutrition and Health Part 1: Macronutrients and Overnutrition – via Wagenigen University on edX
The Ethics of Eating – via Cornell University on edX
Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome – via University of Colorado at Boulder on Coursera
What’s Wrong With What We Eat – Playlist via TED
What are your favourite online resources? Have you tried out any of these?