Being a student

I’ve been happily neglecting all my websites at the moment because I’m working on a book about my grandparents and my great uncle, but every now and then some fascinating naturopathic references pop up, a paragraph here and there, in the letters I’m scouring through in the search for book material.

The other day an old unsent letter reminded me that I had originally been looking at studying to become a dietician. I had forgotten about that. The timing, looking through these old letters, is quite interesting because my daughter has just started studying naturopathy and she too was faced with the same subject dilemma.

The latest letter I’ve found doesn’t have a date on it, but I’m guessing it was in the late 1990’s. I was just about to start my clinic time. I apprenticed myself to some amazing herbalists and naturopaths around town, including a local psychologist who helped me hone my spiritual counselling and colour therapy skills. I was also in the midst of studying pathology, which really wasn’t my idea of fun:

“At the moment I am totally engrossed in Pathology 1. There is a LOT of reading to do and I am having to constantly refer to my medical dictionary. The subject result is based 100% on the exam and I am a little nervous.

I had a few false starts with this subject but am now finding it fascinating even if I sometimes have to cover up the pictures so I can get through the text! (yuk!) The frequent references to animal experiments make me squirm with discomfort. They go on about this test and that test on various animals without batting an eyelid and then say “but of course, we can’t find out the effect on a human because that would be immoral”. Weird logic. Glad I didn’t do medicine *laughing* I would have been sneaking into the laboratories and setting the animals free!”

Incredible isn’t it? The vast majority of those studies on animals are completely meaningless anyway, because they quite simply don’t apply to humans. So we are torturing them for no reason. Like the carry-on about needing to soak nuts. That idea came from research on dogs, which have very different digestive systems to our own. I never soak my nuts. I WANT the phytates! They are beautiful nutrients that protect us from cancer, osteoporosis and inflammation. We need human-relevant studies into human-nutrition, and we need to think in a more holistic manner: labelling phytates as ‘anti-nutrients’ is classic more-is-better thinking that doesn’t take into account the diverse biochemical activity of any one phytochemical, and the subtle interplay between the that chemical and the multitude of others that compose a whole food.

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