Schooling and Career

How Changing My Diet Changed My Career Goals

From the time I was a little girl I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Specifically I wanted to be an equine/large animal vet. I never wanted to do small animal medicine because I absolutely hate cats, and have since learned I’m allergic, so now I have an actual reason to hate cats.

Riding my cousin’s horse Itty Bitty.

Everyone knew it too, my friends, my family, it was who I was supposed to be.

I started at Ohio State in the biology major with a pre-health focus. They did not have a pre-vet track, so this was my best option at the time. I knew getting a biology degree would help me get most of my pre-requisite courses done to apply to veterinary school, and that if I needed or wanted I could always change my major.

First time holding a bearded dragon.

Going through my first year I had a lot of realizations.

One was that I liked living in a city way more than I expected. In a state like Ohio, I could probably still live in a city and practice on large animals, but more than likely that would not work.

My pup Jake the dog.

Another being that college chemistry classes are very difficult and I ended up with a B- fall semester and a C+ during spring semester. Even then I knew that getting my GPA high enough to be considered for vet school by the time I would need to apply would be difficult, especially since I was going to need to take two semesters of organic chemistry and then go onto biochemistry.

I can’t pinpoint an exact timeframe at this point, but after all these realizations and a lot of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that going onto veterinary school and becoming a vet was not right for me. This was a very difficult decision. It took me a long time to come to this conclusion and be ok with it, and then even longer to tell my family. What made it even harder was that at the time I did not know what I wanted to be, just that I did not want to be a vet any more.

Senior prom pics at the nature center.

So I continued on with my schooling and taking the classes needed to receive my biology degree.

Time passed and I continued to get the question, “so what are you going to be?” I dabbled in many ideas including working in epidemiology, parasitology and public health. This is how I ended up minoring in global public health. None of those were for me and for a long time I could not answer this, I only really fully figured it out during my last semester of undergrad. Not going to lie this was pretty scary as well. Knowing you are going to graduate college and have no idea what you want to do is terrifying.

Was a ‘lab tech’ for a parasitology class in the Vet School.

It’s really funny how I figured out as well.

So now we will backtrack a bit.

Graduation Weekend May 2018

At the end of my first year of college I cut dairy almost completely out of my diet. I had done this after my mom had sent me some articles that suggest that the hormones in dairy can mess with the natural hormones in our bodies and lead to acne. At the time I was having terrible breakouts, some of the worst I’d ever had. Ironically right before I had these horrible breakouts I had tried to stop drinking so much pop and started drinking chocolate milk instead for a sugary beverage that I thought of as healthier than pop. Now I can’t even imagine drinking a whole glass of dairy milk by itself.

I was seeing positive results after cutting dairy. I will say I also did start seeing a dermatologist at this time and was prescribed a couple medications, so I cannot attribute it all to cutting dairy.

Also disclaimer: Cutting dairy specifically can cause lactose intolerance. This definitely needs to be considered if you are thinking of cutting dairy for any reason. Please do your research and talk to a physician, dietitian or nutritionist before doing something this drastic because it can come with long term effects.

Unedited shot showing acne, this is not even the worst.

Anyways this sparked an interest. If drinking dairy can affect our hormones so much, how do other things we put into our body affect our bodies. I also started to think about this in regards to celiac and other intolerances and how everybody’s body is different. This led me to start watching food documentaries and learning a lot about certain fad diets.

From here I started to think about how nutrition and food are such important parts of health and how we know this, but at least in America most do not seem to live their lives like they have this knowledge. For example we know that having a poor diet can lead to diabetes, and heart disease, as well as many chronic diseases, yet people still consistently eat fast food and highly processed foods. I do have to say for some this is completely out of necessity due to the cost difference between fresh local foods, and highly processed and fast foods, but we can talk more on that later.

I wanted to find a way to help people think more holistically of health. And more than anything I want people to realize they can use food as a preventative health measure. I truly believe we can prevent certain diseases by changing our everyday food and lifestyle choices.

After much research I found dietetics and believe wholeheartedly that being a dietician is the best way for me to do this. I used to work at a coffee shop and when I made this realization one of my regulars was like wow I can tell you can do it because I can see how passionate you are about this. Hearing that from someone who knew little about me was really amazing.

So now I am on a somewhat slow road to becoming a dietitian. I have a few classes I have to do that are prerequisites for a master’s in dietetics. I will then apply and hope to start in the fall of 2020. From there it will be a two-year program followed by a one-year internship.

More recent, unedited low to no dairy diet.

Without Celiac and going dairy free, I do not know that I would have ever found Dietetics. There are few reasons I am glad for my Celiac and this is one of them. I want to change the way we think about food and health and I believe being in this career field can help me do that.

Now I want to hear from you. How did you figure out what you wanted to be? Are you still figuring it out? Is it what you wanted to be when you were a kid? Let me know in the comments!

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