Why I Left Nutrition

For those of you who know me personally, this is old news.  But for those of you who don’t, this will be new.  As you can see on my about me page, I obtained my undergraduate degree in Food Science (with a specialization in human nutrition).

But before that, when I first started at Clemson- I was on the Dietetics track.  What’s the difference, you ask?  Well, nutrition and dietetics have the same fundamentals, but dietetics tends to be more clinical- and therefore requires more accreditation.  In the US, a nutritionist does not require extra accreditation, and there is a very loose definition for this label.  However, dietitian is a very strictly regulated field, and one can only be labeled as such after taking special courses and internships at accredited Universities/medical schools/hospitals.

So, back to freshman me. I was (and still am) a huge proponent of using natural remedies/ food as preventative measures and sometimes treatment for acute illnesses and overall wellness.  This can be considered a holistic approach.  I wanted to be a holistic practitioner, and a great place to start was in dietetics.

 However, late in my sophomore year, I changed my mind.

 The main reason is simple, and quite unfortunate.  When it comes to health, everyone is an “expert”

I had determined at the relatively young age of 20, that I could not work with the general public in matters of health and wellness…because, well…they won’t listen to someone with a degree.  They are happier reading from a magazine with bright colors and fun pictures.

I’m going to start ranting now, so you may want to step out…or put on your understanding hat, and try your best not to get offended if you are a self-made nutrition/health “expert”.  Because I have a few things I would like to say to the majority of people out there who googled saturated fat and now know everything.

 Who do you think you are?

In this day and age, where everyone wants to be involved in managing and understanding their health (a very admirable trait), something has gone terribly awry.  A fog has settled in, mixing up the very important distinction between fact, theory, and opinion.  People read an article on crunchygreenearthmother.com and think they suddenly understand everything there is to know about triglycerides, what they are, where they come from, and how they are good/bad for your health.  There is no need for accredited dietitians anymore, not now that there are experts studying under Drs Google and Wikipedia.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s a reason people go to University for this topic.  It’s because it isn’t simple- there is a lot more to nutrition than the latest fad.

For a less ranty/more informative post, check out my public service announcement about research articles and food science in general.  I’ll go ahead and leave my conclusion here, since it’s the same as this one…

knowledge>fear

and leave it to the professionals (the real ones)

Teaching, The future, and World Hijab Day!

  I have been neglecting my blog as of late, but I don’t think anyone truely minds, since I am the only one who looks at it… 

  Anyway,  this term I have been teaching the food microbiology lab with three lovely ladies.  We have only officially taught one lab so far, but I think I like it!  As much as a claim to dislike people,  I like to answer questions and explain things to people who don’t understand.  I even threw some doodles on the white board to help explain how to conduct the experiment…I think it helped!  Smart mouths and slack are still irritating to me, but you know what?  Its not my grade! HAH!

 In regards to the future… My husband has been expressing his concerns about returning to Turkey.  The University he signed up under (the one in which he will teach when we return) is not exactly his first choice these days.  Actually, its pretty close to his last (not including those in a region he doesn’t want to travel to).  I tell him all he can do is his best, and if it is nasip (fate) he won’t have to teach there.  I am doing my best to obtain good grades, have good experiences, and prepare myself for a potential job in industry there.  We are hoping (insallah) that if I get a job in the city his family is from that will influence his options for placement when he returns (apparently that’s a thing in Turkey?).  All we can do is wait and see. Hayirlisi olsun.

Lastly, WORLD HIJAB DAY is on Feb 1! I encourage muslims and non-muslims alike to don the hijab for a day as a sign of solidarity with our hijabi sisters.  The hijab has been banned in a few countries, which is explicitely against human rights!  Let’s remind everyone that the right to wear a scarf on ones head belongs to everyone, regardless of race, religion, or country!  Check out the movement at worldhijabday.com or on facebook!

Happy (maybe?) New Year!

I know I am a little late for the well wishes, but I have been thoroughly enjoying my holiday.  By enjoying, I mean laying in bed, using my new coffee maker to get me out of it, then baking and cooking all the day long.  It is so sad that this wonderful vacation will soon be ending.  I suppose I can relive it by a quick recap.

We drove from sun up till sun down (literally!) two weeks ago to visit my family in the best state there is.  I really did miss it!  What a difference you can see though, when driving north.  From lush green grass that enjoys the belated winter to dead white grass and stark naked trees!  Ironically it was gloomy and gray our first few days there, but that’s ok!  We stayed for Christmas and it was great spending time with my grandparents, mom, and brother.  Incase you were wondering, I got everything I wanted for christmas ;). We left and headed south on Dec 30 and actually got back earlier than I anticipated, despite the heavier traffic (I think it was my strategic speeding). We brought in the New Year by my husband waking me up twice in a ten minute time span to give me my New Years kiss.  I am getting old!!

For christmas I received a baking stone from my mom, and I must suggest everyone invest.  It made a huge difference for the frozen pizza we bought the day we returned (poor broke us).  Also, my husband commented that it made my fresh baked french bread better, but I may have been jadeed on that because the bread went flat when I tried to pick it up and put it on the preheated stone…I bet it will make pita bread delicious!

Also, my brother bought me some fancy-schmancy markers that are supposed to be similar to copic (these are called spectrum noir).  I will post my first attempt at using those bad boys separately.

In other news,  on this gloomy, rainy, horrendous day that should only be spent under a blanket, I must drag myself to the University to sign my letter of assignment.  Basically, it is stating that I understand my scholarship and will stay here and do my TA work fror the semester (or they can make me pay back the money).  I find it very frustrating that my advisor got a hold of these letters the day I left for vacation. Coincidence? Probably.  I need to go to the office and fix an error in my schedule before tomorrow anyway.  The new semester starts on the 6th and I am quite anxious…

Finals week 2013

So very ominous…

My first finals week of grad school is upon me, and yet I feel as though I couldn’t care less.  Perhaps it’s because only two of the three courses I’m taking have a final?  Perhaps it’s because I’m taking “research planning” (not even sure how to describe what that is…grad school 101?) and my advisors course?  Both of which I’m doing well in.  I am not going in blind, by any means.  I’ve studied over the materials…maybe three times.  These are not the most difficult courses offered in the department.  It is so hard to motivated at this point! Fake it till you make it…

In other news, I had a beautifully planned out course work list for the rest of my stay here.  HAD is the key word.  I tried to opt out of taking Advanced Food Processing, since I took a processing course at my undergrad university…but it seems they are trying to push me back into it.  Unfortunately, it is the same time as Waterborne Pathogens, which is what I really WANTED to take…Boo.  Now it seems that I will have to take an 8.30a course instead.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, I will be taking statistics in the summer…an 8.30a course that meets EVERY SINGLE DAY…until June.  Still, that’s no fun.

I am in the process of defining the methods for my masters research.  I will be making a little field trip (literally) to the research fields that the university has on the week after finals.  My husband and I are planning to load up the car and drive back to my home state for christmas break right after that.  Like, the next day.  I can’t wait to go home!  I’ve never attended university so far from home (which has pros and cons).  The pro here is that when we leave for break…we REALLY leave for break.  Can’t wait to disappear!

Always back to the same place…

How many times must we come to this same point?  Again we find ourselves at the never ending crossroads- the inevitable move to Turkey.  It will happen one day, and each week the day changes.  This time, it seems as though his advisor has declared he will never receive a PhD from this university…that is a strong statement to make.  They are not going to work out, no matter how hard he tries to get along with his advisor.  Now he is prepared to burn all the bridges and bring this ridiculous activity to the department chair.  GOOD!  That man is a bully and a jerk, he needs to be put in his place.

But what does that mean for us?

Obviously,  if no new advisor is found it will be back to Turkey for us.  At this point, I’m ok with that.  WHATEVER it takes to make the madness stop.  I can’t even enjoy the effort to receive my Master degree with a new crisis popping up each week.  Seriously, at this point I don’t care where we end up, I just want it to end- and soon.  There seems to be options in Turkey, a chance for me to continue my education at a predominantly international university.  I’m not even worried about that right now, I’m just worried about having to pay back my assistantship or not.  I’m not sure if I will have to, since I will be leaving the program…that is, if the advisor problem isnt fixed.

I demanded a decision in two months time.  There is a very real possibility we will be on a plane to Turkey next summer, or even January.

And here we go again

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And right when you though it was over, it starts again.  This time with more to lose.  Things have been going well for me on the academic side, even a little on the personal side as well.  My classes are challenging but interesting, my advisor seems great, and my labmates are all friendly and easy to get along with.  This is a much better start than I had in my undergrad, where I was basically a loner for about half of my time there and struggled to get a foothold in the university system.  I suppose that’s the good part of graduate school, you know how school works and the department is smaller.  I wish I could say the same for my husband though…

Now his advisor has basically refused to give him any more intellectual support. “Oh thats not my area really…you’re on your own”.  What the hell is that?  Why did you tell him to change his area if you were going to turn around and say its not your area and not help him?  That is the only reason he changed- so that he could get the support he needed from his advisor.  Now the hubby is saying he is going to talk to the international office lady (who has helped him through all his paperwork and problems) about whats going on and if there is something more that can be done.  Doing a PhD on your own is…ridiculous.  So will it be here? Or Turkey?

The thing is,  I’m not sure he realizes that there is very little difference.  Seeing as the classes are not his problem, its the people.  People have been his problem since day 1, even during his undergrad experience in Turkey.  Sure, when we think of Turkey we think of sunny skies, picnics, the beach, delicious food, and spending time with his family…because that’s what we did two years ago when we visited last.  Turkey was a vacation.  If we leave now, however, it won’t be.  Turkey will be life again.  Same people, same problems, different language.  He’s too busy here to go on picnics, go to the beach, go to see my family (that are now 7hrs away)…the story will not change when we go to Turkey. Working in his PhD there, he will be too busy for fun and his family, also, will be around 7hrs away.  It seems to me that Turkey as a solution is not all it is cracked up to be.  I hope he realizes that before he makes a decision that changes both our lives completely.  Maybe for the better. Maybe for the worse.

The cycle/circle of Frustrations

ARG!
ARG!
Birth, aging, death.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

We are all familiar with the various cycles/circles that we come across through out our day or lives. One cycle I am exceedingly familiar with is that of the cycle/circle of frustrations.  It hasn’t been occurring in me as of late, but my husband. It goes something like this:

I can do it!
Difficulty occurs (be it mental, physical, or social)
I can’t do it!
Encouragement occurs (again, mental, physical, or social)
I can do it!
etc. etc. etc.

With each cycle comes a deeper sense of failure and greater, more diverse encouragement is required.  It is getting to the point where my own encouragement to him is not enough, and he seeks support of his mentors (one of which is one of the difficulties that occurs).

It makes me so sad that he is constantly circling the drain of depression. I wish there was something I can do. As of late, it seems even going back to Turkey would not offer a reprieve.  It seems that, since his Masters was without thesis here, he would be forced to retake his Masters in Turkey, instead of picking up at his PhD. This is a time wasting scenario he refuses (and for good reason!).  We are at yet another crossroads, determining which way he will go in his research.  This is a make or break point, since we are at the point of no return.  I wish I knew what to tell him…
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