As an nutrition entrepreneur, my professional development is dependent on my initiative! As such, on a weekly basis, I ensure I am continuing to acquire and solidify new information and skills from a MULTITUDE of sources!
At the end of 2017, as I was “Setting my Intentions” for the New Year, I chose to make it MUCH more clear to myself HOW I wanted to obtain my professional development.
What was I willing to commit to?
The organizational junkie that I am (being organized and NEVER lets you down!), I decided to start charting my self-directed learning, so as to create both an accountability tool for myself, as well as a means of reflecting on and celebrating my commitment to the wealth of new learning I’d obtain.
I chart my weekly and monthly development according to the 10 sources appearing below. This is not to say that I address each and every category every single week, although I aim to make a dent in each in some way, if possible! By having a visual accountability tool, I can track my weekly progress, decide where I'd like to spend more time with my learning and, at the end of each month, ensure I've fulfilled my development in a multitude of ways.
So far, I'm pretty pleased!
From where do I obtain my learning? Here we go!
1. PROFESSIONAL LITERATURE
The public library needs to become your good friend! As soon as a recommend title crosses my path, I’ve got it on reserve at the library! While this typically ends up in a situation where 10 books are ready for pick-up at the same time, it provides me the opportunity to peruse the material and prioritize what I will read first!
Therefore, I always have one book on the go, devoting time to a small handful of chapters a week, depending on the length! I typically accomplish this during a break in my work day or in the evening before bed. Or, while I wait for my evening meal to cook! ;)
I just finished The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven R. Gundry. A fascinating book that resulted in a shift in my thinking, knowledge and understanding, both personally and when consulting with clients.
Now, I’m presently reading Go with Your Gut by Robyn Youkilis. I discovered both authors and specialists on The Ultimate Health Podcast, prior to obtaining their books. As a digestion-focused and plant-based nutrition practitioner, my literature reads particularly focus on digestion and the gut-brain connection, in addition to exploring other topics (i.e. hormones, adrenal fatigue, stress, etc.).
*You may listen to Dr. Steven Gundry on The Ultimate Health Podcast, here!
*You may listed to Robyn Youkilis on The Ultimate Health Podcast, here!
2. HEALTH & WELLNESS PODCASTS
I didn’t become a regular podcast listener until the past couple of years, or so. This means of information was certainly on my radar but not part of my routine! What a shame! Now, I aim to listen to 1-3 podcasts a week! By downloading them in advance, I can enjoy them during my drives in the car!
After learning about The Ultimate Health Podcast some time ago (I had taken a plant-based culinary class with co-host Marni Wasserman while living in Toronto), I dove into listening and am so glad I did!
I love the variety of specialists interviewed and the array of topics addressed. I learn and take away so much from every episode, and the interview often serves as a springboard for further exploration into the topic, whether it be reading the interviewee's book, cookbook or exploring his/her's website or another online resource, for example. There is sure to be an episode to match my mood or what is piquing my interest at the time,
Another podcast I tune into are Sean Croxton's The Sessions. I enjoy the multitude of health and wellness-related topics addressed with this resources as well, as well as Sean's questioning process! He really digs deep into the concepts he is interviewing about.
3. HEALTH AND WELLNESS MAGAZINES
Alive magazine is my go-to for brushing up on information via shorter doses of print, as well as gaining new recipe inspiration and recipe testing new recipe ideas! After picking up a new issue, I read any and all articles about health and wellness topics that are pertinent to me at the time. After obtaining a new issue, I aim to read a couple of new articles weekly.
After reading them, I pull out the key points of information I don’t already have engrained in my head and that roll of my tongue with ease while in conversation with others, making some reference notes on my computer for future reference. To date, as a result, I have a running list of many concepts I can refer to as needed, time and time again!
The recipes in this publication are beautifully-photographed and provide a variety of flavourful options, seasonal in nature! I look forward to contributing a recipe and/or article to this publication in the not-too-distant future!
When it’s time to take a break from Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Ozark (do your body a favour and don’t watch these in the hour or so before bed!), a health and wellness-related documentary is where it’s at! Documentaries I don't get to regularly by any means, but there's always something to watch when you need to unwind on the couch!
Since they, most often, possess an inherent bias, health-related documentaries certainly need to be viewed and experienced with a critical lens! Regardless, they provide different perspectives to take into consideration. In addition, a cooking series, such as Chef’s Table, is always a salivating, inspiring experience!
Going back to my public library habits(!), the books I reserve most definitely include cookbooks! Having the opportunity to dig into a cookbook and try a few recipes, allows me to gain a sense of which ones I'd like to purchase and invest in for use time and time again! As a culinary nutrition educator, it is important for me to keep expanding my culinary repertoire! Consistent inspiration also allows me the opportunity to develop my own recipes with a great variety of experience to draw from. Right now I'm enjoyably exploring The First Mess Cookbook, by Laura Wright, and am LOVING it!
Since I have to cook anyways, when I'm anticipating my meals for the coming week, including any batch cooking that will done over the weekend, I aim to include two new recipes, whether it be a new breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack! I particularly like to try new recipes on the weekends when batch cooking, as the cooking happens at a more leisurely pace!
Celeriac (Celery Root)
6. NEW INGREDIENTS
Taking the initiative to locate an interesting recipe, purchase the unfamiliar ingredient and work with it, while learning about its nutritional benefits, is also important to me. From there, I can continue to explore the ingredient’s use in different ways. Most recently, I have explored flatbread-baking using cassava flour, soup-making with celeriac (celery root) and smoothies and sauces that incorporate mesquite powder! Mmm!
7. PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH STUDIES
Using PubMed, and searching Free Full Text articles, I am able to gain exposure to peer-reviewed research studies that address the topics of interest to me, in accordance with my digestion-focused consulting. By committing to reading 1 new research study each week, I can help myself stay in tune with up-to-date information about the nutrition information I address during my consultations.
8. FREE WEBINARS AND FREE SEMINARS
These are a source of learning not to be missed! Especially, like many of the sources listed above, because they are FREE! And, because you can listen to a free webinar in your pyjamas! I access my webinars, from various sources, whether it be health and wellness professionals I follow on social media, or through the Alumni Association associated with my past school of Natural Nutrition study. What’s even more convenient, is that by registering, even if I end up not being able to tune in to the live play, I can catch the re-play at a more convenient time. Again, a note-taking, learning opportunity, so as to draw upon the information provided for many reasons to come!
Furthermore, follow your local health food stores on social media as well! Here in Calgary, I attend free information seminars on a variety of topics at Community Natural Foods. They run on weekday evenings, with a start-time of 7 pm, and usually run for 60-90 minutes, depending on the seminar. A wonderful way to listen to new specialists live, ask questions, and take some notes! You never know who you might run into there as well! You may access the Events page of Community Natural Foods, here!
9. ONLINE, SELF-PACED (OR TIME-DEFINED!) COURSES & FACE-TO-FACE WORKSHOPS
Personally, I love both self-paced and time-defined courses.
Self-paced courses provide the flexibility to work the content into your schedule as you please, it may just be harder to stay accountable to the timeline during which you wish to reach completion! A perfect example: last spring I purchased the content for the first-ever release of the Gluten-Free Baking Academy online baking course, during a time when I knew something else to accomplish just was not possible! Fear of missing out! Nevertheless, I just started getting to the content at the start of 2018! But, it is a much better time now, and I’m loving every moment of it! Given the long-term access I have to the content, this was a drawing feature when I considered purchasing the content. The next round starts March 5th, if you're interested!
Courses with set deadlines/timelines certainly provide the accountability! Completing something under a bit of pressure to perform within a set time frame can be equally satisfying and rewarding!
I try to keep in tune with face-to-face workshops happening in Calgary, Alberta, where I am a resident; workshops addressing specific health and wellness/nutritional topics, including culinary workshops where I can be the student instead of the educator! One particular fave is The Light Cellar, who hosts regular events in their kitchen/classroom space upstairs. You may view their Workshops page, here!
10. CONVERSATIONS WITH MY COLLEAGUES!
An invaluable source of information, my colleagues in my industry provide me multiple, invaluable perspectives about a variety of topics, allowing me to tap into resources I may not yet have discovered or utilized.
As such, I attach myself to a small handful of closed Facebook forums associated with my past schools of study, those working in my field, etc. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of these online communities, as there is a wealth of experience within the group and therefore a wealth of resource sharing!
I hope this blog post has inspired you, as a nutritional entrepreneur, health and wellness-based practitioner, entrepreneur in another field or as someone passionate about continuous personal development, to seek out new sources of development and maximize the plentiful learning opportunities that exist out there for YOU! GO GET THEM!
In Pursuit of Vibrant Health,