So for the last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that life has been extra busy and that I had a “big announcement.” Maybe I exaggerated a little bit or put too much emphasis on the “announcement” part. The simple fact of the matter is, I am enrolled in a cooking school. An ONLINE cooking school.
Let’s go back in time shall we? It may make a little more sense if I do.
Quite a few months ago, I was surfing the internet reading about Holistic Nutritionists, Life Coaches, Personal Trainers … all the things that interest me. Unfortunately, I have thought long and hard about my goals and dreams as well as the more realistic side of life (kids, house, mortgage, retirement etc).
Vans has been fairly patient with me. I would go up and down contemplating “what SHOULD I be doing in life?” The job that pays the bills, while not a horrible job, isn’t my “dream” job and definitely not one that fulfills my inner happiness.
But what DID make me happy? That was a question I repeatedly asked myself over and over. I had people ask me that question and follow it up with “What are you good at doing?” Honestly, nothing. There is not one thing that I excel at whole heartedly that would earn me a living. Not without some kind of degree or professional education behind me. Although I guess oneÂ could say that I excel at multi-tasking and having a lot of things on my plate all at once. 🙂
Sure if you ask me about plant-basedÂ eating or fueling for races using a plant-based diet, I will (and have) talk your ear off with a million suggestions, ideas or plans.
When someone questions my dietary choices and asks me “where do you get your protein?” or “how can you run ultras on a Â plant-based diet and still feel okay?” I go into hyper explanation mode. I do not get defensive about it, I want to explain it, share it and hope they are inspired.
When I see those around me suffering from ailments that could easily be cleared up by improving their diet, I secretly pray they ask me for help. But why would they? I am not a Nutritionist. I am not a Dietician. Â I have looked into going back to school to get those types of degrees but the cost and time alone is more than I can imagine right now, not to mention the experience that goes with having a job like that. I would be 80 years old before I had a few years under my belt not to mention the fact that I have two kids to put through college and two weddings to finance some day.
Quite a while ago, I took the eCornell Plant Based Nutrition course online. Most of what I learned in that three-monthÂ course was nothing entirely new to me. Sure it showed me the “science” behind what a plant-basedÂ diet can do and has done for many civilizations. It was interesting and I am glad that I took it as now I can say that I have a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from (e)Cornell. 🙂 Sounds so fancy.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I kept searching. Vans kept sighing and praying that I wouldn’t just up and quit my job all Jerry McQuire like … “Help me … Help you…” No, instead, I surfed the internet.
Randomly one day, I received an email in my inbox from an online cooking school that was offering a new course, a Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification Course. Wait, what?! So I did what most people do not do, I clicked on the email link.
It brought me to the Rouxbe Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification homepage. I surfed around on the page a bit and then did what most paralegals by dayÂ would do … I researched the living crap out of this company. Who are they? Who has taken their courses? What are they doing now? How long have they been around?
Some what happy with what I discovered, I signed up for a free trial. The free trial allowed me a day or two of access to some of the recipe videos and other teaching videos to give me a feel for how the course would be structured. I mean, come on, who can take a COOKING course…ONLINE?
After my free trial ended, I received an email from the school asking me what I thought about my free trial. Totally thinking that this was purely an automated email, I responded and basically asked them what is up with this course? It is crazy expensive and the syllabus seems very daunting. I basically said that I was a full-timeÂ working mother of two kids, with three jobs, a husband and lots of extra curricular activities … oh yea, and I have been plant-based for 20 years so IS this course worth my time and money?
I received a reply … from the co-founder and CEO of the company! He not only answered all my questions he also said, “I donâ€™tÂ have kids, but I do know that many of our students DO have kids. So that all depends on how busy you are withÂ Peanut and Squeaker (yep, stalked you :-). I would say this is a very good question and I really want Rouxbe to be able to empower busy moms and families on how to cook better. So I have a deal for you…”
Um, what? He stalked me? Sure enough, he read my blog and his “deal” was very Godfather like “an offer too good to refuse.”
Ultimately, he cut a significant amount off the tuition price for me on the agreement that I would track the time it takes to finish the course as well as document any challenges that I may face along the way. This would give them the feedback they need to modify the course in any way for more people like me.
Tuition reduction alone, this said to me that they truly care about educating mothers/fathers about how valuable a plant-based diet is and how important it is for our families to eat this way.
I agreed and the rest is history. I started my “schooling” on July 23rd and I have approximately 6 months to finish (sometime in January). Some people think I am completely nuts and I won’t lie, there are days when I am ready to pull my hair out thinking about all that I have to accomplish in a day, week, month. I may need to reconfigure some of my priorities, but for now, I am thoroughly enjoying the course.
The format is nothing short of amazing. The video quality for some of the lessons is outstanding and the manner and detail in which some things are taught, is very impressive. I am not that far into the program obviously, but so far it involves performing certain activitiesÂ and taking specific photos of your work and uploading them for grading. There are tests and quizzes and practical diagrams. Very hands on.
Overall, I am quite impressed and eager to keep moving forward in the program. I do find myself stressing some days about whether or not I will be able to complete it. Some days I find myself studying while at work (you can view the program on your iPhone) during the lunch hour etc. Some days I can’t fit a single lesson in which means that on another day I will have to double up on lessons.
Ironically though, within the last few weeks I have had quite a few friends ask me about plant-based diets. Either they are just curious or they have had some sort of health scare and are looking for a change, I am happy to share my experiences with them. Hopefully, down the road, after this course, I will be able to share even more.
After all of this internal searching for what I am “supposed” to be doing in life, I realize that what does make me happy is sharing and showing people how living a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be hard. It truly doesn’t once you learn some basics and I would love to be able to take someone to a grocery store and show them the products they need to buy (or more importantly NOT buy) and then take them home and show them how to prepare an easy plant-based meal that will heal them from the inside out.
For now, I am content to continue on with my course while maintaining my every day job(s). I answer questions at work almost daily aboutÂ following a plant-based diet or how to cure something holistically. Maybe I am supposed to be where I am in order to help those around me?
Either way, I am excited about this journey and I am sure Vans is excited to have a few more recipes thrown into our repertoire.