Until fall 2017, Quest’s on-campus health services included access to counselling and physician consultations. Last month, it was announced that dietician services will be offered out of the health-clinic multiple times a month, on an appointment only basis. Her name is Sophie Koolen, and the Mark caught up with her to learn a little bit more about her background, and what value she hopes to add for Quest students.
P: You’re from Quebec, were you trained and certified there as well?
S: I went to McGill University, but I would say I’ve learned lots from being on a multidisciplinary team because I work with therapists and doctors in [Vancouver], and I think that’s where I’ve learned so much more. As a student you learn more theoretical parts of things but I feel like there’s so much more you have to learn—and most of it comes from experience. What I learned in school wasn’t always well explained.
P: What got you so interested in nutrition and becoming a dietician?
S: I was always curious about dietician and nutrition, and basically I started wanting to know what was in the food and what makes it healthy. Then I had one or two courses around eating disorders and I was like, oh my god. So I did my internship at Montreal Children’s in Quebec and I was very curious… I’m very interested in how your mental health and your eating are connected. Each one affects the other quite directly.
She goes on to explain how she feels that she is always learning in her profession:
S: Because disordered eating is so complex, it’s not just around food most of the time so you have to understand the whole social and emotional aspect around the food. It’s not just about the nutritional content. It’s about the relationship with food.
Koolen stresses that the most important health-tip that any student can incorporate into their lives is simply to remember to eat. She explains that so often we can get wrapped up in our school-work and personal lives that making time to feed oneself falls to the wayside. Recognizing our body’s relationship with food is crucial to performing our best. In her words
“What we shouldn’t neglect is feeding your body. All the hormones and neurotransmitters, it’s all from the nutrition you get. So if you’re not feeding your body enough it will affect how you deal with stress and how you deal with emotion. As students, you have so much of this to handle. If you’re not feeding your body enough, you’re not going in the right direction and it makes it hard for you to go through your day.”
While Koolen’s focus and training are largely concerned with disordered eating, she stresses that she is interested in helping all types of students with their diets. If you would like to set up an appointment with Koolen, she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 778-266-0840.