You are what you eat

By Jake Knight

Laurie Gill says teaching nutrition feel;s worthwhile when students apply information from the class in their everyday lives. Photo by Zach Barlow.
Laurie Gill says teaching nutrition feel;s worthwhile when students apply information from the class in their everyday lives. Photo by Zach Barlow.

Students interested in health and nutrition can sign up for Nutrition 101 next quarter, a math-science credit class taught by Kimberly Reeves and Laurie Gill at Whatcom Community College.

Nutrition 101 focuses on the effects nutrition has on the body, one’s nutritional needs, how food is digested, and the factors that influence food choices, said Reeves.

“I’ve never been a fan of science as a subject,” but nutrition is very relatable, said Keegan Way, 20, a student in Reeves’ class. “She gets us involved. we get into small groups and discuss nutrition,” it’s not just her lecturing us, he added.

Nutrition 101 may be more challenging for students who have not taken science courses in the past, Gill said. Reeves said the class is not focused largely on testing, with two exams and a culminating project.

Not wanting to give too much information, Reeves described the culminating project as a take-home assignment where students go out into the community and research their local organic food sources. They may talk to local farmers, grocery store managers and other people with knowledge of our local food sources. She said the assignment forces them to use the knowledge they’ve gained over the quarter.

“This class is really student-centered.The students drive the curriculum in a lot of ways,” Reeves said. “I have the stuff I like to get done, but there’s so much more that we get covered that’s not part of the syllabus per se, because the students drive that by asking questions and being really engaged.”

During one lecture this quarter, Reeves discussed obesity rates around the country and how the food industry affects these rates by producing low-cost, fat and sugar filled foods. She also discussed various surgeries and diets people use to lose weight. The class discussed the effects of obesity on the body and how these weight loss methods change the body. She even at one point brought out a model heart to show the obesity-affected regions.

“I really like how enthusiastic [Reeves] is,” said James Heese, 23, another student in the class. “She really makes everything relatable and breaks down everything.”

Reeves said her goals for the class were that students become scientifically literate, more informed consumers, and gain an understanding of how their food choices impact their bodies.

Gill said teaching the course feels worthwhile when former students tell her how the class has affected their lives.

“A gentleman who took my class a year ago [came up to me] and he said, ‘I’ve lost 50 pounds, but my wife has lost 60 pounds, she’s beat me,’” Gill said. She added that other students have told her that they have used information from her nutrition course in other classes.

“The food you put in your mouth determines your overall health and longevity. It’s just that simple,” Reeves said. “So why not invest in knowing a little bit more about what you’re putting into your system?”

Nutrition 101 takes place in Kulshan 109 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 to 10:20 a.m., in Kulshan 208, or from 12:30 to 2:50 p.m. in Kulshan 223. There is also an online version of the course available for students off-campus.

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