100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 4: Nutritional Education

I thought about taking an “off” day today, and just lounging around being a general lazy-bum.  But then I got into my new online Nutritional Education Certificate program I started earlier in the week, and I ended up plowing through the remainder of the lessons, taking good notes, and passing yet another exam to receive my certificate in Nutrition.

What’s the point of getting these certificates if I have no intention of becoming a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or a fitness mentor?

Maybe I’ve mentioned it on my blogs, maybe I haven’t, but to make it more official, I’ll tell you.  The reason for gaining as much knowledge and certification as I possibly can in the Fitness and Nutritional fields is the same as the reason I started this blog…. I’m writing some books.

Dun. dun. duuuuuunnnnnn!

I came up with the idea of my conservation cookbook a while ago, probably 2013.  At the time, I was trying to come up with creative ways to get friends to donate more money to AAZK’s biggest fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos.  Somehow, the concept of sending a recipe card with poached egg recipes came up, and I would call the recipe booklet “Poach Eggs, Not Rhinos”.  But since then, my idea has quite expanded.  And now, I have a whole book of recipes that I’m itching to share with the world, but relate the sections to conservation issues.  For example, one of the most common ingredients in our favorite desserts is palm oil.  And if you’ve met me, you know how I feel about palm oil.  So, all my desserts don’t use palm oil, and use as sustainable ingredients as possible.  The breakfast section discusses how our eating habits can affect the diversity and habitat of the rainforests.  From coffee and tea to bananas and cocoa, many of our breakfast foods have a dramatic effect on the destruction or protection of South American rainforests.

“Poach Eggs, Not Rhinos” came to me before I decided to change my lifestyle and got into fitness.  Once that happened, in 2014, I started seeing the parallel between reaching your fitness goal and the principles of operant conditioning, as well as other zookeeper practices.  Throughout 2015, another “grand” idea started forming, which I’m still working on a proper title for, but basically is “Keeping Fit the Zookeeper Way”.  In this book I discuss how you can (properly) utilize principles of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement to reach your fitness goals, maintain them, and create healthy habits through fun, positive, and motivating techniques such as a reward system, positive attitude, enrichment, and utilizing available resources.

I’m really excited about both books.  EarthFit has given me a lot of motivation, a lot of inspiration, and a lot of potential to do my part and give back- to the community and to conservation.  If and when I do get published, a portion of my profits (I’m anticipating as much as 50%) will go to conservation organizations (I realize I need to make a living as well, but particularly “Poach Eggs” was developed for conservation, I want a lot of it to go towards conservation).

So, why the certificates?  Why bother with Nutritional Education and Personal Training Certificate?  Well, I could talk out of my ass on these subjects, and I’m sure I could make it sound okay, but I’d rather have some minimal credentials that prove I know a little about what I’m discussing.  If I’m going to preach nutrition or fitness to someone, I might want something in my back pocket to back me up a little.

I’m not done learning about these topics, not by a long shot.  Fortunately, though, I think I’m done with extensive studying, and now the articles or books I read, or other training I receive will likely just be supplemental.  My focus is not to be the best trained professional in fitness.  My goal is to learn what I can about fitness while applying my zookeeper background and conservation to that field to create a unique and powerful program that will change your life and help the planet.  It’s what I dream EarthFit can become.  And it keeps getting better as I keep getting better.

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