Future of Wellness: Designing her next career move into nutrition for life

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 26 October, 2021

woman posing on pilates reformer bed

In her twenties, Karen Van Esveld toyed with the idea of studying nutrition but thought she wasn’t in the headspace for biochemistry.

She did a four-year Bachelor of Design instead and worked in the industry for over 20 years. At 48, she started something she never thought she’d do – studying nutrition – and feels fortunate to pursue her lifelong passion.

“I loved my career in graphic design. I was Head of Design, on the board of AGDA, winning design awards, and having lots of fun while working at some of Sydney and Hong Kong’s top branding agencies,” Karen said. “But it was also hard on my family. When you work at that level, you can’t walk out on a pitch or not meet a deadline. I felt that design had a shelf-life, whereas I believe a nutrition career is for life.”

Growing up in a professional cycling family, Karen always had a keen interest in nutrition and the body. Karen became a Pilates instructor when she and her husband were working in Hong Kong. When they returned to Australia (for the second time) with their two children, Karen decided it was time for a career change.

“I thought I would open my own Pilates studio when I got back to Australia, but I wanted to learn more. I was teaching at The Well in Bondi, and I also spoke to the team there about studying exercise physiology or nutrition. The nutritionist mentioned Endeavour was well-regarded. So, I went to an Endeavour Open Day, and the students and lecturers were so passionate. I felt like I was on the right path.

Before Karen started her degree at Endeavour, she completed a couple of bridging subjects in biological sciences and academic studies. “I’m so glad I did them,” she said. “I love my studies, although I can’t wait to get back on campus with the other students and lecturers. Lockdown has been a challenge, so it’s been good to focus my energy on my studies.”

“I think if I’d studied nutrition in my twenties, it would have been more about dietetics and counting calories. But this degree is holistic, and I’m fascinated by the concept of food as medicine and how we can use science, like DNA testing, to personalise nutritional medicine.

While studying, Karen has taught Pilates in two studios – one focused on fitness and the other on rehabilitation. “It’s rewarding to help people to move better – whether it is for athletic performance or just for life. My clients are already asking me questions about nutrition, and I love that I can help them be the healthiest version of themselves with what I’m learning. The same applies to my family,” she said. You can find out more about Karen on her Instagram.

Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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