Nutrition 2 | Evolution of Diet Culture and Body Ideals

On this course you will learn that dietary change and societal change are intertwined – the one reflects or causes the other – and appreciating this fact can aid us in positively altering both our personal and our collective foodways and lifeways.


Length: 4.5 hours

Instructor: Peter Conway | Medical Herbalist, Aromatic Medicine Specialist

This course is within the following programs

  • Holistic Nutrition Program

    Certificate Program

    view course

Need to know

Who is this course for?
Course length (start & watch when you want)
Lifetime access · Certificate of completion

Meet your course instructor

Peter Conway | Medical Herbalist, Aromatic Medicine Specialist

Peter Conway trained as a Medical Herbalist in the UK, where he ran a clinical practice for over 20 years. In addition to seeing patients, Peter has taught herbal courses at several UK universities and other academic institutions, been involved in herbal politics as a committee member of the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, and written several books about herbalism. He was involved in writing the National Professional Standards in Herbal Medicine in the UK and worked with the UK Department of Health in developing professional regulatory standards for herbal practice. Peter was the President of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy for 12 years. In recognition of his services to the herbal profession, Peter was made a Fellow of both the College of Practitioners of phytotherapy and the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. Peter now lives on the west coast of Canada, and he is a member of the Canadian Herbalists Association of British Columbia. He is currently teaching at Pacific Rim College, working on the revised second edition of his textbook, ‘The Consultation in Phytotherapy,’ and developing an online project that aims to share his herbal insights more widely.

Course description

Have you ever felt confused or challenged by the huge variety of “diets” that seem to constantly be presented to us – inviting our engagement and allegiance? The aim of this course is to survey developments in food consumption over time in order to understand the shifts in culture and the consequent trends that these changes both reflect and engender. By gaining an overview of the dynamics involved in these innovations we will be able to step outside of the anxiety-inducing tendency they often possess and move instead toward a more helpful appreciation of what these adaptations really represent and how we can best navigate them.

We will explore where the concept of diet comes from, how it has diversified over time and how it impacts our bodies and our societies. We will push the limits of what can be considered to be a dietary element and reflect on how this relates to us individually.

By identifying core themes and drawing out the connections between diets and their meanings we will aim to bring clarity to what can be a perplexing and contentious subject area. The overarching aim is to inform and guide you in taking your own stand both in terms of your personal dietary future and your roles in shaping our planetary destiny at this crucial time. We really are what we eat, and our food choices now are critical to what we, as a human species, will become.

Lesson plan

Section I | Introduction, course outline & general orientation

1. Introduction

2. Course outline

3.  General orientation

Section II | The concept of “diets”

4. Definition & origins of the concept of “diet”

5. Diets & culture

6. Beyond “diets” & pushing the boundaries of “food”

Section III | Your personal dietary evolution

7. Introduction & question for reflective practice

Section IV | Dietary themes, categorizations & cycles

8. Foundational dietary modes

9. Fads, fashions & dietary cycles

10. Categorizing dietary themes

Section V | Implications for the body

11. Implications for all aspects of the body

Section VI | Implications for society

12. Introduction for implications for society

13. Diets & social justice

14. Current influences

Section VII | Moving into a sustainable future with food

15. A diet for a sustainable future