I recently finished a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell. The three courses provided an overview on research about plant based nutrition and the benefits of a plant based diet. I have eaten more plant based than not for a number of years but I had continued to eat some meat, dairy and eggs. During January I tried to eat primarily vegan and did pretty well (still ate some cage free eggs).
I learned a great deal and am still absorbing and processing it. One of the studies that the courses focused on was The China Study, a large scale study over 20 years about the health and dietary habits of citizens of China. This study and other research show that healthy eating, and plant based diets in particular, are key to being free of many of the diseases we see in our population – heart disease, diabetes, etc. The courses presented some ideas that will sound radical to many Americans. For example, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic advocates no oil at all in the diet None, not moderation, not a little – no oil. I am still trying to process this and received a number of suggestions from classmates for substitutions for oil in recipes. Dr. Esselstyn has been successful in preventing and reversing heart disease. Since heart disease runs in my family this is something that I am paying attention to and reading more about so I can understand more about his theories and diet
I am currently working on a course called Hearth to Health. This is a functional nutrition class and is adding to what I have learned in the plant based nutrition certificate. This training is adding more science to my education and providing a basis for sharing information with others.
This is all making me realize what I have changed already and what I continue to change in my diet. I am even more selective about what I buy since I began the courses. My shopping and cooking habits continue to change as I move towards a totally plant based diet. I have more to learn and continue to read and ask questions of people who I know are vegans and vegetarians. I have not missed meat over the past several weeks, though I did eat a small amount when I was traveling. Airports can be difficult, though not impossible.
What will I do with this training? I’m still not 100% sure. These are classes that provide me with continuing education to continue to be a Certified Health Educator. I am hoping to put something together to be able to integrate what I am learning with other aspects of my background, as I have been saying for a while. My ideas are coming together.