Plant-Based Nutrition and Cooking Classes
Food for Life is an award-winning nutrition education and cooking class program designed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to promote disease prevention and survival through nutrition. In these classes, individuals are helped to better understand the connection between healthful nutrition and disease prevention, while teaching how to prepare a number of
delicious and nutritious meals.
Kickstart Your Health: Discusses which foods are optimal for weight management and the prevention of various health complications including high blood pressure and poor digestion.
Cancer Project: Covers a variety of cancer-related nutrition topics and demonstrates how to prepare several meals loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber.
Diabetes Initiative: Empowers people concerned about diabetes with a new dietary approach to prevent, reverse, and manage the disease.
Spanish Diabetes Initiative (Comer para Vivir: Iniciativa diabetes): Delivers the widely successful Diabetes Initiative curriculum in a format translated for Spanish speakers.
Nutrition Essentials: Presents topics ranging from planning meals to reading food labels in an interactive, lecture-style series. (Cooking demos are not a regular partof this series.)
Kids Health: Highlights the positives of the four food groups (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables) in the Power Plate. Children ages 9-12 are exposed to the great taste and health benefits of eating plants.
Employee Wellness Program: Improves employees' health and productivity through evidence-based nutrition education.
Healthy Basics: Helps class participants understand the value of choosing economical, plant-based foods-fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans--that can reduce the costs of grocery and medical bills.
The Physicians Committee’s Power Plate recommends consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Plant-based diets lower the risk for many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The Power Plate supplies all of your daily nutritional requirements, including substantial amounts of fiber, protein, and calcium.
Most Americans are consuming too much animal protein and not enough fiber. Fiber is important for human health for various reasons. Fiber is great for heart health, cancer prevention, and weight loss. Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation. Fiber only comes from plant foods, which means that there is no fiber in meat, dairy, and eggs.
Plenty of protein is found in plant foods. Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are great protein sources. Other protein-rich foods include tofu, tempeh, quinoa, chia seeds, and peanuts. Animal protein comes with saturated fat and cholesterol, which may contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Animal protein alone, such as egg whites, may not be beneficial for human health. According to Dr. Neal Barnard, high amounts of animal protein is “linked with kidney disease, kidney stones, some types of cancer, and overall higher risk of mortality.” It is best to consume protein from plant foods, which are safter and environmentally friendly.
“Dairy products are the number #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet” (PCRM). Health risks to consider include heart disease, cancers of the reproductive organs, digestive problems and diabetes. Dairy products contain hormones naturally and some with additional artificial hormones so that mother cows can produce more milk than what nature intended. Udder infections (mastitis) is a common problem in lactating cows therefore, antibiotics is given routinely.
Aside from saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics in dairy, several other contaminants are found in these products, including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins (PCRM). Calcium is best obtained from plant sources. Besides, our bodies need more than just calcium for bone health. Our bodies need calcium along with Vitamin K and calcium along with Vitamin D. Greens, such as Kale is an excellent source of both calcium and Vitamin K. Beans and lentils are other excellent sources of calcium.
Kickstart Your Health
A vegan diet of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits can help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
This curriculum is based on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s successful 21- Day Vegan Kickstart program. Depending on one’s perspective, the Kickstart is about losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or simply embracing an overall healthful diet. Much of the basis of the Kickstart is about making a qualitative shift in the way we eat as opposed to a quantitative shift. For some people, it’s the first time the idea of not restricting amounts of foods but rather choosing the right foods has been the guiding principle for losing weight and staying healthy. The revelation is bolstered with clinical benefits such as lower cholesterol, better diabetes control, and lower blood pressure, as well as improvements in energy and mood.
Food for Life: Kickstart Your Health will allow class attendees to discover the world of health through general topics ranging from digestion to blood pressure. Results are likely to be immediate and impressive!
Each two-hour class features a video, discussion, and a cooking demonstration.