Hello, Food for Life is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthful diet for weight management and disease prevention. Based in Washington, D.C., Food for Life is a program of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and focuses on plant based nutrition and health. This seems very daunting to most, but lets have fun and share information about this concept.
There are alot of interesting facts about plant based lifestyles more commonly known as “being vegan.” Vegetarian Times (vegetariantimes.com), shows that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. In addition, 10 percent of U.S., adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. The 2008 study also indicated that over half (53 percent) of current vegetarians eat a vegetarian diet to improve their overall health. Environmental concerns were cited by 47 percent ; 39 percent cited “ natural approaches to wellness” ; 31 percent cited food-safety concerns; 54 percent cited animal welfare; 25 percent cited weight loss; and 24 percent weight maintenance.
So how did I get involved? In June I discovered this program (Food for Life) after being a low fat Vegan for the past 5.5 years. The program entailed creating a video that showed me cooking a recipe to an audience in less than five minutes. I made a potato corn chowder on the video. I never realized the setup that the video would take so in the long run I ended up with three pots of potato corn chowder. Luckily we like the chowder and so did my significant other’s mother, otherwise I would have had alot of waste getting ready to film. I submitted the video and after one month heard back from Food for Life and was asked to interview which was the next step. After the interview I was selected to become a Food for Life Instructor and I flew to Washington, DC in August to learn about the Food for Life program.
Some might ask “why did you become a low fat Vegan, let alone a Vegan.” My reasoning was one of support. My significant other over the years developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was being talked to about a stint. This is a scary proposition for any family, so a low fat Vegan program was selected instead because of all the results that are posted on the Internet. The program has worked tremendously because he is no longer on blood pressure or cholesterol medication and to this day lives a very healthy life and is 20 pounds thinner (high school weight).
The Food for Life Program is a great educational program by Dr. Neal Barnard that features education and cooking classes by Food for Life Instructors on Diabetes, Cancer, Nutrition for Kids, Employee Wellness Programs and a 21 Day Kickstart Program. As a Food for Life Instructor, my role is to market to individuals that are tired of spending their days in the doctor’s office and are looking for ways not to be dependent on medications. I am a person that hates taking any type of medication so knowing that living a plant based lifestyle would keep me healthy and medication free seemed to me to be a easy trade off. I am not saying that being low fat Vegan is easy, because no matter how many years you are a Vegan no one can tell me that McDonald’s French Fries still doesn’t smell good when you drive by. I have tried these in the past (a few here and there) but after eating them I find myself feeling sick so I have learned to enjoy the smell but keep on driving by.
So back to the Food for Life Program. I have held two of the Food for Life Classes at the Whole Foods Market on University and Arapahoe. When you come to a class you meet up with other individuals that are interested in healthy plant based eating and you also learn about nutrition from Dr. Barnard (via videos). The last half of the class is spent cooking recipes and imbibing in wonderful food and sharing. I have attached a photo showing the table set up at the last Food for Life Kickstart Program. Doesn’t the food look great! I will be posting more photographs of the classes as they are held.
So back to the fun part. I will be sharing recipes (based on the plant based lifestyle from Dr. Barnard) with you that will feature pictures of the food, ingredients and actual thoughts on the taste and texture. I know that there are alot of recipes out there, plant based, but not many sites share with you a full meal spectacular. This means that if I offer a red bean quinoa salad as a great recipe then I also need to share what other items went well with this recipe to make it a full meal for you and your family.
Based on the spirit of sharing, I would love your help. Being a new Food for Life Instructor is daunting based on trying to figure out the best places to market the cooking classes, and audiences to share the cooking classes with; so I would love to hear from you on your thoughts and ideas on the best venues, groups and anything else that you would like to share about a plant based lifestyle.
I look forward to sharing and talking to you.