Weekend Recap

Happy Hump Day Friends! 

I spent this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina at a conference on the Plant-Based Prevention of Disease. The panel of speakers at the conference were powerhouses, to say the least. All weekend I kept thinking to myself "why aren't all health-care practitioners this excited about the power of food!". It was both exciting and frustrating to be surrounded by them. Exciting to be surrounded by so many practitioners who walk the talk of what they tell their patients; frustrating that more physicians and mid-levels aren't taught more about the power of lifestyle change in treating their patients. These people prescribe nutrition as first-line therapy for their patients. 

           "It struck me as a peculiar paradox that...guidelines highlight the primary importance of nutrition and lifestyle,                yet the physicians who are expected to implement these guidelines receive absolutely no education in these                  areas during their residency and subspecialty training" Dr. Stephen R. Devries Cardiologist and Associate                        Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University

I think it's safe to say I drank the kool-aid (I mean, kale) over the weekend. The weekend was jam-packed with awesome information, delicious plant-based food, and awesome conversation and networking with other healthcare professionals. I was so excited from the weekend that I couldn't sit still, read or sleep on the plane ride home. My mind was racing with ways to implement all that I learned both professionally and personally. 

Dr. Esselstyn's quote was perhaps, the most inspiring. When asked how to avoid burnout with trying to help people create lifestyle change, he responded that he doesn't get burnt out because he absolutely loves what he does. He has done what most of us hope to achieve and has made a living about his passion. I mean, the man is 81 years old and still sees patients and travels around the country to speak. When I realized I was going through the buffet line at lunch with him one day, I was completely starstruck and only managed an awkward smile when he tried to initiate conversation (#fail).  I redeemed myself when I snapped this photo with him at the end of his talk, though! 

The thing that was so inspiring was that the speakers and healthcare practitioners at the conference weren't full of "off the wall" ideas and were not opposed to conventional treatment. The common theme among all of them was that they saw the value in helping patients create lifestyle change to prevent or manage their disease. My favorite visual from the weekend was when Dr. Ostfeld from Montefiore Einstein Cardiac Wellness Center put a picture up of a patient undergoing cardiac bypass surgery (and explained the gory details) and talked about the irony of how people tell him that it is extreme to tell a patient to follow a whole food plant-based diet. 

A whole food plant-based (WFPD) diet is a vegan diet. Most of the speakers also do not include oil in their diets since it is not considered a whole food. While I am not ready to cut the oil out, I do plan to transition a a WFPD diet. I am usually skeptical about cutting something completely out of my diet but with the research presented, it was hard to no "drink the kale juice". 

           "I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it's going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin                sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol" - Kim Williams, M.D. President of the American College of Cardiology

At the end of the weekend, we watched the movie Plant Pure Nation which is coming out soon. The following quote was presented in the movie:

           "Numerous scientific studies now confirm that a whole foods diet comprised primarily of vegetables, fruits,                      grains, legumes and nuts without added oil, sugar and salt is optimal for human health, not only preventing a                  broad range of diseases and illnesses, but also reversing some of the most dangerous chronic conditions. this                finding is of the highest importance to the commonwealth because it communicates a truth that has the power              to save lives" - Plant Pure Nation

Now, I am sitting here trying to figure out how to best implement this into my daily life. I am still all about moderation and balance but plan to transition to a WFPD diet with occasional treats thrown in the mix. The situations I continue to think about how to implement are going out to eat with friends and traveling. My main goal with this blog is to be transparent. So, while all things are subject to change, my current plan is to consume a WFPD diet at home and to do my best when eating out or at a social gathering. I will probably put Dr. Milton Mill's quote from the weekend into practice when going to a social gathering: "going to a non-vegan party is like going to Mars, you gotta bring your own atmosphere". As far as travel goes, and my upcoming mother-daughter trip to Provence (yay!), I plan to live by the motto "when in Rome" (er, Provence). Just as I would not go to Napa and not taste the wines of the region, I don't plan to go to France and not taste the cheese and patries of the region. While on that trip, I do plan to eat a veggie-heavy diet and enjoy the regional treats in moderation. 

As I have been talking with my hubby about the information from the weekend and my plan to change, he has been nothing but supportive and has agreed to enjoy the plant-based dinners I make with me. He has even been trying to choose more plant-based meals during the day (#proudwife). I plan to check in with you all periodically to update you on my successes, failures, struggles, and triumphs in making a transition to a whole food plant-based diet. I also plan to provide you with the veggie-licious recipes I create along the way. I hope to help you find ways to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet and, as always, welcome any feedback. :)

Peace, love and veggies,

Rachel