Monday, July 13, 2015

Less Meat, More Plants

The Culinary Institute of America has been shifting its dynamic when it comes to food. In 2013, their farm to table concentration was released for students to understand where their food was coming from. This past year, the Applied Food Studies faculty and students have planted an edible garden from the ground up. The ecology of food course has opened the eyes of students by discussing the global food concerns affecting our environment. And the other day, Dr. T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study (based on the Cornell-China-Oxford-Project), reached out and spoke to our students about how the future leaders of the food industry can help our world grow a healthier lifestyle. "It's about a whole food, plant-based diet," Campbell says. 

Photo Credit: Katie Fenton

Dr. Campbell has been working 59 years now to improve worldwide long-term health. His passion with food and science stemmed from working at one of his first jobs: a dairy farm. As a scientific researcher and graduate of Cornell University for Nutrition, Campbell took his degree and background on farm work to find an area of study he was passionate about. From here, he decided to begin researching the links between protein diets and disease. One of his original studies was focused on milk proteins and their affect on human health.

In addition to writing and contributing in five books, Campbell has spoken at conferences and has reached to get his message out to thousands of people. He also teaches at Cornell and participated in his son's new film, Plant Pure Nation.

At the presentation, students learned that there were significant links between eating a protein-based diet and the contraction of various diseases. Some of the diseases that meat eaters were more likely to develop were cancer, Alzheimer's, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, Type I & II diabetes and arthritis. "The disease is controlled by nutrition," says Campbell, "bringing it back to food." The Whole Food Plant Based diet also contributes to restoring nutrients that are displaced in protein-based diets. These studies have placed the fate of a healthier planet into the hands of us: the food industry.

Photo Credit: Katie Fenton

Campbell says that "[n]utrition is infinitely confusing for the public." In order to make change, we have to start by getting people to listen to the evidence. From here, we can use our food knowledge to create a movement towards the goal of following the Whole Food Plant Based diet. It's our job as future leaders to not only to make people think deeper into what they are eating, but also to enable whole and plant-based foods to be a part of a lifestyle that people will stay hungry for. 

If you'd like to get more involved:

Teach yourself about creating a sustainable WFPB diet:
-Do some research: read books and publications, anything that you can find to educate yourself 
-Take classes involving the WFPB diet
-Keep up with what's going on in the food industry
-Create WFPB recipes 
-Visit local food businesses and see what they've been doing about it
- Follow a WFPB diet (or work towards it)

Educate others on creating a sustainable WFPB diet: 
-Help with growing fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes 
-Spread the word through local events or publications
-Contact local Hudson Valley businesses to get them on board to support the movement
-Get groups to create WFPB meals at local soup kitchens by offering recipe suggestions

Photo Credit: Katie Fenton

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