Now that I have been home for about 2 weeks, I am (barely) caught up enough to chit chat about my incredible time in Washington, DC.  I was accepted into the Food For Life Program developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (www.PCRM.org).  PCRM’s president, Dr. Neal Barnard is someone you might have seen on Oprah, Dr. Oz, CNN, etc…  he’s pretty much the face for PCRM. 

Since 1985, PCRM has been an advocate for preventive medicine, especially good nutrition, conducted clinical research, and advocated for higher ethical standards in research.   I personally like the good nutrition used as preventative medicine part.  Which is why I was thrilled to learn all about their Food For Life instructor program.  There are a few divisions of PCRM and one is The Cancer Project.  In 2001, PCRM created The Cancer Project to teach people how to use food to ward off cancer by adhering to a high-fiber, low-fat plant-based diet.  There are studies that prove how these foods can not only prevent cancer, but also shrink tumor size.  By creating the Cancer Project, PCRM is able to train people how to go into their communities and teach others how to do this, too.  These instructors are called Food For Life Instructors. 

In 2009 PCRM introduced diabetes prevention and reversal into the program.  Similar to the cancer curriculum, the diabetes program teaches people how to (1) prevent diabetes and (2) how to possibly reverse it (type 2) through the use of nutrition.  In 2010, they rolled out the Children’s Wellness program, geared towards teaching kiddos ages 9-13 what healthy really is and how to easily adhere to it by making quick and easy recipes.  Coming in 2012 PCRM will add one more program to its already robust curriculum: Healthy Weight Management for adults.

It was not easy getting into the program.  The Man graciously produced a video of me making a recipe from one of the PCRM’s cookbooks, there was a lengthy application and a two-hour phone interview.  They also asked for professional references.  All of those references were contacted and I’m one lucky duck that all those folks think enough of me to sit down for hours on end and thoughtfully answer all the questions PCRM fired at them about my character.  I am humbled. 

In addition to the application process, it should go without saying that in order to even be considered, one must be on a plant-based diet…not just be a vegan.  This is a program to teach you how to prevent chronic illness such as cancer and diabetes through the use of nutrition.  And, as I mentioned before, science has proven that a whole-foods, plant-based diet can do that. 

Now that my Washington training has wrapped up, and I am a certified Food For Life Instructor,  I’m still in the early stages of setting up my classes.  I am in the thick of reading all the materials, organizing the venue and of course soon to spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.  There are 100 Food For Life instructors across the country.  I am the only one here in St. Louis.  There is much to do.