On March 30th, we celebrated a big milestone here at UC Davis Integrative Medicine.
The 8-year anniversary of our program!
It has been 8 great years of sharing the message about plant-based nutrition with doctors, students, medical staff, and the rest of the “world” through our articles and events.
We have enjoyed every minute of this journey and are excited about some big changes ahead!
We will get to that soon but first let’s reflect on where we have been.
In today’s blog post, we highlight our 8 greatest accomplishments in the past 8 years.
So let’s get started!
1. Pioneers in Integrative Medicine
In the first couple of years of our program, our focus was educating physicians, students, and staff here at UC Davis. For that, we launched a Grand Rounds lecture series called Pioneers in Integrative Medicine.
These educational events featured some of the biggest names in the plant-based nutrition world.
- Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. was our very first speaker and presented his signature talk on how to “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.”
- Next up, we heard from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, co-author of The China Study, who discussed “Nutrition in the Medical Model: It’s More Than Generally Known.”
- John McDougall joined the lineup to talk about “The Starch Solution: With Comments on Multiple Sclerosis.”
- While Dr. Michael Greger discussed his favorite topic “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating Disease With Diet.”
And our efforts have paid off.
By the end of the Grand Rounds series, dozens of physicians, nurses, staffers and students here at UC Davis made the transition to a plant-based lifestyle!
2. Our Blog: A Labor of Love
In 2015, we expanded our scope and launched our blog on Valentine’s Day.
In the 4 years that have followed, we have written over 350 articles.
We tackled your biggest questions and provided insights on the latest scientific evidence on whole food, plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine.
Some topics required more than one article, so we created quite a few popular series:
- The Fab Four: A series of four articles focusing on the ‘fab four’ foods that you should include in your plant-based diet every single day—greens, beans, berries, and seeds.
- The Essentials: A set of three blog posts discussing the essential nutrients needed in your diet, including amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins (especially B12 and D).
- The Blue Zones: Six articles that took us on a trip to the areas of the world where people live the longest. This series included a review article as well as spotlight articles on Okinawa, Ikaria, Sardinia, Loma Linda, and Nicoya.
- The SOS Triumvirate: SOS refers to added salt (sodium), oil (fat), and sugar (sweeteners) in your diet. This series discusses the truth about sugar, how addictive it is and whether sugar substitutes are a good solution. We also talk about the effect that a pinch of salt may have on your health and what you need to know about olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil.
- The Controversies Series: Twelve articles cover some of the most controversial topics in diet and nutrition. They are whole grains, rice, gluten (and gluten-free diet), trans fats, saturated fats, diet and diabetes, what makes us fat, cholesterol, protein (and unknown protein-related problems), and soy.
These 350+ articles have been an inspiration and a source of reference to so many of you around the globe—and we are just getting started!
3. Recipes and More Recipes
Our Sunday articles have offered the lighter side of plant-based living, celebrating food-related and other fun holidays while inviting you to try new recipes.
With so many plant-based recipes at our fingertips, we started to group them into collections.
4. Sharable Resources
Our favorite MUST HAVE resources include:
- Your Daily Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Guide: This guide takes out the guesswork and shows you exactly what to eat every single day for the most nutritious plant-based diet! Shaped like a wheel, it depicts the various whole plant food categories along with the recommended number of servings to eat every day.
- Your Daily Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Chart: Any diet that lacks nutrients or leaves you hungry will be unsustainable in the long run. This chart helps you find the optimal energy density balance to create meals that are nutritious, colorful, varied, and satiating.
- How to Read a Food Label Card: This handy card makes your trips to the grocery store a breeze. With it, you know what to look for when it comes to added salt, sugar and oils and how to choose the best options among boxed, jarred, and canned foods.
5. 21-Day Food Day Challenges
They are an invitation to follow the plant-based lifestyle for three weeks, with full support from the UC Davis Integrative Medicine team and thousands of peers from all corners of the world.
Tens of thousands of people around the globe have participated since 2015.
One of the biggest draws of the challenges is the beautiful Menu Books we put together every year.
They include dozens of plant-based recipes for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners plus tips on batch cooking and advanced preparation to make following a plant-based diet even easier.
If you missed the 2018 Food Day Challenge, we have you covered.
You can download a free digital copy of the 2018 Menu Book right here!
And we will let you know when the 2019 21-Day Plant-Based Challenge begins.
6. Cookbooks on Amazon
The Food Day Challenge Menu Books are always available for free in a digital format.
But since 2016, many of you have asked us to make them available in print as well.
Last year, we finally made that happen!
The 2016, 2017 and 2018 Menu Books were all turned into beautiful, full-color, softcover cookbooks, available on Amazon, Amazon UK and Amazon Canada.
The cookbooks allow you to start your own 21-day plant-based challenge ANY time…and they make great gifts too!
Check out the cookbooks on Amazon here:
- The 21-Day Plant-Based Challenge, Volume 1 (2016)
- The 21-Day Plant-Based Challenge, Volume 2 (2017)
- The 21-Day Plant-Based Challenge, Volume 3 (2018)
7. Live Cooking Workshops
In July 2018, plant-based chef extraordinaire Chad Sarno joined us for a full-day, live cooking workshop.
Chad discussed concepts like mise en place, building flavor, and basic cooking techniques, while dazzling our live and online audiences with dishes such King Satay With Thai Peanut Sauce, and Corn Dumplings With Coconut Corn Broth, and Hoisin Mushroom Tacos.
The event was such a success that we reached out to the famous, fabulous and oh-so-funny Chef AJ, who hosted a second live cooking workshop in December.
The theme was holiday entertaining, and viewers learned how to prepare dishes like Cauliflower Bisque, Perfect Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms, and BRAWnies.
We had such a great time and learned so much from these events that we are planning a new one this summer!
Stay tuned for our announcement and join us next time!
8. Bite-Sized: Change Your Life, One Plant-Based Bite at a Time
Changing our habits is hard.
When we try to change a habit and fail, we usually think that is because we lack time, discipline and/or willpower.
The reality is that our beliefs hold us back.
And we cannot change our habits without changing our mindset first.
This is exactly why we created Bite-Sized, a monthly training program to help you master the 9 Cs of habit change – compelling why, commitment, consistency, clarity, competence, confidence, connection, compounding, and celebration.
Bite-Sized has been in beta mode since October.
And over the past few months, we have discussed topics like The Habit Cycle, The Power of Leverage, The Emotional Triad, and The Six Human Needs.
Enrollment for Bite-Sized is currently closed.
But if you are interested in knowing more about it, please join the Bite-Sized waitlist.
You will be the first to know when we open the doors again later this year!
Change Is Coming
The past few years have been quite busy around here.
And we want to take this celebration to push ourselves even further in 2019!
For that to happen, the UC Davis Integrative Medicine blog will take a short recess.
We will be working hard ‘behind the scenes’ on a couple of projects that I cannot wait to tell you about.
We will be back in the summer to reveal some exciting changes.
In the meantime, feel free to share your ideas on what you would like us to cover and do.
Thank you so much for your support over the years.
You are the reason we do what we do!