A plant-based diet of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits can help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
This curriculum is based on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s successful 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program. Depending on one’s perspective, the Kickstart is about losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or simply embracing an overall healthful diet. Much of the basis of the Kickstart is about making a qualitative shift in the way we eat as opposed to a quantitative shift. For some people, it’s the first time the idea of not restricting amounts of foods but rather choosing the right foods has been the guiding principle for losing weight and staying healthy. The revelation is bolstered with clinical benefits such as lower cholesterol, better diabetes control, and lower blood pressure, as well as improvements in energy and mood.
Each two-hour class features a DVD, discussion, and the opportunity to taste plant-based dishes, usually following a cooking demonstration. This series goes from five to seven weeks.
Class 1: Introduction: The Power of Your Plate
The first class in this series will focus on getting ready to start a low-fat, plant-based diet. Some people will be overwhelmed and need a week to consider what this diet entails, what groceries to purchase, and what a healthful menu will look like. When participants leave this class, they should consider the next seven days as a week for preparation, and then after Class 2, they will jump into the diet.
Class 2: Let’s Go!
After a week of preparation and today’s lesson, participants will have all the tools they need to start a low-fat, plant-based diet for the next three weeks (21-Day Kickstart). We will talk about the preparing for the week and encourage participants to share their successes and challenges.
Class 3: Getting in Gear
Participants are embarking on their second week of the Kickstart. They will be experts in some areas and novices in others. We will open the floor for discussion and allow participants to encourage and coach each other. Some will discuss what seems to be working. Others may share challenges.
Class 4: Breaking the Food Seduction
By now, participants are a couple of weeks into the program. Today’s lesson will go over food cravings and why these foods, and not broccoli, seem addictive and what we can do to break those addictions.
Class 5: Keys for Natural Appetite Control
If participants have been following the 21-day approach, and classes have been weekly, they will be wrapping up their three-week journey on a plant based! Great progress is being made.
Optional – Class 6: Digestive Health
Even though the 21-day challenge is over, the lifelong journey of leading a healthful lifestyle continues. Participants will be encouraged to think about this as a way of life and not a temporary diet.
Optional – Class 7: Healthy Blood Pressure
The World Health Organization says hypertension (high blood pressure) is “the most important preventable cause of premature death in developed countries.” The good news is that blood pressure changes happen quickly, and plant-based diets will help lower high blood pressure within a short time frame.
PLUS: Three Months Coaching
PLUS: Starting an Ongoing Genesis 1:29 Health Program
- Why a Health Program?
- Benefits to the congregation
- Possible health program structures
- Activity Possibilities
- Community Outreach
- Measuring Success
- And others…