Baptist Health has partnered with the Humane Society and its Forward Food  initiative to train chefs, dietitians and wellness educators across the healthcare system on the importance of plant-based nutrition.
Karla Dumas, a dietitian with the Humane Society, explained the process during the first day of the Plant-Based Culinary Nutrition Workshop (see video below) at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.
“The first part of the workshop focused on evidence-based nutrition — vegetarian and vegan diets — and the second part [was] where the wellness staff worked to prepare 12 plant-based dishes and then get to sample them afterward,” said Ms. Dumas.
Brian Betancourt, exercise physiologist and wellness coach with Baptist Health, said he was impressed with what he learned about the health benefits of plant-based nutrition.
‘How Incredible of an Impact’
“I learned how incredible of an impact a plant-based diet can have on the society as a whole,” he said. “From healthcare costs and the reduction of co-morbiditis (the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases in one person) to metabolic disease … and the health of an individual.”
The second day of the event included training designed for the chefs of Baptist Health South Florida. Like the first day, it included presentations on the value of a plant-based diet followed by the creation of several dishes.
Wanda White, executive chef for the Humane Society, explained her role at the event.
“We presented the recipes to them (the chefs) and we encouraged them to use the spices, the herbs, the cooking techniques — all bringing it together to have a flavorful food without having any animal product,” Ms. White says.
Arlenna Williams, vice president of Food Services at Baptist Health, was impressed by the variety of recipes provided for the training.
“It is a great opportunity for all of the food service staff to learn and experience test recipes that will impact and improve the health of our guests that experience our food on a daily basis,” Ms. Williams said.
Reducing the Risk of Chronic Diseases
A well-balanced vegetarian diet reduce risks of many chronic diseases, and may treat, improve or reverse: obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some digestive problems, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and numerous studies. Plant-based diets also have been found to lower a person’s risk for some types of cancers and kidney disease.
Plants contain thousands of chemicals and healthy oils that hinder key steps in the development of disease and inflammation. The high fiber and nutrient content in plant foods such as vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruit have shown to help control blood-sugar swings after meals, improving how our bodies metabolize the nutrients.
The Baptist Health South Florida News Team was there to cover the event. Watch now. (Video by George Carvalho)