Earlier this month, nearly 600 physicians, healthcare professionals, and other forward-thinking folks in the medical field gathered in Anaheim, California, to learn more about the power of plants. The event, dubbed the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, and put on by The Plantrician Project, just finished its third year, and its influence is growing.
From Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, attendees came from all over the country — and the world, with some hailing from Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, South Africa and many other countries. Presenters included some of the biggest names in plant-based medicine, from Dean Ornish to Caldwell Esselstyn to T. Colin Campbell to Craig McDougall.
“The world is awakening to the fact that dietary lifestyle is the foundation of either health or the cause of virtually all of the chronic disease that’s plaguing populations around the globe,” says Susan Benigas, founder of The Plantrician Project, co-founder of the conference, and executive director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
As we all know from Forks Over Knives, research has shown that a whole food, plant-based diet can prevent, treat and often even reverse chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, Alzheimer’s, and even some autoimmune diseases. Finally, doctors are starting to catch on.
“The solution is so simple that it’s often dismissed or disregarded,” Benigas says. “If it was sold in the form of a pill, it would be the breakthrough drug of the century, yet it’s already available to everyone through consumption of a diet comprised of whole, plant-based foods in as close to nature’s package as possible.”
And the conference isn’t the only thing the group is up to. About six weeks ago, the org launched PlantBasedDocs.com, a global online directory of medical professionals who pledge to use plant-based nutrition as their first treatment option. The Plantrician Project also rolled out the Plant-based Nutrition Ultimate Resource Guide earlier this year, and two weeks ago, debuted The Plantrician Project Plant-based Nutrition Quick Start Guide (print copies are available for $2.50). And, also earlier this year, the organization also launched Culinary Rx (in partnership with Rouxbe Cooking School) — a 60-day nutrition literacy and plant-based cooking course that clinicians can ‘prescribe’ to patients.
The world still has a long way to go, but the growth of conferences and organizations like these show that awareness is on the ups.
“Physicians are trained to treat symptoms and diseases, rather than addressing the underlying imbalances that perpetuate illness,” says conference co-founder Scott Stoll, MD. “As doctors become informed, rise up, band together, and — in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath — demand change of the current system, the system will begin to change, ushering in real healthcare reform and a sustainable system.”
Next year’s conference is scheduled for September 21-24 at the Anaheim Marriott. Details will be coming soon at PBNHC.com.