FFL poster
Food for Life lunch
Day 1 Food for Life lunch

What is the Food for Life program?

I promised that I’d let you know about my recent trip to Washington DC to attend the yearly Food for Life instructor training course and to tell you more about what the Food for Life programme is. So here we go…

60 of us gathered at the Wisconsin Recreation Centre from all over the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and two of us from the UK. It was an amazing experience meeting like-minded people who all wanted to become instructors so they can help people improve their health by eating plant based. It was also brilliant not having to ask lots of questions about the content of our breakfast and lunch!

So here we go….

Who created the Food for Life program?

Launched in 2001, by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the Food for Life program was meant to help cancer survivors take advantage of the healing power of foods. Since then, the program has grown to include classes focused on diabetes, children’s health, and healthy weight management as well as an employee wellness program.

Why was it created?

With more than million people being diagnosed with cancer and 26 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States each year—and many more cases in other countries across the globe—there is an urgent need for a new direction in battling diseases. The Food for Life program is an innovative approach to a medical challenge. It aims first to prevent disease. When a disease has been diagnosed, it works for improving survival.

Who designed it?

It’s been designed by doctors, nutrition experts, and registered dieticians, each of the Food for Life curricula includes information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote health and fight disease.

What form does it take?

It’s a community-based nutrition education program that takes the form of nutrition and cooking classes either as a one off, or as a series.

What happens in a class?

Each class includes information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote health, along with live cooking demonstrations of simple and nutritious recipes that can be recreated easily at home. There are always LOTS of food to eat so you see how easy it is to create tasty, healthy, filling plant based food.

Where do the classes take place?

Wherever you want! If you want a class in your area just get in touch and I can arrange it for you.

When are the classes?

They take place at night, at weekends and during the day. Whenever is most convenient for people.

What kind of classes are offered?

There are four types of classes currently offered with more in the pipeline. The classes currently offered are:

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If you’d like to find out more about each of the programs above then read on.

What do you think? Would you be interested in attending a class? Let me know below.

Food for Life: Cancer Project

Certain diet patterns seem to have a major effect in helping cancer survivors to live longer, healthier lives. Numerous studies have shown that a diet built from plant foods offers the most cancer-fighting protection of any diet plan. Reviews by the American Institute for Cancer Research showed that as much as 40 percent of cancer risk may be related to diet. The Food for Life: Cancer Project classes offer a unique opportunity to acquire knowledge about the link between diet and cancer, experience the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and learn the practical cooking skills needed to help you on your journey to better health. In the Food for Life: Cancer Project classes, attendees do all of this while enjoying a cooking demonstration and tasting delicious, healthful dishes.

Featured Class Topics

  • Introduction to How Foods Fight Cancer
  • Fueling Up on Low-Fat, High-Fiber Foods
  • Favoring Fiber
  • Discovering Dairy Alternatives
  • Replacing Meat
  • Cancer-Fighting Compounds and Immune-Boosting Foods
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Food for Life: Diabetes Initiative

The Power of Food for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment

Diabetes is a major public health problem of epidemic proportions. Eleven percent of the U.S. adult population has diabetes (up from 8 percent in 2007), and nearly one-third of those 65 and older have the disease. In the UK 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes according to Diabetes UK.

Uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to complications from head to toe, including stroke, loss of vision, heart disease, kidney failure, and various problems due to nerve damage and circulatory problems, such as erectile dysfunction or lower-extremity amputation. Research studies have demonstrated that a plant-based nutrition approach reduces the risk of diabetes and can greatly benefit those who have been diagnosed with the disease.

The goal of the Food for Life: Diabetes Initiative program is to empower people who have diabetes and those concerned about developing diabetes, along with their friends and family members with new information and skills. Each class offers a cooking demonstration, and provides samples of delicious, health-promoting dishes, along with a take-home packet of easy and affordable recipes.

Featured Class Topics

  • Introduction to How Foods Fight Diabetes
  • The Power of Your Plate and Grocery Cart
  • Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
  • Designing a Diet for Maximum Weight Control
  • Using the Glycemic Index
  • Keeping a Healthy Heart
  • Diabetes Care from Head to Toe
  • Making It Work for You

A well-planned plant-based diet has many nutritional benefits and has been demonstrated to be as acceptable as the portion-controlled diet for diabetes management. A plant-based diet has also been endorsed by the American Dietetic Association and described as a safe choice in the 2009 American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Care for Diabetes.

Food for Life: Kids Health

The Power of Food for a Healthy Start

The health problems faced by our youth today are unlike any in the past. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, in Scotland data from 2010 shows 14% of children are obese and 16.3% of children in England. Poor diet and lack of exercise put today’s children at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer later in life. A foundation for healthy eating at a young age is needed to lessen the risk for chronic diseases.

In the Food for Life: Kids Health classes, the curriculum highlights the positives of the four food groups (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables) in the Power Plate. Children ages 9-12 are exposed to the great taste and health benefits of eating a plant-based diet through kid-friendly recipes approved by PCRM’s staff of dietitians. The curriculum aims to empower children with the knowledge and skills they need to establish healthy habits to carry them well into adulthood.

Featured Class Topics and Objectives

  • Bang-Up Breakfasts: Learn the important role diet plays in the cancer process.
  • In-Betweener Meals and Sweeter Deals: Identify the new four food groups using the Power Plate and understand the role of dietary fat, cholesterol, and fiber for overall health.
  • Rainbow Lunches: Understand the importance of eating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals.
  • Digging These Dinners: Recognize plant-based foods that are full of protein, calcium, and iron.
  • In the Food for Life: Kids Health classes, each child receives a workbook filled with activities and worksheets focused on nutrition and several recipes (many of which will be demonstrated in class).

Food for Life: Kickstart Your Health

In a public health climate where 68 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese and millions have diabetes, and 24.8% of adults in England and 27.4% in Scotland the need for a lifestyle change is greater than it has ever been.

The Food for Life: Kickstart Your Health curriculum is based on PCRM’s successful 21-Day Vegan Kickstart online program. The online Kickstart program has helped thousands of people adopt a plant-based diet to reach their health goals.

Depending on one’s perspective, the Food for Life: Kickstart Your Health classes are about losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or simply embracing an overall healthful diet. 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. Lower cholesterol, better diabetes control, lower blood pressure, as well as improvements in energy and mood are some of the many benefits people experience on this diet.

The FFL Kickstart Your Health classes offer a chance to discover which foods are optimal for weight management, learn about various health topics including blood pressure and digestion, and get empowered with the practical cooking skills needed to help you on your journey to better health. In the classes, attendees do all of this while enjoying a cooking demonstration and tasting delicious, healthful dishes in a supportive group setting.

Featured Class Topics 

  • Power of Your Plate
  • Let’s Go!
  • Getting in Gear
  • Breaking the Food Seduction
  • Keys for Natural Appetite Control
  • Digestive Health
  • Healthy Blood Pressure

Food for Life Employee Wellness Program

Adults in the United States spend more than half of their waking hours at work giving employers a unique opportunity to impact the health and wellness of their employees. In a public health climate of a growing health crisis and mounting health care costs, more attention needs to be given to eating healthfully and staying active, especially around a busy work schedule. By offering PCRM’s Food for Life: Employee Wellness Program, employers can lead the way to facilitating an office culture of health and wellness that employees can carry into their lives at home.