jessica carter

A Vegan Food and Lifestyle Coach’s Review of the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate

In March 2019, I completed the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in partnership with eCornell. I learned about the program in 2018 and was excited to have the opportunity to complete the coursework in order to enhance my work as Compassion Over Killing’s Vegan Food and Lifestyle Coach. Two major aspects of my role are recipe development and vegan food education. Completing the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program has increased my knowledge and confidence to provide nutritional information that is both intuitive and research-based with the wide variety of audiences that I interact with. Whether you’re a vegan coach, chef, recipe developer, or an individual wanting to enhance your knowledge of health and plant-based nutrition, I highly recommend this course! Here’s why:

The program is filled with knowledge from a wide range of experts.

I began my journey to veganism over seven years ago and along the way I did countless hours of research online to figure out how to craft a balanced and nourishing plant-based diet. I pulled information from sources of all kinds, from blogs, to videos, to research studies and went through a lot of trial and error, experimenting with myself to figure out which sources of information were reliable and which ones weren’t. While prior to beginning this program, I felt confident in my ability to craft a balanced vegan diet for myself, I wanted to have more research-based scientific knowledge to be able to extend these services to the audiences I work with. The beauty of the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program is that it curates a solid foundation of information from a wide variety of experts across scientific fields. The program is made up of three courses and within each course there are a number of modules covering a wide range of topics including: the links between the Standard American Diet and chronic disease in the US, the application of the scientific method in exploring the links between disease and diet, and the basic nutritional needs for a balanced whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. In six weeks, this program provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge and access to more sound scientific research on plant-based nutrition and health than I had uncovered in seven years of my own independent study.

The quick pace of the program makes for an immersive learning experience.

In my experience, the length of this program is ideal for professionals looking to add credentials to their portfolios and individuals looking to expand their knowledge of health and plant-based nutrition. This six-week program is made up of three two-week courses, and each course contains several modules. I work a full-time job, so while completing the course I primarily focused on completing the required videos, readings, assignments and quizzes. If you have more time available, each module is supplemented with additional articles, videos, and optional assignments to allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter. There’s a lot of content to cover in this time period and I enjoyed the rigorous pace because it required me to dive head first into the courses and emerge on the other side with a solid grasp on the concepts that were presented.

The program provides an extensive library of resources to foster ongoing learning.

As I mentioned, I work a full-time job, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of all of the supplemental materials that were provided during the six-week program, but since earning my certificate in March, I have gone back and reviewed several articles and studies from various modules of the courses. After the completion of the program, students have six months to access the materials for the courses through the online portal. At the conclusion of each course, there’s also the option to download transcripts and comprehensive content. I was exposed to the work of so many experts during the program, and have created an extensive book list so that I can continue to enrich my knowledge as time goes on. If you’re truly invested in developing a deeper understanding of diet, disease, and plant-based nutrition, this program introduces you to a wealth of resources that fortify your learning experience during the certificate program and beyond.

I have already experienced so many benefits as a result of competing the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program. The knowledge that I have gained since enrolling in the program has been a great benefit, not only to me, but also to the participants in the cooking demos and webinars that I have hosted, because I have been able to craft teaching plans with evidence-based nutritional information. If you’re doing similar work, or want to create healthier habits in your personal life, I highly recommend this program to you!