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Food4Life; Pre-Project Briefing

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard me mention a plant based eating program that I'm involved with. Well, the 3rd program is about to commence and I couldn't be more excited! Food4Life is a plant based eating program/research trial (in a local workplace) that invites staff members to sign up and go from the Standard Australian Diet (SAD) to a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB - no oil, no processed food, no animal products) for 3 weeks. Throughout this 3 weeks, participants are allowed to eat as much as they like (no calorie counting and no portion control), as long as what they are eating complies with WFPB no oil. Pre and post program blood tests, weight and blood pressure measures are also taken.

A program such as this is really exciting because not only does it introduce the concept of a plant based diet, but it encourages people to take their health into their own hands and gives them the opportunity to improve their health, for free! Which is something that a lot of people don't have access too, or don't make time for. We ask for 100% WFPB compliance for the duration of the program. What participants choose to do after the 3 weeks is entirely up to them, no judgements or shaming!

We have received such great feedback from participants who took part in previous programs. F4L #2 showed large reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels, significant drops in blood pressure (with the one participant on medication for hypertension being able to come off this medication), weight loss in all participants and substantial drops in fasting blood glucose amongst pre-diabetic participants. These results are huge! And after just 3 weeks, participants reported having more energy, feeling lighter and less bloated, better focused at work and reduced hay fever and sinus problems. It's so amazing to see that by simply taking charge of what you eat, in just 3 weeks you can see large improvements on your health! Imagine what eating this way for a lifetime can do!

Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes - one of the recipes included in the recipe book I've made for participants!

During yesterdays briefing session, we shared an overview of the program, what exactly is involved in a WFPB lifestyle and how it is the only lifestyle proven to reverse our number one killer - heart disease, and stressed the significance of the program as this is the first Australian workplace to offer a program such as this. We also told participants not to make any changes to their current eating patterns until after the first blood test is done and to also not make any other changes to their current lifestyle over the 3 week period eg exercise as per usual - no more or no less, as this is the easiest way to see the impact of the food changes.

Throughout the 3 week program there will be 2 lunchtime meetings per week where participants are encouraged to bring their lunch, share recipes and ask questions etc. During these sessions, myself and other volunteers will be around to provide peer support, offer meal suggestions, provide shoppings lists, virtual and actual supermarket tours, presentations on how to transform your favourite foods into WFPB meals, talks on energy density and the dangers of consuming dairy as well as sharing YouTube clips, documentaries, nutrition education and psychological strategies to dealing with this transformation. At the end of the 3 weeks we'll be having a group pot-luck style lunch as a celebration!

Chunky Mexican dip with rice crackers & Pumpkin dip with fresh veggies - snack ideas included in my recipe book!

This program delivers sustainable benefits to participants. Firstly because participants feel better, physically and mentally, almost immediately. And secondly because it is relatively easy to adopt as there is no portion control or calorie counting. Once people have the skills to make the right food choices, they can then eat as much as they like, when they like. Hence on this track, participants tend to stay healthy and keep off excess weight. Some of my favourite quotes from a previous participants are: "This program is definitely worthwhile. Not only has it improved my health and wellbeing, but also that of my family" and "I felt rejuvenated - body, mind and soul".

I am so excited to have been given the opportunity to volunteer with such an amazing program again. In fact, I'm so enthusiastic about it that I have dedicated one of my Uni placements towards it! As well as helping out with everything involved in the lunchtime meetings, I'll also be doing a lot of behind the scenes work and hopefully making this program into something that can be implemented in other workplaces or even across communities!

Next week we've got 2 introductory "how to" sessions planned for the participants before they start the program the following weekend. Come back next week and I'll tell you all about it! Until then, check out this wonderful collage of plant based meals - so colourful and inviting.. who wouldn't want to eat like this?!


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