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International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition: Plant Your Future

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Today is the opening of the 7th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition at Loma Linda University Health, but first a few words about yesterday. This year, instead of holding a series of preliminary meetings for Seventh-day Adventist attendees, there was a Community Event, held at the new San Bernardino campus of LLUH—San Manuel Gateway College. It was free to all who wished to attend. I have been following the development of this new school campus ever since Chancellor Dick Hart announced it a few years ago and I wanted to see it. The school is a partnership with San Bernardino intended to provide certification programs for young people who might not otherwise pursue an education after high school. They have paired it with another Social Action Community Health System (SACHS) clinic that gives their students experience and provides experience for undergraduate and graduate students from the main campus and for medical residents. They opened for classes in September of 2016 and have now graduated the first class of 34 students.

It is a beautiful building with clinic facilities on the first two floors and classrooms on the third floor. It also includes the Farmacy Fresh Café which is for students, staff, and the man on the street (should he desire to eat there).

The community event was titled Plant Your Future. They pulled in some speakers from the Vegetarian Congress including Joan Sabate, the chairman of the Congress. These were community style lectures in both English and Spanish as opposed to the scholarly presentations that we will be hearing today. They also did a cooking demonstration to a packed audience followed by a garden demonstration. I’ve seen (and given) a lot of cooking demonstrations, but the item that was new to me was the “Not Dogs in a bun.” I thought it was pretty good. My mother, who is also attending this event, thought the protein content should be a bit higher. A team of professionals provided fingerstick blood test screenings and blood pressures and there were assorted vendors providing samples to taste and educational handouts. They also had a food station selling (for $3) a tamale plate or ecole caliente (hot and spicy corn on the cob).

It was a modest-sized event, but the room they had was packed with standing room, and also packed around the side walls and back of the room. It was a reminder that the science of nutrition will only be useful if it can be transmitted into the practice of regular people and it was a nice beginning for the meetings to follow.

A handout from the cooking demonstration conducted by Dr. Greger during the 7th Annual International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition:


Vicki Saunders, M.S., R.D, is Coordinator of Health Science Program and Professor of Nutrition at Pacific Union College and past president of the Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association (SDADA).

Main photo courtesy of In-article images courtesy of the author.


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