Graduate of the Month
Jeanne Vogel, NPDenver, Colorado
My journey began as a young teen when I decided to become a vegetarian due to not liking the taste of meat. After I became a nurse, I noticed the correlation of those who ate less or no meat with greater health and wellness. I worked on a cardiac progressive care unit as a registered nurse and also worked in a cardiac observation unit for those with acute chest pain episodes. Lifestyle choices, diet, stress, and exercise were obvious contributors to many of the conditions that brought people into my care. Upon becoming a nurse practitioner, the advisement and plan for these patients became my responsibility. I took everything I learned in the hospital and observation unit and worked to learn more so that I could properly educate my patients about the lifestyle choices that led to optimal health and wellness. Like many others, I watched food documentaries, read, and researched on my own to gain greater understanding of the link between the whole food, plant-based lifestyle and better health. I follow a whole food, plant-based diet most every day, and I now encourage others to do the same.
My first piece of advice is that this is a journey and it isn’t achieved overnight. It takes time to learn about a whole food, plant-based diet. It also takes time to unlearn the false information we’ve absorbed through the deceptive marketing campaigns of animal agriculture and junk-food manufacturers who claim their products are the way to health. I advise people that this is a step by step process, but with each step, they are moving closer to optimal health.
The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate provided the additional education I needed to counsel patients in adopting this healthier lifestyle. It also supported my own commitment to continue making healthier decisions in my own life. Once it can be determined that a person is desiring to make a change in their health, then they are more open to dietary counsel. I find that when people are not as open to making a change, providing a few evidence-based nutrition and health resources, helps to stimulate curiosity about a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.
As a clinician, I have worked in internal medicine and currently work in metabolic and surgical weight management. These patients have BMIs above 35 and typically have many other health conditions that they are working to improve. The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate provided me with a more comprehensive education on nutrition and its effect on health. It is also an accepted continuing medical education (CME) pathway toward the American College of Lifestyle Medicine board certification, which I hope to achieve within the next year. This type of credentialing and certification gives credibility to what I am teaching to my patients, and I hope to expand on this outreach in the near future. I am also working on a website for community outreach (jeannevogel.com) and a blog titled “Grounded in Wellness” that I plan to have published and running in early 2019.
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