I found out about Food for Life after going to the Lifestyle Medicine conference, and like I said, I knew I wanted to do it. I went home and within a month, had a video with a cooking demonstration on YouTube as part of my application and paperwork filled out and I settled in to wait. And I waited. And waited. When I submitted my application, I didn’t realize that the deadline for submission was 5 months away with a decision date of 2 months after that! In order to fill my time I took a plant-based nutrition class through eCornell which I thoroughly loved. I enjoy learning and while I’d considered myself well read on the benefits of a plant-based diet, I was gaining new knowledge with every class.
Finally August came and I was off to Washington DC for my training. I had no idea what to expect, even down to how many people were enrolled. I had in my head that maybe 20 were attending but had no idea where I got that number. It wasn’t 20, but 80! The room was packed with people as excited as I was to start learning the process of teaching Food for Life classes and the energy was so high, you could almost see it.
The people ranged from health professionals to restaurant owners, fitness professionals and reporters. Their experiences were all personal, whether it was getting off diabetes medications themselves or wanting to help a loved one increase their survival. The thing that we all held in common was feeling passionate about wanting to spread the “gospel” so to speak. Also, there seemed to be a sense of relief about being around people who got it. I am lucky in that in my everyday life, I get to surround myself with people who are interested or curious or on the same page as I am and sometimes I forget that the majority of the world doesn’t eat like I do. Sometimes I remember because someone says something that is just jarring , usually about eating meat. And then I remember that as far as the rest of the world is concerned, I’m the abnormal one. Being in the same room with these people felt like being home in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I didn’t get to meet even half of them but it didn’t matter; the commonality was just soothing. I made sure to sit someplace different every chance I could so I could meet someone new and even though I’m an introvert by nature, I found myself walking up to new people and sticking out my hand for an introduction. The fact they were at that class meant that I wanted meet them!
The training was great. Some of it was rehashing of stuff I already knew, some of it was just fandom (Neal Barnard, what?) but a lot of it was real life experience with tips and tricks for how to really run a class. And there were a lot of questions. There really wasn’t time for all the questions we had but they sure tried to answer as many as they could. And as I’m trying to figure things out a month or so later, I didn’t even know what to ask. But I’m figuring it out slowly. And in the meantime, I made some friends and contacts and created a support system that will carry me through this journey so I couldn’t be more excited.