Okanagan Health Forum 2005  Penticton Okanagan Health Forum Photos
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still life with foodHealthy Eating--The Plant-Based Dietstill life with food

See our Nutrition Bites--News about Diet and Health

The Penticton Healthy Eating Group was started in the spring of 1994 by Angie McIntosh and her husband Dr. Robert McIntosh, M.D. They started the group to help teach others how to move to a totally plant-based diet. This style of diet is called vegan (vee-gun).  They modeled the group on the one being held at the coast by Canada Earthsave.  We are providing information here to encourage everyone in communities around the world to start groups in their towns.  This would do much to preserve and improve the health of their own communities, would help conserve natural resources of the world, would help reduce world hunger, and would show tremendous compassion for all living creatures.  For more on these issues please see the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

As a family physician, Dr. McIntosh had become aware of the connection between chronic degenerative and the western diet which is based on animal products and far too refined.  For more on the health implications of the western diet please see the work of Dr. John McDougall, MD.   Angie, as vegan for several years, had modified many family recipes and had created new ones and was often getting inquiries as to how her family ate a balanced and healthy vegetarian diet that contained no meat, dairy or fish. Angie also had a strong desire to teach others about how shifting to a plant-based diet can help oneself, the planet, the animals, and world hunger. As many people were showing an interest in making healthy dietary choices, the couple started monthly vegan potluck suppers that featured educational lectures or videos.  These lasted for five years.  Angie also wrote a completely plant-based cookbook which the couple gives out to patients and others looking for simple vegan recipes and diet informaton.  We are interested in hearing from others wanting to participate in a healthy eating group in the Penticton, BC area.

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The group met once a month for a vegan potluck supper. Anybody was welcome to come to the group, whether or not they were vegetarians, but they were asked to bring a relatively lowfat dish to share with the group that was entirely made from plant-based products. No meat, dairy, seafood, or even honey was allowed. Folks were  asked to bring their recipes and its source if possible, and their own plates, cups, and utensils. The group organizers provide the beverages such as herbal tea, soy drinks, and herbal coffee substitutes. If people were new to this diet and were stuck for recipe ideas, they phoned Angie for help or were encouraged to bring something simple such as a vegetable dish or fruit plate.

Every month diners enjoyed a wonderful array of colorful vegetable dishes, crisp salads, tasty casseroles, and hearty grain dishes. There are even usually a few deserts made entirely without milk, or even eggs.

After sharing a wonderful banquet of vegan food, there was usually a handout with recipes from the previous month and some little tidbit about vegetarian health and nutrition. Then the group usually had an educational presentation which lasted for about an hour. They had speakers who are aware of the health benefits of a plant-based diet, perhaps a cooking demonstration, or a video presentation. There is also often a basket full of goodies; handouts, brochures, books about diet and nutrition, and resource information about the global and environmental impact of our diet.

Generally, the group is a welcoming place that anyone with an interest in learning more about a healthy vegan diet can come.

The group was run by donation based on ability to pay to cover the cost of beverages, handouts, and room rental. People were encouraged to bring their family and friends. There were regularily about 30 people who came to the group. In the 5 years that the group ran, well over 200 people had come to potlucks, many were regulars. The group met every month on the last Wednesday. Initially the group didn't meet at Christmas or in the summer, but there was such a demand that there were even dinners between Christmas and New Years, and each summer in July there was a beach picnic. Sometimes over 75 people attended the picnic.

The group is also worked to educate the community. In 1994 the group sponsered a talk with Dr. Michael Klaper, M.D. and there was a full house with over 400 people in attendance. Pretty good for a small town with a population of around 30,000 people. Folks really enjoyed his talk and learned alot. Angie and Rob also made arrangements for a few educational sessions with the local medical community which was met with relative interest. Angie and Rob especially enjoyed having Dr. Klaper visit as he was the person that provided excellent nutritional information at the right time which lead to their complete dietary change and for that they are grateful. Angie and Rob and their kids were delighted to visit Dr. Klaper at his home in Maui where he took him to swim with the giant sea turtles at the Red Sand Beach.  It was a thrilling experience to swim with these long lived vegetarian animals.  The Penticton Healthy Eating group also made arrangements for well known vegetarian spokesperson and Ironwoman Dr. Ruth Heidrich to speak in Penticton.  She found a way back to health after cancer
 by moving to a completely plant based-diet.

The McIntosh's are delighted to see that several other local groups sprang up after they started their healthy eating group.  Former members started an active vegan potluck group in Oliver, a major program went in in the north, and in Penticton a very strong CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) group was formed.

Dr. Robert and Angie McIntosh are pleased to continue to act as resources to help people in the community  switch to plant-based diets. 
Anyone wishing to recieve a copy of Angie's simple  handout, "Beyond Tofu" which is filled with totally vegetarian recipes
may contact her at acmcintosh2002@yahoo.com.  They are just $5 plus shipping. I would eventually like to have much of the booklet available online.

If you are interested in becoming part of a vegan potluck group in Penticton please contact Angie at (250)492-5790.

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Okanagan Health Forum 2005

We are delighted that the Okanagan Health Forum happened in the Okanagan
 in Penticton and Kelowna on April 9th and 10th, 2005.
 Some of the biggest names in healthy nutrition spoke to the general public
 and provided education to local health professionals.
 A huge crowd of around 500 people in Penticton had a chance to hear from the following experts;

Dr.Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD, was Chairman and Program Director of the 2nd National Conference on Lipids in the Elimination and Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease where he presided at a gathering of over 500 physicians and health care workers. He edited the Proceedings of this International Conference as a Supplement to the American Journal of Cardiology in 1998. He is a former Chairman of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. His ongoing research at the Cleveland Clinic indicates that a healthy no added oil vegetarian diet must be used to help achieve the profound reduction in cholesterol needed to prevent or reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn's most profound message is that heart disease need never occur and when it does, as he showed in his research, it can be halted and reversed. Health professionals and the public can learn more at Dr. Esselstyn's website www.HeartAttackProof.com.

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, is the author of the landmark China-Cornell-Oxford Project, which the New York Times called "the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease". Dr. Campbell trained at M.I.T. and Cornell in toxicology and nutritional biochemistry and is one of the world's leading experts on the nutritional causes of cancer. His profound research has shown that animal protein is one of the most profound carcinogens in our diets. He has authored over 350 publications, has participated in numerous deliberations on state, national, and international policy matters, and has lectured extensively on consumer nutritional information and food policy. Dr. Campbell's book, The China Study, has just been released in early 2005. See:http://pln.cornell.edu/ChinaProject.html  and http://www.thechinastudy.com/authors.html

Vesanto Melina is a registered dietitian and co-author of the nutrition classics The New Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegan, Raising Vegetarian Children, Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer, and most recently the Food Allergy Survival Guide: Surviving and Thriving With Food Allergies and Sensitivities. This internationally known speaker co-authored the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada's Position on Vegetarian Diets (2003) and Manual of Clinical Dietetics, 6th edition, 2000. From her Canadian west coast office, Ms. Melina is a nutrition consultant to major food manufacturers and various levels of government and she helps patients and clients all over North America. You can visit her website at www.nutrispeak.com.

Brenda Davis, registered dietitian/nutritionist, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant, academic nutrition instructor, and is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Brenda is co-author of five books – the best-sellers, Becoming Vegetarian and Becoming Vegan, Dairy-free and Delicious, Defeating Diabetes and The New Becoming Vegetarian. She has also had articles published in lay magazines and professional journals. Brenda has been a featured speaker at many international dietetic conferences, and recently completed an eight month speaking tour covering 42 US states. Visit her website at www.brendadavisrd.com.

More Forum information is available at the website http://www.OkanaganHealthForum.com


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