Veganism is a top trend on Google, and more and more millennials are converting to the nutrient-rich diet each year. But could the animal product-free lifestyle just be a phad that will soon be obsolete? Dr. Michelle McMacken, director of The Bellevue Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program, doesn’t think so. McMacken is launching a new program in the fall of 2019 that’s all about adopting a plant-based diet in order to change your lifestyle and get healthy. Adults who suffer from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or excess weight are welcome to apply for the program. 

Dr. McMacken’s Plant Based Diet – The Basics

While the focus of Dr. McMacken’s practice is the idea of using plant-based food as medicine, the program is not intended to convert its patients to vegans. Participants are encouraged to try a whole food diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Unlike traditional veganism, which omits all animal products this plant-based diet is simply low in meats, fish and dairy. Patients are also encouraged to skip the processed food as much as possible. As Dr. McMacken is launching a lifestyle program, not just a meal plan, her team of experts including a plant-based doctor, dietician and health coach will all be on-site to provide personal tips for a healthier way of living. 

Leading By Example

When Dr. McMacken attended medical school at Columbia University, she came to a shocking realization – she was provided with little training in how nutrition and health go hand in hand. Instead of learning ways to incorporate whole foods into one’s diet to prevent obesity and heart disease, she found herself memorizing facts about calorie counting and basic weight loss. As a former vegetarian for twenty-four years, she decided to go through her own nutrition transformation and convert to veganism. Her personal success with the diet inspired her to intertwine the lifestyle into her own practice.   

Treat With Nutrition – Leave the Prescription Pad at Home

The goal of the Bellevue Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program is to help patients reduce their medications by making lifestyle changes, specifically with the help of a plant-based diet. It is so common for doctors to write a prescription for a patient with diabetes or heart issues without trying to investigate the root of the problem. Dr. McMacken believes that food can be just as effective in getting healthy as pills and procedures. By supporting patients with tips and check-ins, she also has created much more personal relationships than when she closed every appointment with a call to the pharmacy.  

The vegan diet is generally thought of as healthy, but the idea of using a plant-based to cure sicknesses is a relatively new idea. Aside from cardiovascular health, vegan and plant-based diets have been linked to improving kidney function and even arthritis. Incorporating vegan options into your restaurant’s menu if you haven’t already may be a smart idea to attract customers looking for a lifestyle change. The stigma around veganism as a diet trend is diminishing very quickly as more and more people decide to make the switch for a number of health reasons. It’s safe to declare that veganism is in – but it’s also here to stay.