URMC / UR Program for Nutrition in Medicine / FAQ FAQ What is a whole food, plant-based diet? A whole food, plant-based diet is a diet comprised of plant foods in their natural forms. This diet includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. These foods can be cooked, raw, or minimally processed (whole grain flour, for example). Whole grainpastas and healthy starches like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and other whole grains are included. The diet minimizes or eliminates processed foods, including added sugars, oils, and white flours, as well as animal-sourced foods like meat and dairy. What does a day of this food look like? Is it bland or boring? Will it suit my tastes and the amount of cooking I’m willing to do? Breakfast: Hearty oatmeal with almond milk, raisins, cinnamon, and fresh berries Lunch: A delicious “tuna” salad sandwich made with chickpeas on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato slices, fresh fruit Snack: Hummus with vegetables and whole wheat crackers Dinner: Hearty chili even carnivores will enjoy served with homemade, whole grain corn bread, seasoned kale greens Dessert: Pineapple sponge cake As you can see, this food can be familiar or can be more exotic – whatever you prefer. You can eat as much as you want of the allowed foods. Portion control and calorie counting are not part of our programs. This is not about restriction or a short-term diet; our goal is to help you make whole food, plant-based nutrition delicious, convenient, and enjoyable. Our goal is to help you find some new favorite dishes you can look forward to eating without spending your day in the kitchen. It is important to note that at the Program for Nutrition in Medicine, we strive to meet our patients wherever they are and help them achieve their goals. We will discuss what we feel is an ideal diet but our work is to support you at whatever stage of dietary change you’re in as you work on your diet and lifestyle. Your goals are our goals and we don’t want our patients to worry about perfection such that it interferes with their progress. What are the health benefits of your program? All of us have different genes, with different predispositions to certain health or disease outcomes. But the exciting prospect is that diet and lifestyle is more powerful than traditional medicine has previously believed. Regardless of your genetic predispositions, there is likely some benefit to eating optimal nutrition. We are learning that optimal diet and lifestyle not only prevents disease, but also may treat and reverse existing disease in some circumstances. Peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that a whole-food, plant-based diet, sometimes in conjunction with exercise and other lifestyle changes, may have the following benefits: A treatment program utilizing a whole-food, plant-based diet with other lifestyle changes may arrest or reverse: Coronary Artery Disease Diabetes Overweight and Obesity High cholesterol Early stage prostate cancer Diets with more plants, or specific plant-based nutrients, are linked to lower risk of: Dementia Several types of cancer Kidney stones Gallstones Is this diet the same as a vegan diet? A vegan diet is defined solely by the strict avoidance of all animal products, but it is important to remember that what is included in a diet is just as important, if not more important, that what is excluded. Vegan ‘meats’, ‘cheeses’, and desserts have become readily available in recent years. In addition, many processed foods high in added sugars, white flours, and oils are vegan. These foods are problematic as they are often nutrient-deficient fragments of the original plant food as provided by nature. A whole food, plant-based diet can be similar to a vegan diet that limits processed food, but by definition a whole food, plant-based diet focuses more on the foods you should include for optimal health. Do you recommend vitamin supplements? We generally do not recommend vitamin supplements for long-term health promotion or disease prevention. Exceptions to this include vitamin B12 for those eating fewer animal foods and sometimes vitamin D (the 'sunshine vitamin'), given our latitude and long winters. Other supplements and nutrients may be appropriate for certain clinical conditions or depending on life and diet circumstances, but our general approach is to try to minimize supplement use. I am gluten-free. Are your programs gluten-free? We do not generally ask our patients to avoid gluten, but are happy to accommodate those people with gluten sensitivities with gluten free options available at our catered meals. Please let us know ahead of time regarding any food allergies or sensitivities you may have. Are there payment plans for your programs? There are no payment plans for the consultation service. Contact us for details regarding the lifestyle intensive and immersion programs. Are any of the program fees covered by insurance plans? At this time, no. I don't live near Rochester, NY. Is it possible to have a long-distance phone consultation? No, we only offer in-person office consultations. If I am a local participant, can I attend an immersion without staying at the resort and pay accordingly? No. One of the key components of the immersion program is the group structure, participation, and support, and staying at the resort will not only be much more enjoyable, but also increase the odds of your best success. Can I make an appointment just to get a second opinion regarding diagnosis and medical treatment of my health problems? At the Program for Nutrition in Medicine we will focus on the diet and lifestyle components to your health. We will work as advisors to your primary care doctor to optimize your health and wellbeing. This means that we will not be diagnosing your ailments or ordering testing directly. We will make medication or testing suggestions in partnership with your primary care physician. Who can enroll in your programs? Anyone! Whether you feel healthy and just want to maintain and optimize your health or you are struggling with advanced chronic disease, our programs will support you in a safe, medically supervised setting.