It has been 2 years since I completed my Plant-Based Nutrition Certification and I still think about that experience all the time.
Getting this certification was a pivotal moment in my life.
At that time in 2018 I was a mom of a 4 month old and an almost 2 year old who spent the previous 4 years trying an online business focused on fitness and nutrition. My fire for that business had gone out but my love for nutrition was still as strong as ever, if not stronger.
Eight months prior to this, in the midst of my second pregnancy, our family went from a vegetarian diet to a plant-based diet. After 14 years of being vegetarian I FINALLY went vegan; something I said I would never do. *eye roll* You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
WHY I CHOSE TO DO THE PLANT-BASED NUTRITION CERTIFICATION PROGRAM?
My heart knew that I wanted to continue doing something with nutrition but recipe creation wasn’t a strength of mine (unless anti-recipe recipes are a thing…)
I love science and always thought being in medicine would be amazing but never even considered nutrition in school.
So I sat and googled.
I searched and researched, until I found nutrition courses about a plant-based diet.
The lightbulb went off.
I believe in education and feel that learning, even as an adult, is so important. I searched all the different programs out there and this was spoke to me. It was the one that made the most sense at the time and I LOVED that it was focused solely on a plant-based diet. So I put a little ole course called Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate through eCornell, Cornell Universities online teaching platform, on my to-do list.
My husband and I talked about it over the course of a few weeks and decided that I should do it. I still remember the moment I signed up.
I was sitting on our bed after the boys went to bed and had butterflies like crazy. I decided to use Christmas gift money, some extra money we had been saving, and I clicked “register”. I was OFFICIALLY enrolled to take the course!
Let’s talk a little more about the course itself and what it entails.
WHAT IS THE PLANT-BASED NUTRITION CERTIFICATE WITH ECORNELL
This certification program is a 6 week self-paced online program. Each class is 2 weeks long, averaging 5-7 hours a week of work, and has an instructor to walk you through with videos and supplemental materials. For the certification, there are 3 courses you take, each being two weeks long.
- Nutrition and Society
- Diseases of Affluence
- Applying the Whole Food Plant-Based Lifestyle (Which I think they now call Plant-Based in Practice)
You do not need to take the courses back to back and you register for each individually. This is a great option for those not in a rush to finish. For me, I wanted to do them all back to back.
The great thing about this program is that it is meant for a huge variety of people. Pulling directly from their website, “these courses are designed for individuals seeking to improve their own personal health, as well as chefs, teachers, fitness trainers, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals and more, who want to enhance their nutrition skills and education.” (source)
Before jumping into what I liked and would change about the program, I want to explain more about the type of nutrition they focus on in this program.
WHAT IS PLANT-BASED NUTRITION?
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies focuses on a whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. This is different than vegan and different than plant-based.
The main differences about a whole-food plant-based diet is that someone who follows this WFPB diet does not consume oils, processed carbs and sugars, and focuses on healing the body through nutrition.
Try the Plant-Based kickstart program with Center For Nutrition Studies and see if this way of eating is something you would enjoy.
For those curious, we love this way of eating and use it as a BASE in our life. That said, we do not eat WFPB as it simply doesn’t work for our family during this phase of our life. However, having the knowledge about the foods that can cause issues in our bodies has been helpful in making better family choices.
What I liked about the plant-Based Nutrition certification course (Pros)
- PACE: You get to do it at your own pace and on your own time. Being a mom of two little ones, I would spend an hour and a half per night (sometimes more if I was really into the lesson and had no distractions) while the boys were sleeping.
- MATERIALS: All the materials are digital BUT you can print them off and keep them. I chose to print off all the materials so I could have them for the future. Even two years later they are in a 3-ring binder if/when I want to reference them.
- SCIENCE: It’s backed by science! T. Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study, is an instructor in the course and uses real research to back up the lifestyle. Seeing references, charts, and data to back up what you are learning helps so much.
- ENGAGEMENT: There are papers and quizzes plus a chat option where you engage with other students and staff. That may annoy some people but it is really beneficial for truly understanding the data. The instructors are actively engaged and provide direct feedback about your submissions.
- COST: This is definitely a pro that I also would put in the section below HOWEVER, overall this course is very affordable as a supplement to other education. It was enough of an investment that I had to take it seriously but not so much that I had to go into debt for it.
What I wish would have been different about the plant-based nutrition certification (CONS)
- LENGTH: It was easy to fall behind so I wish the courses had been more than two weeks. It went by so fast that sometimes I wanted to keep learning on that subject and it was already complete.
- MATERIALS: All the materials were digital which is great for those saving paper but I would have loved a book or something to supplement the program. I love having resources after things like this and although I have my printed materials, it’s not the same as an actual book.
- COST: This program is definitely an investment and was not something I could “wing” purchasing. It took some saving and planning so we could pay with cash. Many people likely see the cost as a deal breaker.
Would I recommend the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification to my friends of family?
If you were interested in making more healthy food choices and specifically transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, I would absolutely recommend this course. It is a little pricey for a “hobby” course but if you have the money to spend and want to do it then I say do it!
The one thing I want to remind anyone interested in this course is that it does not certify you (in most states and countries) as a nutritionist or dietitian. Many people use this course to supplement other degrees they have.
You can learn more about that here. (Check the FAQ near the bottom of the page)
What’s Next FOR ME?
Taking this certification program was the first step for me. It was this course that made me realize how much I love nutrition and how I wish I had studied it in college. Thankfully there is still time for me to make a career out of it! (I mean I’m only in my 30’s - I’m still young, right?)
I also launch a group for those trying to eat more plant-based meals. I invite you to join my free Facebook group here!
It is a goal to continue my education by becoming certified as a Holistic Nutritionist but that is something that is on my dream board and not yet in process.
I don’t want this conversation to be one way. What questions do you have about this program? PLEASE share them in the comments. I want to talk WITH YOU.
More from Realistic Plant-Based Mama: