Seminar promotes vegan diet for better health


What’s Easter without eggs and ham on the buffet table?

A step toward better health, according to Jeanie Weaver. The South Lyon woman coordinates the annual fall Vegetarian Holiday Tasting Extravaganza, a demonstration of vegetarian and vegan foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The event, held at the Metropolitan Adventist Jr. Academy in Plymouth, also includes a tasting and presentations on the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Weaver will turn her attention to the Easter buffet table with a new cooking, tasting and health seminar 2-5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the Academy, 15585 N. Haggerty, one block north of Five Mile, Plymouth.

“I wanted to have it around Easter so it gives people practical ideas for an Easter buffet or dish. They might not like all of it, but I bet there will be something they’ll like. It will be a mini holiday tasting,” she said, adding that she’ll also cook up foods for “everyday” plant-based meals.

“I thought I wanted to do something more instructive as far as how to accomplish a plant-based diet. I thought I’d present to a smaller group and be more interactive, showing from start to finish how to put together a meal.”

Two physicians, including Weaver’s father-in-law, Arthur Weaver, M.D., of Northville, and a dietitian will be on hand to talk about health benefits and to field nutrition questions. The session will end with an Easter buffet.

Avoiding meat, dairy
Weaver, a physical fitness trainer, will use the book, Engine 2 Diet and its 28 Day Challenge as a guide during the seminar. Rip Esselstyn, a former firefighter in Austin, Texas, created the mostly vegan diet after discovering a colleague had dangerously high cholesterol. The plan focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

“They eat this way in the fire station because so many firefighters were having terrible blood pressure, high cholesterol, and problems with weight. They made the station a plant-powered station and saw results in four to five weeks,” Weaver said. Esselstyn’s fellow firefighters saw high blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop as they avoided eating meat and dairy products. “I could use scads of other books, but I like his book because he is a marathoner and firefighter.”

The seminar includes a four-week support system to help participants through the 28-day challenge of switching to a vegan diet. Weaver will hold sessions on Tuesdays at the school. Participants may call or email her in lieu of meeting in person.

“People can get out of it as much as they want,” she said. “The point he makes in the book is that until you experience it, you can’t believe it. Your taste buds will change. You’ll move away from the stuff that causes you problems and you start not craving it. People report that they don’t have headaches like they used to. They’re eating an anti-inflammatory diet and doing it with foods and not supplements.”

Cost for the seminar, including the buffet and follow-up sessions, is $35 per person or $45 per couple. Registration deadline is Tuesday, March 25. Call 248-446-9176 or email to RSVP. Payment — cash or checks only — will be collected at the door.