About a month ago, I heard about the P-POD Conference, a plant-based prevention of disease conference being held in Raleigh, NC. I immediately knew I need to go. I started looking at the speakers who would be speaking, and that just made me even more excited. If you know anything about plant-based nutrition, you know Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. He was going to be one of the main speakers there, and that just confirmed I needed to be there.
On Thursday after my last class of the day, I headed down the mountain. I live close to Raleigh, so I just stayed at home and drove back and forth each day for the conference. It was great being home for a few days, because I got to snuggle with our pup Toby and see my family.
I listened to so many podcasts while being in the car all weekend (12 hours of driving means lots of podcasts!). I listened to the Rich Roll Podcast, which is incredible! I listened to his interviews with a vegan NFL football player, The Iron Cowboy (50 ironman races, in 50 consecutive days, in all 50 states), a recovered addict who healed himself with veganism, and a plant-based doctor at Bellevue hospital. Let’s just say I was fully immersed in plant-based learning the entire weekend…at the conference, and on the road.
The conference was Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday morning. I won’t bore you too much with every single topic and speaker that was there, but you can check out the schedule here !
On Saturday, there was a delicious breakfast buffet of oatmeal, trail mix, and fresh fruit. There was a coffee bar as well with dairy free creamers (of course). The food was all plant-based, vegan, gluten free, and low oil. Our lunches on Saturday and Sunday was catered by a Lebanese restaurant. There was hummus, roasted veggies, brown rice, kale salad, and fresh fruit.
Many conferences are sponsored by companies that don’t really coincide with the message of the conference, for example a dietetics conference with food from McDonalds. But at P-POD the food served perfectly represented the goals of the conference. One thing that I loved about this conference was that it was solely a collaboration of non-profits. There was no accepting of funding or support commercial sources. This is important when it comes to learning information. When conferences are swayed by money given by big companies, the information can get swayed and disclosures are usually made. But at P-POD all the speakers were proud to say they had no disclosures, they weren’t there to represent anything other than plant-based nutrition.
A cool thing about this conference was that it was a fairly small in attendance (200 people, maybe?). I loved that it was on the smaller side, because it felt more personal. The speakers would listen to other speakers, and ate lunch with everyone. Driving in on Saturday morning, before I got out of my car, I noticed Dr. Esselstyn getting out of his car right behind me (I’ll admit it..I took a selfie..). There were physicians there from all over the states, and even a few that flew to Raleigh, NC from out of the country just to attend the conference.
My favorite speaker and talk of the conference was by Dr. Ted Barnett on Politics, something that really gets my gears turning..especially when it comes to plant-based diets. The talk was hilarious, and also very eye-opening. Another talk that I really enjoyed was given by Dr. Amy Lanou on getting off the dairy-go-round, as well as bone health on a vegan diet. I think everyone should stop eating/drinking dairy, so it was cool finding out ways to help patients fight “cheese cravings” and ultimately ditch the dairy for their health.
It was definitely a long weekend, but filled with lots of great information. All of the speakers used evidence-based research and studies to explain their topics. The nutrition field can be very selective when it comes to research, and how it effects guidelines and policies so a lot of the studies shared at P-POD I probably would’ve never heard about.
Going to P-POD was so encouraging, because there were so many health care professionals on the same page. Everyone there understood the impact plant-based diets have on their patients. It’s easy to feel like there is nobody out there trying to use plants as medicine, but this confirmed that there are hundreds of doctors, nurses, and dietitians aiming for the same goal…healing, reversing, and most importantly preventing disease through a plant-based diet.