What I Learned by Taking Classes for My Certificate In Plant-Based Nutrition

Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition

I finished my certificate course from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I have been reflecting on the things I learned and how it changed my thinking about various aspects of plant-based nutrition. In the end I tally 2 changes and 2 take-aways.



  • Environmental Impacts — I have never particularly cared why someone would want to change their eating and embrace a vegetarian or vegan diet. I have always been slightly entertained by the people who talked about preserving farm lands, reducing water use and saving the oceans. For me a plant-based diet has always had to do with health. I also realized that for a few it was about religious beliefs (which came mostly from health concerns in the first place). After watching the module on the Environmental Impacts of an animal based diet, I have become a believer! This has not only broadened my perspective, but has actually changed it. I have a whole new understanding and appreciation for the environmental impacts of eating animals and fish.
  • B-12 – I have pretty much been convinced that eating 4 eggs a month beats the hell out pills, injections or malnutrition. After all, 4 eggs a month is way less than 10% of my food intake. Now I am not so sure and am actively re-evaluating my belief. I will update you as this evolves.


  • Supplements – I have been intuitively convinced that supplements were a big scam for quite some time. I understand why it is a “scam” and can talk about supplements, research and policy and perception in a whole new way. Much of the research is funded by the food industry and studies on an isolated element in food (like Vitamin D3). This reductionist approach to research totally ignores the fact the food digestion is a very complex and integrated system. Add to that the research abstracts often bare little resemblance to the actual study design and outcomes. Then the media picks it up and the ideas get contorted beyond recognition
  • Critical Thinking – I was constantly challenged to examine  how I think about things. As it turns out, I do think fairly critically, but this was something I cobbled together for myself and now I have new tools and much more confidence in my abilities. The framework will help me to write about and explain nutrition is a better way.

How I plan to use these changes and thinking and take-aways

  • Personally – knowledge is empowering and I have now have some simpler, clearer ways to think about my food choices (see B-12 section above)
  • Professionally – I am in the process of scheduling a couple of plant-based nutrition workshops for early next year. This certificate course has been invaluable in helping me understand exactly what I need to do to create a clear, concise presentation. I will also use the information in my blog and particularly in my work with my nutrition and fitness coaching clients.

All in all, it was a profound and wonderful experience. Getting the certificate was wonderful, but the knowledge is far more valuable!

About Genene Cote

Genene Coté -- Nutrition Advocate, Counselor and Coach who is also a Whole Food Plant Based Eater (vegetarian/vegan), cook and gardener.
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