Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition: Review of the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

As someone who has been deeply immersed in the vegan world for the last four (almost five) years, I have been exposed to an abundance of information regarding the health dangers of animal-based foods and the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. Still, I was genuinely surprised by the new understanding and re-affirmed confidence I gained by taking the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course.

I have been asked by many of The Vegan Woman followers whether I recommend the program and whether I feel it is suitable for various purposes. So I decided to put together a review that consists of five reasons I would recommend the course, including some pointers that will help you figure out if this program is right for you.

Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.
Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.

5 Pointers to help you decide whether to enroll in the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

1. The content

While much emphasis is given in the course to Dr. Campbell’s protein research, The China Study, understanding nutrients, and the correlations between nutrition and health/disease, I was pleasantly surprised that the course also offered a wider scope of understanding and topics. These included fascinating lectures that supported the main theme, including:

  • The psychology and physiology of poor eating choices (the reasons we lose our bearings in the food pleasure trap).

  • The way research is funded, what shapes public policy and what shapes the information the public is exposed to.

  • Understanding food labels and how to read and truly comprehend what they mean.

  • The environmental impact of our food choices.

I found that the lectures not only provided great information, but also challenged certain perceptions that I had, from how widely nutrient density in our food may vary to newfound realizations about nutrition in general – and my own nutrient consumption specifically – including the role that carbohydrates, fats and protein play in my diet. With that said, you should be aware that this is NOT a clinical nutritionist training program, and although this course offers continuing education credits for health professionals, and plenty of nutritional knowledge – some of which we can all hope will one day become part of mainstream nutritional and medical curriculums – you should not expect the course to cover nutrition and various nutritional aspects as a whole.

2. Top-notch lecturers

Another aspect I greatly enjoyed was the variety of lecturers in the program. The course is mostly taught by Dr. Campbell, with many guest lecturers, including leading and notable physicians Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and experts such as professional Ironman triathlete and fitness expert Brendan Brazier and climate scientist Dr. Bruce Monger.

Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

The majority of the lectures and speakers were new to me. However, I found that even with lecturers and talks that I had already been exposed to, listening to them in the structured context of the course – with the opportunity to discuss, explore and clarify topics with the courses’ teaching assistants – gave these lectures an added value and clarity.

3. Analytical tools

One thing I totally didn’t expect to gain from the course, but which ended up being one of my most important takeaways, were the analytical tools taught through various readings and exercises. 

We live in a world where new research and studies are being published almost every day. Their sometimes contradicting and sensational claims can leave people highly confused. The public follows trends and tends to believe media publications without thorough examination. The analytical tools gained in the course allow students to properly examine supposedly reliable studies and articles through a series of questions and examinations. In the end, they are easily able to tell if an article is of any merit or if it is just another marketing twist weaved from an unreliable study. The reason I love this aspect of this course so much is because of the self-reliance and confidence these tools cultivate, which will empower students in their daily lives for years to come.

4. Demographics and suitability

If you are wondering whether you have the proper background to benefit from this course, you might be surprised to learn that the course is taken by a wide range of people from various backgrounds. The course can be taken for continuing medical education credit, so doctors, nurses, health and nutrition coaches, and the general public were among my classmates. This mixture of backgrounds and perspectives allowed for some truly interesting discussions.  The difference in backgrounds was never an issue, as each student could take the course at his or her own pace within the timeframe given and discuss topics directly with the teaching assistants as needed. 

What is important to note, though, is that if you are an ethical vegan, you might find this course difficult to go through, due to the many references to animal testing in Dr. Campbell’s talks. What kept me going in those difficult moments was the realization that while many people are motivated by ethics in their decision to go vegan, a tremendous number of people who have gone vegan thanks to Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking work, have done so solely for the enormous health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet which his research shows.

5. The technicalities and the support

It might seem strange, but I can’t conclude my review without mentioning the technical side of the course. This topic ranges from dealing with the administration to the online platform to the supportive structure and outstanding course instructors.

From the administration standpoint, I found the program to be impeccably organized, with the course syllabus, discussions, registration details and all needed information readily available and easily accessible. When I needed to extend the duration of the course (take the three parts of the course with a two-week break in between), the administrative staff made it easy and were very accommodating. The platform used to carry out the course was very user friendly and accessible, as well.

And lastly, a word about the course instructors: They accompanied the students throughout in a professional and impressive manner, offering outstanding feedback and responsiveness to questions and assignments. I think students who take the course stand to learn almost as much from the instructors as they do from the lecturers.

Career opportunities

I hope my review has assisted you in figuring out if this course is right for you. As more and more careers call for plant-based diet experts I believe programs like this will become in high demand.

As a vegan lifestyle expert who promotes veganism and the vegan lifestyle, leads workshops, and guides individuals, groups and online communities through their transition to veganism and plant-based diets, I found that the course was a great step in my career development and in my continuous efforts to provide those I guide with the most up-to-date knowledge and motivation to enhance their vegan lifestyle choice.

Holiday SaleDiscounted course rate

For those of you interested in enrolling, the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell are offering 15% discount on this course throughout December 2015.

Click here for the discounted rate and enrollment details.

Sivan Pardo Renwick

Founder, Director and Chief Editor of The Vegan Woman

Sivan is the founder, director, and chief editor of The Vegan Woman. As a vegan lifestyle expert and public speaker, Sivan leads interactive workshops and online communities that help men and women make the transition into veganism and plant-based diets an enjoyable and uplifting journey.

Sivan is also a writer and contributor on various vegan-living topics, and has been featured on CNN’s Eatocracy, Vegan Weddings HQ, Vegan Views, Vegan Lifestyle magazine, and other national and international platforms.

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