What do you get when you remove meat, dairy, fish, eggs, salt and oils from your kitchen before preparing for a dinner? An incredibly flavorful five-course meal provided at the “Heart Health Comes from a Healthy Harvest” event at the Culinary Vegetable Institute on Wednesday, July 12.

This event was part of a lecture series that shares insights into how plant-based dining can benefit people, serving as the foundation of healthy eating. The centerpiece of the evening was a dual appearance by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. and his daughter, Jane Esselstyn, RN.

Dr. Esselstyn is the author of the New York Times’ bestselling book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This book provides insights gleaned from 20 years of intensive research, and offers plenty of delicious plant-based diet recipes. The doctor’s nutritional study is the longest of its kind conducted to date, and what he learned is explained “with irrefutable scientific evidence” to let readers know “how we can end the heart disease epidemic in this country forever by changing what we eat.”

At the Culinary Vegetable Institute event, the father/daughter duo shared information about the power of a plant-based harvest to end heart disease, as well as how this eating plan fights against Type II Diabetes. In Jane’s approach to explaining how the body uses the insulin/glucose combo for good health, she used a bright red satin cloth, a toy dump truck, tennis balls and more as props. Using these creative props, she illustrated how the body operates when healthy – and how it works when Type II Diabetes is present.

When we asked Jane for one key takeaway from the evening, she said the following. “Eat more fruit and veggies. Our health will be so much better if we swap out meat and dairy for grains, greens, roots, fruits and berries!”

Plant-Based Menu at the Culinary Vegetable Institute

Here is the mouthwatering menu provided that night:

  • Petite Lettuces: succulents, kombucha, borage, citrus lace, marigold and fennel
  • Chilled Tomato and Cherry Gazpacho: currant tomato, basil and mint
  • Rice Porridge: brown rice, turnip, turnip leaves, seaweed and sour turnip
  • Carrot Pot Roast: whole grain mustard, huckleberry, mustard seeds and micro carrot
  • Pea Cake, Pea Sorbet and Pea Caramel with lemon verbena, lemon balm and pea bloom

Courses were paired with wine, with temperance drinks also available; the latter included cherry and lucky sorrel soda; dill, spruce and fennel kombucha beer; and ice wine elixir tea.

When we asked Jane if she had a favorite dish from the evening, her response was that it was “an impossible question to answer.” But, when we let her list three favorites, she provided the following response: “I loved the sweet, smooth garlic puree with the warm bun, and the fennel flower salad was also my favorite – and the pea sorbet was stunning.”

Back by Popular Demand

The Esselstyns were the honored guests of the Culinary Vegetable Institute in January 2016, as well. And, because so many people who attended the 2016 event shared how inspirational these speakers were, we were delighted when they agreed to come back. Several attendees, in fact, changed their lifestyles because of what they learned from the Esselstyns. They now enjoy a brand-new appreciation for vegetables as a foundational element of healthy eating.

If Jane had even more of an opportunity to share with people at the Culinary Vegetable Institute events, she would have “loved to discuss the benefits of plant-based eating around and below the belt: the effects of plant-based eating on disease states like cancer, autoimmune disease and erectile dysfunction.”

Products for Your Plant-Based Menus

Chefs, here are fresh vegetables, microgreens, herbs and edible flowers that are currently available. Home chefs, you can get the same high-quality, sustainably farmed products that professional chefs use around the world.

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