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Do you find yourself dining out too often because you don't know how to make exciting food at home? I can relate. Almost every day I question whether to go to a restaurant or a grocery store for pre-made food, or wrangle up ingredients in my kitchen and make a meal from scratch. I know the latter is most cost effective, likely healthier, and more sustainable than eating out, but sometimes I'm just lazy! Time gets in the way, and on busy days I dread how long a good meal takes to make (and clean up). Plus, I often crave specific flavors from a chef-made meal that I'm not sure how to reproduce at home. It's for all these reasons that I decided to take an online cooking class, and since I suspect you're in the same boat I'm offering one lucky person 50% off this professional course.
It was during Expo West this past March when I first learned about Rouxbe. I was excited to be at a talk by chef Chad Sarno, who I have admired for some time now due to his work with Kris Carr. He gave a beautiful lecture about being part of the health movement to help Americans thrive. Here are some of my favorite bullet points from his presentation:
- The average American eats a variety of only 19 fruits and vegetables in their life - it is an overfed yet undernourished nation.
- You can either set yourself up for success or failure - "genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger."
- Our diets are sacred, thus many people are terrified of changing. Other fears include lack of confidence, time, accessibility and affordability.
- Most people are lacking cooking fundamentals and basic knowledge (like how to cook beans and grains properly).
- In the food service industry it is rare to hear the words "chef" and "health" in the same sentence. Many chefs don't want to learn about special diets, and are reliant on fat, salt & sugar to make food taste good. It's a matter of what we want to know vs what we need to know.
- Culinary educators have a responsibility to either add to the problem or add to the solution. Chefs have responsibility to take the reins because they are the key holders of health; the modern chef is a well(ness) versed chef.
- Chad says that he is "not pushing vegan" but is instead "pushing plants" and increasing nutrient density through whole foods.
- He suggests approaching veganism from a place of abundance instead of a lack mentality. ie "we can do xyz" instead of what we can't do. "Look how easy it is, how fun, how delicious!" Plus bringing in elements of camaraderie and accessibility.
- It's also important to set people up for success by teaching them how to cook and prep food hands on.
With all this in mind, Chad felt compelled to be part of the online culinary school Rouxbe, which is on a mission to:
- Build an army of plant-based educators
- Empower people to take control of their health and wellness.
- Demystifying cooking by understanding the basic skills and foundations
Rouxbe works by guiding students through the process of making food by unlocking secrets to the kitchen and helping them understand what chefs know. It may be as simple as explaining how to open your fridge and make a meal with what you have. And it works! When I mentioned the course on social media a former student sent me this beautiful testimonial:
It is giving me more confidence in the kitchen, exposing me to foods I hadn't tried before, teaching me how to make some of my stand by recipes more appealing and flavorful and by the time I am finished with the course I will have learned many new cooking methods that were not previously part of my cooking experience. Not to mention just having more food knowledge.
Another person said:
I have a life time subscription to their lessons, best money I spent - they are a great school, and offer amazing tutorials. The quality is unmatched in any medium besides hands on.
After reading these words from people within the Eco-Vegan Gal community, I felt extra excited about my decision to enroll in Rouxbe's plant-based course. If you're starting to feel inspired, here are some more details:
Rouxbe and Wellness
With hundreds of culinary technique videos and whole food based lessons, Rouxbe is diving head first into the health and wellness realm, as this is the driving principle of the company. In addition to the Plant-Based Professional Certification Course, Rouxbe just launched the Doctor and Patient Healthcare Portal that will allow physicians and healthcare professionals and their patients to access wellness-based culinary content to help support health and lifestyle changes through food and cooking. A series of mini-courses will be launched through this portal that include topics such as Healthy Eating for Families and Kids, Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes Health and more. Check out the: Rouxbe Wellness Page for more information.
Plant-Based Course Details
- The food photo montages seen on this page are just a few examples of the many mouthwatering recipes you will create during the course.
- The course is split into 5 parts, which each have lessons and quizzes/assessments to make sure you're absorbing the info. A quick summary of the parts:
- Guide for shopping and equipment, basics of plant-based nutrition and debunk some misconceptions around plant-based diets.
- Kitchen basics, knife use, basics of different cooking methods
- Building and developing flavors, using herbs and spices to enhance dishes
- Culinary techniques for oil, salt and sugar restricted and gluten free diets.
- Introduction to raw food, including dehydrating, fermenting, and sprouting; Entertaining and cooking for a crowd.
More info is on the syllabus page.
- When the course is completed, each student receives a professional certification!
- Graduates from this course will form part of an elite group of professionally trained culinarians and wellness specialists needed to address the global need for plant-based educators in many sectors (healthcare, professional cooking, insurance, nutrition/wellness, and food product development).
- Video is a huge element of the course, and there are weekly live seminars for interaction with the instructors, which is an amazing resource.
- The course starts on May 15th and you can go at your own pace for as long as six months.
- It will take about 120 hours to complete. Think 4 to 5 hours per week, 20 hours per month.
- If you're unsure about whether you can commit to it, sign up for the 7 day free trial to try before you buy.
So now that I've got you all excited, how about that half-off offer I mentoned? It's very straightforward - one person will win a credit for 50% off Rouxbe's course. One of the most common comments I have received on Facebook when mentioning this course is that tuition is not in everyone's budget, so this is a wonderful opportunity for those of you who really want to take it but are feeling concerned about the cost.
Here's how to enter for a chance to win the 50% discount:
The winner will be announced here, online and in the newsletter on May 1st. Good luck to everyone - remember, if you don't win it's always possible to find a way to take the course. Try shifting away from the mentality of "I can't afford it" to actively thinking "how can I afford it?", and you may be surprised at how quickly you'll find a way to make it work. :-)
Courtney is a rock star member of the EvG Apprentice Program. Her passion for animals extends well beyond her companions at home, and she is dedicated to fueling her fitness routine with a plant-based diet. Courtney shares what sparked her interest in the vegan lifestyle and how it has shaped her life:
Hey There! My name is Courtney Rasbach. I am the creator and writer for SouleJourney. I’m 23 years old, I live in the Indianapolis, IN area. By day I work as a veterinary technologist and in community outreach speaking to the public about animal welfare issues for the Indianapolis Humane Society. By night I am a writer, equestrian, photographer, fitness freak, painter, gardener, lover of life and all animals.
I became vegan in February of 2012, for a couple of reasons. First let me explain that I have always believed that when one buys something from a company they are directly supporting the company’s values and mission. I soon realized I have had a cover over my eyes for way to long! I started researching my favorite companies and soon saw just how many places still do animal testing or exploit animals! THIS HAD TO STOP! I was being a hypocrite. How can I claim to believe what I stated above and still buy Tyson chicken or certain coats or even Tampons. So, I chose to stop being a hypocrite and start being a stronger voice for animals.
I began to watch all the documentaries on Netflix: Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, etc. I began doing research on the internet: PETA, The Vegan Dread, Happy Herbivore, etc. I began to see how twisted the web of animal exploitation was and ever since then have slowly made life changes and tried to educate people along the way.
The next reason I chose to become vegan stem from my love of fitness. When I read The China Study I was sold. I also found inspiration and motivation in the first vegan competition team, PlantBuilt. I saw that I can achieve my physique on a vegan diet which gave me even more motivation to become vegan.
During my free time I absolutely love to spend time with my beautiful animals! I have a horse named Indian Red, a dog named Carl, two cats Althea and Emma. I also love working on my blog, going for hikes with my Carl, working on my yoga practice or going to the gym.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better. I hope you find your way over to my blog where you can learn more! I know I can not wait to get to know the viewers of EvG more as I continue to contribute to the site!
Courtney's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: During my research in how to make the switch to veganism I found myself on Eco-Vegan Gals website. I fell in love. I loved the content and the creator, Whitney. The part that I love the most about this site is you get the chance to watch Whitney develop into the well-educated Eco-Vegan chick she is today. It gave me motivation when I made the switch early on when things got hard to keep going and to keep learning. One of my favorite video of Whitney’s is one of her most recent ones, “How Essential Oils Can Help You Reach Wellness Goals in 2014”. This video is right up my ally in holistic healthcare. I am not a fan of antibiotics and such, I would much rather take a Epson salt bath or see the chiropractor and use some essential oils to help feel better.
Follow Courtney's journey:
Congrats to the Winners!
Few things boost serotonin levels as well as a good piece of chocolate, especially when it's made from pure, high quality ingredients. One of my all time favorite sweet treats is Coracao Confections, who makes organic, gluten-free, soy-free chocolates from super high vibe, mostly raw ingredients. They are generously offering a deluxe 22 piece collection box to one lucky winner, and their outrageous chocolate bars to 3 runner uppers. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on this giveaway!
Rachel is another stellar member of the EvG Apprentice Program. Many can relate to her story of trying out the plant-based diet at a young age and returning to it after time and education - here's her story of how she went vegan and why:
My name is Rachel and I’m a 21 year old college student from Maine. I’m about to finish up my last semester at the University of Maine with a degree in English and Spanish. I went vegan in March of 2012 and I haven’t looked back since.
I originally went vegan in high school, but didn’t stick with it. However, I always knew somewhere in the back of my head that I’d eventually eliminate animal products completely. In my sophomore year of college, I began reading vegan blogs, like Bonzai Aphrodite, and listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreaus’s podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought. I specifically remember one day sitting in my dorm room listening to Colleen talk about the horrors chickens experience in factory farms and slaughter houses. I knew I had to be vegan.
Since then I’ve devoured books, visited vegan websites so often that I type them into the URL bar without thinking, and improved my culinary skills dramatically. I love finding more delicious, healthy vegan recipes. My favorites include lentil soup, chana masala, vegetable spring rolls, pumpkin curry, and black beans and rice topped with kale and sweet potato…just to name a few. My approach to health is pretty basic: a scrumptious whole foods, plant-based diet and enjoyable exercise, like Zumba. Health is definitely a process and I’m constantly learning.
When I’m not giving tours on campus or pumping out eight page essays, I love cooking and baking, writing posts for my blog, The Vegan Mishmash, catching up with the blogs I follow, spending time with my friends, traveling, and watching shows like How I Met Your Mother and Friends reruns.
Rachel's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: If I had to pick just one, I’d say Eco-friendly Underwire-free Bras from Faeries Dance. This video was the first I ever came across and was my introduction to Eco-Vegan Gal. Since then, I’ve been hooked on Whitney’s videos and other content. Health, both mine and the planet's, has always interested me. Her videos and articles inspire me to be a healthier, more eco-conscious vegan.:
Follow Rachel's journey:
Congrats to Lauren Stewart for Winning!
EvG team member Kylie Bennett, who you may have seen in the Bonnaroo and Extreme [Health Vegan] Cheapskates videos, is a jack of all trades. In addition to being a wonderful writer, a budding YouTuber, and a rockstar researcher, she has a fantastic line of embroidered home goods. What I love about her items is that they are practicle while spreading the vegan and eco-friendly message.