The Impact of Plant-Based Nutrition: A Family’s Remarkable Transition to Better Health through Education

Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2023
Dr. Jules Cormier
Dr. Jules Cormier

Dealing with an allergy, especially as a young child, poses unique challenges. Dr. Jules Cormier found himself in such a situation when his daughter was diagnosed with eczema, asthma, and a milk protein allergy. As someone who had battled eczema and asthma himself, Cormier understood the toll these conditions could take on his daughter's well-being.

At the recommendation of a dietician, Cormier decided to remove dairy and beef from his daughter's diet and within months, her symptoms showed significant improvement. Encouraged by these results, Cormier eliminated dairy and red meat from his own diet, and also experienced remarkable improvements in his health.

While acknowledging that his story might be viewed as anecdotal, Cormier emphasizes, "Both our symptoms not only got better, they also completely disappeared within a year. My medical conditions were something I’ve been dealing with for over a decade, and my daughter’s conditions were present since birth. This was the switch that led my whole family to transition to a plant-based diet."

As a medical professional and teacher at a medical school, Cormier is well-versed in nutrition but sought a more formal education rooted in evidence-based information and scientifically proven research. With limited options available that suited what he was looking for, he was introduced to the University of Guelph’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate through the Plant-Based Canada Podcast, and the “timing was perfect.”

“I had been searching for an in-depth certification, so when I heard Dr. Pamela Fergusson mention she was an instructor in the first university-level Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate in Canada, the timing was perfect and I registered immediately,” says Cormier.

Balancing roles as a doctor, teacher, athlete, and parent doesn’t leave a lot of extra time, so the online format of the program proved to be beneficial for Cormier’s situation.

“I really enjoyed the program—it is self-paced so I could do my work and readings in my own time, but there was still a structured schedule to keep me on track. And the online chatrooms that are built into the program made it easy to connect with everyone who was doing the course at the same time,” says Cormier. “The teachers were also very attentive and accessible; I just found it amazing how available they made themselves to the students.”

With the guidance of dedicated and experienced instructors, Cormier graduated with enhanced confidence and a unique certificate to add to his list of credentials.

“I finally felt like I had access to the evidence-based scientific research and peer-reviewed articles that I could back up my claims with when teaching my students and working with my patients,” explains Cormier. “Another standout of the program was that I could customize the subjects based on personal interests—as an athlete, it was great to have a Plant-Based Diets for Athletes course added to the mix.”

Being in the first cohort of graduates, Cormier offers advice to prospective students: “Go for it! The platform makes it super easy to interact with students, so make sure to connect with everyone there. And take advantage of the interactions with the teachers—I found them super reliable and open to answering questions.”

Reflecting on final thoughts, Cormier concludes, “Everyone knows that eating more fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds is healthy, but I had vastly minimized the extent to which it can impact medical conditions. Reading the high-quality science discussed in the program and learning how much plant-based diets can modify, prevent, or sometimes even reverse certain diseases was really impactful for me. And I have firsthand experience seeing it happen!”

Plant-based nutrition courses are just four weeks in length and offered entirely online. Courses may be taken individually or applied to the certificate.

Visit the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program page for a full list of courses and additional details.