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Medical students lead the way by replacing sausages with a plant-based lunch

Future doctors at the Adelaide Medical Students’ Society O’Week celebrations kicked off university life the healthy way.

The Plant B Life and DFN team
The Plant B Life and DFN team enjoying O'Week.

Each year, the Adelaide Medical Students’ Society (AMSS) welcomes future doctors to the University of Adelaide with an orientation day (O’Day). Last week, this popular event was held at the Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building where 150 new students were provided with sun, music and food in a festival atmosphere. The O’Day lunch in the past included a free sausage sizzle. However, this year the AMSS committee decided it was time to make a more sustainable change to the menu.

Acknowledging that processed meats are classified by the World Health Organisation as group one carcinogens and that meat production contributes to climate change, AMSS approached Doctors For Nutrition in the lead-up to O’Week.

We were delighted to support AMSS to offer the crowd a plant-based lunch from Plant B Life. The meal included a protein-packed quinoa salad of broccoli, chickpeas, pumpkin and kale with a tangy mustard dressing. The students were also treated to a delicious bliss ball! The students appreciated the change from another sausage sizzle and devoured the food. Also with sustainability in mind, all of the packaging used by Plant B Life was compostable.

Quinoa salad provided by Plant B Life.
Quinoa salad provided by Plant B Life.

Our Advisory Council members, Dr Juliette Roex (GP Registrar) and Deeni Betar-Young (Accredited Practicing Dietitian), were at the event to engage with the students in discussions around the role of nutrition in healthcare. With poor nutrition being a leading cause of health loss and early death, attendees were interested to learn how they could one day support their patients by educating them on whole food plant-based nutrition. Deeni suggests: “a healthy eating pattern is fundamental for disease prevention and management, and this can be achieved through eating more plants, and focusing on whole foods”.

Dr Juliette Roex and Deeni Betar-Young.
Advisory Council members, Dr Juliette Roex and Deeni Betar-Young.

When asked if they knew someone with a chronic health condition, many of the students indicated that they had a friend or family member with diabetes. This led to discussions around reversing diabetes, among other lifestyle diseases, with plant-based nutrition.

“A plant-based diet can help to prevent, manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes. Doctors For Nutrition aims to provide GPs and dietitians with this knowledge so that they will begin prescribing nutrition for many chronic illnesses, including diabetes” said Juliette.

“A plant-based diet can help to prevent, manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes.”

All students who attended the O’Week event were given a Doctors For Nutrition ‘Plant-based nutrition and health guide’ as a part of their welcome bag and many collected a nutrition information pack from the stall. These guides and resources are available free to download via the Doctors For Nutrition website.

Plant-based nutrition information
Plant-based nutrition information provided to O'Week attendees.

We look forward to continuing to support health organisations to show leadership in their events by promoting healthy, environmentally friendly, plant-based food.

Photos by Jacqui Brogan.

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