Vegan and Raw Nutrition Courses

Vesanto and Brenda with bookswebThe Living Light Culinary Institute is proud to offer a certification program exploring the benefits of raw and vegan diets and the impacts they have on overall health and well-being. This groundbreaking series of courses was designed by Living Light nutrition faculty members Vesanto Melina, MS, RD and Brenda Davis, RD leading experts in the field of vegan and raw food nutrition. Between them, Brenda and Vesanto have written more than a dozen books, including Becoming Vegan (Comprehensive and Express Editions), Becoming Raw, and The Raw Food Revolution Diet. No other vegan and raw nutrition course can match the comprehensive curriculum and level of experience these two women bring to our plant-based nutrition program. The knowledge that you’ll gain from this series of classes will prove invaluable to you in your life and work, and will enable you to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle.

The 3-part series culminates in an Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Educator Certification. In this series of courses, you’ll have your questions answered regarding the role of nutrition and the consequences of our food choices, as well as common fallacies regarding raw food and plant-based nutrition. You will also learn how to prepare menus for a variety of conditions and learn how to build a health-based business that will benefit your students and clients.

This research-based curriculum is suitable for raw foods enthusiasts as well as for those who would simply like to increase their intake of raw plant foods. Whether you are interested in nutrition for your own personal health or weight management concerns, or you aspire to be—or are currently—a health professional, this course will enrich your life and provide you with the confidence to influence others in a positive way. These classes are excellent for chefs, health professionals, wellness practitioners, lifestyle coaches, yoga and massage therapists, and anyone who wants a science-based foundation in nutrition.


Vesanto MelinaVesanto Melina, MS


Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian has taught nutrition at Seattle’s Bastyr University and at the University of British Columbia, and is a government consultant. She enjoys keeping up with the current science on plant-based nutrition, making sense of complex and controversial topics, and then communicating in a way that is both entertaining and informative. Her materials and courses appeal to those without scientific training and also to a broad range of health professionals, including dietitians and medical doctors (MDs).

Vesanto is co-author of Becoming Raw, as well as a series (with dietitian Brenda Davis) that have become the classic texts on plant-based nutrition. Their books have received star rating by the American Library Association as “go-to books” on plant-based nutrition, won a REAL Book of the Year Award, and a Canada Book Award. Her books are now in 10 languages and with 750,000 copies in print.

Vesanto has published in The Lancet, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, and in Common Ground magazine (Canada).

Brenda DavisBrenda Davis


Brenda Davis, registered dietitian, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant and academic nutrition instructor. Brenda is the lead dietitian in a diabetes research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands. She is a featured speaker at nutrition, medical and health conferences throughout the world.

Brenda is co-author of nine award-winning, best-selling books – Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (2014), Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (2013), Becoming Vegan (2000), The New Becoming Vegetarian (2003), Becoming Vegetarian (1994, 1995), Becoming Raw (2010), the Raw Food Revolution Diet (2008), Defeating Diabetes (2003) and Dairy-free and Delicious (2001). She is also a contributing author to a tenth book, The Complete Vegetarian (2009). Her books are vegetarian/vegan nutrition classics, with over 750,000 copies in print in 8 languages. Brenda has authored and co-authored several articles for peer-reviewed medical and nutrition journals and magazines.

Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. In 2007, she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame.

petraschultePetra Schulte


Petra Schulte received her BA in Business from theHochschule München in Munich, Germany. She holds a single subject teaching credential in health and business and taught nutrition education in public schools for eleven years. She completed her training as a raw food chef at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and received a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. Petra is trained to teach the Physicians Committee “Food for Life” classes, which include healthy weight management, cancer and diabetes prevention, employee wellness, and kids health.

Petra is a nutrition educator working with a family resource center with funding through a California Department of Public Health SNAP-Ed grant. She teaches healthy weight management and diabetes classes in her local community. Petra helped get the Market Match program to the Fort Bragg Farmers Market where CalFresh recipients receive up to $30 extra in tokens per visit for fruits and vegetables when they use their CalFresh benefits at the market.

Petra feels very passionate about eating a whole food plant-based diet, which benefits people’s health, the well-being of animals and the environment to create a world where everyone has enough to eat.


Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 1™

This course provides a broad and comprehensive understanding of plant-based nutrition that is fundamental to creating an optimal raw food diet. The material is suitable for vegan and raw foods enthusiasts who are fine tuning their diets as well as for those who are simply increasing their intake of plant-based foods. It is an excellent course for chefs, health professionals, and those who want a science-based foundation in nutrition. We will answer questions such as:

  • Can we survive and thrive, nutritionally, on a vegan and raw diet?
  • What are the various types of raw food diets? Are some better than others?
  • How will we get enough protein?
  • Does a plant based diet provide every one of the essential amino acids?
  • How can we meet our recommended intake for iron and avoid anemia?
  • Can raw food diets supply sufficient calcium and vitamin D for optimal bone health?
  • Does a plant-based diet supply sufficient iodine, zinc, and other trace minerals?
  • Do we need vitamin B12 supplements?
  • Are carbohydrates good or bad?
  • How can we best maintain our blood sugar and energy levels between meals?
  • Are some fats essential for good health, and some to be avoided?
  • What protective components are present in raw plant foods, beyond all the vitamins, minerals, and protein?
  • What are some of the benefits of vegan and raw food diets, and what are the nutritional challenges?
  • How can all the information about 13 vitamins, 16 minerals, protein, fats, and carbohydrate be assembled into a single food guide for optimal health?

This course will provide answers to these and other common questions about raw food, vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diets. The presentation for each topic is fun and easy to understand, and allows time for questions and discussion after each section. You will leave this course empowered—with a firm foundation of nutritional science that will help you to successfully incorporate raw and living foods into your daily diet. In addition to the information-packed classes, there will be a final question and answer session at the conclusion of the program.

Class Length: 12 hours (2 days)

Prerequisites: There is no prerequisite for this two-day course. This course is a prerequisite for Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 2™ and Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 3: Educator Training™.

Certifications: This course is required for these certifications - Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Training Certification™, Pastry Arts-Unbaked Certification, Gourmet Raw Food Chef Certification™, Raw Culinary Arts Professional Chef Certification™, and Advanced Raw Food Nutrition Health Educator Certification™.

Tuition: $375

Required Textbook: Becoming Vegan (Comprehensive Edition) is the textbook for this course and is fully referenced and written in a way that is reader friendly and appealing for nutrition enthusiasts and for health professionals.

Meals: Meal plans are available for purchase.

Additional Information: There is no wi-fi service available in this classroom. Students are welcome to use the free wi-fi available in the building lobby during breaks and lunch.

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Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 2™

This in-depth course on raw vegan nutrition will build on the knowledge from Level 1 and provide you with a more profound knowledge base of this quickly growing branch of science. Participants will gain expertise and confidence in understanding and communicating topics in the field of plant-based nutrition. Among the extensive list of important topics we will cover are answers to the following questions:

Macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate)

  • What is the optimal balance of the calorie-contributing nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) for good health?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of various types of raw and high-raw vegan diets?
  • What are the primary sources and also the challenges in getting sufficient protein on the various raw food diets?
  • How does protein digestion function in uncooked diets?
  • How do raw food preparation techniques affect amino acids and their availability?
  • What are the key advantages of raw food diets in relation to dietary fats?
  • What are the primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids in raw, plant-based diets?
  • Are carbohydrates good or bad?
  • Gaseous emissions? What can we do?


  • Which minerals are abundant in raw vegan diets and which may be in short supply?
  • What are the key issues related to mineral absorption and how can we maximize mineral bioavailability?
  • As iron deficiency anemia is the main deficiency in North America how can we meet recommended intakes on raw food diets?
  • Can we build strong bones on raw vegan diets, and if so, how do we do this?
  • What is the latest science say about diet and acid-base balance?
  • What are the functions, recommended intakes, and key dietary sources in raw food diets of various trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, selenium, copper.
  • What are the lower and upper limits for recommended iodine intakes, and how can these be achieved in various types of raw food diets?


  • What are the functions, recommended intakes, and key dietary sources of vitamin B12 in plant-based diets
  • Can we get enough vitamin B12 from plant foods or internal production?
  • What are the known and postulated functions of vitamin D?
  • How can we get sufficient vitamin D at various latitudes and on entirely plant-based diets?


  • What functions are furnished by the protective substances in plant foods known as phytochemicals?
  • Are these always more abundant and potent in raw plant foods?

Life Cycle

  • What scientific studies have been done on the use of raw vegan diets during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, adolescence, and what do they indicate?
  • What scientific studies have been done on the use of vegan diets throughout the life cycle and what do they indicate?
  • What are consequences of low intakes of vitamin B12, folate, or iodine during pregnancy?
  • Can a pregnant woman meet recommended intakes for folate entirely from plant foods, without supplements?

Theories and Science
What are the updated and current views on:

  • Digestion?
  • Food combining?
  • Protein complementation?
  • Whether cooking is always harmful?
  • Are some types of cooking better than others?
  • Whether some cooked food can be beneficial?
  • Are supplements important, optional, or a waste of money?
  • Are organic foods better?

Food Guides, Menus, and Raw Research

  • We will give an overview of the history and branches of the raw and living foods movements, and illustrate a variety of nutritionally adequate raw or high-raw menus.

Class Length: 49 hours (7 days)

Prerequisites: Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 1™ is a prerequisite for this seven-day course. This course is a prerequisite for Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 3: Educator Training™

Certifications: This course is required for these certifications - Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Health Educator Certification™ and Raw Culinary Arts Professional Chef Certification™.

Tuition: $1650

Required Textbook: Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition is the course textbook.

Recommended Textbook: Becoming Raw is recommended for this course.

Meals: Meal plans are available for purchase.

Additional Information: There is no wi-fi service available in this classroom. Students are welcome to use the free wi-fi available in the building lobby during breaks and lunch.

Register Now!

Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 3: Educator Training™

This interactive and experiential course is designed to give you practical experience in preparing training materials, coaching, and presentation skills. You will gain confidence and expertise so that you can communicate effectively with others—whether in lectures, media interviews, blogs, or with family members, friends, and co-workers on topics of raw vegan nutrition. The curriculum is designed for both professionals and lay people. You will receive as part of the course content practical materials in both print and digital form that can be used in your work.

Those who register for this course are invited to submit their prime areas of interest and some key questions that they have, prior to the course. This educator training is designed to support your work in the area of your choice. Thus it is important that we address your key topics, and we allow for this in the course design.

Raw research, chronic disease, and weight management
Participants will be able to summarize the health advantages, uses, or lack of value of raw vegan diets in relation to the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bone health
  • Weight management (underweight and overweight)

At the end of this course, educators in raw nutrition will be able to answer the following, with confidence:

  • Which ten nutrients should typically be assessed in raw vegan menus for adults?
  • Which five nutrients are typically abundant in raw vegan menus?
  • Which laboratory tests can be used to assess vitamin B12 status?
  • What are the possible advantages of low serum ferritin levels?
  • What are six free and reliable science-based online resources for clients on plant-based diets?
  • Plus commonly asked questions regarding raw and vegan nutrition.

Educators will be able to:

  • List one key issue for vegetarians for each of these minerals: iron, zinc, calcium, and iodine; plus two good sources for each.
  • Plan menus based on different types of living foods and raw vegan diets, and on skill levels of clients (beginner, gourmet, fast and easy).
  • Plan menus for travelers, groups, those living alone, those who have difficulty maintaining their energy and blood glucose levels.
  • Distinguish between information that is based on science and that which is simply theoretical or belief.
  • Access free online scientific resources for raw food educators and for health professionals.
  • Create a lecture or event.
  • Choose appropriate topics for raw and living food lectures.
  • Manage challenging questions and audience members with ease.
  • Present within the scope of your knowledge and direct others to information beyond that scope.
  • Write promotional materials for your event.

Professional support for your practice

  • This course will provide support for creating a professional image and establishing credibility with prospective clients.
  • You will learn to create more comprehensive lectures or presentations and to gain experience in giving a lecture in front of an audience.
  • Even without previous science or nutrition background you will learn how to speak with confidence regarding raw vegan nutrition after completing this class.

This course includes the following resources for use in your own practice:

  • A professional 20−minute PowerPoint introductory presentation.
  • Bonus PowerPoint presentation on how to make a healthful green smoothie.
  • Handouts for the 20−minute presentation to give to your class participants.
  • Recommended reading and resources.
  • Sample menus for a variety of conditions.

Class Length: 42 hours (7 days)

Prerequisites: Vegan and Raw Nutrition Levels 1 and 2

Certifications: This course is required for these certifications - Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Health Educator Certification™ and Raw Culinary Arts Professional Chef Certification™.

Tuition: $1650

Required Textbooks: Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition and Becoming Raw are the required textbooks for this course.

Meals: Meal plans are available for purchase.

Additional Information: There is no wi-fi service available in this classroom. Students are welcome to use the free wi-fi available in the building lobby during breaks and lunch.

Register Now!