Nutrition Programs

The Living Light Culinary Institute is proud to offer a program exploring the benefits of a vegan and raw diet and the impact it has on overall health and well-being. This groundbreaking series of courses is designed by Living Light Nutrition Instructors, Vesanto Melina, MS, RD and Brenda Davis, RD. Brenda and Vesanto are the leading experts in the field of vegan and raw food nutrition and between the two of them they have written more than a dozen books, including Becoming Vegan (Comprehensive and Express Editions), Becoming Raw, and 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 will gain will prove invaluable to you. This 3-part series culminates in an Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Coach program. In this series of courses, you will have your questions answered regarding the role of nutrition and the consequences of our food choices, as well as getting science-based information about common myths regarding vegan, raw food, and plant-based nutrition. You will learn how to prepare menus for optimal health, and gain tips to support others. This research-based curriculum is suitable for vegan and raw foods enthusiasts as well as for those who are simply increasing their intake of plant foods. Whether you are interested in nutrition for your own personal health or for your family, this course will enrich your life and provide you with the confidence to influence others in a positive way. These classes are excellent for anyone who wants a science-based foundation in plant-based nutrition.


Vesanto MelinaVesanto Melina, MS

INSTRUCTOR Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian is lead author of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics current position paper on vegetarian diets. She 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 with limited scientific training and also to a broad range of health professionals, including dietitians and medical doctors (MDs). Vesanto is co-author of the new Kick Diabetes Cookbook, and Becoming Raw, as well as a series that have become the classic texts on plant-based nutrition, all with dietitian Brenda Davis. Their Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition and Express Edition books have received star rating by the American Library Association as “go-to books” on plant-based nutrition, won two Book of the Year Awards in the US, and a Canada Book Award. Her books are now in 13 languages and with over 900,000 copies in print. Vesanto has published in The Lancet, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, and in Common Ground magazine (Canada).

Brenda DavisBrenda Davis

INSTRUCTOR 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 10 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

INSTRUCTOR Petra Schulte received her BA in Business from the Hochschule in 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. She 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 Safe Passage, a family resource center in Fort Bragg, with funding through a California Department of Public Health SNAP-Ed grant. She teaches healthy weight management, cancer prevention and diabetes classes in her local community. In June 2017 she attended Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Seminar in Cleveland, Ohio and has taught classes on preventing and reversing heart disease following Dr. Esselstyn’s dietary approach. The newest class she developed is a very popular Blue Zone Longevity class that she teaches at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church in Mendocino. 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 two-day 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 raw foods enthusiasts who are fine-tuning their diets as well as for those who are simply increasing their intake of raw plant 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 raw vegan 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?
  • What are some of the benefits of 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.   Tuition: $390 Required Text: 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. Register Now!

Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 2

This in-depth, 7-day course on plant-based nutrition will build on the information in 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 subjects 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 vegetarian, vegan, raw, and high-raw diets?
  • What are the primary sources and also the challenges in getting sufficient protein on these diets?
  • How does protein digestion function in uncooked diets?
  • How do food preparation techniques affect amino acids and their availability?
  • What are the key advantages of plant-based diets in relation to dietary fats and what are the primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids?
  • How do we maintain blood glucose levels and energy?
  • Gaseous emissions? What can we do?
  • Which minerals are abundant in plant-based 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 across North America, how can we meet recommended intakes on plant-based diets?
  • What are the possible advantages of low serum ferritin levels?
  • What are our primary sources of the bone-building nutrients?
  • What is the latest science say about diet and acid-base balance?
  • What are the functions, recommended intakes, and key dietary sources in of various trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, selenium and 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?
  • Which laboratory tests can be used to assess vitamin B12 status?
  • 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?
Food Guide
  • How can all the information about 13 vitamins, 16 minerals, protein, essential fats, and carbohydrate be assembled into a single food guide for optimal health?
  • How can we create menus for ourselves and for others that meet recommended nutrient intakes?
  • Which nutrients should typically be assessed in vegan and raw menus for adults?
  • Which nutrients are typically abundant in vegan and menus?
Life Cycle
  • What scientific studies have been done on the use of plant-based diets during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, adolescence, and what do they indicate?
  • What scientific studies have been done on the use of vegetarian and 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?
  • How can a pregnant woman meet recommended intakes for folate entirely from plant foods?
  • What are practical tips for excellent nutrition during the growing years: pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence
  • How do nutrient requirements change with age, and how can these best be met?
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?
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.
Professional support for your practice
  • You will learn to create talks or presentations and will gain experience in giving a short presentation to a small, friendly, supportive audience.
  • Even without previous science or nutrition background, you will gain confidence regarding plant-based nutrition after completing this class.
This course is recommended before taking Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 3 as part of the Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Health Coach program. Tuition: $1745 Required Text: Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition is the course textbook. Register Now!

Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 3: Coach Training

This 7-day 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 vegan and raw nutrition. The curriculum is designed for both professionals and laypeople. As part of the course, you will receive 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 coach 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 vegan and raw 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, participants will be able to answer the following, with confidence:
  • What are six free and reliable science-based online resources on 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?
  • Are organic foods better?
  • 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 vegan and raw diets, and on skill levels of clients (beginner, gourmet, fast and easy).
  • Plan menus for travelers, groups, those living alone, and 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.
  • Present within the scope of your knowledge and direct others to information beyond that scope.
Completing Vegan and Raw Nutrition Level 1 and Level 2 is strongly recommended prior to taking this course. Completion of this course is an Advanced Vegan and Raw Food Nutrition Health Educator program. Tuition: $1745 Required Text: Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition is the course textbook. Register Now!
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