Dr. Ted Barnett teaches people the health benefits of eating an oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan diet in the CHIP Program.
Dr. Ted Barnett teaches people the health benefits of eating an oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan diet. (Photo: Michael Israel)

Replacing meats and processed foods with a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet can help people prevent and reverse many chronic medical conditions. The American diet exacerbates heart disease and diabetes.


Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn talks about preventing and reversing heart disease. (Video: Cleaveland HeartLab/Caldwell Esselstyn)

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a doctor at the Cleveland Heart Clinic, states that people who live in “Okinawa, Japan, rural China, and many of the other Blue Zones, areas with the highest proportion of centenarians, eat a whole-food plant based vegan diet.” Dr. Esselstyn has been helping people overcome major health conditions “with a whole-food plant-based vegan diet for over thirty-two years.” Dr. Esselstyn states that some of his “patients have had successful outcomes lasting over twenty years, but the benefits of a whole-food plant-based vegan diet are lost after only two weeks of eating the standard American diet.”


Dr. Ted Barnett talks about Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his revolutionary heart-healthy diet. (Audio: Michael Israel)

Reversing health conditions by making dietary changes “is a long-term solution and not a short-term, quick fix” as evidenced by people who live in the Blue Zones. Some of Dr. Esselstyn’s patients have “shown health benefits for over twenty years after adhering to an oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan diet.”


How much fat should a person with heart disease eat? (Infographic: Michael Israel)

Dr. Ted Barnett teaches people with coronary artery disease and diabetes how switching to a whole-food plant-based diet can help them improve their health and often reduce or eliminate their need for medications. Carol Barnett, his wife, teaches people how to cook oil-free foods that taste good. Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, a medical practice directed by Dr. Barnett, offers the Complete Health Improvement Program.


Dr. Ted Barnett talks about how the CHIP Program benefits patients. (Video: Michael Israel)

The CHIP Program is a lifestyle-based treatment program that teaches people at risk for chronic medical conditions how they can avoid future medical problems and ameliorate some of the medical issues that they currently have by making lifestyle changes including embracing a whole-food plant-based vegan diet.


What is the impact of a poor diet? (Infographic: Michael Israel)

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

“Vegetarian” is a term that describes a person who does not eat any meat or fish. A vegetarian will not eat any food that requires the death of an animal in any part of the production process. A vegan will not eat anything that is produced by animals. Vegans will not eat eggs, dairy products, gelatin, or honey. A vegetarian will eat things that a living animal can produce. For example, Joe is not a vegan because he eats dairy products and eggs. However, Wendy Temple is a vegan because she avoids anything produced by animals. Joe states, “It is too hard for me to be a vegan because it is difficult to order vegan foods at restaurants.” Wendy Temple agrees with Joe and says, “If you become a vegan you are limited in the foods you can order when you go out of your house.” Joe tries to avoid as many animal products as he can. It is hard for him to stop eating dairy products. However, if you learn how to cook for yourself you can make many dairy-free foods that are nice and creamy using plant-based products to simulate the taste and texture of dairy.

Some of the major reasons a whole-food plant-based vegan diet is good for you.
Some of the benefits of eating a vegan diet. (Infographic: www.organicfacts.net)

According to Kevin Yost, a local reporter, “Venus Williams treated an autoimmune disorder with a raw whole-food plant-based vegan diet. The disorder prevented her from playing tennis so she turned to a vegan diet to help restore her health. After going on the vegan diet, Venus was able to play competitive tennis again.”

To learn more about more about the health benefits offered by a whole-food plant-based vegan diet go to the Organic Facts blog. If you would like to learn how to cook whole-food plant-based vegan foods, enroll in the CHIP Program.

What is the CHIP Program? How does the CHIP Program work?


Dr. Ted Barnett talks about a session of the CHIP Program that has already started. To learn when the next session is going to start, place a call to (585) 484-1254 and make an inquiry. (Video: Michael Israel)

Wendy Temple states, “A person who enrolls in the CHIP Program is given a pedometer, collapsible water bottle, a lesson resource book, a cookbook, and a workbook which includes study questions and topics for small and large group discussion during the first session.”

A timeline showing the history of the CHIP Program. A program that teaches the health benefits of an oil-free whole-foods plant-based vegan diet.
A timeline showing the history of the CHIP Program. (infographic: chiphealth.com)

A video is played at the start of the class and then the group discusses the video and any issues people have with the materials that they are learning. According to Ms. Temple, “As a facilitator, I help lead the sessions so that self-discovery can occur. People who are part of the CHIP Program work together to help motivate other members of the group to continue leading a healthy lifestyle.”


Dr. Ted Barnett talks about blue zones and how the CHIP Program got started. (Audio: Michael Israel)

At the end of all sessions, announcements are made that tell people about events in the community that encourage healthy habits. Some of the events that are promoted include Yoga and Tai Chi classes, cooking classes that teach people how to prepare whole-food plant-based vegan foods, and lectures on plant-based nutrition.

Wendy Temple says, “The lessons about how to cook vegan foods and the tastings that allow participants of the CHIP Program to sample many vegan dishes are the best part of the CHIP Program. This is an important part of the CHIP Program because once people are shown that oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan foods can taste good they are more willing to adopt and stick with a more healthy diet.”

Wendy Temple’s path to a whole-food plant-based vegan diet.

Since hypertension ran in Wendy Temple’s family and she was having trouble keeping her cholesterol count down, she started to examine many options to help her control the levels of bad cholesterol in her blood. Ms. Temple states, “I was getting to the point where I would have needed to take statins to keep my cholesterol levels in check, and since I didn’t want to become dependent on medications, I participated in the CHIP Program. Because of the changes I made to my diet I do not need to take statins.”

Because the CHIP Program helped her improve the quality of her life so rapidly, Wendy decided to become a facilitator so that she could help other people who wanted to make drastic lifestyle changes. According to Dr. Michael Klaper, “It is difficult to access if programs such as the CHIP Program can safely eliminate the needs for statins in most people since most people do not stick with the CHIP-style of eating for the long term. However, people who maintain the whole-food plant-based diet can usually give up statins and blood-pressure medications within weeks after starting the diet.” Wendy Temple has maintained her whole-food plant-based-vegan diet for many years.

As a facilitator, Wendy Temple shows videos to groups of people during the CHIP Program and directs discussions about how to successfully lead a much healthier lifestyle. Wendy has also started to learn how to cook without using oil. According to Ms. Temple, the trick to cooking without oil is to make a skillet very hot so that foods can be caramelized without needing to use oil. Since you don’t want your food to get burnt or blackened, Mrs. Temple suggests, “Keeping some broth or water nearby so you can cool the food down just in case it starts to too fast.” Another trick that Mrs. Temple uses is placing parchment paper on a cookie sheet so that foods can be baked without oil and do not stick to the pan they are baked in. Wendy Temple states, “it takes a little practice to learn how to cook without oil, but once you know how to cook without using oil it is very easy to prepare heart-healthy foods very quickly.”

Wendy Temple stated, “I started learning how to cook oil-free vegan foods after hearing a lecture by Carol Barnett. I bought a few books about oil-free cooking and learned how to cook without oil by experimenting in my kitchen. I now help other people learn how to cook without oil as part of the CHIP Program.

Joe’s path to a whole-food plant-based vegan diet.

Joe, an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome who asked not to be identified, was drawn to eating a vegetarian diet as a result of an intense psychedelic trip, which made him lose his taste for eating meat and fish. Additionally, he hoped that eating more plants would help him lose some weight.


Carl Donnelly talks about how DMT affected his desire for meat; this is similar to the experience that Joe had after vaporizing DMT. (Video: smriti Spout/Carl Donnelly)

Joe decided to try to embrace an oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan diet after talking with Wendy Temple, a friend of his family. Joe is not as faithful to the CHIP-style of eating as Wendy because Joe is addicted to cheese. Joe also hoped that a vegan diet would help him with some gut problems that have plagued him since he was a young child.


Dr. Michael Klaper talks about how a whole-food plant-based vegan diet can help the autistic overcome some of their symptoms. (Audio: Michael Israel)

Joe finds it hard to go out to eat because most restaurants do not offer vegan options. Joe will sometimes listen to podcasts on the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine website to try to motivate him to give up eating eggs and dairy products. There is little to no evidence that specialized diets will help people with autism unless they have an underlying medical condition that benefits from a specialized diet.


Joe talks about what lead him to stop eating meat. (Audio: Michael Israel)

Since Joe has no chronic medical issues that he is trying to fix with the diet, and Joe is not on any statins or blood-pressure medications, going to some of the classes offered by Rochester Lifestyle Medication is rather inexpensive for Joe. The primary reason the CHIP Program costs a patient around $1,400 is the blood work that needs to be done to see if statins or other drugs that a patient is on can be stopped. Since Joe does not take maintenance medications that require any blood work to be done, Joe can spend between twenty-five and fifty dollars to learn how to cook oil-free vegan foods through classes offered by the CHIP Program.

Classes teaching people how to cook whole-food plant-based vegan foods are offered at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. A card-table with a hot-pad is brought into one of the conference rooms. Two instructors prepare a few dishes, hand out some recipes, and then pass the dish around so that the class can taste the foods at the end of the class. The instructors were as masterful with the knife as a hibachi chef; only, they were cutting up onions and not pieces of meat. They are the healthy Iron Chefs. Joe states, “All the oil-free vegan food that I ate in the classes tasted excellent.”

Joe decided to enroll in a six-week course on plant-based nutrition offered by Ted and Carol Barnett so that he could learn some more about the health benefits of eating a whole-food plant-based vegan diet. Wendy Temple also gave Joe some cookbooks so Joe could start learning how to cook some tasty oil-free vegan foods. Since Joe loves to eat a lot, hearing from Kathryn DaCosta, a local vegan chef, that people who eat “whole-foods plant-based vegan foods can eat as much food as they want and still lose weight as long as they are not a junk-food vegan,” was exciting. Kathryn describes a junk-food vegan as somebody whose diet mainly consists of potato chips and sugary candy. While not as far along the path to the whole-food plant-based vegan diet as Wendy Temple, Joe is going to attempt to cut down or eliminate his cheese intake. Joe says, “It will be hard for me to give up cheese since vegan cheese does not taste anything like real cheese but I am going to try to do it because I need to shed some excess weight.”

Wendy Temple teaches Joe and his family how to cook without using oil.

After Joe’s experience with DMT, he stopped eating fish and meat, Wendy Temple a friend of Joe’s family visited Joe’s house and showed him how to cook whole-food plant-based vegan foods, without using oil.


One of Joe’s other friends demonstrates what Wendy Temple taught them about cooking whole-food plant-based vegan foods without using any oil. (Video: Michael Israel)

Wendy explained that the trick was to heat the pot over a very high flame. Additionally, in order to eliminate the need for oil, a non-stick pot is needed to cook the food in, or the food must be continuously stirred. Having a super-hot pot allows the food to caramelize without using any oil. To avoid the risk of getting either burnt or blackened food, Ms. Temple suggests having some water or broth nearby just in case the food starts to cook too rapidly. Wendy Temple stated, “It is the caramelization process and not the oil that gives flavor to the food. All the oil does is prevent the food from sticking to the pan. Using a non-stick pan or always stirring the food you will prevent the food from sticking to the pot.”

How to cook oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan foods.
How to cook without using any oil. (Infographic: Michael Israel; Photo: easel.ly)

Wendy Temple also demonstrated how to bake without using oil. In order to prevent foods from sticking to the pan when baking without using oil, parchment paper is placed on the pan to prevent food from sticking to the pan. Wendy Temple says, “The only problem with baking without using oil is that some baked goods are not as moist as they would be if oil were used. The foods still would still taste as good but would not have the same texture.” Since Joe doesn’t eat many baked goods, he was more concerned with how to stir-fry foods without oil than with how to bake without using oil. Joe said, “I don’t really eat many baked goods, so I was not as concerned with learning how to bake without oil. I love stir-fries, so I am glad Wendy showed me how to make a stir-fry without using oil.”


Chef Del Sroufe demonstrates how to stir-fry vegetables without using oil. (Video: wellnessforum/Chef Del Sroufe)

Joe says, “I find that foods cooked without oil taste just as good as foods cooked with oil. It is the spices that are used when cooking and not oil that gives food its flavor. I love very spicy foods. I realize that I need to cut down on the amount of food that I eat if I want to lose weight. It’s hard for me to cut down on the amount of food I eat because I love to eat. I hope that eliminating oil will allow me to eat a lot of food and still lose some weight.” Joe bought “The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook” and “Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook,” two cookbooks recommended by Wendy Temple, to learn how to cook whole-food plant-based vegan foods without using any oil.

The Rochester Area Vegan Society (RAVS) brings together vegans and people who are interested in learning more about vegan foods.

Once a month, RAVS hosts a vegan potluck supper in Rochester, New York. Ted and Carol Barnett direct the RAVS and usually host a speaker to talk about topics relating to whole-food plant-based vegan diets.


Dr. Michael Klaper talks about epigenetics, a theory that states that somebody’s food choices can change their genetic makeup, during a RAVS potluck dinner. (Audio: Michael Israel)

Joe loves to go to the vegan potluck suppers because “the food is so good that I can’t even tell it is vegan. I love the vegan macaroni and cheese served during the potlucks. If I could learn how to make it, I would have a much easier time giving up cheese.”

During a RAVS meeting, Carol Barnet stated that “mixing ground nuts and nutritional yeast creates a great tasting vegan parmesan cheese.” Joe loves that cheese mixture and has significantly cut down on his cheese intake by using it. Joe said, “I love goat cheese and if I could find a vegan substitute that exactly mimicked the taste of goat cheese I would have a much easier time giving up cheese.”

Joe tries to go to the vegan potluck dinners as often as possible, and he has ordered some vegan cookbooks from Amazon.com so he can learn how to cook oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan foods.

Here are some oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan recipes that were found on Pinterest:

Here are some tweets about oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan cooking: