ST ALBANS CITY –To spread the word about the importance of plant-based nutrition, local gourmands Ric and Darra Lavallee launched their first series of “Fireside Chats,” and this Saturday will host local doctor and lifestyle health specialist Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine.
“‘Fireside Chats’ was a concept in its original development that was to promote whole food, plant-based nutrition,” Lavallee said. “Our main goal wasn’t just to open up a bakery. It was really to continue the program that I wanted to do, which is to work with people with chronic illness to eat better and manage their diets through illnesses versus pharmaceuticals.”
Dr. Fontaine is the former head of lifestyle medicine at Northwestern Medical Center and an OB//GYN in Franklin County, and currently is a doctor with Plant-Based Telehealth, an online telehealth platform.
Every second Saturday of every month beginning at 8:00 p.m. at Nourish restaurant’s outdoor fire pit and patio seating, the Lavallees will host some casual evening conversation around different aspects of a plant-based lifestyle, how to transition to one and feature an expert in the field to answer audience questions.
And everyone and anyone is invited to come to the next one this weekend.
“It’s an opportunity to speak with someone in the industry as well as people who have been living the lifestyle and know all of the bumps and hiccups and how to make the foods and things like that,” Lavallee said.
Fontaine will also be presenting on a Plant-based Rx program, where participants can work directly with a physician to implement a plant-based lifestyle with the help of the Plant Pure program which starts with 14 meal starters, a 10-day immersion, a copy of the PlantPure Nation Cookbook and a DVD of the PlantPure Nation film.
“They make it as easy as possible,” Fontaine said. “You even have a dietician to help you get ready (for the new diet…) People need to understand how important the diet is, and with this you get a physician with evidence-based results.”
“This program at PlantPure Rx isn’t a subscription, it’s more of a prescription,” Lavallee said. “The concept here is ‘let’s teach you how to cook plant-based.”
The Lavallees opened Nourish plant-based restaurant earlier this year, and while wary that plant-based only diets and their menus at the restaurant may struggle, St. Albans and Vermont showed them quite the opposite.
“We go from 6:00 a.m. in the morning and I’m here until 9:00, 10:00 at night,” Lavallee said. “We have been so well received in this community it is unbelievable…we get people from Williston, St. J, just to come and have dinner with us.”
The Lavallees make everything from cashew brie, almond chevre and gourmet pastries, salads, home baked breads and sandwiches, and have transitioned away from soy and oil-based products to accommodate the health requirements of their customers.