From 28 February to 2 March, VegMed 2021, Europe’s leading conference on plant-based nutrition, took place for the first time as a fully virtual experience. Health professionals from all over the world logged in to join scientific presentations and panel discussions on the role of wholefood plant-based nutrition for planetary health, childhood nutrition, and chronic diseases.
With a full three-day programme running over two parallel streams, 89 speakers on the virtual stage, and a total of 57 sessions, VegMed Web 2021 provided a wealth of knowledge. Beyond deep diving into nutritional science, there was a strong emphasis on learning about practical tools and how to put nutritional advice into practice and customise it to the complex, individual lives that each and every patient is leading.
Despite not being a live event in the traditional sense, the speakers managed to be very authentic and convey their messages in a fun and relatable manner. Jonneke Brouwers called for participants to do 50 squats while Brenda Davis had to stay on longer because attendees couldn’t get enough of her practical wisdom on plant-based nutrition for families and the details of her hands-on two-ingredient lentil pancake recipe. For more highlights and other take-aways from the programme, look for #VegMed2021 on Twitter.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have the potential to prevent most modern lifestyle diseases, which is why an increasing number of health professionals promote plant-based nutrition.
VegMed audience: a unique conference spirit
It was the first time VegMed was hosted as a fully virtual event, and it was thus difficult to predict what the experience of this new format was going to be like. As it turns out, the VegMed spirit, including the feeling of being part of a large crowd of dedicated medical professionals who wholeheartedly want to change the healthcare system for the better, was unwavering and palpable, even in an online-only event.
730 people joined the event from all over the world and were highly engaged throughout all three days. They participated both professionally with informed questions and mutual advice, as well as in the fun part – by playing the VegMed game, sharing their lunch photos, and using the networking matchmaking tool – all the while keeping the tone light, professional, and up-beat in the chat windows.
The feedback was just as positive: The overall event was rated with 4.7 out of 5 by survey participants, with 95% saying that they gained practical knowledge, skills, or network connections as a result of attending the conference.
Together for a healthy future
What also became clear throughout the course of the three days is that there is still a long way to go to transform our current ‘disease-care system’ into a healthcare system. Yet, if there is one message that we hope participants took from VegMed Web 2021, it is this: more and more people around the world are becoming aware of the crucial connection between nutrition and health and are on a mission to actively change things for the better.
Recordings of the conference are available on-demand for all attendees until 3 May 2021. If you didn’t attend but are interested in watching the sessions, you can register to access the video library for a small fee.
VegMed is a project of a non-profit consortium comprising the Charité University Outpatient Clinic for Integrative Medicine at Immanuel Hospital Berlin, the Physicians Association for Nutrition (PAN), ProVeg International, and the Stiftung Reformhaus Fachakademie.