See the locale. Meet the staff.
Learn about the Immersion!
Plant-Based Immersion in the North Carolina Mountains
August 10 – August 13, 2023
Three Days of Lodging, Nutrition Instruction, and Tasty, Healthy Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Food
Are you interested in moving toward a whole-food plant-based vegan lifestyle but aren’t sure about the pragmatic steps? We have reserved 3½ days this August in the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. Show up, relax, soak up evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle information from trained practitioners, and enjoy healthy meals and their recipes.
Our immersions are designed to be small with about seven singles or couples (7-14 people).
Asheville, NC Mountain Villa: Arrive Thursday afternoon, August 10, depart midday Sunday, August 13, 2023
This mountain villa near Asheville, NC, is on two acres and offers multiple decks and a hot tub overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Participants will enjoy a recently remodeled main home and two studio suites. Breathtaking hiking opportunities are available in the surrounding area.
Early bird pricing through June 30 is $1750 single occupancy and $1600 for second person sharing a bed (July 1st pricing is $1875/$1725).
We will advise immediately of a lodging change or cancellation due to a low registration count.
- Arrival day snack and all meals from dinner that day through breakfast on the third day.
- Healthy whole-food plant-based vegan food with no oil.
- We are foodies and love to cook! We’ll be excited to share not just great ingredients but how we work with these ingredients. What appliances do we like and how do we use them? You don’t need a lot but we enjoy sharing what we like and how we utilize tools like knives, pans, blenders, food processors, pressure cookers, and more.
- We will be bringing a variety of brand new kitchen tools that we will open and use at the immersion and then sell at a discount to the first registrant who reserves it. We will also have discount codes for some cookware for those who want to purchase directly.
- We will address all sorts of topics including why a plant-based diet, soy products, plant-based milks, gluten, types of oatmeal, and even arsenic levels in rice. There will be appliance usage demonstrations and suggestions, lifestyle topics including physical activity, healthy relationships, and finding joy, as well as the environmental impact on food choices.
- You will be part of a private and secure Google Classroom administered by Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute. We will plan a meeting online at least two weeks before the immersion for which you register to answer any questions and start to form a community. You can continue to share within the group as you wish with each other and the facilitators for ongoing community support. We want to bond!
- You will also be invited to a private RLMI Plant-Based Together alumni group for participants of all RLMI programs including Immersions and Jumpstarts. This consists of a Google Classroom and monthly facilitated Zoom meetings that provide community support to help keep you on the WFPB journey. Also included is one year of bimonthly virtual get-togethers to reconnect with Immersion participants and have your facilitators share more information about nutrition and food.
- Optional: telehealth appointment with a plant-based doctor after the immersion to consider blood lab work results.
- Arrive in the afternoon for a 15 minute private consultation with the two facilitators.
- Relax in or around the venue or in the locale (snacks available).
- Evening orientation, dinner, and film.
Days 2 & 3:
- Start your morning early with facilitated yoga, stretching, or other activities, along with light self-serve food and drink.
- Breakfast, mid-day lunch, and evening dinner.
- Facilitators will prepare the meals, demonstrating and sharing recipes and discussing nutrition. Guest visitors will join us for talks via the internet.
- There will be a few hours off mid-afternoon for optional activities like hiking (in the mountains) or just taking a break or napping.
- Evenings may include no-added-fat fruit “ice cream”, music, viewing of films about healthy plant-based eating, and discussion.
- Checkout in the morning with self-serve hot and cold breakfast.
- Private consultation with the facilitators.
Given the end of the Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration and current low levels of infections, wearing a mask is optional.
Each of your facilitators is an expert in whole-food plant-based vegan preparation and nutrition. They have various certifications; each of them is a PCRM Food for Life instructor and a Cook in the Kitchen in the monthly internet cooking show So Many Cooks in the Kitchen. For summer 2023, Carolyn and Dilip are your mountain facilitators. Here’s a bit about them.
Dilip Barman, MS, ScM, has been involved with plant‐based lifestyle for decades. He is President of the Triangle Vegetarian Society in North Carolina where he hosts the country’s largest vegetarian (all vegan) Thanksgiving. Dilip is Executive Producer of
the film Code Blue that shows how lifestyle choices can profoundly affect health.
Dilip is on advisory boards of the Plant‐Based Network, Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute, and Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge; a “Vegan Information Point” and Speaker Bureau member of the American Vegan Society; North American representative of the International Vegetarian Union; and an Affiliate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has given cooking demonstrations and talks in a number of countries and states. His recipes have appeared in a variety of local and international news programs, books, magazines, newspapers, and online. Dilip teaches at a number of local schools, including as Nutrition Education Director of an elementary and middle school where he has created a Healthy Snack Program to provide nutrition education and, several times a week, healthy plant‐based food for children. You can find Dilip at dilip.info.
Sample plates of Dilip’s:
Carolyn May Strickland, LCSW is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, ACE certified fitness instructor, graduate of Cornell Center for Nutrition Studies, and graduate of Rouxbe/Forks Over Knives plant-based cooking school. She has advanced training in Health and Wellness Coaching through WellCoaches. She is a board member of the Move Montgomery Health and Wellness Task Force and board president of EATSouth urban teaching farm. Carolyn and her husband, Bryan, a primary care physician, have been plant-based since 2009. They have a YouTube channel called Stricklands & Friends: A Seasonal WFPB Cookbook. You can find some of her original recipes featured in Glen Merzer’s book Food is Climate. Carolyn and Bryan started a monthly plant-based potluck, VegOut, in 2013 and a monthly cooking and nutrition class, Meatless Monday Montgomery, at the Montgomery Whole Foods (2018-2022). Carolyn enjoys teaching health and nutrition classes in her community at the YMCA, in churches, for local community organizations and businesses, and for private groups.
Sample plates of Carolyn’s:
Click each element below to expand:
What are some examples of foods that we will be eating?
Your facilitators are well-versed in preparing, demonstrating, and discussing the nutritional qualities of a wide variety of vegan whole-food plant-based foods. Everything will be fully plant-based, vegan.
Dishes will vary but breakfasts may include an oatmeal bar with organic fruit, scrambled tofu, homemade granola, freshly made creamy soy yogurt (we’ll show you how and send you home with starter if you want!), or fruits. Lunches may include tortilla wraps, massaged kale and cranberry salad, panzanella bread salad, celery soup, cold gazpacho, chickpea salad, or sushi rolls. Dinners may include manicotti, fajitas, chunky vegetable-seitan stew, stuffed peppers, 3-bean filo bake, various salads including an heirloom from Dilip’s family in India with ground/roasted cumin, or quesadillas. Desserts and snacks may include creamy fruit “ice cream”, parfait, watermelon ice, carrot cake, black bean brownies, chocolate hummus; nachos, almost no fat potato chips, popcorn, or fresh fig spread with sweet or hot pepper.
I have an allergy to gluten. Will I have problems with the immersion?
If and when you register, we will have a questionnaire which will ask, among other things, about any food allergies. We will work with any allergies that you have. For example if you are gluten intolerant, we may make some items with gluten but will always have a gluten-free alternative. If your allergy is such that you can’t be near certain foods or can’t have cookware that has been in touch with those foods, please let us know to see if we can accommodate you.
We will be using pans, blenders, and pressure cookers that have never been in contact with non-vegan ingredients. However we will use the venue’s serving ware.
I have a specific condition and want your medical advice. Is that possible?
You should always work with your primary healthcare provider to address your specific healthcare needs. Although we have food and nutrition certifications, none of us is a medical doctor. For immersions with Carolyn, her husband, who will also be attending, is a doctor but isn’t licensed in North Carolina. There will be an intake and an outtake where the facilitators will listen to your health concerns and goals with a focus on desires for dietary change. We will give general advice based on evidence.
Are scholarships available?
Need-based scholarships are available. We set the price competitively and believe that we are offering excellent value. However, we don’t want to turn people away who may have circumstances that prevent them from affording the program. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the possibility of a partial scholarship.
Can I volunteer at the event?
We will have paid staff at the event helping with cleanup, getting folks checked in, helping if you have any shipping needs, etc. We love volunteers but want you to soak up the material. If opportunities arise where we could use a quick hand, we’ll ask!
Are discounts available?
Is my registration refundable? Do you have a payment plan?
Payment in full is due upon registration but please do contact us if there are any financial difficulties. Registration is not refundable. However, if you need to cancel, we can open up your registration and, if we fill it, refund your registration less a $100 administrative fee.
What should I bring?
Please bring your curiosity and questions! We look forward to meeting our participants.
If you wish, you can bring some leftover containers in case there is extra food that you want to carry home with you. We will demonstrate how to make a creamy, almost-no-fat unsweetened vegan yogurt and if you want to take a little bit home with you as starter to make your own, you may want to bring a little container. We will try to have some food containers as well.
Each venue will have towels, linens, etc. We’ll have some quality vegan toiletries in case you forget or want to try ours. We recommend a bathing suit, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, a notebook, and pencil or pen. Each venue has a self-service washing machine and dryer and we will have laundry detergent that you are welcome to use.
Each venue will have internet connectivity which we will use to bring in guest speakers and share online resources. We believe that one aspect of healthy living is to have “disconnected” time. We won’t ask you to “go offline” but we also won’t encourage online activities. You will want to bring your phone to stay in touch, but we will not be relying on your having any other electronic devices.
May I bring my own food?
Is airport transportation available? Do I need a car? Can I get help shipping materials?
Please contact us if you need assistance. We likely will recommend that you consider established ground transportation but we are glad to help if we can.
If you want to ship materials to or from the venue, please contact us as we can help (e.g., favorite pillows, small exercise weights you use; literature or appliances/pans purchased at the immersion).
Parking is available. Please let us know if you will not have a car. We do hope to get out on the Blue Ridge Parkway for hiking in the mountain immersion but can carpool so that everybody doesn’t have to drive.
If you want to use public transportation possibly coupled with a taxi or ride sharing service and not have a car, that should be very feasible. We want you to relax, learn, and have fun, and not worry about getting around.
Is the accommodation handicap accessible?
The mountain location has stairs. Please contact us with any of your needs.
What will my emergency contact be during the immersion?
If you register, details like emergency contacts, location address, facilitator contacts, etc. will be provided. We will also ask for your emergency contacts.
What are some evidence-based food and nutrition resources that you recommend?
We rely on the tremendous body of peer-reviewed evidence that demonstrates health-promoting and restoring benefits of whole-food fully plant-based eating with limited fat. Excellent resources include websites such as pcrm.org, nutritionfacts.org, and
Each of the facilitators is a Cook in the Kitchen and puts on monthly food and nutrition shows. We are part of a team with extensive monthly recipes available at somanycooks.com. We recommend many other recipe sites and authors as well, such as Brenda Davis, Neal Barnard, Julieanna Hever, fatfreevegan.com, and ivu.org. We heartily recommend the many resources and programs at rochesterlifestylemedicine.org.
I want to share information with my healthcare provider. What do you recommend?
The resources listed in the previous question above are accessible and valuable to both lay audiences as well as healthcare providers. Conferences that may appeal especially to healthcare providers include Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ICNM Conference, Plant-based Prevention Of Disease P-POD Conference, and Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute (RLMI) offers free programs and resources for healthcare providers seen HERE.
I am arriving a day early. Can I check in early?
Sorry, that is not likely to be possible. We recommend that you find alternative accommodation for extra days before or after the immersion. But do check with us to see if we can make it work!
I am an early or a late riser. How will the program work for me?
We will ask about your typical bedtime and any preferred napping. One of the facilitators will typically offer a stretch or yoga session with simple breakfast items like fruit and hot drinks as early as 6:30 or 7:00 AM, and will start the day otherwise with preparing breakfast as we launch into food and nutrition discussion at 9:00 AM. Our day will typically end with dinner winding down by 7:00 PM or so. We expect to offer an evening walk and then a topical film viewing and discussion wrapping up roughly around 9:00 or 10:00 PM with participants welcome to retire earlier if they so desire. One of the facilitators will be available to relax with any interested participants until around midnight or a bit later.
We will take each immersion group’s collective schedule into account in planning. We encourage proper rest and will do our best to accommodate each participant’s preferred sleeping pattern.
Where can I get an idea of how the facilitators cook?
Dilip has over 1000 of his recipes on his blog dilipdinner.blogspot.com. Pictures of some of his dinner plates are available at photos.dilip.info/Food/SamplePlates.
Cody is frequently a guest on a variety of cooking and nutrition shows.
Carolyn has a YouTube channel called Stricklands & Friends – a Seasonal WFPB Cookbook at bit.ly/StricklandAndFriendsYouTube. She is also a guest on a variety of programs.
All of them are regulars with somanycooks.com. Their monthly videos are viewable and recipes are downloadable.
Where can I connect with the facilitators on social media?
Facebook: Carolyn: @MeatlessMondayMontgomery & @VegOutMontgomery, All: @somanycooks
Twitter: Dilip: @dbarman
Instagram: Carolyn: @TofuChic
Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @roclifemed