Using Food as medicine, Plant-Based Nutrition - Aspen Real Life

Using Food as medicine, Plant-Based Nutrition

Plant-Based Nutrition uses food as medicine alleviating nutritional deficiencies while healing from the inside-out on a deep cellular level. To share recipes and stories we have brought on new Contributing Columnist, Erin Gelderman, Registered Dietitian.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Erin attended school at Eastern Michigan University to obtain her degree in nutrition and dietetics, with a focus on integrative and functional medicine, as well as plant-based nutrition.

Erin moved to Denver two years ago, spending every weekend in the mountains. She eventually fell in love with Aspen, and has recently made it her home. In her private practice, she likes to describe her healing approach as  “Finding the root of your health concerns and issues, using food as medicine to alleviate your personal nutritional deficiencies while healing from the inside-out on a deep cellular level”.


Erin was inspired to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics after suffering with a variety of her own autoimmune issues. She tried all sorts of medications, therapies, and skin treatments without a real solution. Finally, while living in the Netherlands, she met someone who introduced her to healing through a whole food, plant-based diet. Within weeks, she finally could maintain a healthy weight, and most of her health issues were under control while healing rapidly. This own transformation inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics.

What is a whole-food, plant-based diet?

A whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet is quite simple at the core; it aims to eliminate meat, dairy, alcohol, processed foods and added oils from your daily diet. For example, you would replace meat with lentils, quinoa, beans, and tofu (just to name a few protein sources). Instead of excessive use of oils, other cooking techniques such as broth or water sautéeing is implemented, and alcohol is saved for special occasions. Often dairy is replaced with milk alternatives such as soy, almond, cashew, and oat milk among others. Cheese is generally mimicked using nuts or seeds as a base, and may include a fermentation process for a flavourful as well as nutritional boost. Whole foods are encouraged. This means consuming foods closest to their truest form and cutting out packaged and highly processed foods from your fridge and pantry.


A WFPB diet is noted for its variety of benefits for our bodies and the planet. Due to the anti-inflammatory nature of consuming high fiber and nutrient-dense foods, a plant-based diet is beneficial for disease prevention for top ailments in the United States such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, intestinal diseases, and cancer1,2.  A plant-based diet has been found to be very effective for those suffering with a variety of food allergies from dairy, gluten, egg and fish in particular. This dietetic approach offers people with allergies solutions and freedom within their diets. Aside from physiological benefits, a WFPB diet has a significantly lower environmental impact and can be a great way to lessen your carbon footprint and help reduce human impact on climate change3. (Save our winters!). They are generally inexpensive, easy to adopt into your everyday lifestyle, and a great way to change your health and overall wellness without making major changes to how you normally eat.

So, what now?

As a dietitian, Erin will be contributing weekly articles to Aspen Real Life, presenting research, recommendations and fun information surrounding increasing your plant intake in your daily diet. She plans to publish a weekly recipe every Friday to try over the weekend, and is always open to contact for questions, recommendations and appointments for your own nutrition and health needs. In addition to nutrition counseling, Erin is also available for cooking lessons, menu and recipe development and everything in between. Nutrition and health is her greatest passion and she cannot wait to integrate herself into the health and wellness community in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Contact Info:  

P: (734) 212-6056




Works Cited


  1. Tuso P, Stoll S, et al. A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. Perm J. 2015 Winter; 19(1): 62–67. doi:  10.7812/TPP/14-036.
  2. Kris-Etherton P, Hecker K, et al. Bioactive compounds in foods: their role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The American Journal of Medicine. 2002, December 30. Volume 113, Issue 9, Supplement 2, Pages 71–88.
  3. Smith, Carol. New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People. United Nations University Website. 2015, November 15.


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