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...and the award goes to...OU’s new Vegan Diet for Better Health course!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
...and the award goes to...OU’s new Vegan Diet for Better Health course!
By Eric Franchy, Strategic Programs Marketing Assistant 

This Fall Oakland University was excited to introduce a new course under the School of Nursing called, “A Lifestyle Change to Improve Health: the Vegan Diet.” Thanks to the course excitement continues to grow, as Oakland University has recently been honored with PETA’s Compassionate Campus Award.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a non-profit organization dedicated towards implementing and protecting rights for all animals. The organization takes efforts worldwide  to prevent animal cruelty and promote the fair treatment of animals. PETA is guided by the simple belief that animals our not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. Visit for more details on PETA.  

Marilyn Mouradjian, MSN, RN (shown right being presented with the PETA Compassionate Campus Award by SON Dean Schuiling), developed and leads the new vegan program. She had long since wanted to take a proactive approach and address diet as it relates to health; as opposed to the traditional strategy of diet related to disease. The main focus of the program is on the benefits the vegan lifestyle offers. Her favorite thing about the course, “Enthusiasm. Such enthusiasm by the students.”

Research has found the vegan lifestyle to offer a large array of benefits to those practicing. From weight reduction, to energy boosts and even the prevention of many major diseases; veganism contributes to an overall better state of health.

The vegan lifestyle is an extension of vegetarianism; that eliminates the use of any animal products for dietary practices, environmental purposes, and to promote healthy living. This means avoiding the use of some products allowed in vegetarian practice such as cheese, milk, and eggs. When asked, Mouradjian smiled and said, “Yes, we still eat cake...Vegan French Silk Pie is actually a crowd favorite.”

She points out that practicing a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean anything has to be given up. Foods still taste great and offer the same (and often better) nutrients. More and more a correlation is being found between animal proteins and cancers, heart disease, and type II Diabetes. In the long run, statistics are showing the practice to provide cost savings in addition to the health benefits; through the reduction of medical bills for doctor visits and pharmaceuticals (which also have side effects). There are vegan bodybuilders and marathon runners. Former President Bill Clinton and past heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson are now practicing vegans.

Mouradjian envisions the program being offered more frequently, once or even twice a semester. She would like to be able to offer CEU’s for RNs and to see more health care professionals join the course and add to the discussion on the vegan lifestyle and its implications.

The current class is composed of a well dispersed 17 students. Participants are experiencing the course from all around the US and several other countries, including: Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the UK. Mouradjian explains that having this cultural diversity adds to the course content by providing students with a variety of meal options that they (and her) would have previously been unaware of. The interactivity is a large part of the course, adding to the weekly Powerpoints, links, recipes and other supplemental material.

Vegan Diet for Better Health is set for a second session starting January 9, 2012. It is completely online, running for seven weeks at a very affordable cost of $200. Students can log on from wherever they choose at whenever is convenient for them to do so. The vegan course is open to anyone interested in learning about the benefits the vegan way of living has to offer.

For more info on the Vegan Diet course, visit