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Empowered by Plants

Courtesy of The Vibrant Veggie (www.thevibrantveggie.com)

Yesterday was a fabulous day and this morning I woke up feeling as if I could change the world!  I attended the Health & Fitness, Empowered by Plants day of education in Penticton.  It was put on by the Okanagan Health Forum, which is a group organized in 2005 to provide cutting-edge research in lifestyle medicine to health care professionals and the general public.  It was also formed to “bring internationally acclaimed authorities on plant-based diets to inspire and motivate our residents to make choices that support exceptional health and well-being”.

Well, that they sure did!  They had a professional line up of plant-based speakers covering topics ranging from how to heal yourself from lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and cancer, to the plant-based diet of a world class athlete and stories of how changing to a plant-based diet helped a couple from Naramata, BC overcome obesity and stage 4 kidney cancer.

In the past, the Okanagan Health Forum has hosted superstar speakers such as Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Joel Furman!  Where the heck was I back in 2005 and 2007?  I was just in a different space back then.  It’s a journey.  In fact, it wasn’t until 2008 when I read the China Study, written by T. Colin Campbell, and realized what a health crisis we were causing by having animal products in our diet.  I must be a slow learner though because it took me another 8 years until 2016 when I completed the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate  (link to course trailer) through E-Cornell University, that was created by Dr. Campbell (are you seeing a trend here?) and became completed vegan – or as I prefer to call it “plant-based”.   Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it is healthy!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Brenda Davis,  who “is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker.  She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant and academic nutrition instructor.  Brenda is the lead dietitian in a diabetes research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands.  She is a featured speaker at nutrition, medical and health conferences throughout the world.”

She is a lovely lady who calls Kelowna home!  She gave a wonderful lecture on unleashing the power of plant-based diets.  I sent her an email this morning asking if I could use her photo on my blog and letting her know I would love to get involved with the Okanagan Health Forum.  She messaged me back within minutes! So kind of her as she is one busy lady – off to Brazil to lecture at a plant-based conference in October. I am so bummed I didn’t take a photo with her yesterday.  She did sign her book that I brought with me called Becoming Vegan, Express Edition though!  I highly recommend her book for anyone who is transitioning or curious about a plant-based diet. It is very easy to read and put into practice. It covers everything you will need to know to succeed.  I thought it would be nice to include one of her videos for you to watch since you weren’t there yesterday!

This is a great interview with Brenda that is easy to listen to while doing dishes or folding laundry. 🙂 She covers topics such as getting enough calcium, B12, Vitamin D and protein as a plant-based eater.  She also discusses bone density, nutritional deficiencies, children’s diets, diseases caused by meat consumption, the link between egg consumption and diabetes and cholesterol in the diet.  Towards the three quarter mark she touches on topics such as the link between dairy and prostate/breast cancer/acne and asthma.  At the end of the video Brenda remarks about animal agriculture and what it is doing to the planet as well as our health.  I found two things she mentions especially interesting… A study was done showing that if humans ate vegan just one day a week, we could reduce greenhouse gases more than by eating 100% local 7 days a week!  Also, she states that many years ago 40% of the population lived on farms.  Now it is 1%, yet we are feeding the population more meat than ever.  This requires factory farms where sentient animals live out their lives in abhorrent conditions so that we can eat their flesh, which is making us sick.  70 BILLION animals are slaughtered each year for our consumption.

We also heard from Sonya Looney who is a professional, world class mountain bike racer and winner of the 24 hour bike race.  She spoke of her success in achieving an edge in competition on a plant based diet as an extreme athlete.  What an inspiring woman.

Sonya has a podcast called the Sonya Looney Show where she hosts plant-based gurus and spreads the word of how plant powered diets can help reduce diseases and lead to better health results, to help athletes and laymen alike.

James Johnson from Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze also gave a rousing presentation on veganism.  It was kind of a cross between a magic and comedy show all while praising the virtues of a plant based diet.  James and his wife Jenna make amazing vegan cheeses in Armstrong, BC.  They are hard to come by but are available at One Big Table and Natures Fare here in Kelowna.  They are also supplying stores in Vancouver, Calgary, Penticton, Vernon and more!  I highly recommend their cheezes for when you need to bring an appetizer to a party.  Their “Voursin” is our favourite, and my eldest daughter is a cheese fiend.  ;(

To end the day off, we had the pleasure of listening to Dan and Sheanne Moskaluk from Naramata, BC who have a very inspiring story of healing and recovery from obesity and stage 4 kidney cancer through a plant-strong diet. They were featured on the documentary Eating You Alive that came out in 2016. I met them at the screening at the Okanagan College in Kelowna and have now heard them speak a few times.  They have a truly remarkable story.  One that even the doctors can’t believe.  Here is the trailer for Eating You Alive.

This movie “features leading medical experts and researchers and takes a scientific look at the reasons we’re so sick, who’s responsible for feeding us the wrong information and how we can use whole-food, plant-based nutrition to take control of our health—one bite at a time.” Here is a link to download the film for $9.95, so worth the money!

Below is a short video of Dan and Sheanne and a short version of their story of overcoming obesity (losing 133 lbs) and erasing stage 4 kidney cancer.  Theirs is a true depiction of how a plant-based diet can be so magical!

I hope this blog post will help answer some of your questions about changing your diet to be more plant-based.  If you have any questions, please contact me.  I would love to be of any assistance possible.

Happy day!