Monthly Archives

July 2017

Nurturing Nutrition | Venice Healthy Eating Group, Venice, FL

By | Advocacy, Group Leader Articles, Leadership, Nutrition, Pod News, Sharing the Message | No Comments

July 27, 2017

After switching to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle in 2012, Amy Tase and her husband Rick saw improvements to their health almost immediately. Both lost the extra pounds they’d been hanging onto, and Rick was able to stop taking his prescription medications. These changes made them eager to find a community of like-minded people in their area of Venice, Florida. Over a year ago, the duo decided to create a Meetup group and membership quickly took off. The group has since expanded to join the Pod Network and accomplished much along the way.

Over the past five years, Amy has immersed herself in WFPB resources and recently created a website called Be Green with Amy to share her knowledge, recipes and tips with others; meanwhile, Rick has become a “fantastic WFPB, SOS free, unprocessed chef,” says Amy. Together, they take what they’ve learned and lead interactive, educational events for their Pod.

“I enjoy events where Rick and I are in teacher mode, presenting recipe demos or giving presentations,” Amy explains.

The pair hosts twice monthly potluck dinners but also a variety of other events, most recently including a make-your-own frushi night, sushi recipe demonstration, yoga luncheon, gardening class, and kitchen gadget show-and-tell. They have had special guests like plant-based cardiologist Dr. Jami Dulaney, and even a movie night featuring What The Health.

“I try to bring in a little education and hopefully fun at each event,” Amy says.

In conjunction with their monthly potlucks, Amy and Rick offer members the ease of continuing their health journey when they leave–attendees can pre-order organic produce bags and microgreens to pick up during meetings.

The events are usually very successful, with anywhere from 15 to 30 members attending on average and a great mix of both regulars and new members, which Amy is excited to see.

“We recently did a radio show and three slideshow presentations for the public,” Amy explains. “These events, along with registering our Pod, have brought many new members who, within weeks of changing their eating habits, have experienced weight loss and other health benefits. Some people bring generations of family members to our events, many of whom are making the transition to a WFPB diet.”

Amy and Rick strive to cultivate a group that is friendly and non-judgmental. They accept everyone to their group, including vegetarians and vegans, those who are SOS free and those who are not.

“Regardless of if you are just curious about this lifestyle or have been eating this way for awhile, our members will make you feel welcome,” Amy says. “We all want to eat healthy food that tastes delicious, and we also want a safe place to share that food.” She keeps this in mind when choosing themes for the events.

“One of my recent favorites was the frushi event,” Amy says. “We had about 25 people attend and not one had ever made frushi before. They all brought a dish of cut up fruit or vegetables. Everyone had fun and was so appreciative. We even had a mom bring her school-aged children! It was so gratifying to see the children learn how to make healthy food taste delicious. It was also nice to see the child in all of us as we made, ate and shared our creations.”

Amy and Rick would like to see membership continue to grow, and are determined to bring well-known WFPB leaders to their group, whether in person or through Skype presentations. Most of all though, Amy hopes that members can learn something new at each meeting.

“I want everyone to be able to positively impact their health, and share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others,” Amy says.

The Pod also wishes to thank the volunteer nonprofit organization, Venice Holistic Community Center, for providing their meeting space.

To get in touch with the Venice Healthy Eating Group, visit their Meetup page, FB page, or Pod page.

To contact Amy, visit her website:

We love seeing the ways you are creating PlantPure communities in your area! Send an email to if you would like to share news, updates and events or use our online submission form.

Harnessing Digital Activism | 10 Minute Armchair Activists, Everywhere, USA

By | Advocacy, Group Leader Articles, Leadership, Pod News, Sharing the Message | No Comments

July 10, 2017

Thirty-six years ago, Shanasy Bratt gave up animal products and has never looked back. She has been plant-based for more than half her life and continues to advocate for animals–but now, in a very unique way.

Shanasy is the Pod leader for 10 Minute Armchair Activists, a virtual Pod where members can find and share effective activism tips they can implement from the ease of their own home. She started the Pod over a year ago because although she has always believed in activism, due to some eye issues, Shanasy is not always able to drive or leave her home to gather with others.

“I was an inactive activist, with a cause I was quite passionate about,” she explains. “Then it occurred to me that there were probably lots of other people in the same boat.”

Whether people are confined to their homes due to health issues, disabilities, familial caretaking, or just have busy work schedules and limited time, Shanasy is determined to help everyone find an easy way to make a difference and share their compassion for factory farmed animals by taking action on a cause close to their hearts. She feels that if people know an action will only take 10 minutes, they are much more likely to do it.

Shanasy is adamant about what she calls, “positive activism.”

“We need to show others that our stance is all about compassion for all sentient beings,” she says. “We can be much more effective if we are not stirring up the defenses of those we are trying to share our message with.”

Back in the 1980’s when Shanasy was first getting started, the plant-based world was “isolating and quite challenging.” Back then, there was no internet to help people join forces or share images and messages globally. Now, it is much easier and Shanasy believes social media has been the powerful driving force behind this.

Social media is great because, as Shanasy says, “many are willing to do things online like sign petitions, post messages, share videos and more.”

In fact, in recent years, social media has nearly reinvented activism, acting as a catalyst for larger change by giving people a voice and platform they wouldn’t have had in the past.

“There is a big opportunity for activism on social media for people who don’t want to–or can’t–leave their armchair,” Shanasy continues.

Every day, Shanasy interacts with her members (nearly 90 on her Pod site and over 300 on her Facebook page) by sharing information, resources and ideas to encourage others in their activism. Her daily tips are designed to be completed in under 10 minutes, which Shanasy hopes will inspire more people to get involved.

“I work hard keeping abreast of current studies showing which animal activist campaigns are the most effective,” Shanasy says. “It’s not enough to just post anything–we must always be thinking, ‘what’s going to stimulate the most attention; create the highest emotion; and stir the most action?’”

Although growth and engagement have been slower online than Shanasy expected, she is hopeful that with continued strategy and commitment, membership will expand. Her activism tips rotate between the three main benefits of a plant-based lifestyle: human health, animal well-being, and environmental conservation.

“Whether you believe in being a reducetarian or you’re an abolitionist–the ultimate goal is the same–to end animal agriculture,” Shanasy explains. “We need to all come together using our different approaches harmoniously. We have to always remember that what grabs one person’s attention may not grab another’s.”

Shanasy wants her Pod to stimulate the plant-based community to ultimately step up their activism game, and she encourages people to go beyond ten minutes of activism every day as they find their particular niche or skills in the movement.

In between posting tips on her Pod and Facebook pages, Shanasy also runs another Facebook page called Super Quick Plant-Based Recipes, where she shares tons of delicious, WFPB meal ideas that only take 20 minutes or less to prepare and use as few and as simple ingredients as possible.

“Besides helping busy plant-based cooks, my main intention is to show meat/fish/dairy consumers how eating plant-based doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can be quite easy without complicated or expensive ingredients,” Shanasy says. “Whether they go fully plant-based or not, hopefully this will spur them to at least include more plant-based options.”

If you would like to join Shanasy’s group, you can do so by visiting the 10 Minute Armchair Activists Pod Page or Facebook Page.

Contact Shanasy by email:

Shanasy’s other Facebook page, Super Quick Plant-Based Recipes:

We love seeing the ways you are creating PlantPure communities in your area! Send an email to if you would like to share news, updates and events or use our online submission form.