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Oasis Success Stories

Creating an Oasis in the Mojave Desert

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In mid-October 2017, Mojave Desert Nutrition and Lifestyle Science Initiative (MDNI), a nonprofit organization and group that is part of the PlantPure Communities Pod Network, launched the 10-day Bullhead City Oasis Jumpstart Pilot. Over thirty people registered to participate in the Oasis Jumpstart Pilot, filling every available space within one week of enrollment commencement!

The nonprofit PlantPure Communities (PPC) created the Oasis Jumpstart Pilot Program motivated by the goal of empowering people to take control of their health. Through the Oasis Program, PPC partners with local groups to bring healthy food and science-based nutrition education to underserved neighborhoods across the country. The Oasis Jumpstart Pilots are modeled on the “Jumpstarts” conducted in Mebane, North Carolina, and documented in the 2015 PlantPure Nation film. Bullhead City Oasis Jumpstart participants were provided with whole food, plant-based meals to consume for a period of 10 days. Biomarker data was collected before and after the jumpstart period so participants could see first-hand the powerful impact that this diet change has on their bodies while simultaneously learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

The nonprofit MDNI’s mission is to create true health awareness and nutrition education though cutting-edge, evidence-based nutritional considerations and to debunk nutritional myths, and present a clear view on optimal health. MDNI was one of the first groups to join the PlantPure Communities Pod Network, which is comprised of over 450 independent local groups (also known as ‘Pods’) and people who promote the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. Betty Rae and Dan Miller, the founders of MDNI, were inspired by their personal health journeys to bring the health message of plant-based food and nutrition to their community. Today, MDNI has a total following of over 10,000 people on their social media accounts!

“Mohave County and the local community leads the state of Arizona in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They also lead the state in prescribed medications for chronic disease and senior residents on a fixed income, and are third in the state for those living in a food desert with a 38% rate of food insecurity and 27% childhood poverty,” said Betty Rae, explaining the motivation to carry out the Oasis Jumpstart Pilot.

MDNI led the Oasis Jumpstart Pilot with the support of several other organizations. The Bullhead City Senior Nutrition Center donated the space for the pre- and post-Jumpstart events and also stored a portion of the frozen meals. The Caring Hearts Food Bank Ministry Inc. and Country Health Market stored all the meals until they were transported to the Senior Nutrition Center to be handed out to participants. In addition, Country Health Market gave MDNI permission to “pull” products for breakfast/snacks to display to the participants, and donated snacks for the pre-Jumpstart event. Caring Hearts also covered the cost for several low-income participants and provided bottled water, snacks, and fruit. Bullhead Urgent Care’s Dr. Don Wagner and MDNI played a support role taking additional biometrics.

A pre-Jumpstart event kicked off the Pilot, during which participants received nutrition education information, had their first round of biomarker testing, and received the Jumpstart meals. This testing provided a baseline for participants to gauge the effects of a plant-based diet.

Many of the participants expressed a desire to participate in the program because of personal health struggles, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.

Maria, 34, said she chose to participate because “I am a diabetic, overweight and have high blood pressure. I am very skeptical of weight loss programs and thought I would try this plant-based program based on my doctor’s recommendation. I am Mexican and I eat a lot of fatty foods, so because it was only 10 days it gave me an opportunity to try the food. After the 10 days, I found out that I could eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks and still add a lot of vegetables, beans, and rice. I felt satisfied and lost 3 inches around my waist and controlled my blood sugar to a normal range the entire time…the sugars reduced overall from 206 down to under 100.”

Over the course of the Pilot, doctors and educators taught participants how to shop in a grocery store, prepare simple, nutritious meals, and understand the science behind why this lifestyle is optimal for long-term health.

By the end of the program, participants saw significant positive changes. Many experienced large reductions in their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. In addition, most were able to lose weight, while symptoms like fatigue, irritability, and constipation were also diminished or eliminated.

Mary, at 62 years old, was curious if she could eat only plants for 10 days. She remarked, “WOW, I got some great results, I cannot believe it! I got some really fantastic results! I raised my HDL and lowered my total cholesterol and lost inches from my waist, which was surprising. I am doing a happy dance I feel so fantastic. I am expanding my garden and plan to continue eating this way.”

Jeni, a 58-year-old executive church administrator, and her husband, Deacon Jerry, wanted to see what a difference 10 days could make to jumpstart them back into a healthy eating lifestyle. “We had tried the plantbased Daniel Fast before but were curious about this Oasis program. Our friends were doing it and it gave us an opportunity to immerse ourselves with healthier food and lifestyle choices. I personally experienced a lot of changes during the jumpstart and the biometrics reflected those changes. Not only did I feel more energy, but I lost weight, 4-1/2 inches from my waist and we each dropped over 20 points in our cholesterol. It was amazing!”

She continued, “… my husband exclaimed how delicious the new vegetable dishes were, particularly because he would not have eaten them before. It is amazing how quickly what you eat affects your health. I will be a lot more conscientious about what I prepare and what we eat in the future and will have continued confidence to try new plant-based recipes and strive to be primarily plant-based. It is just not natural to eat meat everyday – all day. When you realize what meat-eating does to your health, and how good you can feel by not doing a meatcentric diet… and see these numbers change so dramatically when eating plant-based. It will be our way of life from this point forward. We are getting older but this program has shown us it is not too late to make significant health changes by eating plant-based. I thank Betty and Dan and PlantPure Communities for allowing this program into our community.”

At the end of the program, MDNI hosted a Graduation Potluck meal for all the participants and handed out Certificates of Completion.

“Food-borne chronic disease in underserved neighborhoods is a fixable problem with science-based nutrition education, delicious plant-based recipes and meals, and hands-on learning,” pointed out Jody Kass, executive director of PlantPure Communities. Nelson Campbell, founder of PPC, and creator of the vision for the Oasis Program added, “Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to healthy food and nutrition education, regardless of their background, location, or socioeconomic status.”

For more information about the PPC Oasis Program contact info@plantpurecommunities.org and visit PPC’s website: http://plantpurecommunities.org/programs/.

 

Volunteers in Medicine Chattanooga Oasis Story: Collaborative Oasis Pilot Changes Lives

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July 28, 2017 marked the beginning of a series of four Oasis Pilot Jumpstarts conducted by the nonprofit Volunteers in Medicine Chattanooga as a part of the PlantPure Communities Oasis Program and a study funded by CVS Health Foundation.

Volunteers in Medicine Chattanooga, Inc. (VIM Chattanooga) is a free full service medical clinic that provides primary and preventive health care to low-income individuals and families who otherwise have no access to public or private health insurance. In response to high rates of diabetes in its patient population, VIM Chattanooga launched a unique Lifestyle Education to Address Diabetes (LEAD) initiative with the first Oasis Pilot Jumpstart to help patients prevent, reverse, and manage diabetes. A key component of LEAD is the 21-day Oasis Jumpstart Program.

The Oasis Jumpstart Program was created by PlantPure Communities (PPC), a 501c3 nonprofit organization, with the goal of empowering participants to learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet, while enabling them to experience firsthand the powerful health impacts. The Oasis Pilots are modeled on the Jumpstarts conducted in Mebane, North Carolina that were documented in the 2015 PlantPure Nation film. As part of this Pilot, participants eat whole food, plant-based (WFPB) meals for a Jumpstart period of 21 days.

Dr. Lily Tyron

VIM Chattanooga received a $35,000 grant in 2017 from the CVS Health Foundation, a private charitable organization created by CVS Health, that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. VIM Chattanooga is one of 33 clinics across the United States that received grant support from the CVS Health Foundation, as part of their strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S., who help increase community-based access to healthcare for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management, and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming.  To date, VIM Chattanooga has carried out three Oasis Jumpstarts in 2017, and the final Jumpstart will take place in January 2018.  Altogether, approximately 60 people will be involved in the VIM Chattanooga Oasis Pilots.

PPC’s partnership with VIM Chattanooga marked the first time PPC conducted an Oasis Pilot Jumpstart with a medical facility, which provided easy access to medical personnel and resources. Through the leadership and expertise of Ashley Evans, VIM Chattanooga’s Executive Director, and Dr. Lilly Tryon, who is running the day-to-day program and is also an Associate Professor of Nursing at Southern Adventist University, participants receive life-changing nutrition and lifestyle education.  

During the 21 days of the Jumpstart, Dr. Tryon and a team of nurse practitioner students provide participants with nutrition education, cooking demos, twice-weekly meetings, and motivational text messages. Biometric testing is conducted at the beginning and end of the Jumpstart. In addition, each participant’s biometric data will be tracked at 3-month intervals for twelve months. Dr. Tryon created a PlantPure Communities Pod to provide the important ongoing support participants need to maintain their new lifestyle.

Dr. James Marcum

Dr. Michael Hollie

During the monthly LEAD Connect Pod meetings, Dr. Tryon conducts film screenings, providescooking demos, and invites other medical professionals to speak to the group. Participants have benefitted from educational sessions led by Dr. James Marcum, Director of Heartwise Ministries (who also serves on the PPC Board of Advisors), and Dr. Michael Hollie, who serves on the board of directors of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Executive Director Ashley Evans recognizes the barriers that often lead to poorer diabetes outcomes for disadvantaged patients and drive healthcare costs even higher. Underserved populations have been left behind for too long,” she mused. “Healthy lifestyles are difficult to maintain, but by providing a structured diet, nutrition information, and support, the Oasis JumpStart participants are now more than capable of changing their lives.  

Lynda and Danny

Initial outcomes are demonstrating the truth of her statement.  Although Danny, aged 63, has 9 stents, he was resistant, and attended the Jumpstart only at the request of his wife, Lynda.  However, three days into the Jumpstart, he had already decreased his insulin from 150 units to 75 units daily and announced, We are never going back to our old way of eating.  Danny is now down to 20 units daily, and his doctor is transitioning him to oral meds.  At the first 3-month biometric screening, Danny discovered that his long-standing elevated triglycerides had dropped to less than 50 (150 is the target) and his A1c dropped from 9.7% to 7.4%.  Danny reports that his doctor of over 30 years told him, you need to keep doing what youre doing, because Ive never seen you healthier. In addition, Danny’s children have lovingly questioned, “You’re not going to stop this are you?” Lynda also experienced dramatic health benefits after changing her diet.  Within a few days of eating a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, she could move her hands freely after suffering from years of debilitating osteoarthritis.  By the end of the Jumpstart, her weight was down 6 pounds, fasting blood sugar dropped from 371 to 201, A1c decreased from 9.3% to 7.8%, and her Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms were gone. “Doctors have told me for years that I needed to lose weight, but this is the first time that someone has showed me how,” said Linda. She and Danny are now passing on this legacy of health to their grandchildren.  They also love to share their experiences with new Jumpstart participants.  

Participants from VM Jumpstart # 1 and Dr. Tryon

By the end of the 21-days, all 12 participants in the first Jumpstart saw positive changes in their health.  Nearly every participant had a drop in their A1c, with an average of drop of .5%.  Together they lost 83 lbs and 6.75 inches from their waistlines.  Although the participants joined the program to address diabetes, there have been many other positive outcomes, such as increased energy, improved gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, lower cholesterol levels, and discontinued or decreased blood pressure and diabetes medications.  Lisa, a participant who was particularly concerned about developing diabetes, proudly exclaimed, “I was prediabetic–but not anymore!”  

Dr. Tryon believes that the most rewarding results are the changes in diet and behavior.  One participant stated, “I am eating right for the first time, and I feel good again.” Her favorite comment was a text message received from Lynda about two weeks after the Jumpstart ended, “We are doing great and love our new way of eating.  Thank you for helping us.  It has changed our lives forever.”  Dr. Tryon is grateful for the support of PPC in making the Oasis Jumpstart a reality at VIM Chattanooga.  “We are so pleased with the preliminary results of this collaborative initiative that we plan to carry out a series of several more Jumpstarts in 2018.”

“Food-borne chronic disease in underserved neighborhoods is a fixable problem with science-based nutrition education, delicious plant-based recipes and meals, and hands-on learning,” pointed out Jody Kass, executive director of PlantPure Communities. Nelson Campbell, founder of PPC, and creator of the vision for the Oasis Program added, “Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to healthy food and nutrition education, regardless of their background, location, or socioeconomic status.”

For more information about the PPC Oasis Program contact info@plantpurecommunities.org and visit PPC’s website: http://plantpurecommunities.org/programs/.

Atlanta Oasis Story: Empowering People to Truly Live Well Using Plant-Based Meals

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On June 7th, the 10-day Pittsburgh Community Oasis Jumpstart Pilot was launched by the nonprofit, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW), in Atlanta, Georgia. Twelve people completed the program. The Oasis Jumpstart Pilot Program was created by PlantPure Communities (PPC), a nonprofit organization, with the goal of empowering millions of people to take control and responsibility for their wellness. Through the Oasis Program, PPC is partnering with local groups like Truly Living Well to bring healthy food and science-based nutrition education to underserved neighborhoods across the country. The Pittsburgh Oasis Jumpstart is the first of five Pilots which are either complete or underway in other under-served neighborhoods in Rhode Island, California, Tennessee, and Arizona.

The Pittsburgh community was chosen for the Oasis Pilot Program because of its interest in healthy food alternatives.  Established by African Americans in 1883, on 554 acres in the aftermath of the Civil War in a segregated city, Pittsburgh is one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods. The railroad played a defining role in the development of Pittsburgh and the neighborhood’s earliest residents were laborers on the railroads. The neighborhood got its name because the land south of the Pegram Railroad repair yards was so polluted it was nicknamed “Pittsburgh,” after the steel mills in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is a USDA-designated food desert with a poverty rate that is roughly double that of Fulton County.

TLW  and its AmeriCorps VISTA’s program to improve food security have worked in the community for two years. The organization, which manages a food co-op with local residents, saw PPC as a great partner for introducing a plant based lifestyle. TLW is a nonprofit organization committed to “growing food, growing people, and growing community.”  Since 2006, TLW has engaged in local food production, urban ag education, training and outreach. The Oasis Pilot Program provided a source for nutrition education, plant based food, and a support group of like-minded people.

“The program really helped the participants and their families change the way they look at food. They’re choosing healthier options including more vegetables and fruits. People who have been eating a meat based diet for up to 50 years are now shifting their diet,” noted Ashley Jones, AmeriCorps VISTA Food Co-op Coordinator. On the first day of the Jumpstart, Emily Holland noted that she’d like to learn what she can do to improve or heal her condition rather than just manage the symptoms. “I’m getting married soon and I’d like to start my journey with my fiancé in the healthiest way possible. I really want us to do this together so I’m hoping he will join me and we can support one another.”

The focus of Oasis is both short-term benefits and long-term lasting change. Biomarker data was collected for participants before and after the Jumpstart so that each person could experience first-hand the powerful impact of nutrition on their health. On the last day of the Jumpstart, William Southwood, Emily’s fiancé, was extremely grateful for the Program. “This was special because 10 days ago, I was coming to support Emily.  Now, I have a new understanding our how our health, as humans, could have been so much better if we were eating plant-based!  I had no idea plant-based food could taste so good!”

The Oasis Program offers participants the opportunity to learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet, while enabling them to experience firsthand the powerful health impacts. The Oasis Pilots are modeled on the Jumpstarts conducted in Mebane, North Carolina, that were documented in the 2015 PlantPure Nation film. As part of the program, participants eat whole food, plant-based (WFPB) meals for the jumpstart period of 10 days. Lunch and Dinner entrees typically consisted of plant-based Kitchen Starter meals provided by PlantPure, Inc.

“Food-borne chronic disease in underserved neighborhoods is a fixable problem with science based nutrition education, delicious plant-based recipes and meals, and hands on learning,” said Jody Kass, executive director of PlantPure Communities. Nelson Campbell, founder of PPC, and creator of the vision for the Oasis Program said, “Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to healthy food and nutrition education, regardless of their background, location or socioeconomic status.”

The biomarker testing offered through Oasis provided a baseline for participants so they were able to see first-hand the powerful effects of a plant-based diet. Many of the participants expressed a desire for the program because of personal struggles with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

During the 10 days, participants also received nutrition education from Dr. Jennifer Rooke, Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine.  Dr. Rooke talked to participants about the prevalence and dangers of oxidized cholesterol and noted, “Atherosclerosis, commonly known as clogged arteries, is the most common disease and cause of death on Earth. It is the most common underlying cause of a wide range of health outcomes that include high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and heart attacks.  If we don’t get clarity about this disease and control it, millions of people will continue to suffer and die each year from an entirely preventable disease.  Atherosclerosis can be reversed by eliminating cholesterol-containing foods from the diet. We know this with certainty because we have pictures of plaque regression on oil-free, plant-based diets.”

Dr. Rooke has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is very interested in the connection between lifestyle and disease. She holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the Center for Nutrition Studies/eCornell and is board certified in Public Health/Preventive Medicine and Occupational Medicine.

By the end of the program, participants of the Pittsburgh Oasis Pilot saw significant, positive changes. Several participants lost between 6 and 9 pounds and saw up to 5 inches disappear from their waistlines. In addition, many participants experienced the following health improvements:

  • Up to 30-point decreases in blood pressure
  • Up to 68-point decreases in total cholesterol
  • Up to 61-point decreases in LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Up to 175-point decreases in triglycerides

Carol Hunter, TLW Chief Administrative Officer, is grateful for the support of PPC in making the Oasis Program a reality in the Pittsburgh community.  “This partnership exemplified the power of people coming together to make a change and enabled a broad range of resources and expertise to provide a benefit for our community.”

For information about the PPC Oasis Program, contact PPC at info@plantpurecommunities.org and visit PPC’s website: http://plantpurecommunities.org/programs/.

Providence Oasis Story: There’s a lot of love in this food!

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Pod leader Ella Rodriguez is all smiles!

In mid-June, Powered By Plants RI, a group that is part of the PlantPure Communities Pod Network, launched the 14-day Providence Oasis Jumpstart Pilot. Thirty people in one of the “unhealthiest zip codes” in Rhode Island participated, and it is estimated that over 100 lives or more were permanently changed by this project.

The nonprofit PlantPure Communities (PPC) created the Oasis Jumpstart Pilot Program, motivated by the goal of empowering millions of people to take control of their health. Through Oasis, PPC partners with local groups to bring healthy food and science-based nutrition education to underserved neighborhoods across the country. Oasis offers participants the opportunity to learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet, while enabling them to experience firsthand the powerful health impacts. The Oasis Pilots are modeled on the Jumpstarts conducted in Mebane, North Carolina that were documented in the 2015 PlantPure Nation film. As part of the Providence Oasis Pilot, participants ate locally prepared, whole plant-based meals for a ‘jumpstart’ period of 14 days. Biomarker data was collected before and after the jumpstart period so each person could see the specific changes in their blood tests over just 14 days.

The Powered by Plants RI group, which includes over 800 people in the Providence area, is part of the

Carts and cars filled with food on our three shopping excursions. Usually 4 carts and three cars full!

PlantPureCommunities Pod Network, which is leading a grassroots movement of independent local groups (also known as ‘Pods’) and people who promote the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. As part of the Pod Network, Powered by Plants RI meets monthly to foster community, education and engagement. After watching the PlantPure Nation film, one of the Pod leaders, Kim Anderson, was inspired to bring the health message of plant-based food and nutrition to her community. She realized there were many in Rhode Island who would benefit from plant-based nutrition education, including professionals. “I loved the Jumpstart example in the film and felt we needed to have a local ‘proof of concept’ here, to share with the wider medical, governmental, corporate and nonprofit community,” Kim explained.

Chef Dan scooping out the homemade cashew sauce!

Kim led the Pilot with the help of several other community leaders from the Powered By Plants RI Pod. A professional chef ran the kitchen and food preparation for the 14-day meal program, while other Pod members arranged shopping trips to procure ingredients, served meals, cooked with the chef, and delivered food to events. “This was truly a grassroots community effort! Over 25 people from the Pod participated in a range of activities from shopping, preparing food, teaching participants how to cook, and more, representing well over 350 man-hours of work!” said Kim. “Everyone stepped up in a very big way. We were all thrilled with the opportunity to share this information with others.”

Many of the participants expressed a desire to participate in the program because of personal health struggles, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and digestive problems. “Before starting the program I was frustrated with my acid reflux, that I was not able to control with pills to alleviate the discomfort. It was making me cranky and unhappy all the time,” explained Edgar, a participant who was having difficulty sleeping and now feels like a “new man.”

Edgar stirring up a big pot of Thai curry veggies

The Pilot was kicked off with the biometric testing, which provided a baseline for participants to gauge the effects of a plant-based diet. “The bloodwork on day one was a real wakeup for many of our participants,” Kim explained. “Most had something that concerned them–from weight and blood pressure to sugar numbers and cholesterol, or a combination of these issues. (After the 14 days) they were so pleased with the results and how they felt, and the science, that most expressed interest in eating this way going forward!”

Angel and Barbara helping Terri and Christie Jeffries, Pod Leader, packaging the meals they will be eating

Over the course of the Pilot, doctors and educators taught participants how to shop in a grocery store, prepare simple, nutritious meals, and understand the science behind why this lifestyle is optimal for long-term health. “Having tasty food, proper nutrition information and education, and good support was important,” Kim said. ”Our team did an amazing job – label reading, preparing foods together, watching important films – all important resources for continuing success. We also offered each participant a mentor from our Pod for the duration of the program and that was important for compliance and ongoing support.” Kim believes the Oasis Program provided the tools and knowledge that will allow participants to implement and continue their health journey even now that the program has concluded.

It was also a rewarding experience for those participants who helped with the food preparation. Those who worked three-hour stints in the commercial kitchen preparing the meals learned a lot about cooking and developed a deeper appreciation for what was being done for them, claiming there is “a lot of love in this food.” By the end of the program, participants saw significant positive changes.

Chris (middle) is a volunteer, Lisa and Terri are Pod Leaders.

Many experienced large reductions in their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. In addition, most were able to lose weight, while symptoms like fatigue, irritability, and constipation were also diminished or eliminated.

High points of the program include:

LDL (low density lipoprotein – aka ‘bad cholesterol) – 7 participants were able to move from “above optimal/borderline high” (100-159) to “optimal” (below 99) LDL range.

– Blood Pressure (BP) – 3 participants were able to lower BP enough to move a whole category, from hypertension – (above 140/90) to pre-hypertension (120/80 -139/89)

– Fasting Glucose – 4 participants were able to move from high (above 126) to moderate. And 2 “moderate” (110 -125) participants were able to move to “normal” (below 100).

“I am sticking with this! I am so happy with my results. My blood pressure went down. My LDL went from 159 to 110. My

Pod leader Terri Leary on “chop duty”

triglycerides went from 360 to 158. My fasting blood was 186 and is now 123,” said Pat, who is 69 years old. “I feel much, much better. And I haven’t forgotten where my keys are for weeks. I can’t wait to freak out my doctor with these numbers.”

Cheryl was able to bring family members along on her journey. “I am happy because my husband is on board. I lost 5 pounds and he lost 12 pounds!” Cheryl said. “WFPB has helped me with my sugar addiction because now I know other ways to solve it, and I am able to resist it. I am overwhelmed with the results, honestly. My LDL used to be high and now I am 47 and my blood pressure is better, too!”

Luisa is excited to use the techniques and recipes from the program at home with her family. She feels better able to address her needs and is positive about the outlook of her health. “I love how I feel. I have energy and I’m not sluggish. I now realize how important it is to eat WFPB,” Luisa explained. “I plan to stay on this! I lost weight, which has always been hard. I am now completely off my depression meds. I thought I would have to go back on them, but I no longer need them. My kids are already on this too!”

Judy Harff, pod leader, with Angel and Barbara, taken right after they got their end of program blood work results

Jackie is grateful for the education she received through the program. “I learned something different than what my doctors were telling me,” she said. “My glucose improved, I went from 130 average to 100 average over a week. I was not a fan of veggies before but I figured out what I like and don’t like and am more open now. I lost 6 inches on my waist and my blood pressure went from 132/88 to 128/84.”

Many who participated are now eager to get others involved in the WFPB lifestyle. “I am trying to bring friends to the monthly Pod meetings because they need this!” explained Angel. “I am so excited because my triglycerides went from 372 to 272. My energy, mental attitude and motivation have improved. This was a life saver without the medication! It has been transformative to my life.”

Volunteers serving participants & families at the Graduation Potluck

At the end of the program, the organizers from the Powered by Plants Pod hosted a Graduation Potluck meal for all the participants and their families. The experience underscored for them the wide range of delicious foods that can be part of a plant-based diet and reiterated why a community effort makes for lasting change.

Lead organizer Kim is grateful for the support of PPC in making the Oasis Program a reality in their community. “People saw dramatic changes in their wellness, energy level and their bloodwork. We estimate that although the Pilot was limited to 30 people, it is likely that well over 100 lives were permanently changed by this project,” said Kim. “I recently met with Angel and Barbara, pictured above, 10 weeks after the end of the program, and they report having engaged others in their community. They have already brought 5-6 into their WFPB way of eating, including one adult son, who they thought would never go along! They look forward to educating many more. It has been a blessing, they happily shared.” Angel has lost 14 pounds already and cannot wait to be a “poster boy” for the movement. “We are huge fans of the Oasis Program as it offers a structure to democratize the sharing of lifesaving information,” said Kim.

Happy smiles of Edgar with Judy Harff, taken right after they got their end of program blood work results

An underlying tenet of PPC is to get the word out about important scientific nutrition research, much of which was led by T. Colin Campbell, PhD., as detailed in the book “The China Study.” Dr. Campbell serves as an advisor to PPC. Nelson Campbell, the son of Dr. Campbell, and the Oasis Program visionary and founder of PPC, noted, that while food-borne chronic disease is common in the general population, it is more acute in underserved neighborhoods. Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to healthy food and nutrition education, regardless of their background, location or socioeconomic status.”

PlantPure Communities is inspired by Kim’s leadership and the engagement of dozens of volunteers in the Powered By Plants RI Pod. “We want to replicate what this Pod did nationally, and then across the globe,” said Jody Kass, executive director of PlantPure Communities. Over 40,000 people participate in PPC’s growing Pod Network. “People who understand the science and are already eating plant-based desperately want to share it with others who are in pain,” Jody explained.

Volunteers with Chef-ing experience just showed up when asked!

The Providence Jumpstart is one of five Pilots in the first round of PPC’s Oasis program. The others are in Atlanta; Chattanooga; Salinas, CA; and Bullhead City, AZ. PPC expects to conduct a second round of Pilots in low-income communities across the U.S. in 2018. For information about bringing the PPC Oasis Program to your community, see PPC’s website: http://plantpurecommunities.org/oasis-jumpstart-program/.

This Pilot underscores the truth in the famous quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”