June 13, 2016
After viewing the PlantPure Nation film, many people have asked, “How do I get my group involved in my community?” Well, Betty Rae, group leader for the Mojave Desert Plant-Based Whole Foodist Initiative and assistant group leader with the Colorado River Plant-Based Vegan Society, has the answer!
Betty and her husband, Dan Miller, have been quietly creating change within their community for years. After reading The China Study and watching Forks Over Knives, they both changed their eating styles and experienced dramatic improvements in their health. This motivated them to continue their education and enhance their career path with certificates in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University and pursue accreditation as wholistic nutrition and lifestyle medicine educators, consultants, and plant-based lifestyle transition counselors. Betty also received training in plant-based cooking from Rouxbe.com, and Dan is a certified Health Rhythms Empowerment facilitator. This training has allowed them to confidently educate and facilitate the plant-based message within their community.
Betty began by starting a lifestyle program and found that they were getting national and international interest. Her multiple Facebook groups now have over 8,000 followers. But she felt the need to impact people locally, so she started offering free educational classes at the library, conducting free grocery shopping tours, and showing plant-based documentaries, with all proceeds going to local food banks and food and nutrition community outreach programs. The classes have outgrown the library, and Betty has just recently opened the Mojave Desert Nutrition & Lifestyle Initiative—a 501(c)3 Community Outreach Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Science Wellness Studio. Everything will be under one roof, utilizing an old elementary school turned community center, with future plans for a community garden.
Additionally, her group also offers free and nominally priced cooking classes for those interested in a plant-based lifestyle transition and for the low-income/food-insecure community and seniors on fixed incomes. They focus on how people can eat nutritiously on affordable, plant-based foods.
Betty and Dan are currently partnering with several nonprofits and the Borderlands Food Bank, out of Nogales, Arizona, to bring the Produce On Wheels-Without Waste (P.O.W.W.O.W.) pop-up farmers’ market program to their remote northwest Arizona location. This effort is focused on rescuing produce coming across the Mexican border that would normally be dumped into landfills due to not meeting certain criteria (e.g., size, blemishes, bruising, etc.). Borderlands “rescues” the produce and then redistributes it through host nonprofits that receive benefits with a nominal participant contribution (up to 60 lbs. for $15). And the produce market accepts food stamps.
Betty is a licensed Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) facilitator, offering eight-week nutrition and lifestyle interventions geared toward creating an optimum plant-based lifestyle. She and Dan also appear regularly as monthly resident experts on plant-based transition with the DrDonShow.com radio show (also available as a podcast), which focuses on bridging the gap between conventional medicine and plant-based lifestyle approaches.
An exciting opportunity Betty has been discussing with Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), is the concept of utilizing the PlantPure Jumpstart program with the CHIP classes. CHIP was developed by Dr. Diehl and focuses on reducing disease risk factors through lifestyle modifications. The Lifestyle Medicine Institute, which owns CHIP, has been calling its first week of the CHIP intervention program a Jumpstart Challenge to help transition folks to new food choices and achieve some immediate results. Recipes and cooking demos are included during these first few class sessions, but PlantPure Jumpstart frozen meals are also being considered as an option for those who prefer to have foods prepared for them.
Betty is planning on offering this new CHIP/Jumpstart opportunity, which could become a model for future consideration by other CHIP communities, to her students in 2016. Betty will also encourage her CHIP graduates to join the PlantPure Pod group she leads, providing these graduates with long-term support and community.
Betty is always happy to share her ideas or answer questions, and she can be contacted through the Mojave Desert AZ-NV-CA Pod, at www.plantpurepods.com/pod-mojave-desert-az-nv-ca/. For more information about Produce On Wheels—Without Waste, go to www.borderlandfoodbank.org/POWWOW.html. To read more about CHIP, go to www.chiphealth.com/.
Call to Action:
See what your local Pod’s groups are up to! Go to plantpurepods.com and join today. Explore your local independent groups and see what they have to offer.
Writer bio: Laura Dietrich is the PlantPure Nation Jumpstart director, based in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in exercise physiology, and she also has her Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition through eCornell. In addition, she has worked through the YMCA coaching youths who have been targeted by their pediatricians for being at a high risk for chronic disease. This coaching aimed to educate both the parent and child on nutritional interventions to decrease risk of disease. Dietrich also coaches individuals and holds group classes on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle (PlantPower Coaching). All of her work experience revolves around ultimately keeping people healthy.
By Laura Dietrich