Written by Ella Stephens, PPC’s Pod Support Programs Manager and Macon, GA Jumpstart staff support person, with contributions from Carol Kimsey, Macon Beets Pod Leader
Serving up plant-based meals and education for 10 days in February 2022, the Rescue Mission of Middle GA hosted a PlantPure Communities (PPC) program focused on introducing a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet to the people they support. Residents of the Rescue Mission, alongside members of the community, underwent pre- and post-Jumpstart biometric testing so they could observe the powerful impact a WFPB diet can have on our health in just 10 days.
This 10-day program, known as a PPC “Community Jumpstart,” was inspired by the Jumpstart demonstrated in the 2015 documentary film PlantPure Nation, and is supported by PPC, a US-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. PPC provides remote support to local community groups (known as “Pods”) by providing the program’s framework, which includes daily online educational materials, a printed guidebook, Meal Starters, and program structure. The local program depends on the hard work of a passionate, on-the-ground leadership team who organizes and coordinates the daily activities.
This program with the Rescue Mission would not have been possible without Carol Kimsey, the Macon Beets Pod leader, Gail Moulton (both pictured on the left), and Macon Volunteer Clinic who provided medical oversight. PPC is grateful for their determination and commitment to bring the WFPB message to their community. Carol shared: “We are ecstatic about bringing this critical lifestyle to Macon here in the South because there are only a few of us who live this way. I have spent my career in healthcare in this community of around 150,000 and Gail has been involved in education for many years. Unfortunately, we have seen no movement in either discipline toward whole food, plant-based eating in our area with a few exceptions. When I discovered the PlantPure Communities Jumpstart last summer and later realized we could hold a community immersion… I was thrilled.”
The Macon Community Jumpstart supported 40 participants in learning about a WFPB lifestyle with 10-days of plant-based meals, nutrition education, and community support. Each day, new educational components were unlocked for participants to engage with, including recipes, short videos from plant-based doctors, seminar modules, and additional resources intended to support a lifelong health journey. While the taste of delicious meals and acquisition of health knowledge is convincing enough for some to commit to this lifestyle, a key part of the program is quantitative biometric data. Using a point of service device, the Macon team took participant’s blood work and other measurements before and after the 10 days, to document the changes in cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood sugars.
After a lifetime of the Standard American Diet (SAD), a switch to a WFPB diet – even just for 10 days – can demonstrate fantastic results on overall health and disease markers. Carol commented, “The overall experience has been SO positive. Yes, it is hard work to figure all these pieces out despite PlantPure Communities’ tremendous help, but we have found real JOY in the success and excitement of the participants! On the day everyone received their post immersion lab values, they were delighted and so were all of us who supported the immersion.”
See the table below for the aggregated results from the Jumpstart.
After the 10-day program, participants reported that they really enjoyed trying new food, learning so much new information about the health benefits, and going through the program with other people on the same journey. When asked to share their favorite benefits of the program, one participant said, “the experience to eat something new and healthy, sleep better, more energy, and work out better.” The program received an overwhelmingly positive response from participants and leaders, although there were some challenges. Several participants faced issues with digestion and gas, and others struggled with missing the taste of meat and adjusting to the Meal Starters. Despite some hurdles along the way, “key staffers [at the Rescue Mission], have committed to continuing to offer WFPB choices on their serving line. Lives have been changed and 3 chefs there now are able to prepare, serve, and eat plant-based at every meal,” shared Carol. The Macon Beets leadership team even offered another 3-day WFPB class at the Rescue Mission, as requested by the residents!
Plant-based lifestyles continue to gain traction in Macon, GA and we are excited to see what comes next! Carol is working with the Moving Medicine Forward initiative to get plant-based nutrition into the local medical school. In addition, Carol and her team “were approached by a local politician and community worker to set up another [Jumpstart] for a VERY LARGE group” with the goal of shining significant light on WFPB eating to positively impact and save lives!
Check out the following media highlights:
Local newsclip video, Rescue Mission Residents take part in plant-based diet project
Post-Jumpstart local news article, Plant Based Demonstration Project helps participants live healthier