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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:

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