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June 13, 2016

Move over, Weight Watchers: The Pennsylvania Plant-based Nurse teaches a better way to lose weight and gain health!

The Scranton Beets Group:

When she was in high school, Jean Hayes, a Scranton Registered Nurse and leader of the PlantPure Coomunities grassroots Pod group Scranton Beets (#NoMeats!), wanted to lose weight to improve her health, but she could never reach her goal. Now many years later (we wont reveal her age but we can tell you she has two grown kids!), she has maintained a healthy weight without even trying (and actually burned her Weight Watchers card!). Whats her secret?

Working with adults with chronic illnesses in her job as a nurse, Jean had long been frustrated with the way the medical system focuses on health care and treatment instead of prevention – but felt powerless to do anything about it. Several years ago a friend who was involved in animal rescue told her about the movie Forks Over Knives that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

She was intrigued and rented the movie, and, as they say, the rest is history.

I was flabbergasted, Jean said. I always had the mindset that chronic (illness) meant irreversible. That was exciting to me to learn the opposite. It blew away the myth for me. We all believe were doomed by our genes, but research says were not. We can control the switch for that gene. I was totally convinced after I watched it, because it talked about the science behind it.

She immediately embraced a 100% plant-based diet, saw results right away (she eventually lost 30 pounds and got off her heart medication), and became passionate about sharing the wonderful benefits of this lifestyle. Her mantra now? Eat MORE. Lose Weight. Feel Free!  She adds, I still find it absolutely hilarious that I can often eat more than my husband and yet I dont gain weight!

We love Jeans attitude about her new lifestyle: while many plant-based eaters are unhappy that they have to eat differently from their friends and families (and may even use that as an excuse to go back to their old dietary ways), not Jean!  I find it fun and exciting that we stick out from the crowd and are different! That is one of the things that actually attracted my husband to this lifestyle. When did anyone ever say that going along with the crowd was the right or wise thing to do? 

In the summer of 2015, she saw the documentary PlantPure Nation. I was very moved that night and decided I would try to start a group. The mission of Jean and the Scranton Beets is to educate people in their area about the huge benefits of whole food plant-based nutrition. They meet monthly to connect, share ideas, and have fun. They have no shortage of ideas for getting out in the community and creating awareness through workshops, cooking classes, guest lectures, and more.  The group is also discussing future screenings, farm to table dinners, and lobbying for healthy school lunches

And they plan to get media attention through TV, newspaper, local health-oriented publications, and a local TV stations bulletin board. Jean has already been featured in a local paper, and also had a full-page article she wrote on plant-based nutrition published in her areas March 2016 Natural Awakenings publication. We felt it was also important to use part of the space to mention local plant-based events, so I included the Scranton Beets but also other happenings and groups in our area. (This is a great tip for groups – promoting other groups and events in your area generates goodwill and helps to spread the movement faster.)

What is this PlantPure groups ultimate goal? Jean says I believe we all feel strongly that we want to spread the word about plant-based nutrition the best we can to as many people as we can! I also feel strongly we need to help connect with other plant-based groups in the area and help and support one another and not compete with one another. We don’t want to duplicate what someone else is already doing.

They are looking forward to PlantPure Communities to help make that connection, create that support, and allow that mutual sharing of ideas with other groups. They are also looking forward to using some of the PlantPure Communities resources, such as the educational handouts for events, instead of having to create their own, so that they have more time to focus on all those great events they have planned!

Final thoughts? Jean says Plant based eating saved my marriage, strengthened my family, improved our health, and is a blast!

To learn more visit Jean’s blog, the Scranton Beets website or their Facebook page.

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