July 28, 2020
Dear Governor Abbott:
We are a collective of grassroots leaders from across Texas who are committed to dramatically improving public health with evidence-based nutrition. We want to bring to your attention a strategy that should be added to your larger effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic that will maximize the economic reopening while reducing public health risks. A whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet has the potential power to defend against the worst effects of COVID-19 by enhancing immunity and, simultaneously, reducing comorbidity factors. As such, we are asking you to add a nutrition strategy to the State’s resources to help us recover from this pandemic and to protect against its recurrence and the introduction of new viruses.
We invite your leadership and stand ready to work with you in getting Texans to embrace the tremendous potential of nutrition to fight the pandemic. As more fully described in Part 1 & Part 2 commentaries by biochemist/nutrition researcher and Cornell professor Dr. T. Colin Campbell, mortality data shows that over 90% of the people who have died from COVID-19 suffered from pre-existing medical conditions, mostly arising from a lifetime of the same ill-fated nutrition that reduces immunity. It’s worth noting that there is a proliferation of doctors and health professionals committed to eating whole plant foods, who ‘stand on the shoulders’ of Dr. Campbell’s nutrition research. Evidence suggests that switching to a healthy plant-based diet would not only decrease chronic disease risk, and sometimes reverse these conditions, but also increase production of COVID-19 antibodies, if infected. There is ample information showing that this nutritional effect may begin in a matter of days, enough time for people not yet infected to strengthen their immune systems.
This is an opportunity to give hope to Texas citizens who desperately want to reduce their risks and repair the damage this virus has caused across our state. While consumption of a WFPB diet doesn’t mean we can’t get infected by the virus, it offers protection against the worst effects of COVID-19, thus helping to minimize hospitalizations and fatalities while keeping our economy open. Plus, it will position us to fight future pandemics.
Here are our three specific requests:
- During press briefings, speak about the diet-related comorbidities (degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension) that increase COVID-19 hospitalization and fatality risk generally, and which disproportionately impact communities of color and other underserved neighborhoods.
- Speak about the power of a whole food, plant-based diet (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds) to defend against the worst effects of COVID-19.
- Publicly pledge to eat these foods for 10 days (we will support you! There is a Global 10-Day Jumpstart kicking off soon), thereby encouraging others to take these crucial first steps toward healing and doing their part to keep the economy open.
Leaders of the Texas-based groups (aka Pods) that participate in the global PlantPure Communities Pod Network*
- Dallas: Rizwan H. Bukhari MD & Maya Acosta, Plant-Based DFW Pod
- Houston: Susan Marsh, Kent Marsh, Louis Danna & Jana Danna, Harmony N Houston Pod
- Houston: Karoline Mueller, Bayou City Beet Pod
- NW Houston: Donna Spencer, PLANTifullFare NW Houston Pod
- San Antonio: Ken Kanagaki, Matilda Kanagaki, Babette Coats & Charlotte Martin, Get Healthy San Antonio Pod
- Seguin: Vicki Spradling, Get Healthy Seguin Guadalupe County Pod
- Plano: Patricia Thomson, Plant Powered Plano Pod
- Fort Bend: Lisa Arnold, PlantED in Fort Bend Pod
- Corpus Christi: Joanne Kline and Megan Kline, PBnJ of Corpus Christi Pod
- Rainbow: Lori Whitworth, Phytophilous Pod
- Bulverde: Kathy Rodriguez, Plant Strong & Courageous Pod
- McKinney: Jacquelyn Rummel, McKinney Pure Plants Pod
- Frisco: Anita Amit & Mita Shah, Green & Fit Frisco Pod
- Helotes: Nicole Ochoa, NourishSA Pod
- The Woodlands: Lisa Sims, Plants in The Woods Pod
- Katy: Jinell Ecby, Fit For Life Pod
- Little Elm: Kayla Robinson, Vegan With a Reason Pod
*The PlantPure Communities (PPC) Pod Network is the backbone of a global grassroots movement of people participating in independent local groups, called “Pods” who promote the evidence-based benefits of whole food, plant-based nutrition. To date, more than 250,000 people participate in the PPC Pod Network in 29 countries. PPC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Contact PPC Executive Director Jody Kass at Jkass@plantpurecommunities.org, 704-412-4506 x101 with questions.
Cc: Commissioner John William Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services