July 21, 2020
Dear Governor Wolf:
We are a collective of grassroots leaders from across Pennsylvania who are committed to dramatically improving public health with evidence-based nutrition. We appreciate the data-driven approach you’ve adopted toward reopening PA. We ask you to add another data-driven approach that could greatly assist with maximizing economic reopening while minimizing 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 Pennsylvania’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 Pennsylvanians 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 and environmental groups 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 PA citizens who desperately want to reduce their risks and repair the damage this virus has caused across Pennsylvania. 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 PA to fight future pandemics.
Here are our four specific requests:
- During press briefings and in e-newsletters, speak about the diet-related comorbidities (degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension) that increase COVID-19 hospitalization and fatality risk for PA generally, and which disproportionately impact low income communities and other underserved neighborhoods.
- Speak about the power of a whole food, plant-based diet (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts) to defend against the worst effects of COVID-19.
- Add consumer-friendly information about whole food, plant-based food choices on your webpage as part of the Guidance and Resources for COVID-19. PlantPure Communities can provide information sheets (with trusted sources) that contain practical guidance for adopting plant-centered eating.
- 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 curve flat’ so our economy can stay open!
Leaders of the PA-based groups (aka Pods) that participate in the global PlantPure Communities Pod Network*
- Pittsburgh: Sally Lipsky, Plant-Based Pittsburgh Pod
- Hatfield: Laura Favin, Green Vitality Pod
- Philadelphia: Brigitte Blanco, Philly Health Decision Forks Pod
- Southwestern PA: Brittany Jaroudi, Plant-Based Pittsburgh Pod
- Gilbert: Mark Ristine, A New Choice Pod
- Stroudsburg: Karen Austro, Pocono Plant-Based 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: PA Health Commissioner, PA Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine