It was my first ever trail-relay and I was running a section of Folsom Lake that I have never run before.
The run was tough. My section was 25 miles, a lot of pavement and quite a few climbs.
Unfortunately, our team did not finish. Stonegate started her leg at 3 pm in the afternoon, when it was already quite hot outside. She mis-judged her fueling routine with the later start time and ended up not being able to finish her leg. She was pretty ill and I know for her, it was a very tough decision to make. As her relay team, we didn’t care one bit, we just wanted her healthy.
After that, I took a “me-day” from work and ventured to Santa Rosa!
It was really interesting to see how someone else demonstrates certain cooking techniques to others.
After the cooking demo, I visited the Savory Spice Shop and was in total spice heaven!
I bought some fresh herbs and spices to try at home.
My time spent in Santa Rosa was brief but lovely. I had never really been there before (that I can recall anyway) and I can’t wait to go back.
THEN, I had a friend who I met at Plant-Stock in 2015, text that she was headed my way and was wondering if she could crash and visit for a few days with us. I was beyond excited to see her!
Tara is a bundle of absolute positive energy. She is a joy to be around and my girls had a blast with her. Hopefully they didn’t scare her from having children in the future! 🙂 My kids were pretty wired when she was here and in rare form. Squeaker was on fire and quite hilarious.
Unfortunately, Tara picked the worst weekend to be here because we had our first ever major storm. A weekend full of rain and wind which doesn’t make for great hosting and sightseeing.
While she does run trails, Tara didn’t have storm weather appropriate running shoes with her so she wasn’t able to join Stonegate, Pigeon, Miss P, Pearls and I on our Sunday morning run in Auburn.
We were the only ones on the trail and we had one helluva time!
It was MUDDY and slippery but oh.so.much.fun!!!! We ran, we laughed and we all were in total complete heaven.
How often do you find a group of women like us who live to get muddy and soaking wet at the butt-crack of dawn on a Sunday? 🙂
So, as you can see, I haven’t been hiding under a rock. I’ve been out enjoying nature and all that October has brought with it thus far.
Like I said earlier, I hope to be able to share some of the projects that I have been working on lately with you or at least the status updates of those.
I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo later in the month for a small group of people who are interested in learning how to cook plant-based. I am excited to open my kitchen to them and to answer any questions they may have about the way that I cook.
Hopefully, down the road, maybe I can do more of these or even better, be invited to other people’s homes to show them how to use what they have to cook and eat plant-based.
Until then, I am enjoying some family time and some adventures.
So I knew who he was but he didn’t know me other than he probably thought I was a super smiley perhaps overly creepy excited person who randomly walks up to people like Dr. Garth Davis, Josh LaJaunie and Rich Roll with a super dopey grin. 🙂
Anyway, Howard and I chatted and he took my contact info. Fast forward he emails me and asks me to do his podcast! WHAT?! My initial thought was, “Tell him you’re a nobody. Tell him you don’t have some mega crazy transformation story.” But then, I thought it about it and realized, I DO have a story.
I am me and I do what I do, every day. Some days I inspire people. Some days maybe I don’t. I know I have helped people along the way. I know I have people who “lurk” but are inspired none the less by the things that I post on social media or say on my blog or even the things that do in my day to day activities like running crazy ultra trail runs. We all touch someone.
I am just a girl who wants to share the plant-based message world wide and help as many people as I possibly can while at the same time, feeling stuck in an office job that is wonderful, but not fulfilling the true burning passion inside of me. Ah, if I could only make a living on doing what I am doing (blogging, running, photo-taking, recipe testing, laughing, loving, living) … aaaaaannnnd that’s a story for another day. 😉
The point is, we ALL have a story. We do and Howard captured mine on his Podcast. So, if you have some time and care to listen, you can click HERE or you can search The Plant Yourself Podcast on iTunes and find it there. Just keep in mind, this was my first time ever doing something like this … but, it is what it is and I am kind of proud of it. Enjoy!
“But where do you get your protein?” Usually a loaded question but one I did not hear for two straight days this past weekend. Why? Because I was in plant-based heaven.
Last year I attended Plant-Stock (you can read that experience here). I had traveled the 3,000 miles from California all by myself to attend this two day conference held on the farm and home of the Esselstyn family. This year, I had a friend.
Sit back and settle in as this may be one of my more “lengthy” posts filled to the brim with photos from a weekend that completely blew me away. It is worth the read though so grab a cup of tea and relax.
Stonegate and I took a red-eye out of California which headed direct to Boston. Our layover in Boston wasn’t terrible. We recovered from our overnight flight and talked about how excited we were for the weekend ahead. Stonegate also made fun of my “folder making” habit … When I travel or do anything that requires planning, I make folders. What can I say? I am a very organized person.
Forty-five minutes and one tiny plane later, we landed in Newark Airport. Stonegate hopped on a train and headed to NYC to visit with some family. I met my dad and headed to my hometown in NJ for a quick visit.
Sad to leave my family, I then drove the 3 hours (usually 2.5 but there was an accident) to upstate New York where I checked into our hotel and scored a gluten and oil free vegan pizza from Baba Louie’s Pizza in Hudson, New York. It is the best vegan pizza I have had ever.
Later that evening, I picked Stonegate up at the train station and brought her back to the hotel. We ate pizza and seriously laughed the night away (I think we were deliriously tired from traveling). We were beyond excited for our weekend to begin.
Saturday morning bright and early we drove to the Esselstyn Family Farm in Claverack, NY. This place is breath-taking. 500 acres of the most amazing fields you have ever seen. It is one of two farms in the entire state that is owned by the same family dating back many centuries.
We checked in and took our seats and were treated to a plant-strong breakfast. Speakers were just wandering around. Attendees were trickling in. I saw people who in “my world,” are celebrities just mingling with everyone.
The format was such that someone would talk and then we’d have a break. This was nice as it helped get us out of our seats and kept us moving.
On one of the breaks, I saw Dr. Garth Davis. He had been surrounded by people since he had arrived but suddenly, he wasn’t. I walked over and introduced myself. We chatted a bit about his book, his blog, his posts on Facebook (follow him if you don’t already) and just how “enthusiastic” he is about a plant-based diet. Stonegate took some photos of us.
He was incredibly genuine and easy to talk to. I admire his drive in promoting plants over meat and I am blown away by his intelligence and ability to prove his point. He was a new addition to the Plant-Stock line up this year and one I truly hope they continue to have. His talk the next day was a hit.
During one of the breaks, I met a super nice guy who was also there taking photos for the event. He was about as local as you could get living just 5 minutes from the farm. We talked quite a bit and he told me that one of his jobs that day was to head to the train station to pick up Rich Roll. WHAT?! He was super chill about it but at the same time, feeling incredibly lucky because he’s a huge fan and I am sure was beyond excited to have the chance to have that 20 minute drive with Rich Roll.
Later, when Rich Roll arrived, we had been on a break. I saw my opening and I took it. I walked up to Rich and introduced myself. He had been talking to Howard Jacobson, Ph.D. (who I had met and talked with earlier) and Josh LaJaunie (another exciting athlete that I follow and had chatted with earlier). I explained to Rich that Vans was a huge fan. So much so that he even read his book (and Vans doesn’t read books often). I explained that his birthday was in a day and he was home with two kids while I was here, meeting him. He laughed. I told him he could potentially save my marriage if he’d do a birthday message video to Vans. He kindly obliged.
Stonegate wasn’t around to see this and was floored when I found her and showed her the video. She got a photo with Rich too.
What a great guy and yes, Vans was totally blown away. Marriage saved! 🙂
We also heard from Adam Sud whose talk brought me to tears quite a few times. Such an inspirational guy and I am so happy he is out spreading his message.
Next we heard from James Wilks who is a retired professional mixed martial artist and winner of The Ultimate Fighter but who is currently a film producer. The work he is doing is super exciting and I cannot wait for it to be released to the public. He was also another incredibly nice person.
James actually ended up sitting with us at dinner and we chatted about his family and his plant-based kids and how he handles certain situations. It truly was a once in a lifetime mind blowing experience.
Dinner was fabulous. The setting was beautiful. The food was outstanding.
It was a five course meal for 420 people and the plates were delivered still hot and right on time. That rarely happens.
After dinner, we heard from Rich Roll, our final speaker of the day. His talk was great. It was filled with humor and inspiration. Rich has a tremendous way with words and it was a great way to end what had been an amazing day.
Stonegate and I left feeling excited, energized and motivated but also pretty darn tired. Our three hour time change was still looming over our heads a bit. We were eager to get to sleep because Sunday was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity that will forever be etched in our minds.
At least fifty people were interested. There was also a group walking with Jane Esselstyn so you didn’t have to run the full 3 miles. Stonegate and I were bursting with excitement for this. Also joining the run was Dr. Garth Davis, Howard Jacobson, Rip Esselstyn (with his 2 year daughter Hope on his shoulders) and Josh LaJaunie! How freaking cool!? My friend Tara, who works for Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 was also able to run and Michael, my photographer friend also made it! I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time.
The run was not as easy as many would think. When you are not used to humidity as thick as it is on the east coast, it feels like your lungs are running in water. Your breath and your chest feel it first. Pushing any uncomfortable feelings aside, I just ran like I was a child again.
Scott Jurek worked his way back through the group so that he could chat with everyone. He reached us just as we were going up a steep hill. He is a super nice guy who remembered where a lot of people were from which blows my mind. He truly was listening to everyone.
The run ended with the whole group going up this big hill with a picturesque view. Josh LaJaunie was standing at the top and I could hear him cheering as everyone was climbing. I decided I had to run the whole thing and I did and he cheered and gave me a high-five as I reached the top. Nice!
Scott stayed and took photos with EVERYONE. Stonegate and I took photos with him solo and as part of a group.
Talk about an amazing way to begin the day. Seriously, I know my kids would disagree, but this was better than Christmas!
After breakfast we heard from Dr. Esselstyn again. His second talk I think is more mind blowing for the non-scientific folk. Stonegate I know was blown away by some of slides showing the reversal of heart disease.
Sunday was the day we heard from Dr. Garth Davis. His talk was fantastic. Full of energy, humor and some pretty great slides.
We heard from Dr. Richard Oppenlander as well. I have not read his books yet but I plan to. His presentation was focused on our environment and how it will not survive if we continue on the path we are headed. Living in California I see this first hand with our drought. Most of our water is feeding cattle and could, in fact be used in a better more economical and sustainable way that could save our planet and rid the world of hunger.
Dr. Doug Lisle spoke again on Sunday and I absolutely hands down LOVE this talk that he does. He did the same talk last year and I loved it then too. His talk, How to Get Along, Without Going Along is an absolute must at a conference like this. He understands that we will walk away feeling like we have found the “Holy Grail of health” and like the kind people we are, we will want to share it with EVERYONE.WE.MEET. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t want to hear it. Dr. Lisle provides everyone with the tools and the knowledge to handle certain situations when you leave Plant-Stock.
Stonegate and I had met a lovely Canadian couple at dinner the night before and the wife was discussing this very situation. Her coworkers don’t understand and she doesn’t know how to handle it. I told her to wait and hear Dr. Lisle’s talk. Afterwards, I found her and she was bubbling. She loved it and thought that it hit the nail on the head and felt ready to head home with some additional knowledge.
We also saw a cooking demo (aka comedy show) with Ann and Jane Esselstyn.
These two ladies have my heart. Their energy and laughter are infectious. I would love to be at their house on Thanksgiving morning helping them prepare meals. It must be a hoot.
They also had a plant-strong family discussion with all of Dr. Esselstyn’s kids (Rip, Ted, Zeb and Jane) and their spouses. Between them all, there are a lot of grandkids, who are also all entirely plant-based. This discussion was new and I found it very interesting. Although, I would LOVE for them to meet my picky Peanut someday as I think she could give them a run for their money. 😉
Right before this, Rip’s 9 year old son Cole showed off his plant-strong muscles by climbing the pole of the tent we were sitting under. Insane. I glanced at Rip to see if he was as nervous as I was during this. That kid climbed to the top!
The final talk of the entire day was Scott Jurek. He took the stage with his wife Jenny and 3 month old daughter Raven. They were lovely. His presentation was on his 46 day 2,189 mile journey through the Appalachian Trail. It was engaging to watch. He also saved time at the end for questions from the audience.
And sadly, the weekend had come to a close. We knew it was bound to happen but I just didn’t want it to end. The weather had cooperated for most of it, the speakers were great and I met so many lovely people this year. Stonegate and I said our goodbyes to Michael the photographer and exchanged contact information. I went in search of my friend Tara but unfortunately, she had already left.
The rain had started to fall as we were ending the day. It was almost fitting. Semi pushing us out the door seeking cover ready to move on. We were leaving the comfortable nest of Plant-Stock.
I am not going to lie, the car ride back to New Jersey scared me out of my mind. Torrential, can’t see the road in front of you down pours almost the entire way. I live in California now, we’ve been in a drought for four years. I haven’t driven in rain like that in a VERY long time. Holy cow.
Overall, the weekend was a blast. Despite it being my second year in a row, I did learn quite a few new things I hadn’t before and I met so many more amazing people this time around. From speakers to attendees, the people I met and conversed with over the course of the weekend really touched me. So many stories, so much emotion, Plant-Stock is a place where anyone is welcome and there is no judgment.
I truly hope to attend next year. The cost of travel isn’t easy for my family but they do see how charged and motivated I am when I return. Next year, I would love to bring Vans and I know Stonegate would love to bring her spouse. Let’s just hope they can handle a little east coast run!
SHOUT OUT: Hey upstate New York readers and friends, if you are EVER looking for a photographer for an event, family photos, you name it, please check out Molinski Photography (click here). Their work is stellar and some of the nicest people you will meet. Thank you Michael for all the amazing photos.
DISCLAIMER, I was in no way compensated for writing this post or for attending Plant-Stock. All opinions are my own. I 100% believe in the message they are sending. If you are interested in attending Plant-Stock 2017, please check out this link.
“Some people think the plant-based, whole foods diet is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme.” – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.
That has to be one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Esselstyn, (and he has quite a few).
I met so many wonderful people who shared their journey with me. From being on death’s door and miserable to living a vibrant energetic life all the while, thanking Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, and the Engine 2 and Forks Over Knives crew. It was inspiring.
The speakers last year were phenomenal. I don’t know how, but they’ve seemed to add even more amazing plant-based speakers to the list this year!
Here are a few that I am CRAZY excited to hear talk, meet and learn from next week:
Yup, the one and only Scott Jurek! Not only do we get to hear him talk, we get to go on a RUN with him! Kind of excited to pick his ultra-running plant-based brain!
That’s right! Mr. Rich Roll will be there too. I’ve followed Rich for years listening to his podcast, reading his blog (even his OLD blog) and of course his book and watching his YouTube channel.
This one I am SUPER excited to meet. Dr. Garth Davis, if you follow him on Facebook, has one of the best Facebook pages around . His book, Proteinaholic was a fantastic read – FULL of information. I highly recommend it.
With that said, there are a few repeat speakers that I am really happy are coming back …
Dr. Doug Lisle spoke last year at Plant-Stock and his talk called, How to Get Along without Going Along was one of my absolute favorites of the weekend. He is the co-author of The Pleasure Trap (an amazing book if you haven’t read it) and I really look forward to hearing him again this year.
And of course, Plant-Stock would not be Plant-Stock without a cooking demo by two fabulously funny and engaging women!
Ann and Jane are the authors behind one of my favorite and frequently used plant-based cookbooks, The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook. This dynamic duo are so fun to watch. After watching them last year, I wish I could just follow them around for the day. 🙂 They are so hard working and super personable. You can see how they just touch everyone they meet.
I can’t list all the people who are speaking (this blog would be way too long) but trust me when I say, I am ready for this weekend to blow my mind.
If you have any interest in attending any of the Engine2/Forks Over Knives events then I have good news for you! They’ve issued me a special code that will give you a discount to a few of their upcoming events (Plant-Stock is not included).
If you live near the Cleveland Ohio, Dallas Texas or Pasadena California area then you are in luck!
Visit this link here and use the discount code: TRAILVIP50 to received $50 of the registration fee for one of their weekend long events.
If you want an in-depth full on life-saving immersion into the Plant-Based lifestyle, then their Sedona, Arizona trip may be more suitable. Visit this link here and use the discount code: TRAILVIP150 to receive $150 off the registration fee.
I cannot stress enough how important diet is in one’s life. What you put in your mouth on a daily basis does affect the way you feel whether you want to realize it or not. If you have headaches, constipation, gas, heart palpitations, eczema – WHATEVER – stop and think about what you are consuming. If you lack energy, it most likely has to do with what you are eating.
If you can’t afford the trips I’ve listed above, I COMPLETELY understand. Start small. Maybe buy Dr. Greger or Dr. Davis’s book or check out their websites. Tiny changes still COUNT.
You don’t have to make drastic changes overnight. Start small and build from there. Do what you can on a daily basis and see what happens.
The last few days of school are upon us. While my kids are super excited for summer to start, they will miss seeing their friends on a daily basis.
However with the end of school, comes the end of school treats and celebrations.
Just this week, the Peanut had pizza on a field trip even though I packed a lunch for her (sigh – she paid the price with a tummy ache later). She had donuts in class the next day for their “free day” celebration. Finally, the classroom parents planned to have an Ice Cream Sundae Bar for the kids on the last day of school. They sent out an email requesting parents provide the following:
I know the kids would love this. I know MY kid would love this (and then pay for it later). I replied suggesting perhaps fruit popsicles could be an option instead combined with a classroom activity. I wasn’t rude and I even offered to supply all the popsicles for the class.
The suggestion was well received but only as an ADDITION to the sundaes bring provided. Fine, that’s okay with me. I just wanted an alternative even though I know going up against an ice cream sundae bar, there will most likely be many left over fruit popsicles.
I know and I understand that my thinking and way of eating is unfortunately in the minority compared to most people. I get that.
My intentions are not to completely eliminate food as treats at school but I do believe, that if we are going continue to have these “treats” then a balance needs to happen. Provide healthy alternatives OR alternate treats with activities! Such as jumping rope, hopscotch or kickball etc. Get our kids moving instead. I remember at the end of school our classroom “treat” was getting to play Heads Up 7-Up in class (who else remembers that game?!).
I know of one other parent in the class whose child cannot handle dairy. They appreciated my suggestion. We’ll see how many kids choose the popsicles.
My simple suggestion however, caused quite the uproar among some of the parents. They were almost angered by the idea and some how felt perhaps that I was being unreasonable for suggesting no ice cream at all.
I see this a lot. I have been plant-based for over 20 years. No one questions my diet anymore but I see it often with Vans when he turned plant-based 4 years ago and with Stonegate when she turned plant-based a little over a year ago. THEIR dietary changes and choices seem to offend people. Why!?
It isn’t as if they rub it in other people’s faces or scowl at whatever it is someone else is eating. They just do their thing and make their choices but they get questioned or made fun of, a lot. Now honest genuine inquiries are fine. I know they both try their best to educate but I am talking about people who are down right upset by the fact that they no longer eat meat. Their personal choices upsets these other people.
It baffles me. I like to think that I live by example. I try not to push my way of life on others. Yes, yes I can get VERY excited if you ask me about it. I am passionate about plant-based living. Guilty as charged but I never force my opinions or views.
Vans ate meat for the first 7 years of our marriage. It wasn’t me who changed him, it was a combination of things. It was watching Forks Over Knives and Vegucated. It was (I like to think) seeing me eat this way and then finish countless ultras over and over. The biggest factor I think however, was how he FELT!
For my daughter’s school, I just want OPTIONS and BALANCE. Is that terrible of me?
Next year, both Squeaker and Peanut will be in elementary school. Some parents have advised me not to bother trying to change things. It is a losing battle.Stay quiet. I just think a little education is needed. Some compromise perhaps.
I don’t think it needs to be a “battle” but I am not afraid to try and institute a little change and perhaps provide some education and insight.
However I am often reminded of a quote from Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN, “If you have to convince someone of the information, then it is not the right time.”
I don’t know when the “right time” will be but I do know that some people genuinely do not understand the correlation between what they eat and how they feel.
People also get very upset and offended when it comes to food. It is a very sensitive topic. You might think you’ve insulted their parenting style or something by their reactions sometimes. Even if the only thing you have done is picked a veggie burger instead of a hamburger at a picnic.
Again, I like to think that it is just lack of genuine open communication. I hope the school will be more open to increasing food education and perhaps institute some compromise when it comes to classroom treats next year. I know I plan to talk to both of my kids’ teachers by making some suggestions AND offering to help.
Maybe I am naive but I have hope and I have a voice. I hope the parents, teachers and the school will be open-minded enough to discuss possible changes.
After all, we all have the same end goal: We want a healthy happy thriving child.