Tag Archives: Engine 2

PLANT STOCK 2017

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Genes are not our fate. Lifestyle matters most.” Dr. Saray Stancic

The above is a quote that I heard while attending Plant-Stock this year. Yes, I went to Plant-Stock again. It was my third time actually and I would go again in a healthy endothelial strong heart beat.

My first time at Plant-Stock was in 2015, I attended alone. It was one of the most amazing and eye opening experiences that I have ever had. I laughed, I cried and I met so many wonderful people.

So much so, that in 2016 I returned! In 2016 my trip to Plant-Stock included my friend Stonegate who was just as blown away as I was my first time. Again, we laughed, we cried and we met so many wonderful people.

This year, I brought Vans. Actually, I brought my whole family, kids and all but the kids ended up staying with the grandparents back in New Jersey, giving Vans and I our first solo weekend without kids in a very very long time!

We're FREE!
We’re FREE!

The crew at Engine 2 changed things up this year for Plant Stock! Instead of two fun filled amazing days, we really had 2 and a quarter days because they added an Banana Nice Cream Social on Friday evening.

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This was great because it gave everyone an opportunity to find the farm, see the parking, understand the layout of the property AND meet all their “online friends!” You know those people that you follow or communicate with on Instagram or Facebook but don’t really “know” very well. 🙂 Friday was perfect for this.

We ate banana ice-cream and were officially welcomed to the farm. We also saw a preview of the movie Big Change by Jason Cohen.

Saturday's Run
Saturday’s Run

Saturday morning came bright and early. I wanted to do the morning group run. We had to be at the farm by 7:00 am. Vans, who is injured and in a boot, was a trooper. He sat in the car while I ran.4I had the pleasure of running with a friend’s little girl for a good mile or so. She had a smile on her face the entire time.

Look at her go!
Look at her go!

It had rained the night before so the grass was super wet but I don’t think anyone really minded because the views were just gorgeous.7You had the option of running a 2.7 mile loop or doing a walk which I think was a little over mile. They also offered lake side yoga which looked amazing!36

Just like last year, the final portion of the run was climbing up to Tank Hill. 12Tank Hill is where last year, Josh LaJaunie was waiting at the top cheering everyone on as they made the steep climb up. This year, Josh is working on healing an injury so when I reached the top, there were just a few of us checking out the views.

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It was such a spectacular morning. The humidity wasn’t that bad and the sun was rising into a clear blue sky.

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Soon others started climbing the hill. I felt like it was such an momentous occasion that I needed to cheer them on until Tim Kaufman could get there and take over the reigns that Rip Esselstyn had assigned him. 🙂

Tim high-fiving people!
Tim high-fiving people at the top!

This truly is a fantastic way to start your day. I met some wonderful people. I talked with Josh’s mom briefly on our hike down the hill. She’s an amazing lady.

Kale and Oats for Breakfast! Photo by Vans
Kale and Oats for Breakfast! Photo by Vans

After the run you have time to clean up (bring an extra change of clothes, a towel and some baby wipes is my word of advice). Then you grab a breakfast of kale, oats and fruit and settle in under the 12,000 square foot tent ready to have your mind blown.

First up was Rip Esselstyn, followed by his dad Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who said, “Food, and food alone, can absolutely reverse heart disease.

Rip Esselstyn
Rip Esselstyn

Following Dr. Esselstyn was Dr. Saray Stancic, a doctor who I have not heard talk before but whose story I have heard about … but never first hand.

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Dr. Stancic is a physician who while in the midst of her 20 year conventional medical profession, learned that she had multiple sclerosis. She was blown away. She went from fast moving Doctor to needing a cane to help her walk. She was prescribed horrible medicines that left her in pain and sleepless nightly. She quickly went from Doctor to Patient. She wanted to change the cards that she thought were dealt to her. She did. Her story is captivating and inspiring. She continues to do amazing work at her clinic, Stancic Health and Wellness in Ramsey, New Jersey and is working on a documentary called Code Blue.

Following Dr. Stancic was Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine founder, Dr. Neal Barnard!

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He discussed The Cheese Trap, his new book and why cheese is so addicting. He is a charismatic speaker whose humor is welcomed. Many people often say that they could give up eating meat, but not cheese. Dr. Barnard explained not only why this is but also, how cheese is essentially killing our nation.

Milan Ross was a new-to-me speaker. His talk, The Change: Transforming Yourself and Your Body into the Person You Want to Be was hilariously funny and incredibly inspiring.

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Dr. Melanie Joy was also new to me. She discussed: Understanding the Psychology of Eating Animals for Effective Plant-Based Outreach and Communication.  I also picked up her book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows. It’s a very graphic and eye opening account of our agricultural industry.

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Also talking again this year was Adam Sud with his, From Pills to Plants story.

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Tim Kaufman aka FatManRants spoke as well. I briefly met Tim last year at Plant-Stock but this was the first time I have heard his full story.  He weighed over 400 lbs! But what struck me most, was his honesty. His wife had to tie his shoes. She mowed the lawn. He had all but given up, but thankfully he didn’t. His story will bring you to tears and will make you laugh. His beautiful wife and their inspiring and loving relationship will melt your heart.

There were SO many amazing speakers this year that I cannot possibly dive into all of them.

Some of the highlights for Saturday were: John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods (fascinating guy), Dr. Avram Cooperman and Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed (a REAL prince!).

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Dinner was on the property like last year.  A beautiful and elegant display set up right on the farm.

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Vans and I were fortunate enough to sit with Engine 2 Crew/Seven Day Rescue Coach (and all around amazing woman) Ami Mackey (no relation to Whole Foods John 🙂 ), my friend Mike from Molinski Photography (best photographer in Hudson NY) and some friends from home believe it or not that had traveled the 3,000 miles to see Plant Stock for themselves first hand!

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Dinner was lovely. We sat talking well into dusk before finally leaving the farm. This place has such a hold on you, that you truly never want to leave and you secretly hope that the Esselstyn family might not notice yet another person added to their clan. 🙂

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Sunday also started with a run/walk and yoga but Vans and I decided to take advantage of having NO kids and to sleep in just a little.

Much like Saturday, Sunday was oatmeal and kale and fruit for breakfast before the line up of speakers started. What I haven’t mentioned is that scattered throughout the day are breaks where you can take walks or shop at the on site vendors.

Vans had heard so much about Tank Hill and its views, that he just had to see it for himself, boot and all.

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Sunday’s line up of speakers was just as inspiring as the day before. Dr. Irminne Van Dyken was someone who I had never heard of before but had me instantly glued to my seat listening.

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I wasn’t the only one. Everyone sat completely still soaking up all that Dr. Van Dyken was explaining. No one got up, no one seemed to move. Which is kind of funny because her talk was about the gut biome, which is a serious and important topic but Dr. Van Dyken made it humorous! When you talk about the gut, you have to talk about bowel movements, which is often an embarrassing subject, but she made it okay and validated a lot of information for me. I really enjoyed her talk.

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Jane Esselstyn was next with her: Plant-Based Benefits: Above and Below the Belt talk.  This is who I want to be when I grow up. Jane Esselstyn is one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet but she can explain things like it’s no one’s business. Her talk inspired me. Motivated me. She used props that were fantastic and can help you explain to people why eating plant based is better for the body.

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Her talk brought tears of laughter to my eyes and to the eyes of all those surrounding me. Jane is also the mastermind behind some of the amazing recipes at both Engine 2 and for her own cookbook The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook along with her mom, Ann Esselstyn.

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Josh LaJaunie spoke on Sunday. He is another person that I had met last year, albeit briefly but whose story has touched and changed the lives of many. This year, he was doing it from the stage at Plant-Stock. Josh has lost over 200 lbs and has not only transformed his own life, but that of his family, his community and the many he has touched through social media. His story made us laugh and it made us cry. Josh is the real deal. I saw him talking to every single person that came up to him. His warm smile is welcoming and I think puts people at ease and makes him easy to talk to.

Ann

Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn did their hilariously funny, From the Farm Table: A Lifetime of Plant Strong Living talk.

Other highlights from Sunday were: Ken Lander, Did you have a Heart Transplant; Eric Adams, Turning Pain into Purpose (and the Brooklyn Borough President); Alexis Fox (who I met at dinner and cracked me up – HAMSTER!! – inside joke, sorry) with Susan Benigas, Food + Medicine = A Bright and Bold Future and UFC Fighter, James Wilks.

And just like that, Plant-Stock was over. 🙁 They gave us food to go so that we didn’t leave hungry. Most sat and enjoyed their meals on the property. Vans and I had a long traffic filled drive back to New Jersey to get back to the kiddos.

Next year, there are BIG changes for Plant-Stock. It won’t be on the Esselstyn Family Farm! Instead, the geniuses at Engine 2 have planned, CAMP PLANT STOCK in August of 2018 AND another event called a PERFORMANCE RETREAT scheduled for June in North Carolina!

Photo from Engine 2
Photo from Engine 2

Both look absolutely amazing but the Performance Retreat is something that definitely has my eye. As a plant-based ultra runner, the number one question that I get is, “What do you eat to run so far and stay healthy?”  I would love love love to attend, but I will have to figure out the financial situation to make it happen.

Seven Day Rescue Crew in attendance
Seven Day Rescue Crew in attendance

Plant-Stock 2017 was another successful event. The largest Plant-Stock yet for the farm. A lot of the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue group were in attendance. We were able to grab a quick photo. This is just a small handful of people whose lives have been changed tremendously by a whole foods plant based diet AND the folks at Engine 2 – for FREE! If you haven’t gone to the Engine 2 website, and haven’t signed up for the Seven Day FREE Rescue, do it now. All you have to do is try it for Seven Days! You can do anything for seven days, but can you change your life and your health? Try it and let me know. 😉

So that’s my recap from Plant-Stock. Hopefully next year I’ll have another. I am in no way associated with the Engine 2 group or the Esselstyns (goals right?). If you can attend at least one of the Engine 2 retreats, I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

♥ I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite photos from the weekend. ♥

Live Life. Love Life.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

THE beautiful and wonderful, Ami Mackey.
THE beautiful and wonderful, Ami Mackey.
Super Dad and amazing photographer, Mike Molinski!
Super Dad and amazing photographer, Mike Molinski!
Vans's Birthday Gift and all around awesome shirt from BeetxBeet!
Vans’s Birthday Gift and all around awesome shirt from BeetxBeet!
I finally got him here! Yes!
I finally got him here! Yes!
TANK HILL!
TANK HILL!
♥
Photo by: Mike Molinski
Photo by: Mike Molinski
Me. Being Me. At the Airport! Peace & Plants!
Me. Being Me. At the Airport! Peace & Plants!

 

 

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HEADED TO WASHINGTON!!!

How can it be March already? Time sure does fly when you are having fun and boy am I having FUN! I am not even sure where to begin my excitement is so over the top right now. 

So let’s start at the beginning shall we? 

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Depending on how long you have known me, you might not know that I have been plant-based for almost 23 years. Maybe not entirely 100% whole foods and oil-free plant-based for ALL of those 23 years, but definitely sans meat in anyway shape or form. 

With that said, despite my long history of being plant-based, I still seek out information. I don’t have a degree in nutrition. I am not a doctor. If I could do things over in life, I might have gone in a different career route but I don’t regret one single day of my college education. 

So despite knowing what I know, I always feel better when I can fully educate myself on the latest science behind the benefits of a plant-based diet. That’s why more often then not, you’ll find my nose in the latest book (just finished The Cheese Trap by Dr. Neal Barnard – a MUST read)…

Photo from www.pcrm.org
Photo from www.pcrm.org

 … as well as attending a conference or taking some kind of certification to further bolster what I know deep down inside is right for the human body. I just feel more confident explaining and advising others, when I can tell them that I know what I know not just from experience, but from thoroughly studying and educating myself on the topic.  

To date, I have taken T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Program, graduated from Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional Certification Course as well has having attended countless lectures and seminars by some of the most respected physicians in the plant-based world.

Dr. Michael Greger's lecture in 2016
Dr. Michael Greger’s lecture in 2016

Just last month I attended The Healthy Taste of Sacramento and heard Dr. John McDougall speak as well as Dr. Garth Davis and countless others. 

Healthy Taste of Sacramento Conference
Healthy Taste of Sacramento Conference

In my spare time, I’ve gone and visited places like True North, attended cooking demos and let us not forget Plant-Stock, the Mecca of plant-based education!! 

Plant-Stock 2016 with Dr. Garth Davis
Plant-Stock 2016 with Dr. Garth Davis
Plant-Stock 2015 with Rip Esselstyn
Plant-Stock 2015 with Rip Esselstyn

I do this because I love it. I do this because I live it. But more importantly, I do this because I want OTHERS to live it and love it too and I want them to have faith in what I am teaching them. Am I an expert? No, of course not but I am living proof that one can fully function as an ultra endurance athlete, a full-time working mom and basically a real person eating a 100% plant-based oil-free diet. I am not weak. I am not wasting away from a protein deficiency. 

I look sickly and totally unhappy don't I?
I look sickly and totally unhappy don’t I?

So it is with great excitement that I share with you, that I have been selected to go to Washington D.C. to become a Food For Life Instructor as taught by PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), Dr. Neal Barnard’s organization. 

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Photo from www.pcrm.org

Way back in September I started the grueling application process. Application, resume, references, videos … followed by phone interviews and back ground checks etc. PCRM only selects 25-30 people a year (globally) to attend (100 or so apply) and this year, I am one of few selected!

This May, I will fly to Washington D.C. for an intensive 3 day training at PCRM. They will teach us everything that we need to know (8 different kinds of curriculum) so that we can come back and in turn, educate others. 🙂

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

You may wonder, “What does she do for a living? This must be part of her job then.” Well, the answer to that is no and now, yes … stay with me here. 

My full-time job is not in wellness. Not one bit. I do all this plant-based stuff (like my cooking demos) because I like to do it and want to do it.

Fast forward to early February wherein my employer’s CEO gave a speech in which he stressed that he wanted to focus on his wellness and the wellness of our company.

His message had great intentions and excited a lot of people but they didn’t sit well with me. So I opened my big plant-based mouth and sent him a long email. Long story short, we had lunch at his request. Just the two of us, in his office and we discussed his wellness, the wellness of our company and the wellness of our country. It was a long lunch.

Just in that discussion alone, he saw my passion. He saw it and he told me, he wanted to utilize it.

So I am going to Washington, D.C. to get certified even further in Plant-Based Nutrition and Education. When I return, I can use my new certification to teach all kinds of classes AND best of all, I can use my certification to help motivate my fellow employees!

I love my company, I do, but for a very long time I have been frustrated by just how unhealthy we really are (in varying degrees). I am excited to be able to share my passion at work with those I interact with on a daily basis.

Of course I have a full plate between now and early May. Races, birthdays, swim team among other things (like further developing my YouTube Channel). Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. This is who I am.  I love being busy and I love helping others heal.

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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PLANT-STOCK 2016 – A plant-based dream come true

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.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

East Coast here we come!
East Coast here we come! (Photo by me)

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.

How I travel.
How I travel. (Photo by me)

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.

Folders!
Folders! (Photo by Stonegate)

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.

The best!
The best! (Photo by me)

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 event began on time. Rip Esselstyn started our day and our plant-education was under way. When Rip was done, he introduced his dad, the legendary Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

Stonegate Hula Hooping
Stonegate Hula Hooping (Photo by me)
So fun!
So fun! (Photo by Stonegate)

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.

Super excited to meet Dr. Garth Davis
Super excited to meet Dr. Garth Davis (Photo by Stonegate)

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.

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Dr. Garth Davis

The first day we heard from the following speakers: Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Paul Chatlin, Dr. Doug Lisle, Dr. Michael Greger, Adam Sud and James Wilks.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell - legend Photo by Molinski Photography
Dr. T. Colin Campbell – legend
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

You can see the full video on my Instagram page
You can see the video on my Instagram page @Trailmomma

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.

PSDay1 9
Photo by me

What a great guy and yes, Vans was totally blown away. Marriage saved! 🙂

My favorite photo. Photo by Molinski Photography
My favorite photo.
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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 Wilks
James Wilks (Photo by Stonegate)
PSDay1 7
Stonegate and James (Photo by me)

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.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

It was a five course meal for 420 people and the plates were delivered still hot and right on time. That rarely happens.

Such a beautiful setting.
Such a beautiful setting.

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.

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

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.

Fun time!
Fun time early Sunday morning! (Photo by me)
Weeee!
Weeee!

Engine 2, the creators behind Plant-Stock, had decided to host a group run on the farm property WITH SCOTT JUREK PROFESSIONAL ULTRARUNNER for those who were interested. Um, say no more!

The run/walk group.
The run/walk group. (Photo by Engine2)

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.

Rip with Hope on his shoulders
Rip with Hope on his shoulders (Photo by me)

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.

Beautiful!
Beautiful! (Photo by me)

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.

Photo by Michael Molinski with Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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!

Josh LaJaunie
Josh LaJaunie (Photo by Stonegate)

Scott stayed and took photos with EVERYONE. Stonegate and I took photos with him solo and as part of a group.

Wow, right?
Wow, right? (Photo by Stonegate)

Michael, our photographer expert took some AMAZING photos during the run as well as after.

Michael aka Molinski Photography (Photo by me - with his advice LOL)
Michael aka Molinski Photography
(Photo by me – with his advice LOL)

Talk about an amazing way to begin the day. Seriously, I know my kids would disagree, but this was better than Christmas!

Love this photo.
Love this photo. (Photo by some guy)

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.

The man himself. Dr. Esselstyn
The man himself. Dr. Esselstyn! (Photo by me)

Sunday was the day we heard from Dr. Garth Davis. His talk was fantastic. Full of energy, humor and some pretty great slides.

Dr. Garth Davis
Dr. Garth Davis (Photo by me)

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. Richard Oppenlander
Dr. Richard Oppenlander (Photo by me)

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.

Dr. Doug Lisle
Dr. Doug Lisle (Photo by me)

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.

Ann and Jane cooking and laughing.
Ann and Jane cooking and laughing. (Photo by me)

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.

I ADORE this woman! Photo by Molinski Photography
Jane Esselstyn – I ADORE this woman!
Photo by Molinski Photography

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. 😉

Plant Strong Family
Plant Strong Family

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!

That kid can climb!
That kid can climb! (Photo by me)
I think dad was nervous though. I was!
I think dad was nervous though. I was! (Photo by me)

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.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

Love this girl. Find her on Instagram: @tarafraserkemp
Love this girl. Find her on Instagram: @tarafraserkemp (Photo by me)

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.

Dr. Esselstyn & Ann Crile Esselstyn - two amazing kind hearted people. Photo by Molinski Photography
Dr. Esselstyn & Ann Crile Esselstyn – two amazing kind hearted people.
Photo by Molinski Photography

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.

Photo by Michael Molinski with Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

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!

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

Happy Trails,

Trailmomma

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.

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ADVENTURES AHEAD – Plant Stock 2016 preview

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).

pst
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

Next week I am headed back to beautiful Claverack, NY to attend Plant-Stock again (learn about Plant-Stock here).

I attended this event last year (read about my experience here) and it was the best weekend ever!

PlantStock

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:

Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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!

Rich
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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.

Dr Garth
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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.

DrGreger
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

Dr. Michael Greger I heard speak back in February (read about that here). He was AMAZING. Vans went with me to that talk and even HE was thoroughly impressed. Dr. Greger runs the infamous and highly informative website: www.nutritionfacts.org which is a go-to source for a lot of science based information and studies and he’s recently written the book How Not to Die (another recommended read).

With that said, there are a few repeat speakers that I am really happy are coming back  …

Dr lisle
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com
Jane
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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!

Weekender
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

Visit this link here and use the discount code: TRAILVIP50 to received $50 of the registration fee for one of their weekend long events.

sedona
Photo Courtesy of www.engine2diet.com

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.

What have you go to lose?

See you after my trip!

Happy Trails!

Trailmomma

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PLANT-BASED 101 / BATCH COOKING WORKSHOP

This past Saturday I did something I have always wanted to do, yet always stopped from myself from attempting ….

Veggies and Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus
Veggies and Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus

I hosted a Plant-Based 101 workshop out of my kitchen. For a while now I have had people tell me that I should do this. A few times I attempted to try and pull something together but for some reason or another, it just never happened.

One of the biggest road blocks I guess is that I am not a huge fan of having to talk in front of other people, even if it is something I am passionate about. The other reasons were time, lack of interest or more or less, just never the gusto to get.it.done.

A few months ago I decided that I had to make this happen. I told Stonegate who was immediately supportive and encouraged me 100% to just do it.

Over the past year or so, I have helped Vans’s Debbie the Great Aunt and Uncle transition into an almost meatless diet with great success. My boss at work has been mostly meat free for almost a month now and recently has taken up running after a 30 year hiatus! Stonegate herself transitioned about a year ago and has had stellar running results that she attributes to her plant-based diet. I like to think that in a small way, I helped encouraged their improvement (they did all the hard work though).

So sucking up my fear and seeing if there was an interest for people to learn more about a plant-based diet was something I had to find out for myself.

Low and behold, there was!
Low and behold, there was!

So I posted something on Facebook asking who would be interested in attending a class. The initial reaction was pretty dismal to be honest. I almost gave up then and there but I stuck with it. A few emails later and I had a date on the calendar and about 9 or 10 people who were planning to show up at my house! EEEK! Game on!

In my head I had already drawn out a rough run down of what I wanted to cover. It involved (gulp) a lot of talking.

And showing off my messy cabinets
And showing off my messy cabinets, I mean spices

So many times I hear that people cannot eat this way because it is too hard to maintain. So I basically tried to teach everyone how someone who is as busy as I am with my full-time job, long commute, two kids, ultra-running hobby and overall life-gets-in-the-way-in-a moment’s- notice lifestyle tackles, conquers and lives a plant-based diet.

First I talked about my background, my certifications and my reason for doing this. Then, I introduced the logical side of things like our body and its inability to digest meat. I brought up science and the fact that meat has been proven to cause Cancer, Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Tools
Tools

Next I showed them tips and tricks to make meals happen and to not leave anything to the last minute. And if they do, it’s okay. I showed  them a way around those hurdles. That old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” could not ring truer in the plant-based meal prep world.

Demos
Demos

In the end, I showed them one of the easiest plant-based meals to prepare that would surprise their taste buds (and I think it did!).

Cooking plant-based doesn’t have to involve 100 steps. I don’t have time for that. I want 30 minutes or less, as few dirty pots and pans as possible and a 100% nutritious whole food meal on the table for my family.

Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!

The whole thing lasted just over two hours. I had people ask questions before, during and after. I welcomed the questions especially during the demo because it put me at ease and got my mind off of my set timeline and agenda.

Everyone seemed interested and it seemed like they appreciated the info I had to share. For some, it was not entirely new information as they may already be eating this way so I hoped that some of the cooking tricks I showed them or talked about made the night worth it in their eyes. Others, I think were just curious and are not entirely sure how to even get started. For them, I hoped I gave them motivation.

I told them, much like the Standard American Diet, you’ll repeat some meals and find the ones you like and that’s OK … eventually you will get brave and you will branch out and try new things but if the difference is between the same meal and good health versus starting a downward spiral of bad food and illness, go with the repeat meals every time! Your body will thank you.

Since hosting this, I have heard from a few people on Facebook and on Instagram that they too would love to attend my next one. I have people at work who have said the same. I guess the interest is there after all. Maybe people needed it to happen and materialize as much as I did to get the ball rolling.

I will be forever grateful to my test participants. They were super kind in letting me do this for them and for myself.

My attempted craftiness - Thank You gifts
My attempted craftiness – Thank You gifts

I want to say thank you to Vans for all his support, patience and criticisms 🙂 . Thank you to Stonegate and Burning Girl for all their motivation and encouragement – most of the photos in this post are from Burning Girl by the way. Thanks to TiggerT who gave me many pep talks on our runs together over the years and thank you to those who are actually still reading this! 🙂

For you, I leave you with a recipe actually created by me – which is rare. I am great at adapting recipes but not so much at creating them from scratch. 🙂

Enjoy & Happy Trails!

~ Trailmomma

Kitchen Sink Soup with Rosemary & Thyme Biscuits
Kitchen Sink Soup with Rosemary & Thyme Biscuits

 

Kitchen Sink Soup 

This soup is a great way to use up all the “almost done / never going to survive the week” vegetables in your fridge.

I sautéed (in homemade veggie broth) onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, garlic and a jalapeño (yup didn’t want to waste it). I added 2 Bay Leaves, Italian Seasonings and a pinch of Cumin while sautéing.
Then I added a frozen precooked bag of homemade chickpeas (about 2 cups) and all the homemade veggie broth I had on hand until it looked soupy enough.

I tested the veggies and beans to make sure they were cooked or on their way and then added some left over pre-cooked rice that I had in the fridge, some Braggs liquid aminos and some nutritional yeast followed by heaping handfuls of spinach (NOTE I would advise removing bay leaves BEFORE adding spinach otherwise you will be searching for them  🙂 trust me).

That’s it.

The Rosemary and Thyme Oat Biscuits
Pre-heat oven to 450
Take 1 cup of #glutenfree oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Some dried Rosemary, Thyme and Nutritional Yeast – whisk together.
Then add:
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup almond milk
Mix together until a dough ball forms
Drop by spoonfuls onto a pan covered in parchment paper (I was able to get about 6 biscuits) and bake for 10-13 minutes. Voila.

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