Happy Thanksgiving!

On this eve of my favorite holiday, I wanted to take some time out to express my gratitude for the amazing people I’ve had the great pleasure to meet on my plant-based journey over the last 6 years. I owe a debt of gratitude in particular to Drs. T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Joel Fuhrman, as they were my entry point for this life-changing transition. Were it not for their work, I would still be eating the same not-so-healthy vegetarian diet and suffering from chronic sinus infections and having frequent and high anxiety-producing screening tests for breast cancer (as it claimed my mother’s life).

I am so grateful that I met my “soul sister,” Chef AJ, at Vegetarian Summerfest five years ago, because coming home with her amazing book, “Unprocessed,” and trying out her delicious recipes is what started my kids on their journey to a now near-perfect whole food, plant-based diet.

I’m grateful to have met Dr. Michael Greger at that same conference, as his tireless work on NutritionFacts.org continues to provide me with a steady stream of new scientific evidence that reinforces my lifestyle, and that I refer to constantly when trying to enlighten others.

And I am also grateful to have met Dr. Neal Barnard, Jill Eckart, and all of the amazing people at PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine), who trained me to become a certified instructor for their wonderful Food for Life program. Teaching these classes has been more fulfilling than I ever thought possible, as I am able to empower participants to begin taking steps on their own journey to optimal health with a lot less reluctance, once they see how easy it is to create delicious dishes that not only help to prevent, but also to reverse, some of the most common diseases in our country today.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity several years ago by a strange twist of circumstances to meet with Dr. Dana Simpler, a local internist who uses plant-based nutrition to treat her patients. We have done some wonderful things together, including our seminars, one-day immersions, and most recently, a training class for Hopkins medical students. I look forward to many more exciting opportunities with you in the coming years.

I’m so, so very grateful for all of the new friends that have come into my life through my classes and my Columbia MD Forks Over Knives Meetup. Special thanks to Shirley Miree, who has become my right hand at every event I do, taking care of every little detail and putting all of her effort and limitless energy into everything she does. I’m thankful for the Mehalics, the Pistons, Steve Pakes and Joe Carmel, the Taylors, Al Wood, and so, so many others… you have all become our extended plant-based family and I’m so honored to have you in my life and in my children’s lives.

I’m incredibly thankful for my Dad, Carle Klupt, who has become an amazing role model for the adage, “You’re never too old to change.” I’m thankful that he shares his health success story so often that frequent attendees at our potlucks can almost recite it verbatim, but that he always touches at least one new person and inspires them to begin making changes to improve their health too.

And most of all, I’m thankful for my husband, Dave, who is always behind me, supporting me in every effort, taking care of every detail in my classes, seminars and monthly potlucks, and encouraging me to keep going even when I feel I’m not making enough of a difference… and also to my kids, Marcie, Tess, and Evan, who assist me and give me a reason to keep going. I want to make a real difference in the world that I leave behind for you and for future generations… I want you all to live long, happy, and exceedingly healthy lives, free from the burdens of excess weight, medications, hospitalizations, and pain that have plagued our relatives who’ve passed. Thank you, kids, for sharing your story in Lani Muelrath’s wonderful book, “The Plant-Based Journey,” a work that is sure to inspire many who embark on this path and hopefully encourage other parents to start making healthier choices for their families.

I hope I haven’t neglected to mention anyone here who has been so influential to me….there are just so many! I really do feel incredibly fortunate to be able to connect with so many others and share in their journey to optimal health.

Wishing you a very Happy, Healthy, and Delicious Thanksgiving, and a peaceful and special time with your loved ones!