PYP 207: Lana Kontos on Educating a Generation of Healthy, Savvy Moms and Girlfriends

Lana Kontos is a naturopath and women's health advocate who somehow managed to transcend her training and embrace the true sources of health. While still in high school, she was told by her guidance counselor that she should become an MD. But the contradiction in her education - like the brilliant, morbidly obese dean of her state university with a PhD in nutrition who was always in pain, and whose dietary preferences consisted largely of steak and eggs - sent her into the business world. Read more »

PYP 206: Marcus Cook on Getting a Second Chance and Doing Something New Every Day

At the height of his success in the business world, Marcus Cook weighed 489 pounds. As the founder of an oil pipeline supply company valued at tens of millions of dollars, Marcus had it made, but lacked the health to enjoy it. Then a business partner and mentor who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer dropped a truth bomb on him: "I'm dying from an incurable disease. You're dying because you have a choice. You're the American dream, and you're throwing it away." Read more »

PYP 204: Brian Kateman on Reducing Animal Consumption by Building a Big Tent

Brian Kateman is cofounder of the burgeoning Reducetarian movement, and one of the bright young stars in the fight to save humanity, animals, and planet earth from spiraling into an unredeemable mess. Brian reached out to me about a year ago, sharing a modest vision for an edited book designed not to turn ordinary people into vegetarians or vegans, but simply to encourage and empower them to eat less meat. Read more »

PYP 201: Nalida Besson on Caring for Our Bodies as Temples of Spirit

Nalida Lacet Besson wasn't so concerned about weighing 240 pounds or passing the occasional painful gallstone. What got her attention in the summer of 2013 was a physical malaise so complete and overwhelming, she believed she was dying. Everything hurt, including her skin. It was as if her body were saying, "I've had enough of this. Time to rest." Read more »

PYP 200: Ken Beckman on Saving America by Reforming Health Insurance

Ken Beckman is an actuary in the health insurance field. (Now hang on, you non-math folks - this is going to be a lot more interesting (and accessible) than you might think. Give us a chance here... :) After getting turned on to the health benefits of a plant-based diet, Ken began seeing the health insurance industry in a radically new light. If the best possible outcome is a slow decline mediated by appropriate drugs and timely procedures, then we're probably doing OK. Read more »

PYP 199: Paul Chatlin on Getting a Second Lease on Life – and Using It in a Big Way

At age 55, Paul Chatlin was a few minutes away from surgery on a 100% blockage in his right coronary artery when his cardiologist asked him out of the blue, "Would you consider a nutritional change instead of bypass surgery?" Turns out the cardiologist's mentor was a dude named Caldwell Esselstyn, which is the only way this story makes any sense. Paul, tired of his severe angina, terrified of the life that followed bypass surgery that he witnessed in his father and three uncles, and in agony from the "elephant sitting on his chest," agreed. "I'll do anything." Read more »

PYP 198: Ed and Amanda Smith on Leadership, Community, and Health

Ed and Amanda Smith are the co-founders of Healthfest, a three-day annual event in a small Texas town that's become an unlikely hub of plant-based nutrition in the United States. Marshall, Texas, population 27,000, is smack in the middle of the "stroke belt." Where beef is king, hunting is a rite of passage into manhood, and if it ain't deep-fried, it ain't food. And there, where Ed served as mayor, is where they decided to bring plant-based knowledge and practice. Read more »