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 »

PYP 195: Milan Ross on Losing 250 Pounds and Finding His Purpose and Passion

Milan Ross weighed about 500 pounds and suffered from diabetic neuropathy, hypertension, and high cholesterol when he took a job at Whole Foods for the health insurance. His wife had just been diagnosed with severe and progressive MS, and they were going to need a lot of help with medical bills as the disease took her mobility and quality of life. Read more »

PYP 194: Ellen Jaffe Jones on “I’m not speeding up; they’re all slowing down”

I ran into Ellen Jaffe Jones at the Raleigh NC Vegfest, where she was inspiring young and old to get off their butts and embrace a healthy, active, vegan lifestyle. We had met on Skype for a podcast interview more than three years ago, but this was the first time we had met in person. And since I've become a runner, I badly wanted a copy of her new book, Vegan Fitness For Mortals. As one of the most decorated track and field athletes in the country (and getting more and more competitive as her non-plant-based rivals slow down and quit as their bodies decline), she has a lot to teach me about running well and sustainably. Read more »

PYP 193: Justin Lacy on Escaping the Dungeon of Obesity

Two years ago, Justin Lacy weighed 500 pounds, and could move about only on crutches — when he could move about at all. His tendonitis and lymphedema made standing painful and walking all but impossible. Following his mother’s stroke, the then-30-year-old Justin decided that he was going to make changes and get healthy, no matter what. Read more »

The Old Fart Booth Effect: A Weird Mind Hack that Makes Exercise Easier

Look in the mirror. Say your name. You’ve just activated a section of your brain devoted to YOU. Now think of some random celebrity. Say their name. You’ve just activated a totally different section of your brain, this one dedicated to OTHERS. Now - and here’s where this gets freaky - think of yourself in 20 years. Which part of your brain just got turned on? The YOU circuit, or the OTHER circuit? If you’re like most people - pretty much everyone, in fact - you think about your future self as if she or he is a total stranger. Read more »

PYP 190: Clay Garrett on Stumbling Toward a Healthy and Kind Diet

Growing up in rural East Texas, Clay Garrett was raised to appreciate meat. His father, an agriculture instructor, literally taught an entire class on how to produce, process and cook meat. And the "meat and butter at every meal" cuisine was never linked, in anyone's mind, to the family history of high cholesterol and cancer, let alone to the digestive issues that ruled Clay's life. Read more »

PYP 189: Dave Wiskowski on the Simple Practices that Healed His Depression

In 1987, fresh out of college, I took a job as a teaching intern at a fancy prep school in central New Jersey. One of the students who never made it across my radar was a quiet, blonde fifth grade boy named Dave Wiskowski. In his class photo, he’s not smiling, unlike many of his classmates. He told me that he was struggling with depression at that time, any for many years later. Like many people who find themselves overwhelmed by life and negative emotions, he became adept at self-medicating through food, alcohol, and self-pity. Read more »