From the Sidelines to the Starting Line (and Finish Line!) with Anthony Masiello: PYP 240

Anthony Masiello grew up as the "fat kid," and owned the identity with resignation. Growing up in a town with three pizza restaurants within walking distance, it was easy to avoid the healthy food his mom stocked in their refrigerator and rely on the standard American junk diet. His weight continued to grow as his health and wellbeing began to decline. One day while away at college, a conversation with his mother got Anthony to try giving up meat and alcohol for a few months and "see what happens." Read more »

Code Blue: Challenging Conventional Medical Education and Practice with Saray Stancic, MD: PYP 238

Dr Saray Stancic became an infectious disease specialist in response to the HIV and hepatitis C crisis of the 1980s and 90s. On October 11, 1995, the then-3rd year medical resident found a short nap window at 2am, and collapsed in fatigue in the on-call room of the hospital where she worked. When she was awakened for her next shift, Dr Stancic couldn't feel her legs. She was rushed to the ER, and an MRI revealed multiple sclerosis (MS) with multiple lesions in the brain and spinal cord. In addition to the neuropathy in her legs, it turned out that her kidneys were also failing. She was admitted to the hospital, given an IV steroid drip and a bunch of other medications. And just like that, a young, energetic, ambitious doctor was converted into a frightened, confused, dispirited patient. Read more »

Rip Esselstyn on Growing a Movement and Being Open to Opportunity: PYP 237

Rip Esselstyn is founder of Engine 2, a food and education company dedicated to eliminating chronic disease through a whole food, plant-based diet. As Engine 2 continues to grow in influence and reach, Rip is stewarding the company to new opportunities. As a food brand associated with Whole Foods and an education provider to their employees, Engine 2 is poised to explode with Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods this past year. Read more »

Having a New Heart and Filling It With Love with Ken Lander: PYP 233

When Ken Lander disembarked from a plane on December 16, 2016, he lost his breath, stumbled, and couldn't make to baggage claim. When the 430-pound Lander was examined in the emergency room, it was determined that it was a very sick heart that had nearly cost him his life that day. Further tests revealed a 90% blockage in the left descending artery, and severely compromised heart efficiency ("ejection fraction" in cardio lingo). Read more »

Replacing Fear with Love, Losing 200 Pounds, and Finding Purpose with Russ L’Hommedieu: PYP 229

When we make a big change in our lives, it's easy to forget who we were and how we thought before that change. Russ L'Hommedieu doesn't have that problem - he's got a public video record of his old ways of being and thinking: a 2 minute compilation video of his standup routine about the travails of obesity and dieting. After selling his physical therapy practice, Russ began going to comedy open mics, and achieved some success with his "fat guy bemoaning his attempts at weight loss" routine. He's funny, no question, but I can't help but be saddened at the self-defeating attitude of the man in the video. Then, 15 years ago, he became an accidental vegan and his weight loss accelerated and - for the first time ever - wasn't reversed. Read more »

Tackling Our Healthcare Crisis by Growing Food with Thi Squire: PYP 228

Thi Squire is the garden manager for Homestead Hospital, located 30 miles south of Miami on Florida's east coast. Wait, what? Garden manager? At a hospital? Yup. Thi (pronounced "Tee"), a longtime urban gardener and sales rep in the burgeoning farm-to-table industry in South Florida, talked her way into a position growing food for the hospital cafeteria. Read more »

Saying Goodbye to Lupus and Other Autoimmune Diseases with Brooke Goldner, MD: PYP 227

When Brooke Goldner, MD, was 16 years old, she was told by her doctors that she probably had about six months to live. Her lupus, a chronic autoimmune condition that commonly attacks joints and skin, had gone after her kidneys, and it didn't look like they (and she) could be saved. Thankfully, the weekly chemotherapy worked well enough to stomp on her immune system, and it gave her kidneys and the rest of her a break and allowed her to grow up and have a fairly normal life. Read more »

Doing Epic Sh-tuff and Having Fun with Aaron Stuber and Jackson Long: PYP 223

Aaron Stuber and Jackson Long are the irreverent, hilarious, and extremely fit duo behind the Thought For Food Podcast and nascent publishing empire. Aaron is a cardiovascular nurse, and a long-time competitive climber. When he first started dating his vegetarian girlfriend, he initially dismissed that diet as "the dumbest thing I've ever heard of." Then he began to feel the effects of adding more plants to his diet, checked out the science, and was hooked. Read more »