Damien Mander on Becoming an Anti-Poaching Warrior and Rediscovering His Heart: PYP 225

Damien Mander's entire identity centered around war: as a 19-year-old who joined the Australian Royal Navy and trained as a clearance diver; as a spec-ops sniper; as a member of an elite Tactical Assault Group; and as a special operations soldier in Iraq for three years. After leaving Iraq in 2008 after 12 tours of duty, Damien was burned out, dispirited, and ill-equipped to manage in civilian society. Still addicted to adventure and thrill, he found his way to Southern Africa, where he started working with the rangers and organizations dedicated to protecting the big animals of Africa from poachers. Read more »

Kim Williams, MD on Building an Evidence-based and Inclusive Cardiology Profession: PYP 218

Kim Williams, MD, is past president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Let's take a moment to appreciate how amazing that is. First of all, he grew up poor and black on the South Side of Chicago. One winter he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia; his family couldn't afford to buy him a coat. His step-dad died of an intercranial hemorrhage when Kim was five years old. Second, Dr Williams chose medical school over a promising career as a professional tennis player. Third, he's the first and thus far only president of the ACC to "come out" as a vegan. The current chairman of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has been vegan himself since 2003, and now recommends a vegan diet to his patients as the first line of defense against heart disease. Read more »

Putting Our Money Where Our Hearts Are with Lee Slonimsky: PYP 211

Lee Slonimsky is both a financial wizard and an accomplished poet. His abiding interests include social justice and animal welfare. Lee has managed to fit all these skills, interests, and passions into a singular and impactful life. He's the co-founder of Next Era Capital Partners LLC, the country's first hedge fund majority owned by Native Americans. He uses his investment chops to shift the capitalist game from amassing resources at any cost to using capital as a tool to reorient business toward more life-sustaining practices. Read more »

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

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 »

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

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 »

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

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 »

Finding (and Sharing) the Fountain of Youth with Doug Schmidt: PYP 185

Doug Schmidt is an enrichment teacher and health and wellness coordinator for his upstate New York school district. Now, health and wellness coordinators generally focus on stress reduction in the workplace, smoking cessation, and getting teachers to increase their physical activity by taking the stairs and parking farther away from the front entrance. Read more »

Nature’s Brilliant Protocol and a Popcorn Fart in the Wind with Josh LaJaunie: PYP 174

Josh LaJaunie is, by his own admission, a simple Bayou coonass who discovered plants and running, and transformed his life. His backstory is well documented in a couple of Rich Roll Podcasts, which you should drop everything and listen to if you don't know Josh yet (links below). Read more »