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 »

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 »

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 »

Bernie Roth on Designing the Lives We Want: PYP 226

Bernie Roth is a co-founder and Academic Director of the incredibly influential d.school at Stanford University (officially known as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design). He's also the author of a charming, unflinchingly honest, and hugely helpful book, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. Bernie's great contribution to the world, aside from his numerous inventions and innovations in machine design, robotics, and engineering, is the insight that successful, happy, healthy people generally don't achieve these nice things by accident. Read more »

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 »

Overcoming Disordered Eating Through Self-Love and Education with Tara Kemp: PYP 222

Tara Kemp is one of the happy luminaries of the plant-based movement. Spend an hour in her presence and you'll be charmed and delighted into eating better - no lectures or harangues required. When I first met Tara, I just assumed she was a natural-born positive person, never given to depression or anxiety or even garden-variety snarkiness. But as I discovered in our conversation, she has overcome a great deal to get to where she is now. Read more »

Overcoming Addiction with Adam and Lecia Sud: PYP 209

Adam Sud is only 34 years old and he’s already battled against obesity, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, drug addiction, fast food addiction, and severe depression. Once weighing over 300 pounds, he had lost all interest in life. Addicted to fast food and prescription drugs, Adam dug himself out with plant-based nutrition, after attending an Immersion with Rip Esselstyn. Having reversed all of his chronic health conditions and losing 160 pounds, Adam is now health coach for the Whole Foods Market Medical and Wellness Clinic in Austin, Texas. Read more »