From Butcher to Vegan Nutritionist with Fraser Bayley: PYP 266

Fraser Bayley's arc of transformation is long and inspiring. Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Fraser was a poor student who struggled in school despite putting in the effort. He felt stupid, like something was wrong with him. His social anxiety was so severe, he dropped out of college but managed to keep a crushing load of student debt. When an after school job at a local supermarket offered him a chance to learn about butchery, Fraser jumped on the opportunity to apprentice himself in the grueling trade. It didn't require smarts, or much reading, or sitting still. Butchery was (and still is) a male-dominated field, where toxic masculinity is both a prerequisite and outcome of the brutal, repetitive, soul-numbing work. Fraser suffered from bipolar episodes, which he self-medicated through alcohol, drugs, and the company of other alienated, emotionally scarred, alpha males. Read more »

Ending Self-Deception and Becoming Real with Bethany Stec Janicek: PYP 263

Bethany Stec Janicek grew up on a Nebraska pig farm, on a diet of meat and dairy and cheese and butter. Always bigger than her peers, she began dieting in elementary school, and suffered the anguish that came with always failing, always giving up, and always feeling disappointed in herself. She was deeply disconnected from her true self, and masked her sense of inadequacy with a bubbly exterior and various coping mechanisms: food, cigarettes alcohol, clothing, and makeup. Everything in her life was literally or figuratively sugar-coated. Read more »

Mastering the Meditation Habit with Emily Fletcher: PYP 254

Emily Fletcher is one of the new faces of an ancient practice. Former Broadway star and founder of Ziva Meditation, she talks funny, dirty, relatable, and wise about one of the simplest, cheapest, and most profound of wellness practices: going within ourselves. Read more »

Giving Ourselves the Gift of Health with Kassi and Derick Harrington: PYP 252

Kassi and Derick Harrington grew up in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where they grew obese and ill and miserable on the Standard Cajun Diet. Derick's life revolved around food: hunting and fishing and then frying whatever he caught. Kassi was overweight her whole life, as was her entire family. Derick suffered from hypertension, high cholesterol, an auto-immune disease, and was on the fast track to type 2 diabetes. He had no energy, no passion for life outside of the gustatory, and in his own words, was "just existing." Read more »

How to Live a Better Life Every Day with Bryan Falchuk: PYP 251

From the moment his parents' marriage fell apart, Bryan Falchuk turned into the fat kid. In a world out of control, food was the one thing he could control, and the one thing that could soothe his deep hurts and anxieties. Every day Bryan woke up and was determined to lose weight, and twenty minutes later he'd be elbow-deep in the foods he'd sworn to give up, or at least moderate. He experienced himself as someone untrustworthy, someone who lacked agency, someone to whom life happened. Read more »

“Carbs are Not the Enemy” with Type 1 Diabetic Josh Turner: PYP 249

Josh Turner is one hell of a smart, compassionate, committed human being. A type 1 diabetic who was told that his quality of life, health, and longevity would be compromised by his condition, Josh has adopted a plant-based diet and taken up running. In the process, he's lost almost 100 pounds, gained his life back, and become an inspiration and lighthouse for other type 1 diabetics who are struggling to escape the grip of the wrong-headed medical model of disease management through low-carb, high-protein diets. Read more »

Becoming a Health Mechanic with Phil Green: PYP 248

Phil Green is a heavy equipment mechanic for the military. Which is to say, he can fix things that people rely on for their lives. And yet his own body was in a terrible state of disrepair. As a red, white, and blue son of Texas, Phil's diet was (in his own words) "fried everything." Except for the barbecued meat. A baseball player in his younger days, Phil abandoned any pretense of fitness or health when he gave up sports and started a busy career. Eating out all the time expanded his waistline and led to profoundly ill health. Read more »

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 »