PYP 206: Marcus Cook on Getting a Second Chance and Doing Something New Every Day

At the height of his success in the business world, Marcus Cook weighed 489 pounds. As the founder of an oil pipeline supply company valued at tens of millions of dollars, Marcus had it made, but lacked the health to enjoy it. Then a business partner and mentor who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer dropped a truth bomb on him: "I'm dying from an incurable disease. You're dying because you have a choice. You're the American dream, and you're throwing it away." Read more »

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

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 »

PYP 201: Nalida Besson on Caring for Our Bodies as Temples of Spirit

Nalida Lacet Besson wasn't so concerned about weighing 240 pounds or passing the occasional painful gallstone. What got her attention in the summer of 2013 was a physical malaise so complete and overwhelming, she believed she was dying. Everything hurt, including her skin. It was as if her body were saying, "I've had enough of this. Time to rest." 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 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 »

Thanksgiving and the Calculus of Integrity

The movie Airplane features a running joke in which air traffic controller Steve McCroskey (played by Lloyd Bridges) announces after each new catastrophe, “I guess I picked the wrong week to quit smoking… drinking… amphetamines… sniffing glue.” I woke up yesterday morning, watched a terrifying video of a white supremacist gathering in Washington, DC, and thought, “I guess I picked the wrong week to feel gratitude.” And some of my clients and students will look at all the turkeys, gravies, pies, turduckens, piecakens, and other festive dishes and tell themselves, “I’ll indulge just a little today, and tighten back up tomorrow. After all, progress, not perfection.” To all three examples, I say bullshit. Read more »

PYP 176: Ken Botts on the Power of One Plate at a Time

Ken Botts has been in food service for over 35 years, since he discovered the financial rewards of frying chicken and slinging pizza as a teenager trying to pay for his own car insurance. At age 18, he discovered Diet for a Small Planet, by Francis Moore Lappé, and made the connection between the food we eat and the world we inhabit. Read more »

PYP 163: Tim Kaufman on Doing a Little More Today Than You Did Yesterday

When Tim Kaufman was in his late 30s, he weighed about 400 pounds, struggled with addictions to pain killers, and figured this was how his life was gonna be from now on. After all, he had been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic disease that messes with connective tissue and left his knees essentially useless. Read more »