Ashley Rhinehart on Promoting a Plant-based World from Top Down and Bottom Up: PYP 165

I'm so excited to announce:

The Big Change Program is now open for registration!

Join Josh LaJaunie and me for a 1-year odyssey to help you achieve your Big Change. Whether it's to adopt healthy eating habits, to get off the couch and become an athlete, or to reverse a condition like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension and get off your meds, we're here to share the technologies and mindsets of lifestyle change.

The first live class is next Tuesday, August 2, 2016. Find out more and register to reserve your spot.

And now, on to today's show…

ashley-rhinehartAshley Rhinehart is Food and Nutrition Manager at the Humane Society of the United States. A military brat by upbringing and a pediatric nurse by training, Ashley is uniquely positioned to advocate for plant-based nutrition in high places.

Ashley works with elected officials, celebrities, food service directors for huge populations (think big colleges and school districts), and military leaders to provide more healthy, familiar, convenient, inexpensive, and delicious plant-based options to their constituents.

I admit – I first got interested in Ashley as a podcast guest when I saw her Facebook photos. Ashley with Cory Booker, vegan senator from New Jersey. Ashley with Hillary Clinton, former senator from New York (hey, as a Bernie supporter, that's as generous as I can be right now). And Ashley with – wait for it – Kate Mara, actor in season one of House of Cards.

As it turns out, most of Ashley's work is not so glamorous, but arguably at least as important. In our conversation, we looked at the “inside baseball” of lobbying, health promotion, and public health.

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We discussed:

  • her “meat and potatoes” childhood
  • career choice – nursing vs fighter pilot
  • the adrenaline rush of helping people in the ER
  • seeing an epidemic of “adult” diet-related diseases in children and teens
  • autopsy studies of newborns' hearts showing effects of poor maternal diet
  • getting pushback from unhealthy doctors and nurses who knew nothing about nutrition
  • what the Humane Society mission has to do with food and nutrition
  • the biggest obstacles to mass adoption of a plant-based diet
  • “it's easy to eat healthy when the food is right in front of us”
  • the damaging influence of the pseudoscience peddled by the dairy and meat industries on dietitians and food service workers
  • the difference between 2016 chicken and 1916 chicken – bad for us, and bad for chickens
  • the challenges of working with a “Twitter-fied” media looking for scoops rather than depth
  • how plant-based diets can save school districts tons of money – even with all the subsidies and tax breaks for meat and dairy
  • why more and more soldiers are demanding healthy, plant-based options in military mess halls
  • why plant-based diets are so good for performance in special forces units
  • the “meat is macho” fallacy (and its “soy will turn you into a woman” corollary)
  • the plant-based jail system in Arizona, and the amazing health turnarounds of inmates in a short time
  • how the VA system can serve desk-duty and retired soldiers – and save billions of dollars – by promoting healthy eating
  • obesity as a national security crisis
  • the growing popularity of Meatless Mondays – and why they are a good first step
  • the evolution of American University food service director Ken Chadwick, who resisted -and then heartily embraced – healthy, plant-based menus
  • the LA school district's Meatless Monday initiative
  • Walmart's contribution to plant-based eating – and the need to cultivate relationships with huge “evil” companies if we want to shift society
  • Senators Booker and Lee taking on the agricultural lobbies
  • how each of us can help the global plant-based movement in our daily lives
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


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Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk about how to make a Big Change, and the power of stories to encourage and guide us.

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It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

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