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.

Today, Healthfest is one of the premier plant-based events in the world. People come from all 50 states and around the world to participate in the festival, which features prominent scientists, medical professionals, celebrity chefs, and inspirational ordinary folks who have transformed themselves through healthy living.

I got on the phone with Ed and Mandy with two goals in mind:

  1. I wanted to find out how they pulled it off, against what seemed to me to be steep odds
  2. I wanted to wrangle an invitation to this year's Healthfest, scheduled for March 31-April 1, 2017

You'll have to listen to see how I did.

But you can get a 10% discount if you register at Healthfest.com with the promo code PLANTYOURSELF.

And to be clear, I don't get an affiliate commission from that transaction. I'm just happy having my own promo code 🙂

In our conversation, we covered:

  • how Ed and Mandy discovered plant-based nutrition
  • Ed's complete dietary shift 2/3 of the way through The China Study: “meat and potatoes to vegan overnight”
  • “my friends looked fit and healthy, but they were dropping dead of heart attacks”
  • the prostate cancer conveyer belt of bullshit (my word; Ed and Many are far too classy to use language like that 😉
  • meeting Dr Neal Barnard and getting involved in PCRM
  • modeling Rip's Engine 2 Immersion in Marshall
  • growing from Get Healthy Marshall to Healthfest
  • growing pains and mistakes
  • the nature of leadership and service
  • “people thought we'd lost our minds”
  • how inspiring Josh LaJaunie is (and they didn't even know that we're biz partners and writing a book together – they just volunteered that perspective!)
  • pushback from the medical community
  • how and when to stick to your principles, and when to compromise to keep things moving forward
  • how to keep ticket prices low, even when bringing in expensive talent
  • this year's Healthfest – structure and why you should go
  • how to start your own “Get Healthy {Your City's Name Here}”
  • 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.


Healthfest.com – use coupon code PLANTYOURSELF to score a 10% discount (I don't get any money if you do this)

Get Healthy Marshall – community website

TheMarshallPlanMovie.com – a documentary about the Smith's initiatives


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This month's goody giveaway, to entice you to subscribe to my most excellent Big Change Bulldog, is the Sometimes Say Never report. It will show you how to stop bingeing and torturing yourself with foods you can't live with and can't live without.

Go here to get the report for absolutely zero dollars. Offer ends on February 28, 2017, at 11:59:59pm EST. Yes, I'll be on my computer, finger hovering over the “No More Report for You” button. Am. Not. Bluffing.

Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?

Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The Big Change Program, led by Josh LaJaunie and myself, will help you take the steps to finally live according to your knowledge and values.

Join the Plant Yourself mailing list (top right of this page) to learn more, and to get notified about the next Bobsled Run of the program.

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

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

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.


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One Response to “Ed and Amanda Smith on Leadership, Community, and Health: PYP 198”

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  1. […] my weekend in Marshall, Texas at HealthFest 2017.  Inspired after listening to the interview with Ed and Amanda Smith on the Plant Yourself Podcast, I felt called to attend. Even though I’ve been plant-strong for […]

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