Discovering the Whole Food, Plant Based Life

What's in it for You?

PlantEaters 0918
September 2018 Issue
By Carla Golden

Our journey to a whole food, plant based lifestyle has truly been life changing for me and my family. We are healthier, stronger, and happier people than we were before making the transition to veganism and WFPB eating. We still enjoy eating out and especially traveling to cities with a large selection of vegan menu items. Regional VegFests have become weekend destinations. As a long time environmentalist and lover of all animals (wild, companion, and farm) this lifestyle helps me to match my ethics and beliefs with my actions. I want to be healthy, kind to all people and animals, and reduce my carbon footprint and rate of pollution. The whole-food, plant-based vegan lifestyle helps me to better achieve that on a daily basis, and being the facilitator of the Palmetto Plant Eaters Club plays a major role in that achievement.

It all started in October 2015 when the groundbreaking food documentary “PlantPure Nation” was screened on Hilton Head Island. The following month, in response to the film, the Palmetto Plant Eaters Club (PPEC) was formed, and the group has been meeting monthly ever since. PPEC membership is free, open to the public, and meets in Bluffton on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry on Malphrus Road. At each meeting, expert guest speakers lecture on topics such as building vegan muscle, enhancing nutrition with herbs, growing organic produce, best practices for sustainable weight loss, making healthful choices when eating out and traveling, and non-toxic wellness modalities.

The PPEC mission is to teach and support whole-food, plant-based eating to prevent and reverse 80 to 90 percent of the leading chronic diseases that plague Americans. Our meetings are for the curious, beginners, and longtime whole-food, plant-based and vegan practitioners alike. We aim to keep the meeting topics interesting for both those at the beginning of this path and those well into their journeys. PPEC focuses on personal health with whole-food, plant-based education, but we will also dip into green and vegan issues of environmental conservation, animal rights, and humanitarian concerns.

The PPEC vision is to grow the local whole-food, plant-based vegan movement to create a healthful community for residents and a wellness destination for visitors. We envision well-attended PPEC meetings, book discussion groups, movie screenings, lectures, seminars, VegFests, potlucks, conferences, and a greater selection of restaurants and menu items.

The whole-food, plant-based eating pattern can be part of a vegan lifestyle. Veganism is a way of living, which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. While vegan foods are compassionate choices, they are not always healthful. This is why PPEC teaches, encourages, and supports whole-food, plant-based eating, which consists of abundant whole, or minimally processed, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tubers, nuts, seeds, and mushrooms, while minimizing or eliminating animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as highly processed foods containing refined sugar, flour, oil, or salt. While this at first might sound complex, restrictive, or foreign to newcomers, fortunately there are excellent and ample recipe websites, cookbooks, and meal planning apps to help make eating the whole-food, plant-based way easy, delicious, and affordable. PPEC shows and encourages its members every step of the way!

Members of PPEC, as well as in the wider whole-food, plant-based community, have experienced reversal of diabetes type 2, cancer remission, weight loss, lowered blood pressure, lowered levels of blood cholesterol, autoimmune disease mitigation and remission, prescribed medication cessation, fewer episodes of hyperactivity, depression, and anxiety, improvement in energy levels, improved sleep, improved sex lives, increased stamina, strength, and speed in athletic pursuits, and greater mental function and acuity. It is important for those struggling with chronic disease and those who are currently using prescribed medication to work closely with their physician when embarking on a whole-food, plant-based journey because often times personal health improvements are so fast and strong that prescribed medications can become quickly unnecessary and even harmful.

In addition to hosting free monthly meetings and quarterly book discussion potluck meals, PPEC also hosts the annual Lowcountry VegFest each fall. This free music and food festival will be celebrating its third year at Shelter Cove Community Park on Saturday, October 20th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bands will be Lowcountry Boil and Naytiv, and vegan celebrity speakers will be Jane Velez-Mitchell and Cam F. Awesome. Over 1,500 people are anticipated to attend from Beaufort County, Charleston, and Savannah.

Lowcountry VegFest is a party, and the food reflects this: vegan cupcakes, burgers, doughnuts, tacos, cheese, gelato, beer, wine, pizza, and other fun foods and drinks that one expects to find at a food festival. There will also be healthful, more wholesome vegan options like juice, wraps, and salads. The goal of Lowcountry VegFest is to be an example of how fun and easy it is to eat and live vegan in the Lowcountry and how doing so can bring health transformation.

In a culture where people live with chronic stress, pain, worry, exhaustion, and distraction, it can be hard to convince anyone that a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle might be a good choice for them. Many people don’t think about or care how food impacts their health, other people, animals, or the planet. Yet when you read testimonials of people from all walks of life, cultures, and socio-economic situations who have reclaimed their health and liberated themselves from self-imposed limitations, it is vastly rewarding and inspiring. This is what we share and encourage through PPEC activities and the Lowcountry VegFest.

I hope that you will be curious and check us out on our website, in person, or on Facebook. We have about 30 attendees at our meetings and almost 600 members in our active Facebook group. Now is the time to discover the empowerment and joy of optimal personal wellbeing. Perhaps your journey will begin with a viewing of “PlantPure Nation,” too! It can now be viewed online free of charge.

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In addition to her role as Palmetto Plant Eaters Club facilitator, Carla Golden also serves as the Director of the Planning Committee for Lowcountry VegFest. A massage therapist in private practice since 2006, Carla earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Holistic Health and Healing in 2013 and is now a Certified Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner.

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