The Daily Beet

24 Mar Expert Team Brings Plant-Strong Health to Food Bank Community

Health-challenged Low-income Population Goes Plant-based to Lose Weight and Reverse Disease

On April 8, 2011, nonprofit organization EarthSave International launches Meals For Health at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services in Sacramento, California.

Meals For Health (MFH) is a 30-day intervention where underprivileged people are given education and support to eat a healthy, low-fat, plant-strong diet, and dramatically improve their health in the process.

Medical Director John McDougall MD leads the ground-breaking program along with the involvement of Engine 2 Diet author Rip Esselstyn, dietitian Jeff Novick MS RD, and bestselling cookbook author Mary McDougall.

Also assisting in MFH are medical, psychological and nutrition experts such as Michael Klaper MD, Alec Isabeau DC, Walter Jacobson MD, Doug Lisle PhD, John Robbins, Pam Popper ND PhD, Julieanna Hever MS RD, and Chef AJ.

Whole Foods Markets is a major sponsor providing program food to participants.

Participants’ health improvements, weight loss and disease reversal will be measured and tracked under medical supervision of physician Don Forrester MD. The Meals For Health team is rounded out by local “food coaches” and dozens of volunteers working to assist participants in transitioning to a healthier diet-style.

Meals For Health is implementing a program which has been shown to reverse high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in tens of thousands of participants in programs run by the experts on the MFH team. Many of the MFH experts also are involved in Whole Foods’ Health Starts Here “Total Health Immersion” programs, offered to Whole Foods employees looking to improve their health.

This pilot program is the first of its kind in a low-income population.

The groundbreaking intervention takes a selected group of very low-income food bank clients who suffer from serious health problems, and turns them into plant-strong eaters. Participants learn about healthy nutrition, easy food preparation, and low cost shopping strategies in order to successfully transition their families to a healthy, unprocessed, whole food plant-strong eating style.

The program includes food coaches providing regular support, ongoing education, potlucks, video presentations, with an eye toward growing a “healthy eating” population within the food bank.

Meals For Health plans to grow in the food bank community with subsequent waves of increasing size, as members of the early intervention groups go on to become plant-strong leaders and coaches in the subsequent waves.

Meals For Health will plant seeds and spread sensible nutrition to interested families and individuals across the Sacramento Food Bank community, and has the potential to significantly decrease health problems while increasing energy and self esteem, across this challenged population.

To learn more about the program, please visit http://www.earthsave.org

If you’d like more information about Meals For Health, or to schedule an interview with members of the Meals For Health team, please call Jeff Nelson at 818-723-3131 or email Jeff at jeff@earthsave.org

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Engine 2 Team
  • http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com Wendy (Healthy Girl’s Kitchen)

    What beautiful news! Whole Foods rocks!

  • Rronda

    Can you tell me if Rip Esselstyn will be speaking anywhere in the Sacramento area?

    My Blossom Hill San Jose WF has been having seminars on the E2 Diet. So upset I missed the one on April 3 but another coming April 29th.

    • The Engine 2 Diet

      Hi Ronda, Rip will be in San Jose on May 3 hosting a special premiere screening of Forks Over Knives. We’ll be adding it to the blog shortly. Please email denise.jardine@wholefoods.com about purchasing/reserving tickets.

  • Kathryn

    This is so wonderful, I live in Sacramento – I wish it had been publicised more! Plant strong baby!