The Daily Beet

21 May Meals For Health: Oakland.

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Rip is on the board of a program called “Earth Save“. Earth Save is committed to helping and serving families in need through the “Meals For Health” program. Over the weekend, Meals For Health started up in Oakland, CA and I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of it! I wanted to share some photos and thoughts about the weekend.

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In my 20’s I had the opportunity to be involved with organizations in Washington whose purpose was to help underserved communities, especially children. It was something I absolutely loved doing, I always felt that there were people that needed someone else to go and fight for them, someone to stand up and make sure they were heard. It’s a passion of mine, because I grew up in a family in which we desperately needed assistance. Despite my father working multiple jobs, all hours of the day, we just couldn’t make it. We were homeless a lot, we struggled a lot, we went without, a lot. This was our way of life. We did however have a wonderful community of people that helped in so many ways without those people in our lives, I do not know what would have happened to our family. Growing up in poverty is not easy, and it often means that you do not have access to healthcare or healthy food. It is a huge problem.

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A couple of years ago I heard about Meals For Health through my friend, John Robbins who asked me if I’d go and tell my story to a group in Sacramento. I went up for an afternoon and got to see it in action. Now, 2 years later Meals For Health is right in my back yard, Oakland, and I get to be a part of the amazing program.

I got to spend the weekend with an amazing group of people, all who are ready to jump into healthier living. Meals For Health goes into underserved communities, and for a month provides them with medical care, education, food coaches and food.

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I wish I could bottle up the energy and love that the people participating in the program have and give it away. Seeing about 60 people who had absolutely NO prior knowledge as to what any of this was all about, who all embraced it, who were all so thankful, who were all so hungry for change? It was incredible. It’s something that I think many of us lose when we are doing this for a while. The simplicity of it all, is astonishing. Eating like this is so simple, so inexpensive, so doable, and yet there are those who want to complicate matters time and time again. It does not have to be complicated. The message is simple, clear and it works. Eat a diet that is starch-based filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains beans and get well. That is it. No counting, no special formulas, no super foods, no powders, no pills, no fads, just real food. And with just real food, no fancy gimmicks, people get well. They reverse diseases they have had for years, their blood pressure gets lower, they go off meds for T2 diabetes, they lose weight. It works, 100% of the time.

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Every person who is involved with Meals For Health, does it as a volunteer. All of the speakers come out, and participate for no charge. The speakers for this years program are:

Dr. Michael Klapper (True North Health)

Dr. Milton Mills (DC area Doctor who also does work for PCRM)

Dr. Forrester (Sacramento area Doctor who is doing all of the medical care for the month!)

Dr. Doug Lisle (True North Health)

Jeff Novick, MS, RD

John Pierre (personal trainer)

Dr. Gracy Yuen (True North Health)

John Robbins

Emily Webber

Jeff Nelson (Head of Veg Source, who puts on the program)

and myself (Natala) :)

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There are also 8 food coaches who volunteer their time for an entire month. As well as a wonderful plant-strong woman, Amy who is running the exercise program for the entire month. The food coaches help each participant get through the month.

 

This team is truly incredible, and I think deserve recognition  for what they are each doing to make this possible. This program needs to be in every city in the United States, it runs completely on the kindness of others. I believe that this program alone can change the landscape of this country in a powerful way. Imagine if people in our communities struggling the most, became our most health citizens. What would happen to this country? How much would things like health care change?  Imagine the precedent that would set for entire communities.

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This weekend, I saw how this movement could truly change things for the better. If you are interested in learning more about Earth Save or donating to help bring it to other communities, you can check out their website. I think this is a cause and idea worth spreading.

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Natala Constantine
  • http://www.facebook.com/marydistefanodiaz Mary Di Stefano Diaz

    Congratulations, Natala and entire E2 team! Your efforts are having their deserved impact on us all! –I am plant-based, plant-strong with feet firmly PLANTED on God’s green ground!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1560613820 Margot Tobias

    What a great program! It is really simple to gain health and we make it so complicated. Making sure there is access to healthy food is key.

  • Angie

    I want to know what 3 kitchen tools you travel with!

    • Laurie

      me too! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/grammy54 Brenda Rowe

    I think this is such a wonderful program!! I live in an area where almost everyone is at or below the poverty line. Most people are overweight and cannot afford healthy food. I am way below the poverty line. I am trying as hard as I can to eat plant strong sometimes I wonder if I am getting enough of the nutrients I need because I do eat mainly rice, whole grains, Beans and lentils. i add some vegetables in but it is hard to afford organic.

    • Leah

      You don’t have to eat organic! I love organic, but it’s better to buy produce (non-organic) than not to buy it at all because you can’t afford the organic. This year we’ve been much tighter for money, so we’ve been buying almost no organics. Just do what you can! :)

  • Cindy

    Besides being on the board, is Rip involved at all?

  • Mike

    Natala, why aren’t you invited to speak at Engine 2 Events? I think you are a breath of fresh air and desperately needed, I don’t see you on the schedule.

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  • Leah

    Natala, thank you so much for this wonderful article on such an important topic! I am passionate about community outreach, and this sounds like a perfect program! Once I am back in California I am going to get involved in any way I can!

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