Letter from Our CEO

PBNM is one year old!

We are proud to celebrate one year of whole food plant-based (WFPB) service to the community. On behalf of our Board of Directors, I want to thank everyone that has supported PBNM in its infancy.

Here is what we have been up to this past year:

We held our very first event in August 2018, a potluck picnic at Busse Woods, Elk Grove Village. We had about 100 participants who were thrilled to find so many other people who were excited about the plant-based way of eating.

October and November 2018 were busy months! In October, Dr. Steven Lome spoke at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva as part of the “Kane Health Counts” program. The presentation focused on chronic disease prevention, management, and reversal using plant-based nutrition. Also in October, 15 members made a positive public demonstration to thank Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora for adding plant-based options to its hospital patient menus.

November, was kicked off by a full-day Heart Disease Immersion event conducted by Dr Steven Lome. Ewa and Sebastian Stankiewicz granted PBNM use of their education center at Healthy & Happy Living, their SaladMaster distributor location in Schaumburg, IL, for the occasion. There were 15 participants. We thank the Stankiewicz team for their generosity and Sherry Shrallow, Larry Davis, and Aimee Bruns for sharing their personal health victory stories.

Also in November, we held a Holiday Potluck courtesy of Wellspring SDA Church at the Covenant Church of Schaumburg location. Our thanks to Gabriel Bardan and Silvia Abel-Caines for making this happen! Nearly 100 participants braved the wind and frigid weather to bring delicious plant-based fare to share. Dr. Lome gave a presentation on the power of plants to heal.

In March 2019, we participated in an educational event called Thy Food Shall Be Thy Medicine held at Elgin Community College. Community Harvest Educational Foundation (CHEF) sponsored the gathering, which was led by Jo Ann Armenta. Dr. Lome and Dr. Ashwani Garg were featured speakers. A cooking demo by integrative nutritionist, Carol D’Anca, followed their presentations. Approximately 120 guests participated. We thank the creators and sponsors for inviting us to take part in this powerful event.

In April 2019 we held our first Spring Into Health 5k walk/run at BUSSE WOODS in Elk Grove Village. Dr. Lome, James Cain Ph.D., and Marnie Robinson (Mrs. Illinois International) spoke about the health benefits of a WFPB diet. Several others gave testimonials about the benefits of WFPB eating. Plantimeals, Purple Sprout, Healthy Sins/The Vegan Café, Imperfect Produce, and Simply Salsa supplied refreshments. Numerous sponsors, including HeartStrong and DuPage Medical Group, also helped make the event a success (see a complete list of sponsors at https://pbnm.org/meetings-events-etc/spring-into-health-5k-2019/).

In June 2019, we held our first cooking coaches’ training during which 20 coaches received certification. Again we thank the Stankiewicz team for providing their Schaumburg facilities for the day.

During our first year, we launched PBNM Groups (info and support groups) and Cooking Meet-Ups throughout the Chicagoland area. Big “Thank You’s” go out to Craig Theimer, Marcy Pritzen, Deepa Deshmukh, Dr. Carlos Reynes, Esperanza Roman, Sherry Shrallow and Karen Kornick for facilitating these gatherings. These groups and activities have helped hundreds of people gain a greater understanding of how to help themselves and their loved ones with WFPB nutrition. In addition, Drs. Lome and Garg spoke as several locations during the year, engaging over 1000 participants total.

Building community awareness also includes building our PBNM membership. Currently, we have grown to nearly 1000 plant-loving supporters!

Looking forward, we can see there is so much that we can do to increase WFPB awareness.  We are busy planning the coming 18 months. In September, we will hold a potluck in support of the movie Game Changers. The movie will air at The Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 20 on September 16; a potluck and talk will precede the film. PBNM will release more details very soon, so look for the announcement. Also, we plan to be a little more politically active and to hold another Cooking Coach Training/Certification, another 5K walk/run, more educational sessions, at least one immersion, and more. We will start actively working with volunteers soon, too! So, if you indicated that you would like to participate, we will be reaching out to you to support the growth of WFPB initiatives and acceptance of WFPB nutrition as a first-line method to prevent and manage chronic illness.

This is an exciting time to be a part of the WFPB groundswell. Our numbers are growing. The network of people rooted in healthy eating is getting stronger. We have fertile soil. My deepest gratitude goes out to everyone who plants the seeds.

With all of your help, PBNM can stay true to our mission to encourage lifestyle changes as a way to fight the current epidemic of chronic disease.

Keep Expanding the Garden and
Stay Plant-Curious!

Meryl

Meryl A. Fury, MS, RN
President/CEO
Plant Based Nutrition Movement