Dr. Cheryl True is the group leader of “Heartland Rooted” in Davenport, Iowa. Although vegetarian for many years, after hearing Dr. T. Colin Campbell speak at a lifestyle medicine conference a few years ago, she shifted her diet to WFPB. She took Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate course, which cemented her decision even further, and also became a facilitator of the well known CHIP program. But it is her work as a physician, healing patients through the WFPB diet, that has most fueled her passion for spreading the message.
Cheryl’s passion for a WFPB diet has also had a positive impact on her husband Andy. Andy was an omnivore who never paid much attention to nutrition until watching Forks Over Knives a couple of years ago. He decided that a plant-based diet just “made a lot of sense,” and after trying it, lost about 15 pounds “without trying!” and dropped his cholesterol over 40 points. He now believes in the benefits of a WFPB diet and shares that message with others.
Cheryl is a long-time cyclist, but always struggled with running distances, as it seemed to cause her mild asthma symptoms to flare up. She feels that after eliminating dairy, these symptoms mostly disappeared, and she surprised herself by running a half-Marathon! She is also is a Walk with a Doc group leader in a unique collaboration with her veterinarian clinic to deliver an effective program for connecting individuals with health care providers in their community. They just held their first Walk in May with over 100 participants. Pictured below is the group’s first meeting.
So what is her advice to others wanting to advocate for plant-based health in their plant-based community?
Cheryl emphasizes the importance of members spending time together in smaller groups, as sort of “support groups” or “buddy systems.” She says It’s been interesting to see the bonds forming within the group in such a short period of time.
As for group activities, a favorite amongst group members has been doing introductions at the beginning of every meeting – people introduce themselves, say why they’re there, and get to stay updated on what other members are doing. She says, “It’s surprised me how just that sharing timeframe has become such an integral part of our group” Outside of monthly meetings, they’ve had great success orchestrating a program with the local grocery store Hy-Vee’s “DISH” (dinner is served at Hy-Vee) program.” A group of 10-13 individuals gather together to prepare their meals. The group submits 5-8 recipes, and the DISH program preps ingredients at stations for people to assemble. As a result, everyone gets 4-6 servings of each meal, which comes out to $11/meal! Cheryl says this has been extremely popular amongst her group, and provides much needed help with the basics of plant-based cooking, while also strengthening ties amongst group members.
This group has truly become a welcoming support network for plant based eaters, whether they began this journey a few years ago, or a few days ago. Cheryl recalled coming back from a PlantPure Nation screening, and deciding to start a group in her community, with no idea about how many would join, but says she was “amazed to see the support, which spread just through word of mouth.”
The welcoming atmosphere, support, and unique activities taking place at Heartland Rooted provide inspiration, as well as a wonderful model for others in our pod network. You can learn more about Heartland Rooted by visiting their PlantPure pod group page at: http://www.plantpurepods.com/podsdirect/davenport-ia-heartland-rooted-group
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