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Plant Based

By Staff | Jan 2, 2018

A new meet-up group is focused on supporting those with whole-food plant-based lifestyles.

In October, Lee Health an-nounced the launch of the Whole-Food, Plant-Based Living Group. Free to join, the group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Wellness Center – Cape Coral and the first Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. at the Healthy Life Center – Coconut Point.

The next meeting in the Cape is set for Jan 9.

Lora Ulrich, a certified nutrition and wellness expert who leads the meetings, explained that there is a growing interest in whole-food plant-based diets, but it comes with confusion and misinformation.

The group members can share recipes, find support and get answers to their questions.

“It’s for people that are starting out their plant-based journey, or people who have been on it for awhile,” she said.

Each meeting involves a short presentation and a question-and-answer session.

Currently, there are about 25 to 40 group members.

“It’s building every month,” Ulrich said.

She switched over to a whole-food plant-based lifestyle in 2004.

“I was still struggling with health issues,” Ulrich said.

She struggled with weight loss, lack of energy, asthma, allergies, headaches and thyroid issues.

“Through nutrition I have been able to achieve and maintain my ideal weight, and I’ve gotten off all medications except for thyroid medications,” Ulrich said. “I’m not only trained in nutrition and wellness, I live it every day of my life.”

According to officials, a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle can help:

* Support gut health

* Improve skin

* Provide easier eight control

* Reduce sugar cravings

* Strengthen immune system

* Reduce inflammation and body / muscle pain

Ulrich offered some beginning guidance for those interested in making the switch.

“In the beginning, I actually gained weight because I was eating too much healthy fat,” she said.

Eat plenty of vegetables and know that it is possible to get enough protein.

“Don’t go overboard on healthy fat,” Ulrich said. “It’s really important to get the right balance of foods to eat.”

Some of the questions raised at the meetings have included how to get enough protein in one’s diet, advice if one’s significant other does not follow a whole-food plant-based lifestyle and more.

“We created this group because we know that changing eating habits and staying on track with those habits isn’t easy,” Molly Grubbs, the director of the Healthy Life Center, said via a prepared statement. “(It) provides an opportunity to share stories, tips and recipes, and ask questions and get answers.”

A healthy snack is provided at the meeting for attendees.

For more information or to register to participate, contact 239-424-3210 or HealthyLifeCenter@LeeHealth.org.

The Wellness Center – Cape Coral is at 609 S.E. 13th Court.

The Healthy Life Center – Coconut Point is at 23190 Fashion Drive, Suite 105, Estero.