Topics » Success Stories » Bart Potenza Co-Founder of NYC’s Candle 79: All’s Well That Eats Well
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
Bart Potenza Co-Founder of NYC’s Candle 79: All’s Well That Eats Well

If I were 200 years old and thrived on a plant-based diet, the response would probably be, “I’ll have what HE’S having.” I am living the vegan, plant-based lifestyle, and I will be a healthy, robust 80-years old in May; not quite 200 yet.

I now wonder why I didn’t get this holistic message until the age 55? Food habits and tradition are so powerful and so hard to break. When my wife and I talk about being dedicated to health through a commitment to healthy cuisine with others, we often note that it is harder for people to change food habits, than their religion or political beliefs.

I was a depression-era child and our family had a limited budget. A steak on Saturday night fulfilled my dad’s dream (and many others of that era). “Bring home the bacon” the thicker, the bloodier the meat, the more exciting it was. I guess I got lucky with my vegan “awakening,” as I have already buried three siblings who didn’t get the message about living healthfully. Cancer and depression took down my entire wonderful family, including my mom at age 51 who died of Hodgkin’s Disease. Yet thankfully I am still here, going strong at 80!

Over 40 years ago I attended two very powerful workshops that I will never forget. One was called “Having a Body to Support Your Purpose in Life.” The other was “How Good Can you Stand it?” Together, both workshops are a metaphor for taking on the responsibility of a life lived full-on, and being healthy. Unfortunately the majority of our society does not get such powerful messages, and ultimately they end up with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and of course extraordinary obesity.

Our lives operate like a fine-tuned instrument, and we hope not to get in the way of the flow. Yes, we all go bye-bye someday, but we’d be foolish to think that illness is the norm. Life is full of vitality, health and joy, which makes it all worthwhile. I’ve been fortunate to find all of the above, especially the JOY in life. In the end, we are what we eat, and all’s well that eats well.

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