Graduate Spotlight: Meg Donahue
Meg Donahue is the co-founder of MamaSezz Foods and is passionate about working with medical professionals, scientists, and nutritionists to bring the healing power of food to everyone. She has a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from CNS and eCornell, a Masters in Technology Management from Marlboro Graduate School, and a BFA from College of William and Mary. An avid tennis player, she enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
My Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) Story
Eating a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet was not at all on my radar. I loved organic food, but I also loved junk food: milkshakes, chips, and basically anything I could order at a drive-thru.
At 80, my mother was released to hospice care with less than 10% heart function (Ejection Fraction) and failing kidneys. I brought her home to be with me and started researching, “Who has survived this level of heart failure?” I came across the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn. I started feeding her a WFPB diet right away. Against all odds, she started to get better. Today, she’s 88-years-old and her heart function is near normal. Some people call my mother’s transformation a miracle, but we know that the only miracle is what happens when you move from foods that hurt to foods that heal.
Because I was cooking for my mother and my family, we all transitioned to a WFPB lifestyle. Not only did my mother’s health improve but mine did as well. Years as an athlete had taken a toll on my joints; I had arthritis, lots of pain in my knees and hips, and the beginnings of macular degeneration in my eyes. About two months after I changed my diet, the pain disappeared and my eyes no longer showed any signs of macular degeneration. I was stunned. I thought I was just going to have to live with feeling uncomfortable and taking lots of ibuprofen every day. And I thought there was nothing I could do about my eyesight.
My Advice for Beginners
Set yourself up for success! Educate yourself and find support. Develop your self-compassion skills. Eating a WFPB diet is an act of self-love, so try not to beat yourself up if you are unable to eat this way 100% of the time. Have compassion for yourself (like you would a child). Understand yourself. Make sure you have a lot of WFPB choices on hand (and make sure you like them!). Find supportive family members or friends. It’s always easier to change when you have support for the tough days. Schedule in play! Whatever that is for you. For me, it’s tennis or skiing with my kids. Whatever makes you laugh and have fun, add that to your schedule.
How I Achieved My Health Goals
The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate was a game changer for me. It gave me the science, practical information, and tools I needed to make a profound difference in my health and my family’s health. I also gained an invaluable network of healthcare professionals and like-minded people who have been generous with their time and knowledge.
How the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Impacted My Life
In 2016, I started researching the idea of starting a whole food, plant-based meal delivery company. I have four generations living at my house, and I was frustrated by the time involved in making meals and the lack of ready-made WFPB choices at our grocer or online. My goal was to make it easier for anyone to eat a whole food, plant-based diet.
We have a strong business team with a background in commercial food production and distribution, but I really wanted to ground myself in the science and proven benefits of eating WFPB nutrition. There was so much I didn’t know!
The course gave me a solid foundation, resources, and a network of people I can consult for almost any WFPB nutrition question. My company, MamaSezz, launched in early 2017, making fresh ready-made meals and delivering them direct to customers nationwide. One of my favorite things we’ve implemented at MamaSezz is to provide full-time employees the opportunity to take the CNS & eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate. We also require everyone on our management team to enroll. Without a doubt, the course has supported and improved my professional life as well as the MamaSezz team.
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