Looking for some simple nutrition tips you can implement this National Nutrition Month? We asked Sally Lipsky, founder of Plant-Based Pittsburgh and author of Beyond Cancer: The Powerful Effect of Plant-Based Eating, if she had some advice to share.
After being diagnosed and treated for late stage ovarian cancer, Sally made it a top priority to educate herself about healthy eating and the connection between food and disease. This eventually led to the founding of her nonprofit organization, Plant-Based Pittsburgh. To spotlight her organization and National Nutrition Month, here is Sally's advice on basic nutrition tips, implementing healthy eating habits with a busy schedule, and why proper nutrition is important in the first place:
If you could only share one tip on nutrition, what would it be?
Eat a multi-colored mixture of unprocessed plant foods daily (i.e. grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, teas).
What's some advice you can share on implementing a healthy diet with a busy schedule?
Make healthful eating simple, convenient, and practical for you and your family. I don't like to cook myself, and use these three steps as my guide to preparing meals:
- Step One: start with a solid foundation of complex carbohydrates consisting of whole grains (rice, quinoa, oatmeal, couscous, etc.), starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, squash, etc.), and legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils). These foods deliver needed fuel, energy, and fiber to your body, and provide a solid yet varied base for plant-centered meals.
- Step Two: add a combination of non-starchy vegetables (sweet peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.) and/or fruits (berries, stone fruits, citrus fruits, etc.) to your foundation. A multi-colored array will help maximize the nutritional synergy of your foods. Use fresh, frozen, canned, and even pre-cut packaged foods.
- Step Three: add desired flavorings. Choose among spices, herbs, condiments, sauces, and dressings. Do be mindful of added oils, salt, and sugar in most prepared dressings and sauces—use them sparingly.
Also, make large batches of grains and prepared dishes to freeze and reheat as needed.
Explain why nutrition is important to you, and how that relates to the mission of Plant-Based Pittsburgh?
In 2008, after diagnosis and treatment for late-stage ovarian cancer, I began educating myself about the power of food to heal and protect from disease. I’d eaten the traditional Western diet all my life, never knowing the connection between food and disease. I soon learned how foods consumed on a day-to-day basis have an immediate and lasting impact on health. This began my journey toward sharing the potentially life-saving knowledge with others.
The nonprofit Food for Health was borne out of the desire to teach others about how plant-based eating can transform their lives and how they can make step-by-step changes to incorporate it into their daily lives. As an all-volunteer organization, Food for Health (also called Plant-Based Pittsburgh) strives to build a community of health based on the practice of whole food, plant-based food choices, i.e. grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, and with minimal processed foods, sugar, oil, and salt. The nonprofit status has allowed us to raise additional monies to expand our community offerings. (Also, proceeds from my book Beyond Cancer: The Powerful Effect of Plant-Based Eating are funneled into the organization.) We are also thrilled to be offering our first community educational summit on April 25, 2020.
Plant-based eating has had a profound impact on me and my family. I’m extremely fortunate, as fewer than 40% of women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer live five years after diagnosis. Almost thirteen years after my diagnosis, I remain cancer-free. I’m convinced a whole food, plant-based diet—as well as a lifestyle with family, friends, yoga, and much gratitude—keeps cancer at bay. With the help and expertise of community and board members, it is an honor to spread this simple yet vital information to others.
In addition to book proceeds and funding earned through their nonprofit status, Plant-Based Pittsburgh has also been able to earn funds through our nonprofit partnership program. They have been partnered with us since December of 2019, and in just a few short months have gained a large number of digital volunteers on the Opinions4Good platform. We are excited to see their earnings grow in the coming months!
For more information on our nonprofit partnership offerings, check out our ‘How We Help’ one-pager by clicking the button below.