September 12, 2022
224: Advocating a Plant-Based Lifestyle to Improve One's Quality of Life with Dr. Cheryl True

Enjoy another fantastic episode in which we return to the topic of Pod Advisory Committee members for the Plantpure Communities and Pod Network, where we showcase PAC leaders. Today's guest is Dr. Cheryl True, who shares advi...

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Enjoy another fantastic episode in which we return to the topic of Pod Advisory Committee members for the Plantpure Communities and Pod Network, where we showcase PAC leaders. Today's guest is Dr. Cheryl True, who shares advice on becoming an effective pod leader, unique ways to organize pod meetings, and her fascinating personal background in a plant-based diet and lifestyle medicine.

Key takeaways to listen for 

  • How animal documentaries have influenced one's decision to go vegan
  • Lifestyle medicine vs. functional medicine
  • Develop your interest in lifestyle medicine by serving as a Pod leader
  • Innovative approaches to organizing pod meetings that serve the community
  • Challenges local groups faced during the global pandemic
  • The purpose of community engagement in addressing women's health concerns
  • The primary societal benefits of Plantpure Community Organization

Resources mentioned in this episode

About Dr. Cheryl True

Cheryl True MD is a Family & Lifestyle Medicine Physician in Davenport, IA. She started her Pod Heartland Rooted in 2016. The Pod has typically held monthly meetings that consisted of a potluck with time for fellowship and an educational session. The Pod has also hosted community lectures and healthy food demos, a monthly whole food plant-based meal prep workshop, and a spice blends workshop. Heartland Rooted has a vibrant website, an active Facebook page & group, and also keeps in contact with members by email. 

Dr. True has many interests and activities. She is an active member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, has her own businesses True Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & LM4U, is the Medical Director of the Rock Island County Health Department, is Director of Education for digitalLM, is a Walk with a Doc group leader, and serves on a variety of boards and committees. She enjoys cycling, outdoor activities, and cooking. She and her husband enjoy sharing their home with their many pets.

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[00:00:00]Dr. Cheryl True:We would do a whole food plant-based potluck with a time for fellowship and just letting people have that opportunity to talk to their neighbors, learn from each other and just share. Then the second hour of our pod meetings would be education. You have more power over your health than what you've been told.

[00:00:16]Dr. Cheryl True:This is a Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm Maya Acosta, and I'm passionate about finding healthy lifestyle solutions to support optimal human health. If you're willing to go with me together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life. And increase longevity in a big way.

[00:00:37]Maya Acosta:Let's get started. Welcome back to another episode of the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast. I'm your host Maya Acosta. And we are back to speaking about Pod Advisory Committee members. And so this is actually for the PlanttPure Communities Pod Network, where we are highlighting PAC members. And today we have a new member.

[00:01:01]Maya Acosta:Her name is Cheryl true. And so Dr. Cheryl True is a family and Llifestyle Medicine Physician in Davenport, Indiana. She started her Pod Heartland Rooted. 2016. The pod has typically held monthly meetings that consisted of a potluck with time for fellowship and an educational session. The pod has also hosted community lecturers and healthy food demos, a monthly whole food plant-based meal, prep workshop, and a spice blends workshop.

[00:01:32]Maya Acosta:Heartland rooted has a website, an active Facebook group and page, and also keeps in contact with members by email. Dr. True has many interests in activities. She is a fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, has additional training as a health and wellness coach and certificates in plant-based nutrition and plant-based cooking.

[00:01:53]Maya Acosta:She has her own businesses, True Lifestyle Medicine clinic, and LM For You. Lifestyle Medicine For You and is also Medical Director of the Rock Island County Health Department and Director of Education for Digital LM. She is aWalkwith a Dog Group Leader and serves on a variety of board committees. She enjoys cycling outdoor activities and cooking, and her husband enjoys sharing their home with many pets.

[00:02:21]Maya Acosta:Welcome, Dr. True. Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's good to be here. I'm excited. I had the opportunity to chat with you before today's recording and I just felt such a wonderful connection with you. I wanna also tell you that I've heard such great things about you in the past. People have asked me to interview you.

[00:02:41]Maya Acosta:And so once I got to know you, I said, okay, now I see why people say so many wonderful things about you. So thank you. welcome to PAC. Thanks. You know, and it's exciting to know that this group exists and to be involved in this group. So, Dr. True, there are so many things that you previously shared with me that I love for our listeners to learn about you because this also helps us to understand how you came to be a PAC member.

[00:03:09]Maya Acosta:So we will talk about how you made a decision to go into medical school, how you learned about plant-based nutrition, how you started your pod, and you can also give us any tips when it comes to advising other pod leaders, what they can do. I know that life has changed a lot right now. And so we're not meeting in person, but maybe there's a way that we can support pod leaders.

[00:03:31]Maya Acosta:And this is why we are part of the Pod Advisory Committee. And also I'd like to talk about your contribution to the women's health book that I've been addressing in the podcast. I've had other physicians on to talk about the book as well. So I'm hoping we can cover that. And so let's first start by learning a little bit about yourself.

[00:03:51]Maya Acosta:And I wanna say that you said to me earlier that very early on you were. Very interested in eating a lot of meat. Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and about that. Sure. I think I was a bit of a picky eater as a kid. I didn't like my food to touch and I don't remember, you know, thinking that meat was the be all and all of what people ate.

[00:04:13]Dr. Cheryl True:I think other things interested me more, but I also was the kid that always had probably a Susie Q in my lunch too. So I think when I was in maybe late junior high high school, I became more interested in what nutrition meant for health, for whatever reason. And I think I started to maybe shift my eating habits a little during that time without, you know, concrete knowledge of anything just who people should different things to eat a healthier diet. So I don't remember being very interested in meat as like the thing to eat. And as I got older, I even shifted farther away from that thinking, you know, it gives me a sense that, you know, why am I eating other animals? I have all these pets and animals that are special to me.

[00:05:01]Dr. Cheryl True:What's different about an animal that is being grown for food? So I think that shift started taking place, you know, maybe during college and grew stronger over the years. 

[00:05:15]Maya Acosta:So now which came first, your introduction to plant-based nutrition or your interest in going into medical school, because I know that you had an interest also in working with animals. So please tell us about that.

[00:05:27]Dr. Cheryl True:Sure. When I was in high school, I did well in school and you know, was in those college track classes. And I thought I would become a veterinarian. You know, that was from the little kid perspectives of I'll be an artist, I'll be a jock, but I think I wanted to be a, an archeologist at some point.

[00:05:45]Dr. Cheryl True:And by high school, I was like, I was gonna be a veterinarian through college, recognizing. You know more about what it takes as a first-generation college student, you know, even learning what that means in context of career. And during college, I realized that veterinary medicine probably was not a good choice based upon health conditions like allergies and asthma and being allergic to animals is probably not a great way to start off your career.

[00:06:09]Dr. Cheryl True:So decided on a different path during college kind of tried on some different majors, psychology. I think I was pre-med for a little while and ended up with just the biology major thinking. I would go into some sort of research. I was very interested as a, in my last year of college in a field called psychoneuroimmunology.

[00:06:28]Dr. Cheryl True:I was like, wow, this would be a really cool research field to go into. So kind of going that route prior to graduation, ended up with a, a major in biology. Okay. Very nice. And then at that time then, because I think you had previously shared in your story that you were introduced, there was a, an experience that you had, and I wasn't sure if it was before or after medical school where you basically watching footage about homegrown chickens and how the family would slaughter the chickens.

[00:06:58]Dr. Cheryl True:And then you heard, it sounded like you actually heard a chicken being slaughter at the moment, and that really impacted you what happened? So I kind of fast-forward to that graduating journey. I worked for about six years, including for a while at Oscar Meyer, I worked in a, a research laboratory for human research at the University of Iowa, ended up going to medical school about six years later.

[00:07:21]Dr. Cheryl True:And that experience that I had shared came, oh, probably. Maybe five years after I'd graduated from medical school. So I went to medical school, went into family medicine and was working in the, my job. And one night I was gonna go join some friends for dinner. And there had been the segment on NPR while I was driving to dinner.

[00:07:41]Dr. Cheryl True:And it was talking about the, the amounts of bacteria and stuff in chicken that you would buy at the store. And this was a solution that people had to maybe get a healthier product by going to this farm and picking out your chicken. And then, you know, Process it for you and take it home. And as I was driving, you could hear the chickens clucking in the background, and that's such a, a relaxing sound, right?

[00:08:03]Dr. Cheryl True:They sound content they're out, you know, pecking around in the yard. And then all of a sudden it was this in the middle of, you know, a chicken clucking and, and it just really hit me that, oh my goodness, that chicken's life just ended it up on somebody's plate. And when I got to the restaurant, I was like, okay guys, I don't think I can eat chicken tonight.

[00:08:21]Dr. Cheryl True:That really bothered me. And I never went back. I did not eat meat again after that point. And, and that was kind of those I'd always played with this idea of, I should be a vegetarian just because, you know, I think that looks like a healthier way to eat and it bothers me to eat the animals. So that was my defining moment. I didn't know it at the time, but it changed that day.

[00:08:44]Maya Acosta:Wow. How old were you around that time? Oh probably in my late thirties. Okay. Not a bad time to make the change you had. So you say you sort of played around with the idea of being a vegetarian. Does that mean that even up to that point, I think you've said you did really didn't need a lot of meat anyway?

[00:09:04]Maya Acosta:Was it a difficult change to make, to suddenly go cold Turkey or how people say vegan, cold Turkey and no longer eat like animal flesh? 

[00:09:14]Dr. Cheryl True:No. And it was funny because I used to actually, I'd wake up with a dream that I had eaten chicken again, and it, I could tell how much that bothered me. And I think I had enough other things to eat that it was not a problem. You know, I could just eat those other things and just leave off that one thing. I think in our chip classes, one of the videos, Dr. Diehl says something about you put more and more of the good stuff on your plate and the meat just falls off the edge. And so it had fallen off my plate and did return.

[00:09:42]Maya Acosta:Right. It just goes to show how impactful media can be. Sometimes when we have access to information that is not shared through regular, I don't know shows unless you watch documentaries or you're listening to a segment, like the one you did on NPR. When you begin to learn how animal food is processed, that really can impact us.

[00:10:03]Maya Acosta:I don't know if I've ever shared with you that when I was in college, I took a nutrition course, mainly because I was trying to heal my relationship with food. And during that time I watched segments of how animal more specifically, cows are slaughtered and processed for food. And it was at that time, that's all I needed.

[00:10:25]Maya Acosta:It was at that time that I said no more. Pretty much beef and pork. Either of those two, I stopped eating for many, many years, and then it took me a while until I became began to understand everything else. But it's funny how we intuitively sort of know that we don't wanna eat these foods and that we enjoy other healthier plant-based foods. So now, how did you actually come upon the information of plant-based foods? 

[00:10:53]Dr. Cheryl True:So during the, maybe around 2013, I think I had gone to a, a small conference and somebody was talking to me about her study. She was an internist. She was talking about her studies in Functional Medicine. Didn't know what that was at the time.

[00:11:07]Dr. Cheryl True:So I started to look into Functional Medicine and I'd been really kind of aware that. There were things that were frustrating in medicine, the chronic diseases people had, we weren't ever getting rid of them. It was always one more script, one more script. And although I could talk to people about eating healthier or exercising, I never felt like I really had that direct impact to help them change those behaviors.

[00:11:31]Dr. Cheryl True:And so, as I looked into the functional medicine field, I was like, wow, there's a lot of stuff in here that is so valuable that we don't touch on in our training. And somewhere within maybe a couple weeks of learning about Functional Medicine had received an email about Lifestyle Medicine Conference.

[00:11:49]Dr. Cheryl True:And, you know, I had had this interest from even undergrad in Psychoneuroimmunology, the connections that all the parts of our body have and in lifestyle medicine, you know, just opening this email and saying, oh, look, this focuses on nutrition, physical activity, sleep. I mean, all these things, this is what medicine needs.

[00:12:08]Dr. Cheryl True:This is like, Where our foundations of health come from and there's behavior change to it and there's more to learn. And so that was my other defining moment, right. Of seeing this field that really embraced many of the things that I had as ideas, but maybe didn't have the context for them within the field of medicine.

[00:12:28]Maya Acosta:Mm-hmm, sort of going back to functional medicine. How would you define it for people who have no background on that? 

[00:12:38]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah, so I think functional medicine takes a nice systemic approach. It will, the clinicians will help people really analyze lots of different components of their lifestyle and the different systems that are impacted by those choices. I think there's specific tests that the functional medicine docs look at to kind of determine where their health is on that health and wellbeing spectrum and help them make adjustments in their lives and maybe use some different medications or supplements that help to balance out smoke the areas in which people have need. 

[00:13:15]Dr. Cheryl True: Lifestyle Medicine is a component of functional medicine. And I think my choice to look at the lifestyle medicine part was more driven by my desire to see that behavior change component, be the primary, you know, to really utilize our environment and the ability to make choices, the foundation of how, how that practice would go. And not saying that either of those should take away from traditional medicine. We still see a need for medications that help people control their blood pressure, control their diabetes, control their cholesterol, control their heart disease. We definitely have a need for that. So this doesn't replace those, but really, I think come into the field as partners within that, and even parts of just a traditional practice.

[00:14:07]Maya Acosta:Mm-hmm . So you touched on behavior change and I'm wondering if that's I know, I understand that the Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine may not necessarily be emphasized in your training in medical school, but behavior change is that. So like one of the first approaches that are sort of encouraged, but not highly emphasized for physicians. In other words, try this first. But if that doesn't work, then prescribe this and that.

[00:14:34]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. Yeah. That is a first-line approach to many disease states. High blood pressure, for example, will often use that first-line approach to make those lifestyle changes. Maybe you're changing your diet. Maybe you're changing your exercise pattern, but the training, at least when I trained in teaching people to know how to help people change their behavior was very minimal. I don't think it was emphasized. I remember. Maybe a couple lessons, but then it wasn't something that was role modeled for us, or even emphasized as we, as we went through our careers behavior change that I learned through taking the health and wellness coach training, it was like a whole new toolbox that took skills that I had, and then put them together into a meaningful algorithm if you wanna call it that, that gave me an approach to helping people change their behavior that could truly be effective.

[00:15:28]Dr. Cheryl True:And so rather than giving people a prescription for their medicine, for their diabetes, telling them to change their behaviors and then come back and see me in three months where that usually didn't elicit behavior change. So somebody say, well, you know, I went home and I did really well for a week or two, you know, I was eating differently. I, I was exercising and. Life happened, right? The country music song. , you know, my car broke down. My dog died, my spouse ran away and my kid dropped outta school. All of those things contribute to making it hard to continue on some of those pathways. And so learning those coaching skills I think is so dramatic and.

[00:16:10]Dr. Cheryl True:Really recognizing what the life is that your patient in front of you wants, what their vision is and what kinds of things are they, they good at? What are their strengths, what are going to be those techniques that help them to make those changes and to really define what those changes need to be setting some goals along the way, looking at barriers and challenges, and readjusting as needed.

[00:16:32]Dr. Cheryl True:So kind of changing the model from here. I'm, I'm telling you have diabetes, here's the things you should do to really engaging in a, a partnership for their health. And then involving other team members too, and making it an interdisciplinary visit to perhaps help them by using a health coach or a nutritionist, a dietician, maybe a personal trainer, or somebody in PT or OT to really help them achieve those goals that they set by giving them the tools to do so.

[00:17:03]Maya Acosta:So a couple of things that stand out that you just said. So the partnership having a sort of team approach is what I like most about the Lifestyle Medicine model is that people are equipped in various areas to support the patient. I've also said that I. In the past was interested in functional medicine.

[00:17:19]Maya Acosta:I can't say that I did a lot of heavy reading, but as an individual who was interested in kind of taking control of her own health, I did dive into some books and literature about functional medicine, but I found myself becoming more of a supplement addict. So I was kind of looking for deficiencies, where am I deficient?

[00:17:39]Maya Acosta:What do I need to supplement with? That was because of course I don't have a medical background. I don't have the training, but that's what I was gathering from the materials. Whereas now that I've taken this Lifestyle Medicine approach for my own health, I don't find myself supplementing as much. If anything, I am supplementing, but with food.

[00:18:03]Maya Acosta:So now I'm looking at what foods am I not eating enough of? So based on say the Daily Dozen or other literature that's out there. And so I remember there was a time when I actually felt sick from taking so many supplements. So that's why I sort of wanted to clarify, of course, I'm not saying that one is right or wrong.

[00:18:21]Maya Acosta:I think it just depends on the physician and how they're working with the patient with the individual. 

[00:18:27]Dr. Cheryl True:And my definition of functional medicine is, is not an official one. Just kind of the off the cuff. Right. You know, this is what those differences. So I'm sure if you have a functional medicine doc that comes and talks to you, they can actually give you much better definition.

[00:18:41]Maya Acosta:Sure. And yes, that's why I'm saying like, my goal is not to downplay all the work that they're doing. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that as a person who didn't have that medical training, I just went straight to supplementing. Although I read some of the information and I thought, oh, I need this.

[00:18:58]Maya Acosta:I need that. You know, I'm sure. Sort of like how some people look at various diets to reach their weight goal. And so they try different programs. I was not into dieting. I was into supplementing . So everyone has that area in their life that they wanna improve. And for me, it was like, well, what am I lacking?

[00:19:19]Maya Acosta:But, you know, Dr. True. I never realized that what I was lacking could be found in foods in whole plant-based foods. And then, so that's where that educating the public, uh, plays a huge role. So now, and feel free to share any other information prior to my next question then I wanna say, I think in 2015, that's when you watch pure nation.

[00:19:42]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. So I joined American College of Lifestyle Medicine in 20 and attended that conference and there were two 50 people there and it was probably the most. Positive energizing group of people in medicine that I had ever met. And it made me really reinvigorated to look differently at what we were doing.

[00:20:05]Dr. Cheryl True:So I got involved in the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, you know, continued with those annual conferences, sought out everything I could, I think in between there T.Collin Campbell, eCornell, uh, Plant-Based Nutrition Course Chip Facilitator, the Rouxbe RX course, but in 2015 we have an event. Every, I think it was the, the Tuesday night of our conference.

[00:20:27]Dr. Cheryl True:It was a documentary and the documentary in 2015 was PlantPure Nation and Nelson Campbell was there. He introduced the documentary and then talked about it afterwards. And one of the things he talked about was this formation of this pod network. So I'm sitting in the audience, I've got my tablet in front of me and I'm like, okay, how do I become one of these pod leaders?

[00:20:47]Dr. Cheryl True:And at the moment. You know, I was just so excited by the message he had delivered and the way to look at change for people that was outside the clinic walls, you know, it was kind of meeting people where they were, and I've always been a very introverted person getting up and talking in front of people or engaging in people in groups was never something that I would have thought would be in my future.

[00:21:12]Dr. Cheryl True:But I realized that I had a lot of information that I'd been gathering over the years that could be shared, and it was a message people needed to hear. So if I'm just keeping it in my own head or sharing it 1 0 1. It's not gonna impact people as much. So this pod network sounded like a really good way to get this message out into the community.

[00:21:32]Dr. Cheryl True:So I applied to be a pod group leader, and I think there was an interview. You know, we picked a name for the pod and had our first meeting. And I had a, a good friend who offered space at her university. She got a room for us to meet in and I put flyers up coffee shops, the library, uh, whatever places I might have put someone on social media.

[00:21:53]Dr. Cheryl True:I don't remember. But that very first meeting was, I believe, February of 2015. And I brought some books. I think I brought some food. I showed up not knowing what was going to happen and people showed up. I wanna say we had 14 people or something that first meeting and as they walked in, I just remember being so struck by some of the words people said is, oh my goodness, there's somebody else who eats like me that lives here in the quad cities.

[00:22:21]Dr. Cheryl True:I thought I was the only one. And that just hearing that somebody was no longer alone, that they had support, they had somebody else who maybe understood their way of life, the challenges they faced and could have those connections. It's the way to help grow some of those changes. We need to have happen.

[00:22:40]Dr. Cheryl True:And also for people who were maybe trying this out, they wanted to go this way, but they didn't have support and they really needed it. This provided an area that people could come together and talk about. How they made changes in their lives and how they stuck to them and the benefits that they found in eating whole foods, that plant-based approach.

[00:22:59]Dr. Cheryl True:Isn't something that we typically talk about in medicine. And so having it be in this very non-threatening community environment where people could share with each other, but also we drew medical professionals in that. Also think plant-based eating is a benefit to our health, and we could share things in ways that we wouldn't do, you know, those one-on-one visits in our clinic.

[00:23:23]Dr. Cheryl True:So it's grown from there, but that was kind of our starting point that day. 

[00:23:28]Maya Acosta:Yeah, I can imagine. I mean, the excitement of watching people come in, people that you didn't even know were out there. So that's the whole purpose of, uh, Nelson Campbell's PlantPure Nation film, which by the way, people can watch on YouTube.

[00:23:42]Maya Acosta:It's still there still available. You can watch the entire film free of charge, and I'll put a link in the show notes because I think everyone should watch it. Even if you're not interested in being a pod leader, maybe you might wanna join a pod in your area and we'll include all the links so that you can have access to that.

[00:24:00]Maya Acosta:And so that's what Nelson says in the film. First, he sort of shows you the politics behind creating change here. He comes in really providing evidence that eating this way, even if it's for 10 days, Is enough to show that you can actually have an impact in your biometrics. And so he was testing individuals before and after the 10-day jumpstart that he was doing and was able to show that you can drop cholesterol levels, you can improve your high blood pressure.

[00:24:31]Maya Acosta:And I think even people were seeing changes in their A1C scores. And so at the end of the film, what he's saying is after we see him battled the politics of it all at the end, he says it has to start with. It has to start at a grassroots level to create change. We can't expect change to happen from the top down.

[00:24:53]Maya Acosta:It has to start with us down here. And so you were motivated and moved by the film as well enough to create your own pod. And so tell us a little bit more of how you offer that support because you just said that you saw that other people needed support. You know, that's why we create our pods in the first place.

[00:25:14]Maya Acosta:It starts with us saying, well, we're the only ones in our family, in our own families who have embraced this way of living. So we wanna come together with other like-minded people and your pod was a little different in the sense that. Top people or you put together like these meal prep foods. I don't know how to say it.

[00:25:33]Maya Acosta:Maybe you can explain it a little bit more, but your pod was unique in the sense that it supported people in terms of knowing exactly what to eat. Every pod is different for us. It was more educational. We brought in speakers and we hosted films. We did do potlucks, but it was not a potluck centered or focus pod.

[00:25:53]Maya Acosta:Tell us how yours was unique. 

[00:25:54]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. So when we started, I think it did come to be the format. Settled in, early on, we would do a whole food plant-based potluck with a time for fellowship. And, you know, just letting people have that opportunity to talk to their neighbors and learn from each other and just share.

[00:26:11]Dr. Cheryl True:And then we would do, the second hour of our pod meetings would be education. So we'd have a speaker or we'd do a demo. We'd bring somebody in virtually from outside the community, we'd have a panel discussion. So we did different things to just bring the education forward. And as we saw the interest and the need, we started doing additional things outside of our monthly pod meetings.

[00:26:34]Dr. Cheryl True:And that included lectures at our local libraries. We did a series. We did some lectures at the Y M C and participated in health fairs. We input information about the pod information about plant-based eating, you know, out there in those settings. And one of the things that we had in town, one of our grocery stores was offering meal prep groups.

[00:26:55]Dr. Cheryl True:And so they had different themes, like comfort foods, or they were at the time Paleo and just different types of meal preps that people could sign up for. There was a database, they would pick their recipes. It's like, oh, wow, this is ideal. We should have a plant-based meal prep group because so many people, they want to eat a plant-based lifestyle, but they don't always know how to go about doing it.

[00:27:19]Dr. Cheryl True:They maybe never develop the skills that they would need for cooking a new way. And they didn't have resources for that, or they didn't have time to maybe spend time chopping or prepping. So the grocery store theme was we do the shopping and the chopping for you. And you know, you come in and assemble and you get a meal.

[00:27:37]Dr. Cheryl True:So I approached them about doing a whole food plant-based, you know, prep. And knowing that they didn't have recipes for that. And so I collected a group of recipes and put it into the format that they would need. And basically, it was some, this kind of a calculator would tell them how much to shop for, and then they would prep it for, I think we did six meals and then we would let people sign up.

[00:28:00]Dr. Cheryl True:And however many people needed to sign up for that day. They would shop for that many and so when we would arrive, this was set up in stations of each recipe, the ingredients were all. And the recipe would sit there and you'd go pick a station and you would help assemble those meals. And so you would maybe make one of our staples was bean burgers and we'd have chili or we'd have a salad, kind of, we did a little seasonal variation.

[00:28:24]Dr. Cheryl True:So you'd come up to that station and maybe work with a partner and you would assemble however many meals needed to beat down that night. So maybe there was a group of 12. So by the time you were done, you would have all of your ingredients ready for pickup. And so if we had six meals at the end of the session, you would just make your way around the room and the packets for each of your meals. And you could go home with either a meal, ready to eat meal, ready to prepare. Maybe you're gonna put in your crock pot or instant pot, or maybe you put it in the freezer for later. So this was really nice in that it gave people an opportunity an hour and a half to make six meals for their families with very little effort.

[00:29:01]Dr. Cheryl True:And they knew exactly what was in it too. Right. The recipe was there. There was only items that we'd agreed upon. It wasn't anything extra. They could do low salt. It was a way to give people. An experience of healthy, good-tasting food that maybe they wouldn't do on their own. And the other really neat part, I think about prep groups, is that again, the people share those social connections.

[00:29:25]Dr. Cheryl True:So while they're doing these meal preps, they can talk about things, food-related, maybe, and they're talking about ingredients or how they choose one product over another, or how they dress something up. Once they get it home to maybe make it their own, you know, maybe they add some different spices or something, or what are the challenges when not everybody in your household eats the same way, you know, what can you do with these meals that would maybe satisfy somebody in your family?

[00:29:49]Dr. Cheryl True:Who's an omnivore? So it gave people an opportunity to try something new, to learn how to do some food prep that maybe they didn't do before practice some of those shopping skills if they wanted to, but then have standard set of recipes that they could use as go-to's because they knew. What they should look like what they should taste like, and they wouldn't be unknowns going into the future.

[00:30:10]Maya Acosta:Right. Oh my goodness. Can I attend? No, I would've loved to have attended something like that. So you touched on people not having the skills. So I wanna throw this out there because what you're saying is so important. Do you remember, I don't know, back in the day when Home Ec. classes were available, where you would have sort of a kitchen setting, it was very early on.

[00:30:34]Maya Acosta:I mean, it depends, I guess, on the school district and the state, but I attended that like I had a little Home Ec. class that I attended many years ago when I was younger and you would basically, I think even at that time you would learn how to use a microwave, like what foods you can put in the microwave and basic chopping skills, basic things.

[00:30:54]Maya Acosta:And it was a lot of fun to see like your classmates being part of this class. So now. I can see how people would benefit and enjoy coming together. And it's, I'm not saying one is better than the other potlucks are wonderful because everyone prepares the food at home and then they share, they share their food with other people.

[00:31:14]Maya Acosta:However, I like the approach that you are describing and I would love to be able to do that maybe someday with my own group, which is everyone sees the raw foods or at least the raw ingredients and how everything's gonna come together to prepare a meal and so you're sort of in a class setting, it reminds me of sort of like taking a cooking class, which I've done in the past.

[00:31:36]Maya Acosta:And you have other classmates there, other people that are preparing similar meals. So how eventually, like how successful was this group did more people join? Did people come from far away to joining your meal preps? 

[00:31:51]Dr. Cheryl True:We had one friend of mine that lives an hour and a half away. She and her mom did come.

[00:31:55]Dr. Cheryl True:The one, we had a limited space size-wise of what we could do. So I don't remember what we capped them at, but that location that I was at that store closed their sessions. They just weren't doing that program anymore. So we ended up having to move to a different location and then there's a learning curve, right?

[00:32:13]Dr. Cheryl True:Somebody knew was trying to figure out what the ingredients look like and what the processing part is and then COVID came along. Too long after that. So we didn't do these during COVID the store, wasn't offering them those sessions. So we haven't done any since then, but people have asked us, okay, now that things are getting better or are we going to restart some of those?

[00:32:35]Dr. Cheryl True:And so are you, we will see, we are just from our pod standpoint, we had always done these in-person meetings and the first month. So today is what the 11th. So today's two years from the pandemic was declared and wow, two years and we had a virtual speaker lined up for that month. That was gonna be, you know, while we're in person, she was gonna be on the screen in front of us.

[00:33:00]Dr. Cheryl True:And I didn't realize how unfamiliar virtual meetings and settings were to people in the general public. And so we switched it to being virtual that you could attend whatever platform it was. And we didn't have very many people attend. I think a lot of people. Just didn't. I mean, everybody was really trying to figure out what this pandemic even meant.

[00:33:21]Dr. Cheryl True:So we had some speakers lined up, but our attendance hadn't been great at that one. And I personally got very busier on that time. So we ended up thinking, you know, it's like everybody else, okay. Things will settle down, we'll get back to normal. And then as the pandemic just stretched on, we continued to communicate like through our Facebook group or some small things, but really just kept waiting for those in-person events to return.

[00:33:47]Dr. Cheryl True:So last summer of 2021, rather than bringing people back indoors, we helped some outdoor events that we just were picnics. We didn't do an educational part. It was just an opportunity for people to come back together, bring their food, and have that community and see their friends in that setting. We had a pretty significant surge here.

[00:34:07]Dr. Cheryl True:Recently, and that's finally settled down. So we've just restarted our in-person, pod meetings, March of 2022, we had to bring your own food and kind of took a poll of the folks attending to see what people would be comfortable with. And we'll be restarting those potlucks in April. 

[00:34:23]Maya Acosta:Yay. Wonderful. So you mentioned the virtual aspect of it.

[00:34:28]Maya Acosta:It's interesting that I was already doing my interviews on zoom before the pandemic. And I initially started in person wanting to highlight the Game Changers in Dallas, which I am going to highlight them again pretty soon. So I'm doing in-person interviews with them at another studio where I record, but I had already, you know, I was already interviewing people from other areas outside of my state and found that to be very beneficial.

[00:34:56]Maya Acosta:And I remember my husband was speaking at medical schools as well, and we were traveling, we were exhausted. And I said to him, 2020, we have to go online. I think it's time to do some of this work online because we can't travel as often as we've been. We're exhausted. So it's interesting that some of us were sort of ready for that virtual experience.

[00:35:19]Maya Acosta:One of our goals in the PAC events of committee is to support pod leaders in terms of going online. So if you feel like you're still restricted and you're not comfortable meeting in person, our goal is to help you to come online and to feel comfortable, either doing things on zoom or other platforms where you can continue to kind of connect, build that sense of community, offer support for your pod members.

[00:35:45]Maya Acosta:And so I think you kind of already emphasized Dr. True, that you haven't done a lot. I can say the same thing for me. I've kept the podcast going. As a matter of fact, I've been able to really invest time into what I wanna do in terms of offering support for just anyone who listens. I've done some sort of interactive cooking demos with other people that partner with me through stream yard.

[00:36:09]Maya Acosta:And that's been a lot of fun, but it's work. It's a lot of work to do anything. And you stay busy. I mean, are you still practicing? Are you seeing patients? 

[00:36:19]Dr. Cheryl True:Uh, so my clinic part, I had been doing chip as the part of that clinic and with the pandemic, I was not asking people to gather, so I didn't go virtual with that either.

[00:36:30]Dr. Cheryl True:But in the midst of this, after the pandemic, I had started working with the health department too. And so the patients I see right now are refugee immigrant patients that are coming into the clinic setting there. So I'm hoping to get back to the chip or PEO this year and get that rebooted too. It's been an interesting couple of years, right?

[00:36:52]Maya Acosta:it, it really has been it's uh, I don't know. Everyone's experience is different for me. It's been having to reevaluate my life. What's important? Where am I going with all of this? What's it been like for? 

[00:37:05]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. You know, so I live a border of two states that took different approaches to the pandemic. And so I think there were challenges that we saw just locally because of that from economic perspectives, the way businesses were open and the way masks were approached.

[00:37:21]Dr. Cheryl True:And we really from like even the Lifestyle Medicine standpoint, I saw very early on those chronic disease factors that were so important in how people were being impacted by the COVID pandemic. And also the challenges from the social determinants of health. That is a phrase that you're familiar with, the differences in people's health, based upon where they are in their lives and what's available to them and what's accessible to them.

[00:37:47]Dr. Cheryl True:Do they have access to medical care? Do they have access to healthy foods? Do they live in a fruit desert? Are they impacted by toxins in their environment? And as we saw, many of the folks that are essential workers were very dramatically impacted by not being able to stay home or work from home that they had to be out in the community, interacting with others during that very unknown time.

[00:38:10]Dr. Cheryl True:And we saw those impacts on different parts of our population, especially early. Of who was getting really sick and who had higher risks of death from the spiral. So I think it made me even more aware of how we need a lifestyle medicine plant-based approach that is easily accessible to everyone. It can't be something that, because you have access to full-fledged grocery store, rather than I'm going to the gas station to get my meals or a fast food restaurant, we need to make sure that those choices that are so important to help are available to everyone.

[00:38:46]Maya Acosta:Absolutely. Excellent point. I'm so glad that you brought that up. I feel like for example, we talk about vegan and we're both ethical vegans. We care about our planet, but we also care about our health. And so that's partly why on my podcast, I wanted to emphasize lifestyle medicine is that we're helping.

[00:39:05]Maya Acosta:Every aspect of that veganism goal, that we have that vision of helping the animals in the planet by taking care of ourselves. And so I think, yes, what you just said was very clear that our health has to be important to us. If we're gonna continue to have these sort of pandemics that can quickly kill us.

[00:39:26]Maya Acosta:If we're not building up our immune systems, you also. Are a contributor to this book that I just got, um, theImproving Women's Health Across the Lifespan. It was recently published by a lot of the Physicians from the American College of Lifestyle Medicines, women's interest group. And I might have said, Dr. True, that many of our listeners are women. And then women are the ones not always, but the ones that bring this health information into their homes, they're still sort of the primary people who go out and do the groceries and do the meal prepping. And so we wanna get this information out to women and support them.

[00:40:04]Maya Acosta:I love this chapter that you contributed to it's on community engagement and women's health. And the reason I bring it up right now is because you just talked about how you take into consideration where people are, where patients are in terms of having access to good food, having access just to health in general.

[00:40:26]Maya Acosta:So in this chapter, you see health disparities being addressed and you also address being culturally sensitive when it comes to the foods that you prescribe, the recipes that you prescribe to patients. Those are two topics that I said to you early on that I wanna continue to talk about on this podcast.

[00:40:47]Maya Acosta:So can we explore this chapter a little bit? 

[00:40:50]Dr. Cheryl True:Sure. I think that the importance of that community engagement is something we talked about a little bit ago, too. Is that, often, especially in medicine, it's almost like this top-down approach, very paternalistic here. I'm the expert. I'm, I'm telling you what you should do to deal with this disease.

[00:41:08]Dr. Cheryl True:But if you look at what helps succeed in those communities and especially in communities that face a lot of challenges is that the people that are living that experience to be able to be the contributors and decision makers to that. So how do we bring things together and meet in the middle? We find out what our community members need and if the materials and resources aren't available, or it's not something that I'm even interested in, I don't want to do your program because it's not something that I see as a benefit to me.

[00:41:42]Dr. Cheryl True:So. If we look at places that our communities could really, you know, from a plant-based standpoint, if we went into an area of town, that's a food desert and say, you know, Hey, are you interested in eating more fresh fruits and vegetables? And they say, yes. And you ask where they get them. And there's nothing around that they can access.

[00:42:00]Dr. Cheryl True:It's really going to be challenging for that person to increase that intake and say, well, what's another option? Can. Frozen, can you eat canned? You know, where are those even accessible? So even just building the relationships with the people in our communities to understand number one, what people want number two, and what they have access to.

[00:42:21]Dr. Cheryl True:And number three is there's something that could be changed to help bring those resources to that person are ways to think about approaches and there's many really great approaches out there of ways to number one, assess, you know, asking folks what they want and then using the community members to come together to make those things a reality, and this takes a lot of work, right? It's not something that you just throw together and boom, everything is better. We know that there are hurdles and challenges. So having this framework, and there's a couple of different models discussed in there. And some steps that some Lifestyle Medicine Physicians have put out there in their research and in their work that have been effective.

[00:43:03]Dr. Cheryl True:And so building upon some of those success stories, but really tackling it from a perspective of your own community and unique features that exist can help people to build some of those programs so that they become sustainable too. And I think about communities that maybe this was something I was reading about during the pandemic where some people live in apartment buildings where maybe they're sharing a kitchen with the floor or even a bathroom with the floor.

[00:43:28]Dr. Cheryl True:And if anything happens to that one shared facility, they're gonna go to another floor to even do their cooking or something. So if we don't understand, maybe our patient lives in that setting. And you're saying here at go home and cook a plant-based meal, and they're thinking I don't even have a way to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

[00:43:46]Dr. Cheryl True:I didn't have a way to open a can much less warm something up. I don't see that as sustainable for me, but yet that may not be something they're comfortable sharing with you. So really being able to engage at our community level. Gives us a perspective of person's own vision and goals for their health, providing the education as to the why something may be important, but helping to fit it into that appropriate perspective.

[00:44:11]Dr. Cheryl True:There are many cultural, like you mentioned, there's cultural aspects. Food is not just food. Food is it's a gathering. It's an experience. It's a comfort. It's what we do sometimes more than just the fuel or calories for what we eat. And so if we ask people to change something that is so special to them in a way that is very foreign, We don't want to adopt those types of things.

[00:44:34]Dr. Cheryl True:So making sure that we understand from that community engagement level, that we're meeting where everybody wants to be. 

[00:44:41]Maya Acosta:Absolutely so beautifully said. I, and I think of, for example, the patient, so here's the physician on one side, here's the patient on the other side, and the physician is saying to the patient, these lifestyle modalities will help with a condition that you're dealing with, go home and put those in practice.

[00:45:00]Maya Acosta:And those two individuals may never run in the same social circles. They might have very different experiences. And so it means nothing sometimes to the patient to be told by an individual who doesn't understand their reality. And I feel that that's where the pod network helps bridge that gap. I don't know if that's the right way to say it, but I feel like the pod network helps to fill in that need by us establishing ourselves in our own community as leaders.

[00:45:30]Maya Acosta:And then working together with our own resources. So collaboration like you had in having access to a room at a university and having access to meal prep services, for example, or those role models by us being leaders, we can help support the individual. They might not be directly our patients. They just are a community member that comes to learn from us.

[00:45:56]Maya Acosta:But I feel like they're more likely to listen or take some advisor tips from people that are walking the top that are actually doing it. And then we can bring in our physician to maybe address them through lectures. And then you used have that at a bonus that you are a pot leader. You're the physician.

[00:46:15] Maya Acosta:So you have the information you're trained in chip. You have you're Board Certified in Lifestyle Medicine. You have done the Rouxbe Course, which is a culinary course, you know, with a plant-based nutrition component to it. So you're very equipped to lead these groups to be a pot leader, to help bridge the gap and to help understand you have the understanding of what the patient needs.

[00:46:37]Maya Acosta:So when I read this chapter in the women's health book, I thought, oh, okay. It's very ideal idealistic in terms of what is being recommended. But I see the role that. The Plantpure pods, the pod membership or the pod network can actually do to help. What do you think? 

[00:46:55]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. You know, and as you said, walk the walk.

[00:46:57]Dr. Cheryl True:It reminded me of being involved with Walk with a Doc, another kind of grassroots type effort to get out into your community and to engage with other people. And for your listeners that aren't familiar, this is an organization that was formed 17 years ago. Sorry. I can't remember the year by a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio who was always trying to get his patients to be active and to get out and exercise and move.

[00:47:25]Dr. Cheryl True:And he would often find that they didn't. And so he says, you know, my family and I are gonna go out. Saturday to the park and we're gonna go for a walk, come and join us and people came. And so kind of like the pod, you know, like I'm sitting there in the audience going, okay, I'm gonna make this pod. And people come, vectors found people came.

[00:47:43]Dr. Cheryl True:And so, you know, over time, this actually grew into an organization, a nonprofit organization that like the pod network is global now and different communities have different Walk with the Doc chapters and group leaders. And part of it is about education. So leading with some health topic and then going for a walk, you know, doing a physical activity, talking while you're walking, it gives.

[00:48:07]Dr. Cheryl True:Physicians and other clinicians, a timeframe to they're off the clock. They're not poking away their computers. There's not a stethoscope. They're not watching the time. They're just engaging in conversation and for providers, it can be a time to talk about things in the expanded moment. You know, if you just have 15 minutes to see somebody it's really hard to say all those things that you would really like to relate to them.

[00:48:32]Dr. Cheryl True:But if you're walking with somebody for an hour and walking with a group, you can really have a nice conversation. And it gives people the opportunity to ask questions that they wouldn't have time to ask, you know, in a clinic visit either. And then again, it's that social connections they're learning from each other.

[00:48:48]Dr. Cheryl True:They're engaging in an activity with other people which can help improve their desire to do that. You know, Hey, I'm gonna see my new friends. When I go, I'm gonna have this opportunity. I'm gonna be in the sunshine or, or maybe the snow or the rain, whichever, but I'm going to get something from this, right?

[00:49:04]Dr. Cheryl True:I'm getting activity. I'm getting information. And some of the research that they've been doing shows that people do walk away with improvements in knowledge, they increase some of their activity, even outside of those walks. So again, that community engagement, there's somebody that maybe has that leadership role and then that community role, but coming together to have a shared experience.

[00:49:27]Dr. Cheryl True:And just because somebody is the leader, doesn't mean they're not learning just as much as the people who are walking or attending a pod meeting with them, you know, you can learn it kind of levels that playing field. We can all learn from each other. We all have experiences to share. We all have strengths that maybe somebody else doesn't have that that really help us to build some of those connections that help us all.

[00:49:53]Maya Acosta:Mm-hmm. I'm so glad you brought that up. I love Walk with the Doc. You probably know. We also have a chapter here in the Dallas area and I love it. I love getting out there. We have put, unfortunately, the last two years we've had the walks going. We've halted them. It's just been back and forth. I'm almost afraid.

[00:50:11]Maya Acosta:Like we might have lost some of our walkers because we haven't been consistent, but I also was following my husband's recommendations because we wanted to practice safety first. Have you received your walks?

[00:50:24]Dr. Cheryl True:I have not. I'm hoping, you know, hopefully, we'll get some decent weather and I'm in the Midwest, so you never know what April will bring, but hopefully, that timeframe will work out, and maybe even exploring some new partnerships, those ways to draw in additional, additional people that maybe wouldn't have heard about these ahead of time, you know, kinda like with the pods, how are people finding you?

[00:50:46]Dr. Cheryl True:How are you advertising? I am not a marketing person getting the word out there in different ways. Doesn't come naturally to me. So looking at ways that your participants tell others, you know, kind of that word of mouth using social media, getting published place or a podcast, right? Actually, our pod Heartland Rooted has a podcast.

[00:51:08]Dr. Cheryl True:We have two of our members, two of our board members that are doing a podcast that I don't remember how many episodes they've had out, but at our first in-person pod meeting this year in March, we had our bring your own food. And then instead of an educational component, they recorded their podcast live in front of our pod members that day.

[00:51:27]Dr. Cheryl True:So I'll have to take a listen. I have to send you a link for that, but.

[00:51:31]Maya Acosta:Is that with Meryl Fury? No. Uh, oh, cuz Meryl Fury has a podcast too. I'm sorry. I don't know who the board members are. So what is the name of.

[00:51:41] Dr. Cheryl True:it or our Heartland Rooted board Dan Arnold and Bob Fight are the two that are doing the podcast.

[00:51:47]Maya Acosta:What did you say the name was? 

[00:51:48]Dr. Cheryl True:Heartland Rooted Plant-based podcast. 

[00:51:50]Maya Acosta:Oh, it's the same name. Okay. I didn't realize it's the same name as your Facebook group and your page. 

[00:51:56]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. And that was interesting. When I did the interview to be a pod leader, one of the questions was, you know, what's the name of your pod?

[00:52:03]Dr. Cheryl True:And I didn't know what to come up with, you know, kind of toss around all these, this, this, and this and I'm like, here we are, we're in the Heartland. And Heartland Rooted just somehow came out of that. And one of our board members had a relative who made our logo for us, which, you know, we're a by-state community, Iowa, Illinois, and has a beat with the roots running through.

[00:52:24]Dr. Cheryl True:Cause we've got the Mississippi river that runs through our community. So I think that whatever that spot idea moment to name the pod, I think it really has represented where we are and who we are and what plant-based eating really can do. Even in the midst of where the bread basket of America, we grow a lot of corn, but there are also a lot of house and pigs and chickens around here too.

[00:52:45]Maya Acosta:Right. Well, I am gonna have to check it out and I'll put a link to your podcast in the show notes as well and so coming back as we're wrapping up, coming back to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, because I love to promote when their conferences are coming, coming back to that. Did you say that you attended the very first conference they had in 2013?

[00:53:07]Dr. Cheryl True:I did not. I think that they had a conference in 2012. That was in. Maybe Denver. This is my recollection is they had like 125 people. We did one, the 2013, one was in Alexandria, in near DC. And it just since then has taken off, I wanna say there's 6,000 members of the college or more. Um, conferences are capped by attendance and, you know, location-wise 1400 or something, 1500 for this upcoming year, but it's a, a field that has grown, even if it says American College of Lifestyle Medicine doesn't mean it's just physicians, physicians, nurses, dietician, nutritionists, physical, occupational therapists, pharmacist, health coaches, healthcare executives, other people that are involved in patient care or even community.

[00:53:56]Dr. Cheryl True:Level support of that Lifestyle Medicine message our members. So it's a wonderful organization that I think has changed my trajectory and then allowed me to meet people from even this American College around the world that focus on Lifestyle Medicine, and really wanna see that as that foundation of health and healthcare mm-hmm,

[00:54:15]Maya Acosta:I'm a member of ACLM as well, and part of the women's health interest group.

[00:54:21]Maya Acosta:And that has been very meaningful to meet with other members that are physicians and practitioners who are very active with patients and really wanting to support women's health. And so any chance I get to mention all of that, I always do. And the upcoming conference is still scheduled to happen in Orlando, Florida in November.

[00:54:42]Maya Acosta:And I'm hoping to be there any chance that you'll go? I know that it's so hard to make any kind of definite decisions right now. 

[00:54:50]Dr. Cheryl True:I'm planning on being there. I'm looking forward to it. That actually would've been in your town. If we would've been able to be there this past 

[00:54:59]Maya Acosta:year, I know. Oh my goodness. I don't wanna think about it, but yes, unfortunately I was all pumped up.

[00:55:04]Maya Acosta:Like I was so excited and I'm gonna delete this part, but ACLM had asked me to set up and interview live. 

[00:55:13]Dr. Cheryl True:so nice. Well, can you do it since you're going to be there? I mean, does your recording equipment feasible to take with you? 

[00:55:20]Maya Acosta:I could. I haven't decided they reached out not necessarily to partner with me that way, but to set up a table if I wanted to.

[00:55:28]Maya Acosta:And I said, you know, I'm so looking forward to mingling and really connecting with people that as a podcast would take me away from that. So, and if I do, I have to really be strategic so that I can attend the workshops, cuz I wanna learn. I wanna be there. I wanna take it all in. 

[00:55:44]Dr. Cheryl True:Would this be your first conference then in 

[00:55:46]Maya Acosta:person?

[00:55:48]Maya Acosta:Well, I went to the 2019 conference the ASAP, but yes. And then in terms of, in person, just in general, last year, I went to a Podcaster's conference in person, in Nashville, in between the spikes and everything else. I don't know if the Delta had been in place yet. It was in August of last year and I loved it, but there was so many wonderful measures that were put in place to keep your distance from people.

[00:56:12]Maya Acosta:They even had headsets. So you can dial into the speaker. You wanted to hear and watch the person from a distance without ever being around the crowd. They had buttons that you can wear to tell people whether you were wanting to be at a certain distance or not. If you wanted to be left alone. And at the very end, they had this huge party that I decided not to attend.

[00:56:34]Maya Acosta:Because it was at a club and I saw video of it and I was like, no, that would've been a big spreader.  I did not wanna go to that

[00:56:42]Dr. Cheryl True:You know, you had mentioned that when we talked before and I loved the idea of, of the buttons. And so we were maybe this part you can put in. So when we gathered in May or in March for our first in person, I had shared that with our host committee.

[00:56:56]Dr. Cheryl True:And so they had gone out and bought the little, you know, my name is name tags in red, green, and yellow. And then they had a little thing like above our little display that said, you know, pick your name, head color, based upon your comfort level. And it said, you know, I'm a hugs are okay. Uh, fist bump, or I keeping my distance or whatever, the three items.

[00:57:17]Dr. Cheryl True:And so you could see as you walk up, what people's comfort levels were in that setting and you didn't have to ask, right? And if somebody with a red one came up on and hugged you anyway, you knew that that was okay with them. That might be something that pod leaders, as they're looking to reengage, maybe they could consider doing something that helps people indicate their comfort level.

[00:57:39]Maya Acosta:You know, it's so funny that you put that in place. And I haven't, and because we were still, like I said, back and forth doing our walks, and sometimes you could tell that a person wanted to be a little away from the rest of the group and the buttons would've been nice to have even at that time. So maybe I'm gonna borrow that idea, 

[00:57:57]Dr. Cheryl True:you know, in our Walk with the Doc, we usually would have people could get at least to do it, have a name tag.

[00:58:02]Dr. Cheryl True:I don't think we did it towards the end, but yeah, that'd be even for the outdoor stuff, giving people that comfort zone. 

[00:58:08]Maya Acosta:Yes. Okay. Cool. All right. Well, Dr. True, this has been wonderful. Before we wrap up, I wanna know, do you have a final message for our listeners? And some of our listeners could be pod leaders that are sort of feeling a little bit shy about doing anything, either in person or online.

[00:58:26]Maya Acosta:How can we continue to encourage pod leaders to realize that they can continue to have an impact in their own community? 

[00:58:35]Dr. Cheryl True:Yeah. You know, I think number one, being a pod leader or looking at being a pod leader is something that you can make it fit you. There's not a cut-and-dried cookie cutter that says what your pod has to be like, be creative.

[00:58:50]Dr. Cheryl True:Think outside the box, make it work for you in the community members that you wanna serve. Ask if you know of others, what would be helpful to them? How could they help you? And I think that's also very important that finding your community so that you don't have to do this all alone. That's very challenging.

[00:59:06]Dr. Cheryl True:Sometimes if people think that they're the only one that's going to take on something big, they think you'll find that in communities, there are many people willing to help out and willing to pick up a role that suits their strengths. You can work to your strengths and find other people to complement those areas that maybe you aren't as strong.

[00:59:26]Maya Acosta:Yes, that's wonderful. The whole collaboration and partnerships is key. I think sometimes as leaders, we think we can do it all ourselves and then we experience burnout. And if people wanna learn more. Oh, I know. If people wanna learn more about you or your businesses because we didn't touch on those. I don't know if you would like to touch on your businesses, but what websites, what email or anything, what would you like to share with people in case they wanna learn more about you or your Facebook group?

[00:59:57]Dr. Cheryl True:I can send you links for them, but I don't have a website. Uh, from a standpoint of Heartland Rooted, we do have and You can reach out to us there. We have a Facebook page that's open to public and then a Facebook group that's closed, but you can ask to join.

[01:00:16]Dr. Cheryl True:There's a couple questions. Uh, have you seen PlantPure Nation and what's your favorite vegetable? I think are the two questions that you would have to answer. So, I mean, those would be the ways to reach us. I don't have a personal website or anything. The Heartland rooted would probably be the easiest one.

[01:00:31]Maya Acosta:Wonderful. I'll make sure to put all those links in the show notes and Dr. True again, it's been wonderful to be able to get to know you and to learn about your story. And now that you're a PAC member, I'm looking forward to working together with you and learning more about the different talents that you have to bring to the table so that we can support pot leaders.

[01:00:52]Maya Acosta:So again, thank you for your time. 

[01:00:53]Dr. Cheryl True:Thank you. And I really have enjoyed talking with you and I look forward to engaging further in the PAC. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for us to grow this pot network and really support people out there to do the good work that they do.

[01:01:05]Maya Acosta:Yes. Thank you. You've been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast with your host Maya, if you've enjoy this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode, feel free to leave us an honest review on apple podcast that helps us to spread our message. Thanks for listening.

Cheryl TrueProfile Photo

Cheryl True


Cheryl True MD, DipABLM, FACLM is a Family & Lifestyle Medicine Physician in Davenport, IA. She started her Pod Heartland Rooted in 2016. The Pod has typically held monthly meetings that consisted of a potluck with time for fellowship and an educational session. The Pod has also hosted community lectures and healthy food demos, a monthly whole food plant based meal prep workshop, and a spice blends workshop. Heartland Rooted has a website, an active Facebook page & group, and also keeps in contact with members by email. Dr True has many interests and activities. She is a Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, has additional training as a health and wellness coach, and certicificates in plant based nutrition and plant based cooking.

She has her own businesses True Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & LM4U, and is also Medical Director of the Rock Island County Health Department, and Director of Education for digitalLM. She is a Walk with a Doc group leader, and serves on a variety of boards and committees. She enjoys cycling, outdoor activities and cooking. She and her husband enjoy sharing their home with their many pets.