September 23, 2019

Gift of Health Workshop in St. John’s – Sept. 2019

Post by giftofhealth

It was the weekend of Fun, Food and Inspiring Transformations!

Here’s the sneak peek of what happened at our first St. John’s Gift of Health workshop.


And so began the enlightening weekend!

The first day was fantastic. We had a lovely group of 44 people. It was humbling to see participants travel from Los Angeles, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and various parts of Newfoundland, including Grand Falls, to take part in the workshop. We had so much fun while raising awareness about the connection between food choices and health.

The participants learned the differences between the sickness approach vs. a self-care approach to chronic health problems; how to overcome insulin resistance with food to reverse diabetes, how to get the most nutrients from food and how to eat more to lose weight with the calorie density principle. Then we did a session on comparing the nutrient density profiles of processed foods vs. plant-based foods and animal-based foods.

All the participants enjoyed getting the experience of what it feels like to lose 15 to 30 pounds.

At the end of the first day, those participating felt empowered that they could take control of their health, stop dieting, lose weight and reverse diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and high cholesterol.

Participants loved the food. They were excited to try the vast array of plant-based foods prepared for them by Marie Letemplier and Myrtle Kelly. The menu on day 1 was onion rings, cauliflower wings with barbecue sauce, nachos with cheeze sauce, pea soup, lasagna, Caesar salad, lots of fruit, and brownies.

Many thanks to our first day volunteers – Larry Bradley, Judy Bradley, Debbie Ford, and Carolyn Manuel.


Amazing transformations happened on Day 2 of the Gift of Health workshop. Participants felt empowered and inspired that they could make the necessary changes to take control of their health. They absolutely loved the food. They got to taste over 25 different foods on day 2. We had a lovely breakfast to start with – French toast, overnight oats, scrambled tofu and fruit.

After breakfast, we spent three hours answering the 40 different, most commonly asked questions about food and nutrition. We cleared up the most common nutrition myths.

This was followed by the most exciting session of the day – sharing Plant-Based Journeys. Our previous workshop participants came back to inspire and motivate the new members of the Gift of Health family.

Vanessa struggled with crippling arthritis and autoimmune disease (Sjogren’s). Within a few weeks of adopting plant-based eating, she came off of her steroids, found more energy, reversed arthritis and lost weight. From not being able to walk steadily – she went on to finish a Tely 10 (16 km) run. She even inspired her teenage daughter to make better food choices.

Then came the dynamic duo, Paul and Debbie. Debbie struggled with Rheumatoid Arthritis for years. She was on an anti-cancer drug (Methotrexate) to keep the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis under control. Within a few days of Debbie having adopted plant-based eating the pain and swelling in her joints were gone, and she came off the drugs (Methotrexate). She even surprised and educated her Rheumatologist.

Paul was on medication for high blood pressure and on the verge of going on medication for high cholesterol before attending the Gift of Health workshop. His doctors were also concerned about abnormal liver enzymes due to fatty liver. Within three weeks of starting plant-based eating, Paul’s doctor had to take him off of BP medication as his blood pressure was normal. He had blood work six weeks after he began plant-based eating and his cholesterol levels and liver enzymes were perfect. His doctors were amazed at how quickly his liver and his whole body started healing. Paul chuckled that his performance on the Hockey field and in real life (in bed) were also improved by plant-based eating.

Neil’s journey is an incredible testament that it is never too late to put the right fuel in the body. He is 75. Recently he had an angiogram of the heart which showed severe blockages (80 to 100%) in 3 main heart blood vessels. Neil also had acid reflux, high blood pressure and struggled to lose weight. After the angiogram, his cardiologist informed him that stents and bypass surgery are not options for him. He consulted us over the phone and adopted plant-based eating right away. And his healing journey began. Within 3 weeks, his doctor took him off of the acid reflux pill, his fluid pill and cut his blood pressure medication in half. He shed over 37 pounds in 5 months, has more energy and feels and looks like he’s in his 50s. He is walking like a champ everyday. His cardiologist was thrilled with his progress.

Erin fired up the room with her glowing energy. Erin kicked asthma, arthritis and found more strength with plant-based eating. Last year, Erin was struggling with asthma, intermittent claudication (calf cramping), excess weight, chronic pains in the neck, back, knees, and other joints. She was taking a Ventolin puffer for asthma, daily vitamins and supplements, vitamin C and B, life 9 (probiotic), organize (omega 3s with CoQ10 and vitamin D), sulfurazyme. Erin was weighing 278 pounds, and she was tired of being overweight and sick. Since the workshop, she has been able to accomplish her goals. Within a few days of adopting the plant-based way of eating, she found more energy and she incorporated regular exercise.
Now Erin is off all of her medications and supplements. She used to use her puffer for asthma regularly in the past. She has not used her puffers since the workshop.
Erin recently finished her first 16-kilometre road race without needing any puffers. SHE LOST 70 POUNDS since attending the Gift of Health Workshop.
Her chronic pains in her back, neck and calf cramping are gone.
Her friends and family members can not believe it.
Her high school friend after the race said, “I can not get over how good you look.”

All the previous workshop participants shared their tips and shortcuts on how they adopted a healthy plant-based lifestyle, how they overcame cravings, how they found support and got their health back. The new participants were even more motivated after listening to the real stories.

Then we had lunch. The menu for lunch was – Jeff Mouton’s hearty vegetable stew; burgers – beet burgers and bean burgers, baked beans, vegetable fried rice (from Taste of India, NL) and tapioca pudding. The lunch was absolutely delicious. The participants were excited to have tasty and healthy burgers. Many of them said that the burgers tasted much better than what they had expected.

After lunch, Shobha shared the tips and tricks to get started on the plant-based lifestyle. She addressed how to overcome the challenges that one might face when getting started on a plant-based lifestyle with some fun games.

Then we did the DOCTORS COOKING SHOW. We showed how to make 12 different breakfasts/snacks in just over an hour. Shobha also showed how to cook WITHOUT OIL.

We also showed them how to make quick breakfasts within 5 mins with 5 ingredients and get 50% or more of their nutrients for the day just by carving 5 minutes of their day!

The participants cooked rice, beans and chickpeas quickly and easily in the Instant Pot. We showed how to make a homemade pancake mix and scrambled tofu.

Arjun showed how to make potato chips, without using any oil. He made guilt-free potato chips and popcorn.

After the cooking demonstration, we watched bits from the documentary called Cowspiracy. Participants found it was eye-opening to learn the connection between the food choices that we make and what kind of planet we will leave for our kids and our grandkids.

After the movie, we had supper which was Bean and Barley Soup, pasta with Alfredo sauce, meatballs, spinach salad with a maple balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing, Vegetable Korma (from Taste of India, NL) and chocolate cake for dessert.

After supper, we went to the cinema theatre on Topsail Road to watch the fantastic movie Game Changers.

Day 3

“The best weekend I had in my life!”

These are the comments from the participants on the 3rd day of the workshop. We are so blessed to share the Gift of Health with this fantastic group of people.

Almost all the participants lost weight despite eating over 60 different foods. 64 pounds lost by the group in 3 days.

Many thanks to Paul Ford, Debbie Tucker, Myrtle Kelly, Erin Farrell Janice Grandy, Sean Callahan, Kim Slaney, Vanessa Cantwell, Sarah Cantwell, Keith Saunders, Marie Hollett and Maxine Kelly for coming back to inspire the new participants.

We started the day with a yummy breakfast. Blueberry pancakes with banana syrup, potato hash, Ttff breakfast cereal, and fruit.

After breakfast, Shobha did an enlightening session on how to read nutrition labels. She discussed the ways the food industry might try to fool you into buying stuff that is not healthy for you. Several participants were relieved that they finally felt comfortable reading and understanding confusing nutrition labels.

After the nutrition label reading session, Arjun did a session on how to choose healthier options when eating on the road and travelling, an educational session on how to Shop and Dine outside.

This was followed by an exciting cooking demonstration of plant-based lunches, suppers, snacks, and dinners. We showed over 20 different plant-based foods in two hours. Participants tasted over 30 different foods.

Shobha showed how to make soup, salads, stirfries, sandwiches, sauces, pizzas, potato wedges, and pita chips.

Kim Slaney showed how to make a quick and delicious bean and barley soup, baked beans and chocolate date coconut rolls. Kim also shared how she overcame her cravings for sugar with healthier eating.

Then we had Marie Letemplier’s Sunday dinner which was a super hit: Peas pudding, carrots, turnip, cabbage, potatoes, lentil loaf, gravy, bread rolls and blueberry muffins. Everyone loved the plant-based Sunday dinner.

Then the participants broke into small groups and did plan meals for one week ahead. We discussed the next steps and added everyone to the exclusive/secret Facebook group for Gift of Health workshop attendees.

The feedback session at the end got a bit teary. It was heartwarming to see people getting empowered to stop dieting, reverse disease and start living.

Many thanks to all the participants who gave us an opportunity to share the Gift of Health.

We had an incredible amount of support from the volunteers to ensure everything went well. Thank you to these lovely Angels!!!

And many thanks to Doraize and Marie Letemplier for making this Workshop possible in St. John’s.

Thanks to Florence Harnett for the amazing pics.

You guys Rock.

Check out the next Gift of Health workshop on how to stop dieting, lose weight and reverse disease in November 2019 

Love Junk Food? No Problem! Join our free Healthy Junk Food CourseSign UP