The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


Tsumamis of change–Dr. T. Colin Campbell coming to Scranton PA!

I have been so busy with my day job, being a home health nurse and making evening visits on call that some of my plant based projects have had to simmer on the back burner for a bit. I needed something to get me reinvigorated and involved, so you cannot imagine my surprise and excitement when I opened my email this morning to find out that T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study, is coming to Scranton, PA! He will be giving a lecture at the University of Scranton where I went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree in Nursing. The Exercise Science Club is sponsoring the event and it is open to the public and free of charge. If you are in the Northeast and can make it to Scranton on November 11th at 7 p.m. please join us! The venue holds 500 and I would love to see it filled to the brim! All you have to do is call to RSVP to reserve a spot.

Scranton is about a 2 hr drive from NYC and Philadephia and has a rich history as a booming coal mining center, a stop on the railroad and home to some beautiful architecture. I call this area the land of pizza and pierogies, and we have some wonderfully rich and not so healthy ethnic foods, a church on almost every corner along with a “beer garden” and a funeral home in close proximity. According to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, approximately 30,000 people are living with Cancer in Northeast PA. and 9.900 in our 10 county area are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Considering our cancer rates in this area and across the U.S., there is no time like the present for a visit from Dr. Campbell. “For more than forty years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is a professor Emeritus at Cornell University and is most well-known for co-authoring the bestselling book The China Study with his son, Thomas Campbell, MD. In addition to his long and outstanding career as an author, scientific researcher, and Cornell professor, Dr. Campbell has been featured in several documentary films. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online internationally-recognized Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in partnership with eCornell. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and diseases, particularly the causation of cancer. He has focused on nutritional status and long term health. Surprisingly, Campbell started his life on a dairy farm, but is now widely-known for researching links between animal-based protein diets and disease. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board.”(


I have heard Dr. Campbell speak and his knowledge of nutrition is astounding and his passion for spreading the word about plant based nutrition and optimal health is contagious. The last time I heard him speak this August at Plantstock there was an urgency in his voice, an urgency that we must stop this vicious cycle of poor diet, chronic illness and suffering and replace it with a story of health promoting plant based foods and health and wellness for our citizens.

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Rice and potatoes in the same dish? OR for the love of curry!

My daughter traveled to India a few years ago, and when she returned, she was missing the flavors and aromas of Indian food, the colors of India, the sounds, and most of all she missed the kind and hospitable people she met.

Indian fruit indian market 2 indian market bindi powder 2 Indian musicabelle indian friend
My husband decided to make her a veggie curry to remind her of India after her return home. He found the recipe in a book by Tony Levin, “Beyond the Bass Clef.” Levin is an American bass player who has played with a lot of English bands, including King Crimson and Peter Gabriel’s band. According to my husband, he decided he had better learn to make a decent curry for his English musician friends as this is what you eat in England “when you don’t feel like eating English food which is always.” Apparently Indian takeout is a thing there.  The first time my husband made this dish, we were still eating the standard American diet and I thought the whole dish was ludicrous–no meat, crazy Indian spices, and worst of all, two starches in one dish, rice AND potatoes! We ate a very traditional diet with one starch, one vegetable and one protein source, usually animal based, on our plates. So when my husband decided to make this again last night for us, I was reminded of my first taste of Indian cuisine 5 or 6 years ago. Only this time, I LOVED it, even though it had rice AND potatoes! The cauliflower worked really well, too. It soaks up the spices well. He also added peas and carrots and onions.

curry in skillet Veggie curry Tony Levin

Now we eat Indian dishes regularly and even have a favorite Indian restaurant, New Amber Indian Restaurant, in Moosic, PA. I love the spices, the aromas, and just everything about the food. They know our order by heart at New Amber and I’m planning on adding more Indian dishes to our repertoire here at home. My favorite dish when we eat out is Sabji Jalfrezi. It has tons of veggies and is nice and spicy.


Not only are Indian dishes flavorful and delicious, but there may be some fabulous health benefits. The cancer rates are much lower in India than in the U.S. and according to Dr. Michael Greger of, “Several factors may contribute to the low overall rate of cancer in India. Among them are a relatively low intake of meat, a mostly plant-based diet, and a high intake of spices and seasonings with anticancer properties.” Here is one of his videos on the topic, and there are many more on his site about the anti cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric.

So, if you think you don’t like Indian food, give it another chance. You may find you were missing out on a taste explosion and some incredible health benefits, too!

Remember, have fun with your food and enjoy!


Teach your children well…introducing Annabelle!

Twenty three years ago our beautiful Annabelle Rose arrived on the scene. Surrounded by my husband,  nursing students and a stern older O.B. nurse explaining to me that I could not scream and push at the same time, she arrived after a speedy 6 minutes of pushing and weighed in at 5 lbs 12 oz.

Annabelle and Ben

Her big brother Ben thought she was pretty neat and insisted we call her “Bart Simpson.” Instead we named her after my Aunt Annabelle who was well loved by everyone in the family and overcame many obstacles to raise her own beautiful family. Annabelle had a healthy appetite from the beginning and I always thought it was fun and an important learning experience to allow she and her brother to help in the kitchen despite any messes we might make.

ez bake ben and abelle in kitchen abelle highchair

We also made a point to eat together as a family every evening and though the meals could be pretty creative when times were tough, Annabelle and her brother were adventurous eaters and rarely fussed about their food. Annabelle went through a phase where she wasn’t crazy about veggies, but we just kept putting them on her plate and encouraging her to taste them and before we knew it, broccoli was her favorite veggie and she was asking for more. People were often amazed our kids ate more exotic foods like pesto and not just chicken nuggets and hot dogs.


We were pretty smitten with this joyful little girl and before we knew it she was off to the first day of kindergarten. She had to be the first one in line to get into the school and hurried down to her room to start the adventure her brother had been on that she was missing. It’s hard to believe she just graduated from college this month with her bachelors degree in Social work.

 Kindergarten abelle grad

When I decided to take the plunge into plant based eating 2 1/2 years ago, Annabelle was the first one I asked to come along with me on my adventure. She said that of course she would, and  reminded me that when she was in middle school she wanted to become vegetarian and I blew her off. Oops!  Annabelle and I went on that day I invited her to our plant based adventure for our first plant based grocery trip and she helped me make our first official plant based meal from the Forks over Knives cookbook. Even though she had to return to college after that Thanksgiving weekend, she dove right in, found plant based options in the college cafeteria, and began her love affair with plants. Even though her options were limited, she found a way to make it work and lost over 20 lbs and had almost complete resolution of a digestive issue the gastroenterologist could not solve. She could have done a risky procedure to diagnose and treat the issue that was suspected, but her chances of developing pancreatitis was around 50% and that was not a risk worth taking. I don’t remember the last time she called to tell me she was awakened with debilitating abdominal pain.

Annabelle is now pursuing her Masters degree in Social work and living in her own apartment. Even though she has an internship Monday through Friday and class on Saturdays, she and her fiancée Rob, have been cooking beautiful meals together and she has been texting me pictures of their dishes!

Annabelle and RobHere are some pictures of their colorful, nutritious meals:

kale pesto salad stir fry prep stir fry veggie burgers veggies for roasting curry curry plated caouiflower wings burritos

We love you Annabelle and are still smitten and very proud of you!

me and abelle

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!