Champions of Health are those people that have been so impacted by the effects that the Nutritarian diet-style has had on their own health and lives that they have chosen to share their knowledge and experiences to help others and pay it forward. A Champion of Health becomes a catalyst of change, helping friends, family, co-workers and communities understand how they can take control of their own health destiny. During the 2013 Holiday Health Fest we asked members of Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center to submit their best Champion of Health story or to nominate someone else as their Champion. Christine from Rhode Island nominated Judy as her Champion of Health. Judy was our second place winner. Read Christine's nomination and story:
I would like to start with a bit about my background, and from there, I will tell you how Judy entered my life and changed it for the better. In the spring of 2011, I decided to change my way of eating. I did a tremendous amount of research throughout that spring and the summer that followed. In August 2011, I started to switch from eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) to become a nutritarian. I signed up for Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway Weekend prior to that Thanksgiving. It was there that I met another nutritarian — and my inspiration. Her name is Judy. She sought me out because we were from the same state. And when she found me, she invited me to her monthly "vegan/vegetarian potluck dinners" that she hosted at her house (of course now they are called Nutritarian dinners). She was so warm that I immediately decided I would go, even though I had to drive quite a distance to get there.
It was the best decision I ever made! She was so kind and inviting and so were her guests. Her dinner parties showed me that I wasn't the only one out there who wanted to be healthy. I didn't feel like a "strange outcast" at her house (or in her community for that matter). All the dishes were amazing and each month we talked about different topics and the dishes we brought represented those topics
Judy and I became fast friends. One day she told me that I should become a Nutritional Education Trainer (NET). I couldn't believe she thought I would be good at that. She was convinced I would be a great coach as I had overcome a lot of obstacles in my life (I was born with a serious congenital heart defect). She thought I would have a lot compassion for others, and also that I had experience with medical issues and seeing things turn around. She thought I could give them my story — on what it was like to feel awful — and show them how I turned it around. I immediately turned what she said back to her. I told her she would be an amazing NET! And, of course, she instantly said, "Oh no, not me!" and then, "I don't think I would have the time." Our conversation had me thinking about becoming a NET over the next six months or so. Then, I finally decided I would do it if she would!
Judy agreed to become a NET. We studied together and asked each other questions constantly. If it wasn't for her, I don't think I would have followed through on becoming an NET. Her support meant everything to me. Also, having a study partner was priceless. And the funniest part of all is I think we were certified within the same week, if not on the same day. After becoming certified NETs we started our businesses, separately, yet we did a lot of our work together. In the beginning, we taught all of our group classes together. The "nutritarians in training" got two takes on things rather than just one — so the people going to our seminars really made out well!
I slowed down on doing seminars and one-on-one training due to personal issues at home and Judy was always there to "lend an ear," keep me positive, and motivated me whenever I wanted to revert back to my old ways. She always "picked me up" when I was down and told me how inspirational I was to others when I couldn't see a single good thing in my life. She was truly one of the people in my life that pulled me back from the "dark side." If it hadn't been for her, I probably would be over on the dark side now, eating awfully, feeling awful, and potentially losing my life to my congenital heart disease because of it. Nutrition is the only thing that has helped me escape my "prison of a body." Medications may keep me alive, but they never allowed me to have a life! Only my diet did. I never knew I was "trapped in my body," because I was born with my condition. Judy helped me to see that I needed to stay nourished and strong for myself and for my son. That this was how I would win my battle.
I know for a fact that I'm not the only one she has been there for. This is a woman that is a true "giver" in every way. I don't even think she knows how much she has helped me or how she has changed my life in so many beautiful ways. I don't think she sees herself as the "angel on earth" that she is. I know she tries to reach out to others because that is who she is, but she certainly doesn't earn nearly the amount that she should. I am sure she loses out financially, because I know the amount of money that she pours into helping others (never mind the time and effort). I know that all she cares about is getting people healthy and she will do whatever she has to in order to accomplish that even if she loses time with her family, sleep, and money. I would love for Judy to have the beautiful gift that Dr. Fuhrman is giving away. Judy exemplifies everything that he stands for. I would be so honored to see Judy awarded for all that she has done for others. All I can say is that I don't know if there is a more deserving person. I am truly blessed that she has not only come into my life, but that she has also become what I consider one of my closest friends.