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Plant Based Transformation

for Beginners

Classes starting January 9, 2020, 5:30 pm

Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

201 E. Broadway St., North Little Rock, AR, 72114



Perhaps you’ve seen a documentary or heard somehow that people have been able to drastically improve and frequently even reverse chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease with a Whole Food Plant Based Diet.

About 75% of our health care budget is spent on the treatment of diseases that are caused by the food we eat.   Most medical specialties are built around technical expertise in performing highly intensive and/or invasive procedures caused by these “food-borne illnesses” that are assumed to be needed on just about every human around their 5th decade of life and beyond (heart catheterizations and stents, colonoscopies, prostate procedures, chemotherapy, insulin pumps, chronic diabetic wound treatment, etc., etc., etc.). 


I’m a cardiac RN and I’ve spent over 20 years caring for heart failure patients with all of the above problems from the beginning of their illness to the last weeks and days of their lives.  Our health care system frequently does not incentivize nutritional treatments that have been shown to effectively address the underlying causes of disease. We usually only treat the symptoms of Standard American Diet-induced diseases for the last 10-20 years of people's lives.  And many clinicians firmly believe that even if they did spend time counseling about nutrition,  most of their patients would never stick with a new diet anyway.  But we usually don’t prescribe a diet that has been shown to successfully fix the problem in the first place, thus creating a vicious cycle of patients who are not eager to begin a restrictive new diet that doesn’t even seem to work. 


In early 2019, in an effort to seek a more natural way to promote health, I took an entirely new career direction and started Natural State Microgreens and began selling this superfood to restaurants and at farmers’ markets. Ironically, around this same time, my husband Paul developed pre-diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has been my nemesis my entire professional career because it was frequently the root cause of the loss of health and life of so many of my patients. I had heard of the effectiveness of Plant Based Nutrition in reversing diabetes, so we immediately switched to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet (WFPBD) and within 4 months, Paul’s diabetes was reversed!


A few things I learned in our personal WFPB journey:


  • A WFPBD is very easy to stick to, the food is delicious,  and most importantly, we were never hungry.


  • A WFPBD involved eating many different foods than we were accustomed to. This food was delicious and usually much more exciting that our usual fare, but in order to make such a definitive shift away from many of the comforting and familiar foods we had been eating for decades, it was necessary for me to have a solid foundation of knowledge as to WHY this way of eating was so beneficial to our health and to understand that a WFPBD is in fact superior nutrition for humans than the meat/dairy/starch/vegetable formula that I was taught from childhood. 


  • Once you clearly understand the importance of Whole Food Plant Based eating, you just need to keep an open mind, be willing to try some new foods, learn a few new cooking skills and you’re on your way!   


Once I realized how easy a WFPBD is to maintain for a long period of time (Paul and I have both steadily lost over 20# without even trying) and how effective it is at greatly improving and frequently reversing chronic disease like Paul’s pre-diabetes, I had an epiphany.  I realized that what is missing in healthcare today is the foundational nutritional knowledge and support needed to change dietary habits and address the underlying cause of so many of our health problems.   I obtained a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies offered through Cornell University. After spending the last 20 years directing programs to manage chronic disease, it occurred to me that I could just develop a program that provides the tools needed to address the root cause of chronic disease and hopefully reverse it.  


 So now I am very happy to offer “Plant Based Transformation for Beginners” classes beginning Thursday, January  9, 2020 at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.  You will learn how a WFPBD prevents disease and promotes health, the specific diets for chronic disease reversal; you will develop new cooking skills, enjoy social support, and even get chef- prepared WFPB dinners so you realize how delicious this way of eating can be!

I am incredibly excited to announce that I will be partnering with Chef Alicia Watson of Vito and Vera, a culinary wellness company, who will be introducing you all to the delicious world of WFPB cuisine! Chef Alicia will be offering:

  • WFPB dinners available for purchase at each class.  Cost: $15.  We will send out an email with the menu prior to each class.

  • WFPB cooking demos at each class.  These will be easy WFPB cooking techniques that you can use at home to give you the concrete steps you need to transition to a WFPB way of life. 

  • WFPB  chef-prepared take-home meal options and "short cuts" available for purchase at each class that you can use when creating your meals at home each week. 


Class dates:  Thursday, January 9th, 5:30 pm

                      Thursday, January 16th, 5:30 pm

                      Thursday, January 23rd, 5:30 pm

                      Thursday, January 30th, 5:30 pm

                      Saturday, February 29th, 12:00 pm

We have a lot of material to cover in each class as well as cooking demos! 

Please allow for 2-2 1/2 hours for each class.


Cost: $149 for all 5 classes




Who should attend:


Well I think everyone would benefit from learning about a WFPBD, but especially…


  1.  Individuals who have been struggling in the fight against chronic disease (such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and more) which has plateaued or continues to worsen despite multiple medications and conventionally recommended “chicken and salmon” diets.  

  2. Those who have struggled to maintain weight loss on conventional calorie restrictive diets.  My husband and I were amazed to find that we effortlessly lost over 20 pounds and never felt hungry on this high nutrient,  high fiber diet. 

  3. Anyone who just wants to learn more about a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle to maximize their and their family’s health for the long term and avoid ever getting chronic diseases in the first place while eating food that is environmentally respectful and sustainable. 

What if I'm not ready to give up meat and dairy yet?

You do NOT have to have already made up your mind to never eat meat and dairy again the night you walk in the door of the first class.  Research has shown that every step you take in a plant-based direction improves health.  The first step is learning new ways to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes on a regular basis.  Your taste buds will evolve and will start to pull you in a more plant-based direction over time.  Even if you decide you can never give up meat and dairy altogether, if you can minimize these products in your diet while replacing them with health promoting foods,

you will improve your health. 



What will the classes cover?


These classes are designed so that you can walk in the door knowing absolutely nothing except that you want to get healthier.  You will get a notebook with step-by-step instructions on where to begin. After you register for this class, you will receive a “Welcome Email” with instructions for next steps to take before our first class.  You will track your personal health data with a baseline weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol and Hemoglobin A1C from your doctor's office (if you don't already have these results in the last year) and then we will reassess these metrics again in 2 months. 


You will have homework every week and will learn how to accurately track your current nutritional intake and know what nutritional benchmarks we are aiming for to achieve your health goals.  You will get multiple emails from me throughout the week with documentaries and short lectures to view from leading WFPB physicians and researchers as well as homework assignments through which you will gain insight into your current nutritional habits and learn healthful new habits!


We will all communicate together via the Natural State of Health Facebook page and you will be able to get support from your new friends that are all going through this transition with you!  Plus you will probably turn into one of those people who take pictures of their food all the time and post to social media-you’ll need to have a platform for that.


We will discuss the research on chronic disease reversal with specific dietary prescriptions and resources for Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease/high cholesterol/high blood pressure. We will also have one class addressing weight loss with a WFPBD.   However, you will come to find that the same WFPBD used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease will frequently address many other chronic complaints you may have (arthritis, inflammation, erectile dysfunction, lower back pain from degenerated discs, reflux, urinary tract infections, enlarged prostate, etc. ) as well.  


Everyone has different personalities and I am convinced that everyone can succeed at a WFPB lifestyle, but you need to use the approach that works with your temperament and lifestyle. These classes are designed to slowly transition you over the course of a month to a WFPBD.  HOWEVER, if you are a “Jump-Off-the-High-Dive/Pantry-Clean-Out” type of person, you can certainly take the ALL AT ONCE approach at the beginning, and we will send you resources for that pathway as well. Whether you make an immediate “clean break” or gradually transition, the important thing is to always be moving in a more whole food plant based direction every day. 




Week One:

Intro to WFPB Nutrition




This week we will work on: dropping meat and substituting  mushrooms, legumes, etc with cooking techniques and recipes. 

Cooking Demo by Chef Alicia


Week Two:


So what’s wrong with dairy?


Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Research, dietary specifics, resources


This week we will work on: dropping dairy and plant based replacements

Cooking Demo by Chef Alicia


Week Three: 


High Cholesterol/Coronary Artery Disease/ High Blood Pressure

Reversal diet specifics & resources


This week we will work on: cooking without oil

Cooking Demo by Chef Alicia


Week Four:


Maximizing weight loss

Cooking Demo by Chef Alicia

Wrap up, odds n ends


Q&A time


At this point (at the end of January) you should be gently transitioned off disease promoting and on to health promoting foods.  Now you are going to continue to perfect this way of eating for another month at which time we will reconvene for:


Class Five-one month later (Saturday, Feb. 29th from 12-2 pm)

This is the funnest class of all!  It is going to be presented by all of you!  We are going to have a Plant Based Potluck for lunch on Saturday.  Each participant (if they choose) will have an opportunity to get up and tell the class about the health transformation they have experienced.  This will be a great opportunity to gain inspiration from your classmates and learn the varied ways in which a WFPB lifestyle can truly transform our lives.  

For any questions about "Plant Based Transformation for Beginners" classes, please email Stephanie at naturalstateplantbased@gmail.com. 

DISCLAIMER: Stephanie Spencer is a Registered Nurse with a Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell.   Stephanie is not a Registered Dietitian.  She cannot prescribe medication or discontinue medication.  The content and material on this website should not be considered medical advice nor medical treatment for any specific health conditions. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet and discuss any and all medications you are taking,  including monitoring your health for positive changes that may require decreasing your medication dosages under your doctor's supervision. 

If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, it's time to do something about it!


"We have two lives.   And the second begins

when we realize we only have one."


Morning Energy Smoothie



1/2 cup broccoli sprouts* OR 1 cup baby kale

1 1/2 TBSP flax seeds

handful uncooked steel cut oats

(the amount you can hold in your

hand without it spilling over)

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 mandarin orange 

Almond milk, unsweetened

fresh lemon juice to taste

(start with squirt from small slice

*(available from Stephanie, Natural State Microgreens,

Hillcrest Farmers Market, 2222 Kavanaugh Blvd.,

Little Rock, AR 72205, Saturdays 8am-12 noon)

Combine first 3 ingredients in smoothie maker ( I use a Nutribullet) with about 1 inch of almond milk.  Blend to combine.  Add remaining ingredients, adding more almond milk as needed to obtain desired consistency.  Enjoy with toasted Ezekiel bread with no-sugar fruit spread or nut butter.  (Contains 16 Gm of fiber with Ezekiel bread)

WFPB Cherry "Nice Cream"

Yield: 4 servings

4 medium bananas, cut into 1 inch sections and frozen

1 cup frozen cherries

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Plant milk of your choice as needed

2 TBSP cacao nibs (available in health food store)


1. Combine bananas, cherries, vanilla in a food processor and process until creamy, adding 1 TBSP of plant milk at a time. 

2. Pulse in the cacao nibs.  Don't over mix!

3. Serve immediately.


It is unusual to have leftovers of Nice Cream, but you can store any left overs in a container in the freezer :)