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life + work + parenthood + COMMUNITY


Throwback to earlier this year

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Center For Plant Based Living
Give Back Sessions

There’s this really amazing gal in the St. Louis area who I am honored to call a friend. Her name is Caryn Dugan, A.K.A. STL Veg Girl. Not only is she making a huge difference in the St. Louis area, but she’s making a difference in the Nation with the opening of the Center For Plant-Based Living (CPBL). Caryn created CPBL …

“… to focus on the irrefutable health benefits of a plant-based diet — how to start, how to maintain, and how to teach others.”

Brian and I have had some serious discussions about our health and switching to a plant-based diet. We are considered “older” parents and we want to make sure we are doing all we can to be here with our girls for as long as we can. In addition, we want our girls to adopt a healthy lifestyle and start combating the additives they've already been exposed to. Caryn is helping educate me and in turn, I’m educating my family.

At the beginning of this year, I was floored when Caryn asked me to be the first person to participate in her Give Back Sessions:

Every month we will invite a local celeb, chef or just really cool person in to share their plant-based recipes, cook up a little something or just chat with us on how they like to add more plants to their plates. We also invite them to share with us what they are up to in their personal / professional lives.

When you register to join us, all the proceeds from the Give Back Sessions goes directly to the charity of the guest host’s choosing.

I chose Annie’s Hope as the recipient of the funds. Their mission:

Providing comprehensive support services for children, teens and their families who are grieving a death.

Experiencing a death at any age is difficult, but losing a loved one at a critical time in one’s life, such as losing a parent at a young age, is something I have fortunately not experienced. The services Annie’s Hope provides for those grieving at a critical age has opened my eyes to the number of ways one can cope with loss and seek the positive side of loss.

Center For Plant Based Living
Photo by Caryn Dugan

Before the Give Back Session, Caryn and I sat down to plan the menu. We both agreed family, friendly recipes should be the focus. She asked what the girls liked to eat and then she put her special spin on them to make them entirely plant-based.

Here are the recipes Caryn made for my Give Back Session:

*Blueberry and Walnut Mini Muffins

*Dylan Dryer's Minestrone Soup

*Spaghetti and "Meat"balls

Lilah Pronger

I brought home some of the soup and Charli LOVED it:

I'd like to say I made this beautiful "meat"ball dish, but we all know better:

It was such a fun day and we were able to raise some money for Annie's Hope!

Unfortunately, the Give Back Sessions ended after February (Mastering Diabetes) of this year because of COVID-19.

If there's one thing I know about Caryn, she will bring those Give Back Sessions back as soon as she's able and she will do it bigger and better!!!

I featured Caryn and the CPBL in my "Small Business Shoutout". You can read her story on how she made the pivot to online classes because of COVID-19.

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