Just a few months ago, Angela Norman was gearing up to create a group of people who enjoyed a plant-based diet. The idea was sparked after the event, Get Healthy Marshall, which was spearheaded by vegan Mayor Ed Smith.
Mrs. Norman's group, now called Eat Healthy Tyler, is a small community interested in providing education and encouragement for newcomers to the lifestyle.
A registered dietitian, she has called the transition to veganism a grassroots movement.
About 16 people met last month at Green Acres Baptist Church for the group's first monthly potluck meeting.
The mission is to view eating a plant-based diet as a way to prevent and reverse chronic illness.
Potluck guidelines include foods with whole grains only and no added oils, refined flours or sugars, meat, poultry or fish. It also excludes fish, seafood, gelatin, lard, beef broth, diary and peanuts.
Acceptable sweeteners include dates/date syrup, dried fruit and maple syrup. However, the group doesn't exclude people who do not subscribe to that type of diet.
"We want to keep it open even if they're not 100 percent plant-based," Mrs. Norman said. "If they aren't sure what to bring, they can bring a fruit platter or a vegetable platter."
The potluck is held the third Thursday of each month at Green Acre Baptist Church's Family Life Center den.
Mrs. Norman hopes to have speakers at the meetings, as well as offer grocery shopping tours and education videos.
For newcomers or those who aren't quite sure whether a plant-based diet is the way to go, she said it doesn't have to be accomplished overnight.
"Try to meet the minimum requirements of five fruits and vegetables a day," Mrs. Norman said. "That's a good start and just gradually increases."
Meetings also are an opportunity to explore new recipes, and learn simple ways to make changes on the path to reclaiming health.
IF YOU GO:
What: Eat Healthy Tyler potluck and meeting
When: The third Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be held 6 to 8 p.m. March 20
Where: Green Acres Baptist Church Family Life Center Den
Information: Meetings include prizes awarded for best-tasting recipes and testimonials and cooking demos. Visit www.facebook.com/EatHealthyTyler or email EatHealthyTyler@gmail.com for more information.