D’Ann and her brother Mike Neumeister just before the Boiler Maker 15k in Utica NY

There are those of us who sometimes complain when we can’t find the exact blend of brown rice. Or a  papaya that is just the right degree of ripe.

Guilty – that was me today.

We forget – too easily – that there are people with far greater challenges when it comes to simply getting good food on their plate.  People who,  for one reason or another, find themselves without team support, or in financial hardship, making it a little less easy to fill the fridge and stock the pantry.   It can often be an excuse to just give up on healthy ideals and eat whatever.

Adversity as springboard to success

Yet there are those who, even in the face of adversity, lead by example, showing  us a better way.  When I got this letter from D’Ann, I knew I had to share it with you. Please observe there isn’t a single sound of complaint to be found in her note.

D’Ann and I met during the recent giveaway contest of a copy of  Fit Quickies:  5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts that was held the first week in January over at the Plant-based Junkies blog.   D’Ann won the drawing, and once I met her I knew the book win couldn’t have gone to a more deserving heart.

When you read her story, you’ll see why.

Hi Lani!

Your email has left me in puddles! Winning your Fit Quickies book is such a blessing! To get an actual email from you has left me so encouraged!

I’ve been on the “Plant Based Journey” for a few months now, and I must say it has been so HARD! My family acts completely confused by my new eating lifestyle, not knowing what to prepare for family gatherings. My brother, an athlete himself, thinks I’m nuts. My husband breaks into a sweat thinking someday I’m going to take away his beloved meat from him. He’s made it quite clear that this is a path he has no interest in taking, and although my kids have been supportive, they act disgusted by the food I’m trying to introduce.

Just a quick story about how I’ve been encouraged to stay on this path. We are on such a limited budget, that I often go to food pantries and free food giveaways to feed my family. One thing in my area (Binghamton NY) that I have found truly beneficial is through the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and it is called a “Mobile Food Pantry.” It is a huge refrigerated truck, that goes from grocery store, to grocery store and collects all the fresh and frozen food that the stores have to discard.

The food is only on the expired date or sometimes even days before it. I was in line yesterday at one of these mobile food pantries, and I found that the food that others pass, is just what I need! I’ve noticed that despite being in desperate situations financially, most people are so addicted to their SAD diets that they often pass up fresh fruit, veggies and beans.

I actually facilitated a food pantry in Cortland NY for Catholic Charities several years ago before I moved to Binghamton. I saw the same SAD phenomenon. People who were poor and malnourished would pass up the very life-blood of food that would nourish their bodies. I feel no guilt in using these resources now, such as food pantries, because I’ve been on the other side and know how much healthy food gets thrown away at food pantries, just because people want quick, easy, fat and sugar ladened foods.

Thank you Lani for all you do. Your expertise, insight and encouragement have spurred me on. I’ve lost 9 lbs. so far, and am looking to lose about 15 more. More importantly than pounds, I want to lose guilt, lethargy and a poor self-esteem. I want to be the best wife, mom and friend I can be. I think it “Takes a whole village” when it comes to this Plant-Based business, and I’m so grateful to have you and the PB junkies on my side!  And I can’t wait for my Fit Quickies book to arrive.

I’m going to get running, not literally this time:), because I just downloaded your Plant-based Blueprint sampler and I want to read it before I have to pick up my kiddos!!

D’Ann Martin
Binghampton, NY

Finding traction to take you forward – my reply to D’Ann:


I think you are amazing! Think about it – you are not alone in this quest of dietary and lifestyle change, but you are unique in your ability to dig in extra deep and instead of complaining about costs and lack of support as getting in your way, you are using them as traction to take you forward.

This is a huge inspiration. I know there is an article in here and unless you are extremely private, this would make an amazing blog post – about just that, traction in the face of challenges.


Thank you D’Ann for letting me share your story today.
Has D’Ann inspired you as much as she has me?  Have you a story of finding traction in troubles? Tell about it in comments below.
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