Welcome to my journey...

In the summer of 2016, a serendipitous viewing of the documentary "Forks Over Knives" opened my eyes to the power of a whole food plant-based diet, but it wasn't until the evening of May 3, 2018, sick and miserable, that I decided to finally act on that knowledge and make the necessary changes to fix what ailed me. Be Bold. Eat Plants. is a labor of love, my way of sharing the resources that have helped me successfully reverse disease and shed over 100 pounds, a way to encourage others to make the decision to invest in themselves because as my good friend Elaine once told me, "You're worthy." Begin with breakfast and remember that small changes add up but eventually if you want to have a big impact on your health, you must stop dabbling and go for it with 100 percent dedication. It's not always easy, but it's always simple. You've got this!

Be Bold. Eat Plants. Kara

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About Kara


Since May 2018 I've been transforming my life by eating a whole food plant-based no oil diet. So far I've lost 100 pounds, reversed type 2 diabetes, eliminated hypertension, acid reflux, back pain and fatigue and I'm living my best life for the first time in my 51 years. Please join me on my journey while I share what I learn along the way so that others might be helped like I have been helped! Read more about my journey in my blog, Plant-Powered Passionate Living,  below.

Join Me: Upcoming Speaking Engagements


Once I realized the power of a whole food plant-based diet and started feeling the life-changing positive effects in my own life, I knew I had to share it with others. So I've made it my mission to speak to groups, large and small, and to help individuals as much as I'm able, learn more about this transformational approach to health and wellness. If you would like to have me speak to your group, please contact me via email at

*I am not a healthcare professional and I do not give medical advice. What I do share is my personal experience and the resources that have helped me in my journey.

Show Me Plants: A PlantPure Pod Offering Education and Support


So you've learned a little about whole food plant-based (WFPB) nutrition and its benefits and you want to give it a try but you don't know where to begin. Or maybe you've started but you need some support. Or perhaps you just want to get together with some other WFPB like-minded people and continue learning, chat, and enjoy some tasty food. Then join us at Show Me Plants, a PlantPure Pod, designed to support those who are plant curious or those whom have fully embraced the lifestyle and for everyone in between. Click on the link to find out when and where we meet next. 

Kara's Blog: Plant-Powered Passionate Living

I'm a 51-year-old wife and mom who has reversed type 2 Diabetes, eliminated hypertension  and  shed over 100 pounds with a whole foods plant-based diet. Please follow me as I continue on my journey to renewed health and vitality and watch the transformation. I'll share what I learn along the way because this information is too powerful not to share with the world! Be Bold. Eat Plants.


#TransformationTuesday Intro Story


 Rene Knott's intro story about #fTeamKara on #TransformationTuesday. Click on the date to watch the video. 

#TransformationTuesday Update


I shared my new vision board on a Friday update on KSDK Channel 5 with Rene Knott. Click on the date to watch the video. 

#TransformationTuesday Update


Friday update on KSDK Channel 5 with Rene Knott. Sharing one of my family's favorite recipes.Click on the date to watch the video.

#TransformationTuesday Follow-Up


KSDK Channel 5 series with Rene Knott. Click on the date to watch the video.

The Missourian


Feature story in The Missourian. Click on the date to read the story. 

Final #TransformationTuesday Story


I shared my thoughts about participating in #TransformationTuesday on KSDK Channel 5. Click on the date to watch the video. 


The Missourian


Feature story in The Missourian. Click on the date to read the story. 

Never Stop Learning...Helpful Resources


PODCASTS: Listen and Learn

Listen while you're driving, while you're cooking, while you're exercising, in any spare moment you have, because by continuing to learn about the whole food plant-based lifestyle, you strengthen your resolve to eat the healthiest diet on the planet. Once you know the why, it's a whole lot easier to mange the how. Here are some of my favorite podcasts:


MOVIES: Watch and Learn

Many people first learned about whole food plant-based (WFPB) living from the film "Forks Over Knives." That's how I was first introduced and I've met many others who share a similar experience of stumbling across the life-changing documentary on Netflix quite accidentally. What a serendipitous encounter it has turned out to be for me and for so many others!  But "Forks Over Knives" isn't the only film sharing the WFPB message. Below are a few that I have found to be beneficial to someone who is interested in learning more about the lifestyle.  



BOOKS: Read and Learn

Don't ever discount the value of a good old fashioned book. Sometimes the best way to get the information is by reading it and there is no shortage of valuable WFPB books written by knowledgeable physicians and scholars. My list of recommended reads is long and continues to grow. Don't think you have to sit down and read these books from cover to cover. Some are great read in bite-size chunks and some have large sections of recipes so don't be put off by their size. They're readily available for purchase online, at your local bookstore, and don't forget to inquire at your community library for these titles as well. Most libraries can order them for you if they don't already have them on their shelves. Happy Reading! 

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde M.D., Matthew Lederman M.D…. 


Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes : The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs by Neal Barnard

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger M.D. 

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn M.D. 

The China Study: Deluxe, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long Term Health by T. Colin Campbell PhD., and Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D.

The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss by John A. McDougall M.D.

The Vegan Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Know About Plant-Based Eating by Neal D. Barnard M.D.

UnDo It!: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases by Dean Ornish M.D. 

The Cheese Trap: How Breaking A Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D. Barnard M.D.

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell PhD

The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook: Over 125 Delicious, Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

Forks Over Knives-The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year by Del Sroufe

Forks Over Knives Flavor! Delicious, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Cook Every Day by Darshana Thacker and Brian Wendel

21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health  by Neal D. Barnard M.D. 

The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health by Rip Esselstyn

The Engine 2 Cookbook: More than 130 Lip-Smacking, Rib-Sticking, Body-Slimming Recipes to Live Plant-Strong by Rip Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness by Douglas J. Lisle and Alan Goldhamer

The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! by John McDougall M.D. and Mary McDougall 

The Kick Diabetes Cookbook: An Action Plan and Recipes for Defeating Diabetes by Brenda Davis RD

The Blue Zones: Second Edition 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner 

The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss: A revolutionary approach to conquer cravings, overcome food addiction, and lose weight without going hungry by Chef AJ and Glen Merzer

A Plant Based Life: Your Complete Guide to Great Good, Radiant Health and Boundless Energy by Micaela Cook Karlsen.

How Not to Diet by Dr. Michael Greger. 


YouTube: Cooking, Interviews, and More

YouTube keeps me company while I'm in the kitchen and these channels are some of my favorites. 

Recipe Resources


These websites offer great whole food plant-based no oil recipes that taste wonderful and will please the whole family. Some of my family's favorite dishes comes from these sites. Enjoy! 

Some of my Favorite Products and Where I Purchase Them

Cindy's Kitchen Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing


There are lots of great recipes for WFPBNO salad dressings and some people simply use a good balsamic vinegar as a dressing but I discovered this dressing when I was first on my journey and it remains a favorite. In the St. Louis area I've only found it at Whole Foods and it's a little pricey but, hey, it beats the cost of the drive thru diet I used to eat before eating a WFPBNO diet! 

Westbrae Organic Stoneground Mustard-No Salt Added


 When I do make a dressing, it's almost always Jane Esselstyn's 3-2-1 dressing. It's yummy, too! I use this mustard (it's the 2 in the 3-2-1) in the recipe. The recipe can be found in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn. When I first started eating this way, I was taking two prescription medications for high blood pressure and my hypertension still wasn't under control so I really kept added salt to a minimum. I've found  that salt triggers my appetite too so I continue to limit, but not completely avoid, salt. This mustard fits the bill. I've bought it by the case from Amazon.  

Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar


I've learned to really appreciate balsamic vinegar and this is a great one. It's extra thick and sweet  but without any added sweetener. It's great drizzled on cooked veggies. In fact, I use it on my steamed broccoli every morning. I buy it most often from Whole Foods. It's a little more costly but a small amount goes a long way. It was available on Amazon but the company recently got bought out and is in transition currently so it's not available online right now. Hopefully, it will be again soon. I have a bottle of this at work and one at home (actually a few at home because I don't want to run out). 

Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning


When you omit added salt and fat from your foods, seasonings become more important than ever. I first learned about this after watching Mary McDougall (Dr. John McDougall's wife)  on a  webinar and she recommended it. I ordered it from Amazon and was a fan at first taste. It's also available at Costco. I used it on my morning broccoli with the balsamic vinegar and on baked potatoes. If I'm going to be eating out at a restaurant that I know doesn't have much I will eat and a baked potato may be the only thing I can eat, I will bring this seasoning in a little container so that my food has some flavor. It helps! 

Vegetable Broth


Vegetable broth is a staple with this lifestyle but finding a vegetable broth without added oil is tricky. Why so many brands add oil of all things to vegetable broth is beyond me. Here are my two go to broths. Engine 2 vegetable broth is by far my favorite store-bought broth. It's very low in sodium because they don't add sodium to the product; the sodium that is in it is from the celery in the broth. It has great flavor, too. This is only available at Whole Foods. The other compliant broth is Pacific organic low sodium vegetable broth. While they do add some sodium to this broth, it is still relatively low. I can buy this at Target in Washington. I always have these on hand in my cupboard because I cook and saute with vegetable broth daily. However, the best vegetable broth I've had is the one I made from my vegetable scraps in the Instant Pot. So good! I  I just go through a lot of broth so I can't keep up with the demand. 

Beans, Beans, and More Beans

Walmart carries salt-free Pinto, Black Bean, and Kidney Beans. I most often use canned beans because

Walmart carries salt-free pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. While I could certainly cook my own beans, especially since I have an Instant Pot, I don't because buying them canned is so convenient. I buy salt-free Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans from Whole Foods. Walmart carries Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, they're just not salt free. I do buy them in a pinch, though. Always read the labels. The Walmart brand organic chickpeas are lower in sodium than the regular chickpeas. 

Area Restaurants I Enjoy...

Area Restaurants With WFPBNO Options…no oil is important to me.

  • Frida’s - vegan/vegetarian fare. Several oil free options to choose from. My favorites are the signature kale salad and the skinny fries. Usually they have a soup that is WFPBNO, too. Just ask the server. They are very accommodating  and friendly. They have other dishes too that are compliant but I just love their kale salad, which is kind of remarkable because I’m not a big kale fan. Their Sunday buffet is fabulous and you’ll be pleased if you have it. I’ve been a few times now and it always has many no oil dishes I enjoy. I never leave hungry. Frida’s is my favorite place to eat if I’m not eating at home. 

  • Crazy Bowls and Wraps-I was so excited when I discovered that I could eat a few things here because they have multiple locations and it’s very affordable. I get the large bean and veggie bowl and add brown rice to it. They’ll ask what you want for your protein and I always tell the that I’m getting all of the protein I want and need with the beans and rice and veggies. :-) Sometimes they’ll give you extra beans, though. It’s a big bowl and you’ll be satisfied when you’re done. It’s made without any oil and no animal products. However, avoid the tempting sauces available because they all have oil or are high in fat. You really don’t need anything on this bowl. It’s savory and flavorful just the way it is. 

  • Symbowl - I recently went here for the first time. They too are very accommodating and the staff I have encountered have been very knowledgeable about the products and which ones have animal products and/or oil. I was able to get a great meal and they seemed to have several options from which I could choose, which almost made me giddy. I’m looking forward to going back. 

  • Seedz Cafe is a great place to grab a bite to eat. It's actually the first vegan restaurant I took my husband to and it set the bar pretty high. He really enjoyed his tasty lunch and the unique atmosphere.  If you visit Seedz, be sure to check out their charming shoppe with a variety of plant-based goodies and gift items called Seedz Provisions. It's located next door to the Cafe. 

You can make do at these places…

  • Wendy’s or Lion’s Choice (baked potatoes)

  • Ruby Tuesday’s- order the salad bar and bring your own salad dressing and get the veggie trio with two baked potatoes or a combo of baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. Be sure to ask for no salt and no oil but know that there will be residual oil from their cooking surface. Also get the steamed broccoli and be sure to specify no oil. Bring your own seasoning. This is a rather bland meal but the salad will fill you and being able to get two starches will help. Unfortunately, the serving of broccoli is so small it’s hardly worth having now that I’m accustomed to eating a pound of broccoli at a time. Still, you can eat here and make do. 

  • Colton’s or other steak houses- Order the baked potato or baked sweet potato without butter or salt but know that you might still get some on it from the cooking surface. Add a salad without any cheese or croutons or anything else that is not WFPB and top with your own dressing. This is really a disappointing meal and I don’t recommend eating here because it’s not a lot of food for the money. The lettuce in the salad is mostly iceberg, which doesn’t do much for me. Still, if you’re going out with people and you have no other options, this will work. 

I’ll be honest, there isn’t really anywhere other than where I’ve mentioned above, to eat a WFPBNO (the no oil is the real sticking point) meal in Franklin County. If I eat out, it’s always in St. Louis, but that’s okay. I’ve saved so much money and eating out is truly a special occasion now. Eating out can be a challenge when you’re first starting out and I do not recommend it anyway. Just eat at home and spend your money on something else.


WFPBNO Tips & Tricks for When You're On the Go

Be Prepared

Plan ahead…”fail to plan, plan to fail”- is what Chef AJ says and it’s true. Make sure you’re prepared to eat while you’re out and about because we all know that errands take longer than planned and hunger strikes. 

If you’re going to be dining out and you can choose the restaurant, then choose one of the restaurants that you know offers something WFPBNO friendly. However, the reality is that you can’t always choose where you eat when dining out. In that case, here are some tips for successfully navigating the dining out experience:

Go online and look at the menu in advance. Pour over the menu and really look at it and see what might work for you. Do they offer baked potatoes? If so, order a baked potato or two a la carte. The same holds true for sweet potatoes. If they have a salad bar, you’ve got a good start. Just remember to bring your own dressing. Ladies, it’s easy to slip a small to go container of dressing in your purse. Guys, you can put one in your pants’ pocket. Here’s a link to a great container that I love for just this purpose. Do they offer steamed broccoli or a California medley of vegetables? If they do, order that but be sure to tell them to omit the oil or butter. Often restaurants will spritz a “finishing” spray on vegetables, which is just unnecessary oil. And don’t be afraid to send it back if it comes out with the oil on it. Sometimes they forget. 

Bring your own salad dressing and seasoning to restaurants. Chances are they will only have salt and pepper and salad dressings that aren’t compliant. The food won’t be plentiful and full of flavor like at home either so bring these items to help make it more palatable. I’ve even been known to bring my own ketchup so I’m that sure it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I like ketchup on baked potatoes.


If you’re going to a restaurant that doesn’t have anything that you think you’ll be able to eat or not much you can eat, definitely eat in advance of going. Do NOT go into the situation hungry. You cannot rely on willpower to get you through these situations. It doesn’t work, especially if you’re in the beginning of your journey. And this brings up a good point, if you’re in the beginning of your journey, I recommend you avoid eating out all together. Restaurants are minefields for healthy eating. Just avoid them. You’ll be happy you did and you’ll save money. 

Pack food for your travels, even if you’re just running around town. Some examples of great food to pack include apples and bananas, carrot chips and hummus, raw veggies like broccoli and  cut bell peppers (especially red,  orange and yellow-they’re sweeter), a baked potato or sweet potato (cold or room temp), and CRAM muffins. If you aren’t trying to lose weight or reverse conditions like T2 diabetes or heart disease, then you can also try some nut butters (be sure it just has nuts and not unnecessary ingredients like oil or salt) on a compliant bread such as Ezekiel or the variety of Dave’s Killer bread that doesn’t have oil. Remember to read the labels on the occasions you buy packaged foods. A trail mix with nuts and seeds (unsalted) and dried fruit (no added sweetener) is also a good go-to snack for those able to eat more calorically dense foods. These are all things that you could eat while driving down the road if you had to;  however, that’s not necessarily the safest thing to do and that’s not exactly mindful eating. The truth is we’ve all done it though and sometimes it’s necessary to get from point A to point B. I’ve been known to swing through the Wendy’s or Lion’s Choice drive thru when I’ve gotten to the point of “too hungry” and order a plain baked potato. 

Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, you can remain true to your new lifestyle with a little planning. I have flown twice in the time since I’ve begun eating this way and I overpacked food just in case my flight got delayed or my family picking me up at the airport didn’t eat their next meal when I would normally eat. I was dealing with a time difference as well. I packed a container of chickpea “no tuna” salad, four slices of Ezekiel bread in a sandwich bag, a baggie of fresh spinach for the sandwiches, an apple, an orange, a small container of hummus (make sure it’s thick so it’s not considered a liquid by TSA), some sliced orange, red, and yellow bell peppers, a generous sized bag of carrot chips, a small bag of Mary’s Gone crackers (13 to be exact, which is one serving size), a nice size salad full of goodies, a TSA approved size (3 oz) of salad dressing (be sure to put it in the quart size bag of liquids you are allowed at security and always check current TSA rules), and two CRAM muffins. I realize that’s a lot of food, and I didn’t eat it all, but I would rather have more than I need or want than not have enough and have a situation where hunger gets the best of me in a place where I couldn’t find something to eat. 

I’ve also been to a conference where I stayed in a hotel room for a few nights, which was equipped with a small microwave and refrigerator without a freezer. I brought with me a container of old fashioned oats and a microwaveable bowl so that I could measure out the oats and add some water and microwave the oats in the morning. The breakfast bar in the lobby had fresh fruit so I got a bowl of it to top my oatmeal with and had a great breakfast. I also brought some pre cooked rice  in small containers, a couple of baked potatoes, and a couple of cans of black beans and a jar of my favorite salsa. I bought a couple of bags of frozen broccoli at the nearby grocery store when I arrived and cooked it when I got to the room and put it in a bowl in the fridge. So I was able to make myself a lunch with either the rice or potato, beans, broccoli and salsa. Once, I was able to score a salad at the lunch provided by the conference and so I had that as well. It wasn’t a perfect meal or gourmet but I stayed compliant and that was what I was aiming for. If you’re staying at a hotel with a free “Happy Hour” buffet, do check it out. I didn’t my first night there and it was a mistake to pass it up. They had plain baked potatoes and plain steamed broccoli. Again, I threw together a decent meal with that and added my Kirkland no-salt seasoning and had an apple and was satisfied. Some people bring along an Instant Pot and make soups and stews in the room, which is certainly possible. Just remember to keep it simple. You don’t need elaborate food to be well nourished and satisfied. It may be a little mundane for a few days but you will survive and your body will actually thrive with the nourishment you are providing it. As Elaine would say, “You are worth it!”