There’s a numerically impressive backstory to the East Hampton Wellness Foundation’s seminar featuring national nutritional superstar, Dr. Pam Popper, which was held last week. A few years back, a 500-pound chef, Del Sroufe, walked into the office of the Columbus, Ohio, naturopath Popper, who had founded the Wellness Forum in 1996 and said, “I need help.” Fast forward: Sroufe lost 265 pounds, turned out to be an expert on flavorful food and has become the Wellness Forum chef and a partner. One evening Popper, one of the doctors featured in the documentary Forks over Knives was entertaining the film’s executive producer Brian Wendel over a Sroufe meal. “He said he thought Sroufe was the best plant-based chef in the country,” recalls Popper. In mid-August, Forks Over Knives, the Cookbook with Sroufe as the lead author was published by The Experiment. Within a week it hit the New York Times How to Best Seller List.
Popper, executive director of the forum, which has close to 100,000 members (most digital) in 33 countries, and author of several books including Solving America’s Health Care Crisis focuses on empowering onesself to achieve optimum wellness. “You’re going to get older and what kind of older do you want to be,” she asks. “The decisions you make today are going to influence what happens.”
Food has power, says Popper. “… if you don’t get the food right there’s not much hope we can get you healthy. If we can eat our way into these conditions; we can eat our way out.” Outside of food she emphasizes getting fit and stress. “There’s a misperception in our view of stress,” she says. “It’s managing, not eliminating stress. What are you going to do, get rid of your kids?”
She adds that at some point, everyone interacts with the health care community. “Learn to ask the right questions. not just do as you’re told,” she says. “My goal from the beginning has been to change health care in America.” To do so, she is a member of the Physicians’ Steering Committee for the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, and also is on the Wellness Foundation’s Advisory Council.
Look for more stories by Edible contributor, Geraldine Pluenneke, at her blog The Power of Flavor