Rene Pere is a Board Certified Diplomate in Lifestyle Medicine, Food for Life Instructor, and licensed Occupational Therapist based in Austin, Texas.
a vital, creative center;
where the fire burns the brightest.
Hearth is when heart and earth come together.
To build a stronger hearth is to build a stronger connection between people and our planet.
Personal and planetary health through lifestyle medicine.
- Sharing my personal health story.
- Teaching whole food plant-based meal preparation.
- Speaking on the pillars of lifestyle medicine in achieving and maintaining optimal health.
- Illustrating how our food system ties individual health to health of the planet.
- Promoting the value of Occupational Therapy in lifestyle medicine.
A stronger heart will heal the earth.
Thank you for visiting my site. I hope that in sharing my own story, it will inspire you to build your own best state of health through diet and lifestyle. I made the switch to plant-based eating after I survived a major health scare at the age of 46. Through this process, I learned so much about healthy food choices and foods to avoid. I also learned how making better food choices can help prevent and reverse chronic disease. Two specific facts I learned while making these changes continue to resonate with me. First, heart disease does not exist on half of the planet. Did you already know that? I myself always thought of it as a global issue. And second, if everyone opted in to a more plant heavy plate over the standard American diet, it could decrease food related green house gas emissions by up to 70%. I learned that in changing what I was eating to more plants, I was not only making the single most effective change I could to improve my health, my energy, my immune function, and my weight, but the overall health of the planet as well.
Today, more and more people are adopting a plant-based lifestyle, and each person has their "why" for doing so. Some do it for a healthier climate. Some do it to end animal suffering. Some have done it to reverse heart disease and diabetes (yes...reversed). Others have made the switch to reach a healthier weight. And some are doing it in an effort to extend more quality years with their families and loved ones. So regardless of your "why", the net effect of transitioning to a whole food plant based diet is the same--a healthier you, contributing to a healthier planet.
My "why" was to improve my overall state of health, and to hopefully add many quality years to my life. I wanted to do everything in my power to avoid another blood clot forming and passing from my heart into my lung. It was a pulmonary embolism that I experienced. It was painful. It was unexpected. And after ruling out all other potential causes, my physician referred to it as "unprovoked"--meaning that, based on my history, there was no clear risk factor to cause it. Though I received the best medical care for managing this condition, one thing that we never really considered in depth was my dietary patterns. It turns out that a diet high in saturated fat, low in fiber, highly processed, and high in animal products (which is how I was eating at the time) can lead to damage in what is known as the endothelial lining, or endothelium. The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels running throughout our bodies . As it turns out, a damaged endothelial lining can increase a person's risk of a pulmonary embolism. When I realized there was even a slight possibility that my way of eating might have contributed to my condition, it set me on a personal journey of what I refer to as "food discernment".
You have every right to live in your best state of health.
I knew I needed to make changes, and those changes began in how I stocked my pantry and fridge, what I included (and excluded) on my grocery list, in learning new ways of preparing food, and maybe most importantly, in prioritizing food as medicine. Each time that I enjoy a meal, I am now reminded that what I put on my plate will either hurt me or heal me.
Learning to prepare plant-based meals was the cheapest, easiest, and most life saving decision I've ever made. Putting more plants on my plate at each meal reminds me of that 4 point play from outside the key. It's 1 for my health. It's 1 for the animals. It's 1 for the planet. It's 1 for the people I love.