#collection-51796cc9e4b0743cbe99d3c1 h2 { color: black; }

Christa Clark - Artistic Vegan

Christa is a passionate plant-based food blogger and author of The Artistic Vegan Cookbook. Christa offers cooking classes on YouTube with the Artistic Vegan Show sharing her love of food from her kitchen to yours.

She writes recipes, photographs and does the video production for her food blog, Artistic Vegan, a blog featuring hundreds of plant-based recipes. Christa also holds certification as a structural integrator and is an instructor at the Gravity Body Academy. She is also a certified yoga teacher. Christa combines her passion for food and healthy lifestyle and loves to share it with others.

Her blog has been awarded the Top 100 Vegan Blogs in 2017 and 2018, Top 60 Vegan Blogs in 2017, 2017 Must-Follow Vegan Blog, has been featured in One Green Planet and Raw Food Magazine. She is proud to be a PBNSG Chef. 


More from Christa at:

Kelly Michiya

Kelly adopted a whole food plant-based lifestyle in March 2014 after reading Whole and The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD. She is passionate about educating the public about the benefits of whole food plant-based nutrition and helping people take charge of their own health. Kelly is also very keen on veganism and the impact a simple dietary change can have on not only individual health but also the health of the planet and the animals that inhabit it. She is a graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy and a certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator.     


Kelly has an MA in Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University, an MS in Exercise Science from Oakland University, and an MS in Nutrition and Integrative Health with a specialization in Human Clinical Nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is an ACSM-certified personal trainer, AFAA- and ACE-certified group exercise instructor, and also an ACE-certified health coach. Kelly holds the certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies/eCornell. She has earned various certifications from Wellness Forum Health and continues to take classes from Dr. Pam Popper to become a Certified Health Educator.

Kelly hosts a PBNSG small group every month at Sola Life and Fitness in Rochester Hills.

Joey Bruno

Joey Bruno Bio Pic.jpg

Joey Bruno is a vegan blogger, kitchen gear tester, and overall food geek. You can find his work over at ThriveCuisine.com or on his YouTube channel – Kitchen Tips by Joe. He believes whole-food plant-based cuisine is best, but as a former Food Scientist, he loves testing the latest and greatest vegan products. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing martial arts, dog walking, and playing an extremely amateur game of tennis.

Timaree Hagenburger - The Nutrition Professor

Timaree Hagenburger is a Registered Dietitian, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a Master's Degree in Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles. She is a full-time professor at Cosumnes River College, in Nutrition and Foods and the Plant-Based Nutrition & Sustainable Agriculture certificate program, a professional speaker working in corporate wellness and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has had the honor of speaking to groups around the country, from Hawaii to Alaska, from Florida to San Francisco, and most recently in Grand Rapids, Michigan!  Timaree has regular segments on California Bountiful TV, writes a monthly column for the Lodi News Sentinel, is a frequent podcast guest, manages her resource-rich website (www.thenutritionprofessor.com ), transitioned her family to plant-based whole foods and is the author of the cookbook titled The Foodie Bar Way: One Meal, Lots of Options, Everyone’s Happy (http://foodiebars.com/). Timaree cherishes opportunities to connect with those around her to share her knowledge and passion for food, cooking, physical activity and good health. Her style is a marked by a blend of fun and practicality, as she offers strategies and inspiration for finding pleasure in preparing and partaking in nourishing meals, because life is better when you "love the food that loves you back."

The Foodie Bar.jpg
While I was raised as an omnivore, once I learned the truth about plant-based, whole foods 8 years ago, I never looked back! Not only did I change the ingredients I used, but I changed my approach to cooking (including no oil), and teaching! I supported the successful transition of my family to this way of eating, including my family of four (including my children, currently 12 yo and 15 yo), my parents (currently in their late 60’s and healthier than ever, most often found on a motorcycle adventure of some sort), my sister and many, many, many students, colleagues and friends.
— Timaree Hagenburger
I am beyond thrilled to become part of the PBNSG.org family and want to invite you into my world, the real world of being a mom and college nutrition professor with way too many jobs and responsibilities. While there never seems to be enough time and there always seems to be too many tasks, I am committed to feeding my family the most nutrient dense food possible, staying within our budget and time constraints and also keeping everyone happy.

My kitchen is one of my “happy places”... I want it to be a happy place for you, too — a place to relax and have fun! Nourishing food is soooooo much more than “fuel” or “medicine” — it is life and joy. It can give you energy, strength and peace. When you get it right, you’ll feel better in your own skin. That is how I want you to approach food, to eat with the goal of feeling energized afterward and to truly “love the food that loves you back.” I don’t want you to diet or count calories, grams of protein, carbohydrate or fat. I just want you to start with a few deep breaths and enjoy every bite, until you aren’t hungry anymore or the food doesn’t taste amazing anymore. Like a little kid who leaves half a cookie, not because it wasn’t delicious, just because she wasn’t hungry anymore. Honor your body’s innate sense of hunger and fullness, along with the accompanying cues, and provide the very best options possible for yourself and your family. I want you to live your life and not to obsess about food - keep it in its place! Simply ask the question, “Is this going to help me become a better version of myself?”

When I look out at my college students, I see the real threat that they will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. Not only are we sicker than ever before in history, we are getting sicker younger, and we are digging our graves with our knives and forks. While the statistics are staggering, this isn’t just about numbers, it is personal. We all know someone who is struggling with a scary, chronic disease, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or cancer, which limits their freedom to fulfill their potential and celebrate life with those around them. It breaks my heart when a 19 year old student writes in her class journal about how her 48 year old mother died of a stroke in her arms or how they just lost their 41 yo father to a heart attack. It doesn’t have to be that way!

These chronic diseases are not inevitable! In fact, we now know that a great majority of these diseases are preventable and reversible for those willing to change how they nourish their bodies. If you have been told that your health destiny lies in your genes, rest assured, as you can begin to change the way your genes behave (e.g. turning cancer promoting genes “off” and cancer killing genes “on”). You can also leave behind strategies from the diet and weight loss industry, which only perpetuate the cycle of losing and re-gaining weight, negatively impact our happiness and overall mental health, and are particularly dangerous in terms of promoting diseases like cancer. Though many people tend to become comfortable being uncomfortable and resist change, I am forever hopeful, as some of us are ready to stand up for eating well and feeling great!

The simple approach that I have found to be amazingly effective, both personally and with my family, students and clients, is to choose plant-based, whole foods. As Dr. Michael Greger describes, “As grown in nature, nothing good taken away and nothing bad added.” While it seems too good to be true, I am humbled by the miraculous power of the body to respond to vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Their phytonutrients “phyt” (fight) for us in so many ways, including building and supporting a strong immune system to keep us healthy.

If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it. I am in awe as those who have struggled with debilitating pain and disease for years, experience dramatic improvements in their quality of life and physical health within days of transitioning to a whole food plant-based way of eating. I was brought to tears when I received a “thank you” email from a gentleman in his sixties who watched a televised version of my college nutrition class on cable, explaining that despite a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, his HgbA1c had dropped into the normal range (5.3% for the past 2 years) since adopting this eating style. I was speechless when a student flagged me down on campus to tell me how her blood cholesterol plummeted into the normal range, her energy level shot through the roof and how good she feels, “I feel better in my own skin, just better being me.” That is the best outcome that I could imagine, and I see it over and over. And the science backs this up! The benefits of embracing a whole food, plant-based diet are real and the food tastes fantastic!

Every bite you take is an opportunity to feel great and become a better version of yourself, strengthening your body, fortifying your blood, supporting your immune system and protecting your brain. Make every bite count! “Love the food that loves you back!™”
— Timaree Hagenburger

Paul Chatlin, Founder & Chairman

My name is Paul Chatlin. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and have lived in West Bloomfield, Michigan since 1971. I am 60 years old.  In May of 2013, I was diagnosed with Heart Disease. One artery was 100% blocked and two others were 65% blocked. Add to that leaky valves, an enlarged heart, the thickening of the right side of my heart, a left bundled branch block and heart murmur, and I was in seriously bad shape. I could not walk more than 10 steps without excruciating pain in my chest.   They did not know if I needed a heart transplant or bypass surgery. I kept praying that this was not happening to me!

I promised that if I could find a way to not have this surgery, I would give back to others. I called it my “gurney promise”. After the heart catheter procedure, a heart transplant was ruled out. I needed triple bypass surgery. My cardiologist gave me two options: bypass surgery or try “Plant Based Nutrition” (PBN). When I said I would try anything other than surgery, he picked up his cell phone while I was being wheeled toward surgery. He called Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who picked up the phone at 11 p.m. to talk to my doctor. I never knew that Dr. Esselstyn was his mentor in medical school. I was handed the phone and heard Dr. Esselstyn say “go on home and I will call you in the morning”. As I look back I realized that this was the first time I met my cardiologist or Dr. Esselstyn. Quite a leap of faith!  

At 8:00 the next morning, Dr. Esselstyn called me and we spoke for an hour. Thus began my Plant Based Nutrition transition. After just 3 weeks my angina disappeared.  My cholesterol levels dropped from 347 to 127 in just one year. Today, it is at 100. I have lost 65 pounds, have kept it off and I feel great! I was given 3 miracles. 1. Getting into the Cleveland Clinic in just 3 weeks. 2. Being assigned to a doctor (it could have been so many other doctors) whose mentor was Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. (I still can’t call him Essy even though he has given me permission to!) 3. Dr. Esselstyn picking up the phone so late that night. It was time to give back!

Dr. Esselstyn and Paul Chatlin

Dr. Esselstyn and Paul Chatlin

I attended a Plant Based Cooking Class hosted by the Esselstyns. After all, I was not a cook and did not have a clue about this lifestyle change.  The cost was $975.00. I tried to have Blue Cross/Blue Shield reimburse me but was denied. So I thought, “Hey, this is what I can do to give back!” So for the next 3 months I tried to work with BC/BS with no luck. After escalating to the highest level I was denied because they did not have a pay code assigned for cooking classes, and they suggested I work with the legislature for any hope of future change. I pointed out the absurdity of their being willing to cut a check for $125,000 for bypass surgery rather than reimburse me $975.00 so I can learn how to cook Plant Based and insure I never need surgery. It was then I realized the system is broke and I needed a bigger voice. Plant Based Nutrition Support Group was born. 

I was still not well. My doctor told me I needed 60-90 days of bed rest to help shrink my enlarged heart and he believed this would stop my valves from leaking. During my bed rest, depression started to creep into my life. I am a dreamer, so depression and negative thoughts where very new to me.  I felt as though I was all alone! I decided to put a small ad in the local paper, inviting anyone who was interested to hear my story, see my cupboards and be connected to me. The ad looked something like this:

"I would like to share my experience with any person in our community who may be considering a nutritional change before pills or procedures. Who should consider this type of nutritional change?  Any person who has had bypass surgery and hopes that a change in eating habits may prevent additional surgery. Any person who is in need of bypass surgery but would like to change their diet to Whole Food Plant Based in hopes of not needing surgery (like me). Any person whose family has a history of Heart Disease and wishes to alter their current diet to possibly avoid health issues down the road. Any person with Type 2 Diabetes. Any person who would like to try a weight loss program that does not starve you and is sustainable " 

In just 2 days 20+ people contacted me and I invited them to my house. What a wonderful evening we had! Some of these wonderful people are still PBNSG members today. Each person attended felt just like me. Alone but hopeful.  I did this the following month and another 20 people attended. I thought we must start a Whole Food Plant Based support group to help others. I contacted all of the current Chiefs of Cardiology in our area. I asked them to give me 3 names of cardiologists' that may be interested in educating our community on the benefits of Whole Food/Plant-Based Nutrition. They gave me 3 names. Dr. Joel Kahn was the only one that was repeated by all 3. I called him and we met. It was like at first site. That day Dr. Kahn agreed to assist me on this journey!

Dr. Joel Kahn and Paul Chatlin

Dr. Joel Kahn and Paul Chatlin

In February of 2014, we held our first PBN Support Group meeting. I thought that 20-40 people would be a great showing. 123 people attended! 23 people signed up as volunteers. The meeting was held at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. On March 24th, we held our second meeting. I thought there would be a significant drop off of participants, but I was wrong! We again had over 110 people attend. What was interesting is that of the 110 people, 44 of them were new faces. This means that we now had over 220 people in our support group and 40 volunteers.  In both April and May we continued to grow and today, in 2018, we have over 5,700 members and over 70 volunteers! 

We have started various outreach programs. One of them is our Medical Course curriculum, which we have just presented to Wayne State University Medical School. The authors were 1st and 2nd year medical students from Wayne State, Eastern Michigan, Oakland University, Michigan State Universities and the University of Michigan medical schools. The information is available. Please contact me directly if interested.

PBNSG has relationships with the owners of 30 local restaurants with special plant compliant menus for our members. In 2018, we will conduct over 46 educational classes. Half of these will be cooking classes. We have 25 Small Groups statewide for members who are new to a plant-based diet, and want a safe place to discuss their journey. We have created a Plant Based Manual called Healthier Together, which is an 80+ page document on how to start a Plant Based group in your city. This came from my personal diary over a 2 year period. With special thanks to Stephanie Vail we have completed the manual and will make it available by emailing me directly (paul@pbnsg.org).  

I have had the honor and privilege to speak to over 5,000 medical students over the past 4 years. I think about what world changes could occur if just 10% of those future doctors use nutrition as the first line of health improvement before pills or procedures. Lives affected could be in the billions since most doctors practice for 30+ years and see 20+ patients a day. Each success will be talked about and shared. By default the beneficiaries would be our planet and animals.

PBNSG also conducts nutritional tours at grocery stores, runs a walking club, and was selected to host the National Pre-release of “Eating You Alive”. In 2017 we started a new initiative called Doctors teaching Doctors. Four local doctors have offered to teach any doctor, nurse or health professional the benefits of a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. With the leadership of Dr. Robert Breakey, 73 doctors have attended and we still have 35 on the waiting list. With more resources, this program could be reproduced in every city and state in the nation.

No more excuses about not learning nutrition in school, Let PBNSG teach you! Over the past 2 years, I have spoken at 14 General Motors locations and 20 Beaumont Hospital locations, one of the largest health care complexes in the state. You see I am a dreamer! It was my sincere hope that if one hospital or one big company would adopt an awareness of the benefits of WFPB, not only would their productivity improve, but so would their bottom line. By the way last year my wife and I paid close to $2000 in medical insurance and I only spent $188 in medical bills. Why? WFPB!


Lauren Bernick

Laura's Bio Pic 2.jpg

My name is Lauren Bernick and I am the founder of Wellelephant.com. My Journey began three years ago. I sat in a cardiologist’s office crying my eyes out. He told me that I had a 20% chance of having a heart attack within the next ten years. I was 46 years old. I had a family history, my cholesterol was 288 and I had some calcifications in my arteries. He told me the only thing I could do was eat healthy (which I thought I was), exercise (check) and take a statin to lower my cholesterol (nope).

I was already eating “healthy fats” as the cardiologist instructed and it was getting me nowhere. My father told me about Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  I was encouraged by the fact that it has 30 years of proven results to its credit.  It is a very low-fat diet and it is the direct opposite of what my cardiologist recommended to me.  Dr. Esselstyn, also a cardiologist, believes the epidemic of so-called "healthy fats" is contributing to heart disease. I was confused at first but, I felt I had nothing left to lose. So, I jumped in full force.

 I worked the program. To be honest, it has been difficult at times. It requires planning ahead and schlepping food everywhere I go. I have to take my own dinner when I go to book club. I have to call ahead to restaurants to see if they can make me something appropriate and sometimes I even have to bring my own food to a restaurant. But, so what? I did it. I really have begun to reverse a very nasty disease by eating a low-fat, plant-based diet. I have dropped my cholesterol 110 points without medication, lost nearly 20 pounds and I feel fantastic. Most importantly, I no longer worry that I’m going to drop dead from a heart attack. This website will provide you with all the tools and support you need to begin and maintain your low-fat, plant-based diet. Jump In!

 Why Wellelephant?  How many times are we asked, “Will I get enough protein?”  The answer is: “YES!”  That was one of my motivating factors in naming this site, “Well Elephant”. No one asks the strong, plant-eating elephant where she gets her protein from.  

~A reflection of her wonderful sense of humor that fueled her time as a standup comic and semi-finalist in Roseanne Barr’s Funniest Mom in America contest and a huge asset developing her site and presenting at her events in Austin, Texas.~

“No one can become a well-balanced herbivore on their own...we need the support of our "herd."”  Learn more about Lauren at Wellelephant.com where she shares her recipes, menus, resources and videos to help support each of us to health!



well elephant.png

Joel K. Kahn, MD, FAAC - Founding Medical Director

Dr. Kahn is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is a cardiologist, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University, and is Founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity in Bloomfield and Grosse Pointe Farms. 

He serves as Reader's Digest Holistic Heart Doc and is a frequent commentator on Fox News, Huffington Post, Mindbodygreen, One Green Planet, Aloha, Forks Over Knives, and other sites. His goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks through lifestyle education for optimal health and longevity. You can receive his guide to heart attack prevention free at his website. His first book, The Whole Heart Solution, is available widely online and at Reader's Digest The Whole Heart Solution, and his second, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses, is available at Amazon

In December of 2015, Dr. Kahn and his wife Karen partnered with his son Daniel, to open the smash-hit GreenSpace Café, in Ferndale, Michigan. As the largest plant-based restaurant in the Midwest, GreenSpace offers all non-GMO, and mainly organic certified cuisine - including 'Esselstyn-style oil-free plant-pure' options. 

Stephanie Vail - Executive Director


Stephanie Vail became the Executive Director of PBNSG in December, 2016. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a Masters in Social Welfare Administration as well as a Masters in English Language from the UM-Rackham Graduate School. She also holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University.  

She brings a lifelong interest in healthy eating to PBNSG, has been a vegetarian since an undergraduate, and slowly transitioned to whole food plant-based eating after learning about Dean Ornish in the early 1990s. 

Previously, Ms. Vail worked as an administrator at the UM Institute of Social Research-CRUSK,  the American Red Cross/Wolverine Blood Region in Flint, Michigan, the Washtenaw County Domestic Violence Project, Inc. /SAFE House and was an Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Crisis Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has volunteered with groups such as La Leche League, The Fourth Avenue People’s Food Cooperative, The Gloria Dei Food Coop, and various natural foods warehouse buying clubs in Michigan.

Leslie DeRemer - Director of Volunteers

Leslie Pic.jpg

Leslie DeRemer is a retired elementary school principal who grew up in Ferndale/Hazel Park, Michigan. Education has been the focus of her life. She would like to use her skills as an educator to spread the good word about the benefits of a healthy plant based lifestyle. PBNSG is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message. Leslie became involved in PBNSG two years ago, attending classes, large presentations and small groups. She was very honored to be asked to serve as the Director of Volunteers and enjoys working with this amazing group of dedicated people. Leslie is also a small group host for the Almont/Lapeer/Imlay City/Romeo area. She is very passionate about sharing a whole food plant based lifestyle with others. Her ever growing knowledge on the subject came about after years of research and formal classes. She became a raw food nutritionist eight years ago and continues to attend food preparation classes, recently completing the Forks Over Knives culinary course.

Leslie also promotes exercise as a means to maintain a healthy body. She runs, lifts weights, hikes and enjoys yoga. She also rides her bicycle on a regular basis, completing the 52 mile Zoo-de-Mac and 42 mile Beaver Island bike events. Each year she and her plant based, bicycle riding husband would like to add to the list of cycling events.

In her spare time, Leslie enjoys riding her Harley with her husband David. She also belongs to a women’s motorcycle riding group called Stilettos on Steel. They ride for pleasure, as well as ride for important causes all across the state. Her spare time is also filled with family camping trips. She recently purchased a toy hauler and is looking forward to taking the Harleys on adventures across the United States.

Brett Nyquist - Director of Technology


Brett Nyquist was born and raised in Michigan. He is the Director of Technology for PBNSG and has a long history of Software/IT experience, with an Associates Degree in Network Systems Administration.

He has a strong love and passion for Plant Based Nutrition! In September 2015, he started following a Plant Based Lifestyle, alongside his partner Nicole, and they both lost 35 lbs within the first year. He loves to cook and prepare meals for others.  


Contact : brett@pbnsg.org for any inquiries!