Sixty-two school districts and 13 businesses in New York are currently taking part in a 10-day plant-based health challenge. The Good Life Program—led by NY teacher Doug Schmidt in collaboration with Smola Consulting and the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership—involves 3,200 participants following a plant-based meal plan. In 2018, Schmidt led a similar 10-day health challenge for 35 schools, and more than 1,300 participants committed to plant-based meals. The challenge helped participants lower their total cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels, while losing weight, increasing their energy, and sleeping better. Schmidt created the program after realizing the power of a whole-food, plant-based diet, which he started following after suffering from a “widowmaker” heart attack at the age of 49. His change in diet resulted in a 60-pound weight loss and allowed him to eliminate his dependence on medications. Now, his goal is to help as many people as possible regain health through a plant-based diet. For the past four years, Schmidt has been the health and wellness coordinator for NY’s Victor Central School District and has also appeared on Good Morning America to explain his journey.

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