Local potluck to serve up healthy food this morning

The El Dorado Veggie Club, with the help of the El Dorado Fire Department, will host a plant-based potluck today to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet.
The El Dorado Veggie Club, with the help of the El Dorado Fire Department, will host a plant-based potluck today to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet.

As omnivores, a plant-based diet can sound unappetizing, expensive and complicated. That's a perception the El Dorado Veggie Club is trying to change.

The club, with the help of the El Dorado Fire Department, will host a plant-based potluck today to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Veggie club founder and president Paula Shackelford said the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the El Dorado Fire Department (205 N. West Ave.), is free and open to the public.

"Come and taste, it's real food, the food your grandparents grew in their gardens," she said. "We usually have a monthly meeting to build community and demonstrate that plant-based eating is delicious and not complicated or expensive. Usually, it's the last Saturday of the month, held at different locations depending on the weather. This is our second year to have it at the fire department. They're very gracious to offer it, and [El Dorado Fire Chief Chad Mosby] is a great cook."

Mosby is a convert, as it were, to the plant-based lifestyle. After surviving a heart attack in 2018, Mosby and his wife decided to attempt a plant-based diet on a trial stretch, and it's stuck.

"I try to eat as much plant-based as I can, there are tons of health benefits you can glean from it," he said. "One of the things firefighters do in the fire station is cook and eat, and I thought it was an opportunity to expose some of the folks to an alternative way of eating; let them do that by sampling some plant-based dishes that were prepared by people who do this regularly."

Shackelford said she's seen the positive impact in her own family, in which a family member was diabetic and reversed it with no medication after changing his diet.

"His cholesterol went down 100 points; he's enjoying food," she said. "A lot of people think it's expensive; it's just regular food that I shop locally for, it's accessible. Our grocery bill actually went down."

Mosby said that he enjoys welcoming the community to the fire station.

"We view ourselves as a community organization, and one of the things we try to do when people reach out to us looking for a place to host events is allow them to do those things," he said. "It's a potluck, people will bring all sorts of dishes; some are simple, some are really neat and complex. People will encourage each other, talk about things they do living on a plant-based diet and share recipes."

The public is invited to attend this free event. Everyone is encouraged to bring a plant-based recipe to share, but bringing a dish is not required. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. today.

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