STL Veg Girl Announces the Center for Plant-based Living
In 2011, the same year I founded STL Veg Girl, I had a crazy thought, that someday there should be one place, a building, a center where you could learn about what a plant-based diet is, how and why that might be a good thing in your life and where you can find continual: resources, education, inspiration, motivation and support. In 2017, still no such place existed, so I started saving. In early 2019 the perfect little space opened in downtown Kirkwood (A bustling neighborhood in the middle of St. Louis, MO) and I grabbed it.
The time feels right. I began as a plant-based cooking assistant in 2008 after losing my dad to cancer and then, just 10 short weeks later, I, too, received the diagnosis. I formed Veg Girl in 2011 and since then I have been watching this movement gain speed and strength.
Over the years I have watched many, MANY people reverse their type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a host of other all too common chronic illnesses we now just dub as accepted symptoms of age. That's nonsense. I've watched people who have been taking fist-full amounts of daily medications for years and by adopting a plant-based diet, they have titrated down to none. Not everyone's health outcome is the same, but even if you changed up what you put on your plate in exchange for not having to take even half of your daily meds - wouldn't that be a relief? Think of the side effects you would not have to experience.
This is not just a place to come if you're ill. I hope you'll come to learn to help prevent any future malady, to inspire new ideas, to gain kitchen confidence, to support your best friend, to build better relationships with your co-workers, to learn from world renowned physicians and researchers, to share a meal, to connect, to live.
The Center for Plant-based Living is located at 131 West Jefferson Avenue in St. Louis. The expected opening is August 13, the anniversary of my dad's passing. This is my way of honoring him. We lost him on August 13, 2008 to type of cancer we now know is highly preventable and reversible though the implementation of a whole food, plant-based diet.
When not in class or prepping for an event, I suspect I'll be busy recipe testing or planning the next program. Please pop your head in and say hello.
In the meantime, I hope you will visit this blog as I will often update it with pictures and progress.
Lease signed and keys handed over. Pictured here with Susan Fulton - friend and landlord.
Marketing 101. If you have a business, tell people about it. Make use of every inch of real estate you have.
She's small, but will be mighty!
Food for our hardworking crew!
Plumbing and electrical have passed inspection!
Meanwhile, outside, the little garden of red romaine, bell peppers, rosemary and basil are boosting out of the soil! And, soon to be farmer extraordinaire, Dana, stopped by and gifted us Cherokee tomato, black tomato and mini tomato plants. Thanks Dana!!
Over the weekend the kitchen walls went up.
And are ready to be primed.
The word is getting out! Thank you St. Louis Magazine!
We have a logo!
Holding office hours
Cabinet shopping with my designer, Kory, of Let's Create Space.
Bathroom Renovation!One of the main focus points of CBPL is its custom shiplap wall and shelf. She's a beauty!
The big burly men of EB Granite delivering the quartz countertops. Who needs trivets? Not us!
Little by little.
It's really ok if I never see another tile spacer again.
I tested out the ovens tonight with just making simple tortilla chips. FYI- cutting up corn tortillas (ingredients corn and lime only), pop them into a 425-f convection oven for 9 minutes and viola! You have oil-free, low-cal, crap-free tortilla chips! I like to make a large batch and keep them in a sealed container.
About 6 weeks in we felt tiles moving. Several had to to be busted and lifted out. Turns out the original mortar never dried. The level of frustration tipped.
Soon enough we laid new tiles and used new mortar. On to the next.
Making another floor run! This time buying the 3rd of three floors in this joint. I had a truckload of Pergo and I'm sure I got flipped the bird many times as I went about 15 MPH on the way back to CPBL.
Every day. My FedEx driver loves me.
Days like this I thought we'd never get there.
And soon enough that turns into this.
It was all hands on deck on the inside, but we had to start thinking about the outside! We're located in a historic district and all window signage needs to be approved by the board.
Thanks to my design / branding team, Enrich Creative, this is what they came up with and it PASSED!
We headed to ReFab for shelving.
And they turned out great!
The place will still full of tools and pretty much a mess, but one night when I was teaching at another venue, my husband, Tim, called his buddies up and they assembled all of the furniture and set the stage. The next day he had the Center professionally cleaned. I had to catch my breath when I saw what he did.
Less than 2 weeks out from grand opening!
Camera installation complete!
And, signage complete!
We held a soft opening for fellow small business district business owners the Saturday before Grand Opening.
Cocktail napkins from a friend. xo
Tim Ezell of FOX 2 Kicked off our Grand Opening! We filed shots to play all day long and we had quite a crowd because of it!
On this day, August 13, the anniversary of losing my dad to a cancer that we now know had great potential to be not only prevented, but also reversed, we cut the ribbon to the nation's first plant-based nutrition and culinary education center. The Center for Plant-based Living is now officially open!
Dr. Jim Loomis, the medical director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and also our medical director, flew in for a few days to celebrate with opening!
We installed a picture rail in anticipation of the beautiful artwork of Laura Genovese! She visited the Farmers' Market and was inspired to paint this! WE LOVE IT!!!
We sent out a press release for opening and received some great nation wide traction (more can be found in the press link), but this was really surprising!!
True to form the St. Louis community has been nothing less than incredibly supportive. They have welcomed my newest venture and I wish I knew the right way to express gratitude. I suppose by remaining honest with my mission, helping others add a plant to every plate; not forcing any one type of dietary lifestyle on anyone, respecting where people are in their journeys, but still softly nudging out the bad and ushering in the good is what it's all about.
I hope you will join me at the Center for Plant-based Living.