The seeds of Upshoot’s story were planted more than 10 years ago with Joe Cross who sparked a lifestyle movement around the simple concept of juicing and eating more things green. It led to millions being inspired to enjoy more plants in their diets, and over 10,000 people following in his footsteps through guided nutrition programs, reaping the benefits and changing their lives. 

The lessons learned from Joe’s community planted a vision for Upshoot and its mission to make plant-powered nutrition accessible to all by removing the typical cost, time, effort and availability barriers to healthier eating. 

Stacy Kennedy, a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist, worked alongside Joe Cross for years and helped to grow the movement. We caught up with her, now Upshoot’s VP of Programs, to talk about some of the life lessons learned from those stories that guided the development of Upshoot’s nutrition programs and Phytopúr products.

Here’s Stacy’s take on the Top 10 life lessons inspired by the 10,000 plant-powered stories created via guided nutrition programs with Joe’s community:

#1 – It’s the everyday stuff that matters most.

While most people will say weight loss is their primary goal, when you explore this further, it’s not really about the number on the scale as much as it’s about how a person feels day-to-day. People want more energy so they can be fully present and enjoy their lives. What matters most are things like feeling better overall, experiencing less aches and pains with everyday activities, seeing glowing skin, having their clothes or wedding rings fit again, and more. 

#2 – Every participant has a meaningful story.

You, yes you, have the most influential story of all, simply because it’s yours.  Understanding the details of how each and every person has experienced a transformation in their life is what is most inspiring and what I am most grateful for in my career. The privilege of people letting me into their personal life and being willing to share what really matters to them, in their heart, is moving and meaningful to me, each and every single time. Hearing from participants, years, even decades later brings me great joy.  

#3 – Despite challenges, hope prevails through empowerment.

Of all the stories I’ve heard in the past few decades, one of the common themes is that there is always hope. Always. It actually surprises me at times, especially working in oncology, I would  find myself thinking: “man, if that were me, I’d be so sad or frustrated or even angry.” But people going through a struggle, with a clear mind and heart, genuinely seeking positive change, display a sort of deep empowerment that I think you can only experience when it’s all on the line and somehow you’ve hit that point where you think, “I’ve had enough and it’s time to do something.” Being part of someone’s teachable moment–their life-changing trajectory–is a tremendous honor.  

#4 – Weight loss should not be the focus, but rather the byproduct.

In our culture, we put too much emphasis on weight, size and shape–and we do it at the expense of health, wellness and vitality. Thankfully, this paradigm is shifting and we are slowly exposing the inherent shame and judgement we sometimes place on people with larger bodies. Punishing yourself with exercise or a restrictive diet, lacking in key nutrients, is not only an awful experience that detracts from the joys of life, but it is also incredibly ineffective at helping you lose weight and keep it off. Shifting your focus to building healthy success habits over time is the key to weight management.  For example, getting your 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, eating on a schedule that works for your life, creating a balanced plate, and being physically active like walking. Focusing on doing these things day to day (as best you can; it doesn’t have to be perfect), will get you the health benefits as well as the results of losing weight.  

#5 – Progress, not perfection, produces the best results.

This is your mantra to play on repeat. One step at a time, one moment at a time, keeping focus and staying mindful is truly the key to success when making lasting, healthy changes. Keeping accountable on the day-to-day tasks, the new behaviors you are working to incorporate, instead of keeping tabs on the end result, will actually bring you to your goal more effectively and more enjoyably.   

#6 – Community conquers all.

Community is the foundation for lasting change. It really does take a village. There’s serious power in numbers and many nutrition programs fail because going it alone simply doesn’t work. By tapping into a community, you’ll gain access to positive feelings like hope, humor, connection, and gratitude. Plus, you’ll experience the opportunity to share a sense of purpose and meaning, helping others, and even our planet, get healthy.   

#7 – Wake up metabolism with change. Light it Up!

Human bodies are hard-wired to crave consistency so when we want something new, we have to infuse a change. It feels awkward, difficult; our body will resist. But, in time, it will adapt because as humans we are also inherently skilled at survival. So, how can we spark the fire of our metabolism and keep it burning?  

  • Proper nutritional balance – fiber, phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, protein, essential vitamins and minerals, like selenium, magnesium & B vitamins: all in the right combination (Phytopúr products make this simple & effective). 
  • Hydration – literally, the powerhouse of your cells requires the Hs & Os from water to run your metabolism properly.  Again, shout out to Phytopúr for superior hydration benefits. 
  • HIIT training – high intensity interval training 
  • Strength training – 2-3 times a week 
  • Sleep
  • Stress reduction 

#8 – Each path is different, but similar. 

At the end of the day, there is more about us that’s similar than different; after all, we are all human.  We all want to feel our best, take care of those around us who we love and make a positive impact on the world. Everyone wants to be healthier; we just have to understand that doing it is harder than it sounds. This is where the real work is: solving for the barriers that prevent someone from moving forward in their health journey. This is why I love Upshoot so much (one of the many reasons!); we’re all about simple solutions that work. 

#9 – Confidence grows with time and practice.

If you could, say this over and over in your mind, especially when the “I didn’t do it right or I didn’t do it well enough,” self-talk starts to creep in. Practice makes change possible. Work smarter, not harder. You’ve heard this all before, but now, it’s time to start doing it, day in and day out. One choice at a time. Time is really the only variable over which we have no control. So, stop fighting it; you can’t make things happen faster, and that mindset will backfire in the long run. Instead, take a deep breath and embrace patience. Probably the hardest task of all 🙂 

#10 – No matter your age, it’s always possible to change your relationship with food.  

Did you know that people in their 90’s can build muscle?!* It is possible to change, at any age. It’s certainly easier and more enjoyable to do this with expert guidance in programs, nutritious products and a supportive community. Building a new relationship with food is like any other relationship: it takes time, patience, kindness and an open mind. As we age, our taste buds naturally change, but keeping hydrated and getting in those servings of fruits and vegetables can help overcome age-related taste shifts. 

Learn more about Upshoot at Upshoot.Life and connect with Stacy on LinkedIn.