Food=Medicine Conference Coming to ATL

Sixty-five percent of adults in Georgia are clinically obese or overweight. News flash: that’s over half of us. That’s getting dangerously close to three quarters of us. Yikes. We [Americans] are as unhealthy as we have ever been. Obesity and chronic disease run rampant, especially here in the South, where—let’s face it—we kind of love to eat. We do our best to make smart food choices and exercise, which we can’t always be perfect at given our hectic schedules and lives on the go. So what do we do? Is there an easier way to prevent the diseases that so often come with our modern lifestyles?

Benji Kurtz, an Athens, Ga., native and former radio executive, sought the answer to that question just a couple years ago. Obese his entire life, Kurtz watched “Forks Over Knives” in 2013, which led him to embark on a whole-food, plant-based diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and excludes all animal products (sorry, Paleo peeps). Processed foods are minimized, as are additional salt, oil and sugar.

Following these guidelines, Kurtz lost more than 130 lbs. within a year. His success inspired him to form the Atlanta-based nonprofit Alliance to Repair the American Diet. From November 13-15, the organization will present the Food=Medicine Conference at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta. The event will bring together nationally recognized leaders from the whole-food, plant-based movement including physicians, clinical researchers, celebrity chefs and athletes including famous plant-based Ultraman World Champion Rich Roll.

“Though few in number, there are studies out there that prove plant-based eating can halt and even reverse coronary artery disease,” says Kurtz. “The Food=Medicine Conference is the first event of its kind to bring these all-stars of plant-based eating to the Southeast, some of which continue to develop research for this cause.”

Attendees have the opportunity to learn how a plant-based diet can positively alter the progression of lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disease. A complete roster of speakers, registration information and more can be found at