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Get to Know Tara Kemp!

If you haven’t heard of Tara Kemp, you probably don’t go to Bucknell. This vivacious junior is on course to do phenomenal things post-graduation and she still has 3 semesters at Bucknell before she graduates! Tara is currently majoring in Education with a minor in Creative Writing, and is planning to do a nutrition program upon graduation. Tara’s a perfect example of a leader. She’s a second year RA and initiated the “Healthy Lifestyle” affinity group at 400 St. George. The new small house program emphasizes being active, eating well, and having a positive attitude. In addition to the Healthy Lifestyle program, she’s a guest writer for a well-known health blog in the field of plant-based nutrition, Engine 2 Diet.

Favorite Class at Bucknell:
I guess I’d have to say either my freshman seminar, “The Writer’s Voice” with Katie Hays or a class I took last year on the “Biology of Health and Disease” with Professor Heintzelman.

Favorite Bison Team to Back:
Maybe basketball, because everyone gets really spirited, which creates such a fun atmosphere.

Favorite Orientation Activity:
Probably Paint Wars or Pep Rally

Favorite Place on Market St:
The park! That’s where I play with Arlo, the little boy that I babysit. He’s the greatest.

4 Fun Facts/Things We Should Know About You:

  • I love life!
  • I can walk on my hands
  • I’m a runner (And I’ve gotten faster since eating plant-strong!! Plants help you recover more quickly!)
  • Jenna, Craig, and I are starting up our own blog called “The College Greens,” which should be up and running within the next few weeks. If anyone is interested, they can follow us and read more about plant-based awesomeness!

How were you introduced to Engine 2 Diet?

I have always been really interested in nutrition, and two summers ago I came across some information about the health benefits of a vegan diet. I’d heard of ethical or environmental motivations for being vegan, but I’d never heard of anyone doing it for health reasons. It sparked my interest, and I began looking into it. When I heard about the documentary “Forks Over Knives,” it sounded like something right up my alley. That was my first introduction to not only the idea of a “whole food, plant-based diet,” but also Rip Esselstyn and the Engine 2 Diet, as well as a number of other prominent people in the field. After seeing the movie, I knew that I didn’t just want this passion for nutrition to be a hobby, but I wanted to help improve the health of others through nutrition as my future career. This summer, I went to a “Farms 2 Forks” Immersion, and that’s where I met Rip Esselstyn in person. My friend Jenna, my boyfriend Craig, and I all talked to him about our interest in getting involved with Engine 2. He told us to keep in touch, and we did, and through that connection we were asked to be guest writers for the Engine 2 blog!

When did you decide a whole food, plant-based diet was right for you?

The more I read, the more convinced I was, about a year ago I decided that I wanted to make the lifestyle change. I loved it, and continued to research and learn about it. When I saw “Forks Over Knives,” the notion really resonated with me. It felt like a much better fit than “vegan.” They’re similar, but definitely very different. Vegans are typically people who cut animal products out of their diet for ethical reasons. They also do not wear leather and try to abstain from using products that have been tested on animals. On the other hand, someone who eats a whole food, plant-based diet is health conscious. The emphasis is more on what you put into your body, rather than what you keep out. As I read more books on the topic, such as The China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and Engine 2 Diet, I really felt like “this is me”. This is what I believe in, and this is what I practice. I eat a whole food, plant-based diet. I am plant-strong and proud of it!

How do you keep up with your diet on campus?

If it’s something that you really care about, it’s not as hard as you would think. Especially once you get into a routine. I don’t even think about it anymore, it’s just become natural for me to eat this way. Having access to a kitchen is definitely a huge help. Last year I lived in Vedder, so I was limited in my ability to cook for myself, although I tried to do so once or twice a week. This year, I live in one of the Small Houses so I have a kitchen, which has been really great. It’s 100% doable to eat a plant-based diet on campus, but I definitely prefer to cook for myself.

Any plans in the works to bring Engine 2 Diet as a lecture to Bucknell?

Not at the moment. Rip and the Engine 2 Team are really busy people. They have a lot going on at the moment, starting a food line at Whole Foods, developing their new “Engine 2 Extra online community, and putting together immersions, among other things. In addition, they are based in Austin, Texas. So it wouldn’t be a simple task for them to come here by any means. However, if students were interested in having them come, I would definitely run the idea by Engine 2 and see what the chances/logistics of that would be!

How do you hope to integrate the work you’ve been doing with Engine 2 Diet and your intended degrees for life after Bucknell?

Well, if one day I end up being able to work for Engine 2, that would be a dream job right there! However, I am also interested in becoming a nutrition counselor or nutrition educator. I would love to be able to work closely with a doctor who practices Lifestyle Medicine, helping patients to prevent or reverse their diseases, illnesses, and conditions.

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