This Plant-Based Chef Wants to Help Philadelphians Eat More Nutritiously

Meet Char Nolan, one of our 2020 Health Hero semi-finalists.

Char Nolan is one of our 2020 Health Hero semi-finalists. | Photos provided, design by Meredith Getzfread.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be chatting with our semi-finalists in the 2020 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge brought to you by Independence Blue Cross to give you a glimpse of the people who are helping Philadelphians live healthier lives. Vote to help decide which of these 10 semi-finalists become one of three finalists — and get a sizable donation to a charity of their choice — here. Remember, you can vote once a day until October 1st!

Name: Char Nolan, (@char_nolan) a plant-based chef who teaches nutrition and cooking classes to underserved communities around the city, including virtual classes during the pandemic.

Nonprofit of choice: Project HOME (@projecthomephl): a Philadelphia non-profit organization which has been empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, healthcare, and education since 1989.


What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?

I am very motivated when I see people responding positively to wellness education in some of the low-income communities where I teach — like when a participant in a class tells me, “I made soup without salt and it was good.” The willingness of people to change motivates me.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.

There are two: the first is joining Team in Training and completing countless marathons while raising money for leukemia research. The second is reading the book The Engine 2 Diet and becoming plant-based. A vegan diet changed my life. I now live a medication-free life, and have redirected my career to teach nutrition.

What policy would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?

While we all want to alleviate hunger, we must develop best practices to provide less processed foods and consider food as medicine.

What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen?

It’s a tie between diet and exercise. A diet based on plants, without refined sugars, makes me feel great. Exercise provides me with peace of mind. Combine them together and I am energized and creative.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice?

Lean in and do your best. Meet people where they are. Provide examples. Serve as an advocate, and do not place unrealistic goals on people.

Check out all the semi-finalists, and remember to vote HERE now. (Remember, you can vote once a day until October 1st!) Stay in touch with @bewellphilly and @phillymagevents and be sure to follow the challenge using #BWPHealthHero!

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