Teen CEO of a Nonprofit is Using the Vegan Diet to Fight Childhood Diabetes


Haile Thomas, the CEO of the nonprofit Healthy Active Positive Powerful Youth (HAPPY) which educates kids about healthy plant-powered diets is a young activist, chef, and a public speaker.

Civil Eats revealed that through HAPPY, the CEO has helped more than 15,000 children in schools from New York to Dubai.

Thomas started the organization in 2012 after being inspired by her dad who eradicated type-2 diabetes with a healthy lifestyle.

“We saw a huge opportunity to work with these kids who were just sort of there, not doing anything, and have them do cooking classes with us,” Thomas explained to Civil Eats. “That was our foundation and where we gained a lot of our early experience.”

HAPPY is endorsed by Morton Salt and the Clif Bar Family Foundation and has partnered with Harlem Grown in New York to spread awareness about the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

The nonprofit uses teaching techniques like the “ Sugar Shock” sessions, which show children how sugar is used in popular junk foods and drinks. Then it goes on to teach them about healthier alternative they can use to make meals at home using natural foods.

“Kids have a horrible perception of vegetables, so we really wanted to change that specifically and show them the benefits and how they can taste good,” said Thomas.

Some studies have revealed that the plant-based diet can help eradicate type-2 diabetes and Eric Adams the Brooklyn Borough president is a living example.

He decided to avoid medication and instead used the plant-based diet to successfully reverse his condition.

He actively campaigns to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet in public schools and hospitals across the city.

“We’ve got to focus on how to wean people off their bad eating habits – the same we wean people off addictive drugs,” he told the New York Times.

“I don’t want to become an annoying vegan,” he added. “My hope is that by having people focus on adding healthy things to their plates, rather than unhealthy things, they’ll eventually only have room for the healthy ones.” 


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