Diane Callaway: Life is Delicious

by | Dec 10, 2021 | Changemaker Of The Week

Faith in the Unknown Inspires One Woman to Make Life More Delicious for All

Faith is what it takes to follow your heart into unknown spaces hoping that you will find your way; Diane Callaway’s life is a beautiful illustration of what happens when you take that leap. After losing her parents – her Mom to cancer and Dad to cardiovascular disease – this full-time Mom who was focused on raising her sons, found herself reviewing her parents medical records and eventually, traveling to speak with doctors because she was driven by one question, “Was it possible that the untimely deaths of her parents were linked to their diet?” Despite the doctor’s uncertainty, she dug deeper as her initial inquiry had grown. Not only did she hope to find answers, the more she learned the more determined she became to steer her family toward a healthier lifestyle that would allow them to live and thrive.

Doctors inspired by her passion told Diane that she had the ability to touch the lives of people they would never see and encouraged her to return to school to study whole food plant-based nutrition. Initially she could not see herself returning to school as her focus was on her children, but upon finding an online program at Cornell University that fit into her life, she began her studies. Learning to cook new meals and explore foods and their effect on the body led her to care for her family in a new way. After receiving her certification in Nutrition and Healthy Living and Plant Based Nutrition, she went on to study with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to become a Plant-based Instructor and, though she’d never dreamed of starting a business, Life is Delicious was born.

Eager to share the knowledge that she’d learned, Diane approached the Pastor of her church – a community of 2,000 active members – with the idea of starting a ministry to help people who were sick. Given the green light, she invited doctors to come in four times a year to do workshops and authors to come share their wisdom and their books.

“We don’t have to die young. My mother was only 56 when she died. She was a constant Coca-Cola drinker – we had no idea she was addicted to sugar so I refuse to let people believe they can eat anything and be healthy.  You don’t have to start out vegan, you just need to focus on right now and make one healthy choice. People need support so I say let’s take it one step at a time, we’ll do this together. Let’s have realistic expectations. Let’s examine what you are doing, what you are willing to do and what you want to see change and start there,” Diane says.

Her passion for helping her family became caring for the community she loves and over time, the state she calls home, Delaware. In taking her whole foods plant-based program into restaurants, legislature and schools, including a community college where she was an adjunct teacher, her goal was to share the knowledge she was gathering with more people. That desire led her to launch VegFest in 2018. With a grant from the Pollination Project, she purchased all the materials she needed and returned what she didn’t use. The first year, she charged such low rates for food vendors that people questioned her. But for Diane, it wasn’t about making money, she simply wanted people to come out, listen and learn.

“With helping others, the more lives I touch, the more powerful the next person becomes and it empowers me. You learn as you go and I am always open to listen and to learn. You can hear something but if you are not truly listening, it never gets inside the heart.”

Over 2,000 people listened with their hearts and reached out after VegFest to say that for the first time, they felt it was possible to make healthy choices. It was the most amazing experience of her life.

Diane wanted to change lives in Delaware first, then branch out. Pollination Project team members shared Diane’s story with another partner, who decided to further invest in Diane’s work with an additional grant of $5,000. With this, she will be able to feed more people, stock small pantries with good eats like fruits and vegetables, and get her message further out into the world.

“Life is beautiful, we have to extract the gold all the time. I don’t have the perfect life but I extract the gold out of what happens in life no matter what and I want to help others to do that too. I’m doing what I believe I should be doing. I’m following my heart. Working with The Pollination Project is a miracle in motion for me. It will allow me to do for people the very best that I can do, continue to do good in our community and now do good outside of the community. TPP has opened a new door for me and I’m so grateful.”

What started as a painful inquiry led to the development of an organization whose heart and faith are filling lives with the gift of strength and good health. Today, she considers it a tremendous honor to be able to serve her family, community and state. There’s no doubt that Diane’s parents are proud of her for the love and hope she shares with everyone. She truly makes life more delicious and beautiful for all.