Our current 2018 Speaker LINEUP Includes:


Chef AJ – “Ultimate Weight Loss”, WFPB Speaker, author, TV, Chef

Gene Baur – Co-founder and President, Farm Sanctuary

Dr. George Guthrie – President, American College of LifeStyle Medicine

Dr. Hans Diehl – Founder, Complete Health Improvement Program

Jim Hicks – Author: Healthy Eating, Healthy World

Dr. Sal Lacagnina – System Medical Director of Wellness & Employee Health at Lee Health

Dr. Scott Stoll – Plantrician Project, Rouxbe


This year we’ve added a second stage featuring Plant-Based Fitness professionals!

Brenden Fitzgerald – Planet Protein, Inc., former USMC infantry squad leader

Erika Graziani – Triathlete, and Registered Dietitian with Lee Health

Jordan David – Vegan Bodybuilder and activist

Marcus Watts – Fitness Liason to the Ft. Myers PD SWAT team, former professional basketball player


Our Cooking Demo Stage Features Trish Smith (CHIP), Eric Wynkoop (Rouxbe), and Christopher Carnrick (Pirate Palms)


See below for information on our Main Stage, Fitness Stage, and Cooking Demo presenters.

Main Stage

Chef AJ

Chef AJ has been devoted to a plant-based diet for almost 40 years. She is the host of the television series Healthy Living with CHEF AJ which airs on Foody TV. With her comedy background, she has made appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and more. A chef, culinary instructor and professional speaker, she is author of the popular book Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight, which chronicles her journey from a junk-food vegan faced with a diagnosis of pre-cancerous polyps, to learning how to create foods that nourish and heal the body

Based in Los Angeles, Chef AJ teaches a monthly sold-out seminar featuring cooking instruction, nutritional science and song parodies, all delivered with comedic panache. Never content to leave her audience with mere “just do it” advice, she teaches how to create meals to transform their health, how to deal with cravings and food addiction and addresses the emotional side of eating. She is the creator of the Ultimate Weight Loss Program, which has helped hundreds of people achieve the health and the body that they deserve.

Chef AJ was the Executive Pastry Chef at Santé Restaurant in Los Angeles where she was famous for her sugar, oil, salt and gluten free desserts which use the fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the whole fruit.

Chef AJ is also creator of Healthy Taste of LA and the YouTube cooking show The Chef and the Dietitian, and is proud to say that her IQ is higher than her cholesterol. Chef AJ holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Gene Baur

Gene Baur is co‑founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, and has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. He was a pioneer in undercover investigations and instrumental in passing the first U.S. laws to ban inhumane factory farming practices. Beginning in 1986, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of animal agriculture and our cheap food system. Gene’s latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, was published by Rodale in April 2015. He has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University, and is a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. George Guthrie

Dr. George Guthrie received his MD degree from Loma Linda University in 1981. After completing his Family Practice Residency at Hinsdale Hospital near Chicago he joined a multi-specialty medical group on the island of Guam. The high incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in his patients led to a growing interest in the effective lifestyle treatment of the disease.  A return to clinical practice took Dr. Guthrie to the foothills of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains where he continued to apply his community lifestyle medicine focus from a traditional allopathic medical clinic. He and his wife, Dena, successfully piloted and ran annual seven, week-long, community based programs designed to lower the risk of heart disease using lifestyle principles.

In the last few years Dr. Guthrie has had the privilege of being involved in the development several lifestyle change programs including the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP), The Wellspring Diabetes Program, and the CREATION Health program. This has led to the opportunity to speak on lifestyle medicine around the United States and other English speaking countries for a variety of audiences.  He is the current president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Dr. Hans Diehl

Dr. Diehl will be joining us again this year to present our panel of personal, local recovery stories! Chosen as “One of America’s 20 Super-Heroes of the Health Movement”, Dr. Hans Diehl directs the Lifestyle Medicine Institute in Loma Linda.  Offering more than 25 years of leadership in the emerging field of Lifestyle Medicine, his pioneering efforts as an epidemiologically trained lifestyle interventionist with the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) have shown how simple lifestyle changes can prevent, arrest, and facilitate the reversal of many of our largely lifestyle related diseases. 

Jim Hicks

A former career business executive and senior vice president with Ralph Lauren in New York, Jim Hicks has always focused on the “big picture” when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about the “optimal diet” for humans, he began a comprehensive study of what we eat from a global perspective–discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Hawaii, a degree he earned while serving as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu. In 2009, he earned a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has served on the board of directors since 2012. A prolific writer and blogger, he published his first book, Healthy Eating, Healthy World, in 2011 and, four years later, teamed up with a medical doctor to publish the 4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health. Since 2002, he has invested over 10,000 hours of study and has posted over 1,000 health and sustainability articles on his website at hpjmh.com. J. Morris Hicks ultimately concluded that our food choices in the 21st century comprise the most important issue in the history of humanity— after realizing that our future as a species is riding on those choices. Since then, as a writer, speaker and activist, he has focused on that crucial issue in a never-ending effort to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Dr. Sal Lacagnina

Dr. Sal is the System Medical Director of Wellness & Employee Health for Lee Health where his role is to educate, motivate and inspire healthy living. He practiced Internal Medicine from 1993 until 2010 when he assumed his new role and since then Dr. Sal has become board certified in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Sal is now completing a certification in Lifestyle Medicine through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. His practice now focuses on helping people become and stay well through healthy eating, regular exercise and lifestyle management. For the past four years he and his family have been improving their own health via plant based eating which he encourages all his patients, family and friends to adopt. He teaches about the human benefits of plant based nutrition and also educates other on how this benefits the environment and saves animals from suffering and death. He is passionate about improving the health of the population of South West Florida and nationally. He writes about these topics in the News Press weekly and does community lectures on health & wellness.

Dr. Scott Stoll, MD

Dr. Scott Stoll MD, received his medical degree from the University of Colorado. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. Prior to receiving his MD, he was a member of the 1994 Olympic Bobsled team and currently serves as a physician for the US Bobsled and Skeleton team. He is the co-founder of the Plantrician Project, the International Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, served as a member of the Whole Foods scientific and medical advisory board, Team Physician for the United States Bobsled and Skeleton team and at Lehigh University, and served as the Department Chairman of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Coordinated Health.

Dr. Stoll hosts the very popular one week health immersion, Dr. Stoll’s total health immersion several times annually in Naples Florida that was the inspiration for his most best-selling book recent book, The Change, that he co-authored with an attendees Milan Ross and his first book, Alive! A Physician’s Biblical and Scientific Guide to Nutrition. In addition to hosting his own daily TV and radio programs, Dr. Stoll has appeared on numerous national shows including the Dr. Oz show and documentaries including Eating You Alive, Wait til its Free, and Game Changers. As well as being a published author of books and numerous scientific articles, he is a highly sought- after international speaker. Dr. Stoll resides with his wife and six children in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Featured on the Fitness Stage

Brenden Fitzgerald

“My name is Brenden Fitzgerald, 26, Founder of Planet Protein, Inc. and prior USMC infantry squad leader. Ineligible my senior year of HS soccer due to poor academics, I immediately started to feel depressed. Upon graduation, I joined the United States Marine Corps as my “way-out” or a “new life”. I took certain qualities instilled and applied them In and out of different industries, sales gigs and small entrepreneurial projects. With no real purpose in life, a split family and facing uncertainty, I luckily stumbled upon two documentaries that changed my life immediately: Cowspiracy and Vegucated… Woke up vegan the next day.

Five days later, Planet Protein was born and my drive was at an all-time high! Self-motivated/ self-taught, I began my new journey and assembled the ProTEAM and prepared to officially launch our vegan protein company on August 15, 2017. We are now developing new products and working with charities to help battle deforestation by planting more trees. Working each day to improve myself, this planet and make for positive impact with my surroundings!”

Erika Graziani

Erika Graziani is a Registered Dietitian with Lee Health. She completed her undergraduate education at West Virginia University. While attending school, she was part of the women’s track team and competed in the pole vault. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in nutrition and completed her internship program at Kent State University. She has worked as a registered dietitian for the last 12 years in both Ohio and Florida. She currently works as an outpatient dietitian counseling patients on a variety of nutrition plans, depending on their goals.

Ms. Graziani has a passion for helping others and teaching about nutrition. She believes that food is medicine and enjoys sharing knowledge about the benefits of plant-based nutrition. When she is not counseling patients at work, she enjoys an active lifestyle. Involved in sports since childhood, she started competing in the sport of triathlon in 2014. She has completed 13 triathlons, including two half ironman races. In November 2016, she qualified for the 2017 ITU World Championship long-course event in Penticton, British Columbia.

Jordan David

Jordan David (Conscious Muscle)  is a father, Vegan bodybuilder, animal rights activist and runs his very own animal sanctuary (@LilyAnFriendsRescue on instagram) .  
“ My mission is simple, to make this world a better place than the one I was born into and I know the answer for this is veganism in all of its facets.  I am making the world mainstream fitness and nutrition completely cruelty free and I have no plans on slowing down!“ 

Marcus Watts

Returned to the Fort Myers area after a six-year professional basketball career with the goal of inspiring, and motivating in the fitness and wellness sector. After I opened my first Fitness center I had the joy of working with a broad group of individuals including professional athletes and Exercise Science & Technology Boards, (Keiser University). Additionally, I serve as the fitness liaison to the Fort Myers PD SWAT Team and local youth athletics. After a near death scare with pulmonary embolism I was inspired to grow my knowledge in plant based wellness, and have since transformed my vision to help educate and inspire on the possibilities of living both PLANT BASED & STRONG.

Cooking Demo Presenters

Christopher Carnrick

Christopher Carnrick is a certified starch solution counselor/trainer with Dr. John McDougall. He has been a former owner of three successful restaurants in USA and Spain. He has also authored the books “Kitchen Disasters, Solutions and Substitutions” and “Dinner for Six at 8:00”. He is a regular TV personality for a variety of cooking shows airing on CBS, NBC and FOX networks.

Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop, Director of Culinary Instruction at Rouxbe Online Culinary School, has enjoyed more than 20 years as a food professional, with experiences that include cooking, management, winery cellar-hand, consulting, bakery work, ethnographic research, catering, and culinary education. 

In education, Eric was a senior instructor at Western Culinary Institute, instructor of food anthropology at Portland State University and The Art Institute of Portland, and was a founding faculty member at The International Culinary School in Portland. Eric is certified as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor and studied Ayurveda and Ayurvedic cooking at the Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center, in India. Eric is affiliated with the Association for the Study of Food and Society and is an American Culinary Federation competition medalist. 

Trish Smith

Trish Smith was raised with a mother who taught her and her five older siblings all the benefits of plant-based nutrition, but like many young adults, Trish rebelled against the lifestyle her mother raised her on. Because of the standard American diet Trish was consuming, she weighed 265 pounds at age 25. In hopes of regaining control of her health, Trish decided to come back to the plant-based lifestyle she was raised on. Since then, Trish has lost 100 pounds and is a proud advocate for the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. As a certified facilitator for the Complete Health Improvement Program and as a Food for Life instructor, she has assisted in improving blood work results and weight loss in her students.