12 Year Old Cures Dad’s Diabetes & Fights Childhood Obesity

12 Year Old Cures Dad’s Diabetes & Fights Childhood Obesity


Most people have lifetime goals. Maybe you want to own your own
home by the time you’re 30. Maybe you’d like to meet
your childhood idol. Maybe you’d like to
own your own business. Or maybe, if you’re Haile Thomas, you want
to help reverse your father’s diabetes, tour the country as part of a government
initiative to educate kids about healthy eating, start your own nonprofit to reach
kids in underserved communities, turn your family vegan, and become
BFFs with first lady Michelle Obama, all by the time you’re
twelve years old. Kids these days. Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan
and welcome to another vegan nugget. Today I’m honored to
introduce you to Haile Thomas, health advocate and the founder
of the Happy Organization and the host for the YouTube
channel Plant Powered Haile. Now at the ripe old age of 14
Haile hasn’t slowed down in her mission to bring plant-powered
health education to kids everywhere. Haile is one of the Animal Hero Kids I
introduced in my recent video with that organization’s founder, who awarded Haile
the Paul McCartney Animal Hero Kids Young Veg Advocate Award this month,
adding to her already impressive resume. When I had the chance to speak with Haile,
I first asked about how her father’s battle with diabetes led to her family’s quest
for health and subsequent vegan conversion. Initially it wasn’t really about vegan food
at all or animals at all it was more a family effort to try to reverse my Dad’s type 2 diabetes
and so, we as a family, we really looked into a lot of food documentaries and how animals
are treated in the food industry and all the side effects and all those things that can
happen to you from eating meat and so we kind of at that point, a few years ago, we were
just learning at first and I think it was just kind of an initial
introduction to all those things. Over time he just started to
get better and we were able to reverse his type 2 diabetes
with healthy lifestyle changes. Emily: Haile shares about how
this family health scare turned victory inspired her to
take action on a broader scale. After we had really had this health revelation
it was kind of where I was learning that kids were getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease
and becoming obese and all those things. And I really started to think that maybe if we
hadn’t become healthier I could have gotten type 2 diabetes or any other health related
disease. So, I just kind of started freaking out like ‘oh my gosh not a lot of kids know
this’. There’s all these documentaries and information out there but nobody’s really
telling them about it and so I kind of went to my Mom and it was like
“O.K. I want to do something. I want to tell the kids at school.
I want to tell anybody who will listen”. So, from there we discovered the Alliance
for a Healthier Generation which is a Clinton Foundation initiative and I just
applied. I was only 10 but, I didn’t really have a lot of things underneath my belt.
They gave me a lot of opportunities to talk to lots of adults and kids about how
kids and adults should work together to try to get kids eating healthier and
moving more and all those things. So, for a few years I was just
traveling the country giving speeches and talking to kids doing cooking
demonstrations. I was on the Food Network promoting healthy foods and just
different appearances and all those things. I worked with Hyatt Hotels to reinvent
their kid’s menu so that it was healthy, sophisticated so kids really felt
appreciated on the kid’s menu. So, I did all of that for a few years and
then I started to realize well O.K. I am doing a lot of things that are catered towards kids
who kind of know this information and kind of already have the concept and so I started
thinking about how in my community a lot of under-served areas just don’t have access
to places where they can get all this information for free or for very low cost. So, that’s
kind of when I went to my Mom and was like “Hey do you want to start an organization?”
and she was like “O.K.”. We worked on developing a name and we chose
HAPPY because it stands for Healthy, Active, Positive, Purposeful, Youth. And so we work
on each of those sections and we’ve had the organization for almost 3 years,
which is really great. We’ve reached over 5000 kids between classes
and just really educating kids on nutrition. It’s been very interesting to see the transition
in our curriculum for sure as our knowledge of food and health has
changed over time. I just kind of noticed that there was this
lack of nutrition education for most kids because their parents didn’t really know where
to get the information so they didn’t really know where to get the information and
sometimes I believe that it can start with the kids and it can be passed
on down to the family. Emily: One aspect of Haile’s mission is
helping kids connect with their food sources and empowering them to take
charge of their own health. I think that for a lot of kids they just don’t
realize that they really do have power over their health. I think that at a certain level
just like, ‘whatever my parents buy for me is whatever it’ll be’ and that’s not necessarily
true if you really are educating yourself about it then you can go and educate your
family about the benefits of eating healthier. We definitely work to just empower kids to
know where their food comes from. We provide nutrition, education and cooking
classes for kids in under-served communities as well as fun physical activities, which
include things like Yoga and Meditation, so, that’s kind of dealing with the positivity.
And you know we have the motivational people come in as well so they can kind of feel
empowered to go out and find what they believe in. We mostly focus on the nutrition and cooking
aspect. Right now we are in schools, we are doing our ‘Happy Chefs’ program, which is
where the kids get to freestyle cook and try all these really different fruits and vegetables.
They can learn about the seasons, they can learn about the difference
between organic and non-organic so, we really put it all out on the table
but in a kid friendly way. A lot of littler kids who are like 6 years
old and are really into it and we take them out to farms and they really get to see and
get hands on experiences with harvesting that cucumber and then making a salad out of it.
So, we definitely make it where the connection is very clear to them and that
they can see the benefits of it. Emily: When I asked Haile what the
most rewarding experience in all of her work has been,
she said she had two. I think I do have two. The first one, I would
say, is when we’re teaching the kids in our classes and you kind of see this light bulb
go off on the kids’ faces and you can really see that they just made a huge revelation
in their heads. And it’s like you really see how they were just begging for a bag of Cheetos
and now they want carrots. Once you just see that transformation and when that happened
it’s really amazing. We had one summer camp, last summer, where we were teaching kids about
what were in hot dogs and the kids were just so grossed out by it and they all wanted
to watch the video over and over again. The next day we took them to a field trip
and we just so happened to have a pit stop at the meat department
and the sampler person was like “Oh, you guys want some hot dogs?”
and in unison they all said, “EEEEWWWWW!”. So, it was like, it was just so awesome to
see that they really retained that information that they learned
and once they saw those hot dogs they were like, “We know what’s in
there”. I think that is always really rewarding. I think my second rewarding moment was probably
when I introduced the First Lady and after that because once I sat down she went on to
talk about me for like 10 minutes and my Mom was just crying so proud of me and so, I think
that was probably the most rewarding because in that moment it’s like, it really
paid off and people really see what I am doing is really helping others so,
that was really awesome. Emily: Haile has certainly accomplished a
lot in her 14 years, not the least of which was leading her family from their new healthy
way of eating, to full blown veganism. Yeah so, it’s actually funny when we first
went vegan I kind of, like, challenged my Mom and I like blasted her on Facebook to
be a part of the challenge to go vegan until the end of the year last year. So, obviously
we lasted way longer than that but at first when I said that to my family everybody just
looked at me like I was crazy, like “What are you talking about? How can we give up
our chicken and our fish and all these things”. It was definitely a difficult transition for
some of our members in the family but ultimately when we all sat down and just learned about
everything together it was kind of like a unity. We watched all of those documentaries
that are heart wrenching but for some of the members in my family that is what they really
needed to realize that this was just a friendlier way to go about our lifestyle. Also,
a lot of people think that it is really difficult and mostly
the difficulty is mental. Emily: If you want to find out more about
Haile and follow her work, check out all of her links in the video description below.
Haile is a powerful force for the health of future generations, for the lives of
animals saved by more people eating more plants and for our planet so
ravaged by animal agriculture. Having accomplished so much in
her first 14 years on this planet, I can’t wait to see where
she goes from here. Stay tuned to the channel to hear from more
Animal Hero Kids. If you liked this video, do give it a thumbs up and share it around
to help show what kids can accomplish. If you’re new here, I’d love to have you
as a subscriber. I put out fresh content covering all aspects of veganism every
Monday, Wednesday and some Fridays. To help support Bite Size Vegan’s
educational efforts, please see the support link below or click on the Nugget
Army icon or the link in the sidebar. Now go live vegan, help change the world, and I’ll see you soon. Hello everyone. I’m here today to tell you
that there’s a gourmet chef in every child. You know each other, maybe
you should work together. We do. Haile is one of our best. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

37 thoughts on “12 Year Old Cures Dad’s Diabetes & Fights Childhood Obesity

  1. What a great girl. I hope she stays healthy, active, passionate and purposeful, but also humble, strong spirited and independent like she seems to be now already. She'll be a great leader one day if she does just that!

  2. Now this gives me hope for the future! Wow what a great inspiration and role model Haile is. And amazing that her whole family went vegan 🙂

  3. 1 in 3 meat eating men get cancer   –   1 in 20 Vegetarian Men get Cancer (Prob less for Vegans too!)I like those Odds & I'm not a betting man.                           I was unaware Type 2 could be reversed – Whoooah !              Haile – you are an inspiration and truly amazing

  4. So glad I found you, sooooooooooo enjoy watching your vids.. WOW Hailey you are a Blessing & a wonderful role model. More power to the young people.

  5. she's great but i don't think that she is completely vegan because she was on a cooking show on food network and i'm pretty sure she cooked with meat!! but she is still a very powerful young kid!!

  6. I am sooo proud of you young lady. Keep up the good work. You're already walking in your purpose changing lives !!!👍🎉👍😇😘

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