MamaSezz meal delivery service came about when founders Meg Donahue and Lisa Lorimer realized that not only are the health and wellness benefits of a whole food plant-based diet astounding, the extra time spent purchasing and preparing the appropriate foods can be as well.

When they looked for a meal delivery service to support this lifestyle locally and found there wasn’t one, they took the next step to create just such a business. Similarly, they realized that in making the transition to eating whole-food, plant-based meals, there was plenty of information regarding the benefits, but not as much as to how to actually do it every day.

“There are a lot of Facebook groups, but we thought it would be good to bring people together to share their hopes and challenges, what works and more,” said Shirma Blanchard, who leads the MamaSezz HeartBeet Club. “We hear from our customers that they wish they could get together and talk about making this transition.

“People go toward a plant-based lifestyle, and find out a lot of information about it, but then stop. Others come to it for health reasons and get a list of what they shouldn’t eat. (They) look at it and wonder what’s left.”

Since MamaSezz feels so strongly about encouraging people toward whole food plant-based eating, the HeartBeet Club was established to help anyone on the road toward this lifestyle, regardless of whether they are a MamaSezz customer or not, and with no charge to join.

According to the group’s Facebook event page, they welcome those who are “long time plant-based eaters or a fast food junkie (who) simply wants to add more veggies.”

“We want to help people transition as much as they want to,” Blanchard said. “We are very inclusive and since we are all in different places on our journey, everybody is welcome at the table. If someone comes and says they had four salads this week, we cheer!  We don’t think, ‘That’s it?’ because any steps taken are taken forward, so we say, ‘You go and rock on!’”

At a typical meeting, participants take the time to introduce themselves and talk about their week and what brings them there, though this is not required if someone is uncomfortable speaking. However, many members find it so helpful that, according to Blanchard, the sharing actually takes a large portion of the meeting.

She said that typically while others are speaking, she serves a MammaSezz dish to try.

Following that, Blanchard presents a related topic. Recently she introduced the ideas of “mindfulness and meditation” and “practicing gratitude,” but weekly explorations could also be a cooking demonstration or involve handouts or guests who can share insight on what is being discussed.

Finally, the group sets goals for the upcoming week before adjourning.

“That hour and 15 minutes flies by, and when they leave, I hope people take a sense of belonging and new knowledge and are inspired to be a healthier (version of) them,” Blanchard said. “I bring up self-love a lot and what you love most about you.

“It sounds serious, but it is very light-hearted, and I pick at them and laugh with them. I want those who come to feel joy and inspiration knowing that they are moving to a healthier version of themselves and that it is about the journey and how do you want to be on the journey, and not about the destination.”

Being part of the journey is something that everyone can appreciate, which is why the group is open to and extends an invitation to “anyone and everyone!” Blanchard noted in particular the MamaSezz HeartBeet Club is there to support individuals who want to improve their health, are struggling with health problems or just want to feel better, as well as those who are seeking guidance as they transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

“It could be a person who has arthritis and aches and pains or a young person who wants to run a 5K and doesn’t know where to begin,” Blanchard explained as she opened the door to all. “A person who can’t get a clear thought because of all the chatter, or someone who just wants to take care of themselves. I hold the space, but it is really everyone’s group.”

The MamaSezz HeartBeet Club meets every Thursday from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at 127 Marlboro Road in Brattleboro. Starting May 9, Blanchard will host a group in Keene at the Hannah Grimes Center from noon until 1:15 p.m. on Thursday afternoons. For more information, visit the Events section of the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/MamaSezz. To learn more about MamaSezz premade and home-delivered, whole-food, plant-based meals, visit mamasezz.com.