I injured my spine in the army. Even though I had surgery, the doctors said my condition was degenerative. I couldn’t be as active or eat the same things anymore. I became a plant-based eater and changed my day-to-day routine. When my friend Florice Nims told me about the Thrive Challenge, it seemed like a good way to focus on my choices. I read people’s stories and began implementing low-impact exercises into my life. 

I started swimming and doing aquatic therapy. 

I bought a bike. Any time I travel under 5 miles, I ride my bike. It’s helping me save money and get active — I’m killing two birds with one stone! I’m being more conscious of my food choices too. The Thrive Challenge helps me hold myself accountable. I’m chipping away at my goals and going at my own pace.

I’m in culinary school and I specialize in Ghanaian food. 

Being a chef, my main focus with the Thrive Challenge is food. For the last four years, I’ve been a plant-based eater. I eat natural ingredients and try to steer clear of processed foods. When I started the Thrive Challenge, I began going to farmers markets. Not only does it help me find fresh food, but it’s saving me money too — almost $200 a month. I’m eating more local fruits and vegetables and adding variety to my cuisine. African food has a lot of fish and seafood. I’m finding plant-based substitutes that are just as flavorful. 

Winning the Thrive Challenge helped me tremendously — I’m able to get my cooking business off the ground! I can’t wait to give more people a taste of my food. 

—Kevin McDonald II; Miami, FL; $2K Winner

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