Meet Our Founders
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cofounder, Living with Type 1 Diabetes
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.
He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.
He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts Plant Proof and Nutrition Rounds. He is a co-author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes with Robby Barbaro, MPH.
Robby Barbaro, MPH
Cofounder, Living with Type 1 Diabetes
Robby Barbaro, MPH graduated from the University of Florida and is the cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green. He worked at Forks Over Knives for six years before turning his attention in 2016 to coaching people with diabetes full time.
Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 and has been living this lifestyle since 2006. In that time, while eating pounds of fruit every day, his HbA1c value has never exceeded 6.4%, and his blood glucose has been stable and easy to manage.
He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at Whole Foods Global Headquarters, VegFest LA, Plant-Stock, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Medical Medium, Vice, Thrive Magazine, Diet Fiction, Thrive Global, BestLife and the wildly popular podcasts Plant Proof and Nutrition Rounds, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes with Cyrus Khambatta, PhD.
Robby enjoys exercising every day, spending time with friends, and sharing his lifestyle on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Meet Our Coaches
Amy Leahy, BA Health Sciences in Nutritional & Dietetic Medicine
Coach Team Leader, Nutritionist
Amy Leahy is a degree certified Nutritionist, holding a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine. It was through studying the overwhelming evidence about how a plant-based lifestyle can truly change a person’s health that moved Amy from a vegetarian to a fully plant-based lifestyle.
Her passion and drive are to educate & empower others with the knowledge to make the best health choices for themselves. Amy is a passionate keynote speaker and educator on plant-based nutrition in her home country of Australia.
Kylie Buckner, RN, MSN
Director of Lifestyle Change.
Masters of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse
Kylie Buckner is a registered nurse and has a master’s degree in nursing education. She has more than 18 years of experience as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, in labor and delivery, in OB-GYN, and in pediatrics.
She has dedicated her life to caring for people as a nurse and has an in-depth understanding of the challenges of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. She is also a certified yoga teacher and has been 100% plant-based for over 6 years.
Diabetes Coach, Reversed Type 2 Diabetes
Marc Ramirez is a former University of Michigan Football player who reversed type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, psoriasis, and frequent heartburn using a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet.
He lost 50 pounds in 3 months, and in that same time period he eliminated 5 medications that he had been taking for 10 years. He is certified through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) as a Food For Life Instructor and conducts classes and 21-Day Kickstarts to help people improve their health. He also appears in the new documentary Eating You Alive.
Wendi Sullivan MA, RDN, CDCES
Diabetes Coach, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Living with Type 1 Diabetes
Wendi's passion for helping people with diabetes goes back to when her Dad was suddenly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 12 years old. Her whole family's diet immediately changed to help her Dad become healthy again. Wendi was later diagnosed at age 21 with type 1 diabetes. She was inspired to become a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist to work with people who have diabetes.
Wendi graduated with both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nutrition from Western Michigan University. She has worked with people with diabetes for over 13 years. Wendi loves her nutritious lifestyle!
Michelle King Davis, BA Education
Diabetes Coach, Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer
Michelle began a plant-based journey over 20 years ago in response to health
challenges. She became an avid studier of evidence-based nutrition and still
considers herself a lifelong learner. In the early 2000’s she co-authored the book,
Never Be Fat Again. She spent over a decade coaching hundreds, including people living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, in transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle having dedicated her life to helping others thrive, she is excited to be part of the Mastering Diabetes coaching team.
Andrea Wotan MPH, RDN
Diabetes Coach, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Masters in Public Health
Andrea is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She loves seeing others transform their health and thrive by embracing a low-fat whole food plant-based lifestyle.
Andrea earned her BA degree in Economics and began her professional career in investment banking. She resigned from banking because she knew that her purpose was elsewhere. She went vegan in 2012 out of a desire to protect animals and the earth and proceeded to learn about the extraordinary health benefits of a whole food plant-based lifestyle. She was hooked and decided to dedicate her life to sharing the miracle of a plant-based lifestyle with others.
She went back to university to earn her Master of Public Health degree in Nutritional Sciences and become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is honored to work as a Mastering Diabetes coach where she is able to share the truth about how to achieve spectacular health!
Paula Allison, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Diabetes Coach, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Paula has been in the field of Dietetics for over 25 years. During this time, she has practiced in a variety of settings. She has worked as a Clinical Dietitian at a hospital covering an array of services including, Diabetes, Community Nutrition, Pediatric, Cardiac, Renal, and intensive care. She has also worked as a Public Health nutritionist for many years. Paula graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics from Plattsburgh State University and completed her Dietetic Internship. She later went on to become a Diabetes Educator.
Her greatest passion is helping many clients achieve their health goals by empowering them through education and support using your food as medicine.
Linda Rukavina, NBC-HWC, INHC
Diabetes Coach, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, living with insulin-dependent Monogenic Diabetes
Linda is certified through the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaches and holds a Lifestyle Medicine Coach (LMC) certificate from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She completed her health coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She also has a BBA and MBA in Finance. Prior to health coaching, she worked in corporate finance and consulting.
She has been living with diabetes since the age of 30 but didn’t get serious about her health until 2012 when she transitioned to a plant-based diet and watched her A1C fall from 6.7% to 5.8%. She worked for many years to reverse her diabetes with diet and exercise but eventually learned she had low insulin production and started taking insulin. To help with the transition, she did private coaching Mastering Diabetes. The accountability, competence, and confidence she gained were key to her success and the inspiration for her to pursue health coaching. Now she loves empowering others with the life-changing power of whole food plant-based eating and lifestyle change!
Marco Ranzi, MS
Diabetes Coach, MS in Nutrition
Marco, MS holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition with an emphasis in Human Performance from Logan University to go along with a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell. He is also certified as a National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and Sleep Expert and is a Permaculture Design Course graduate. Marco strongly believes in a holistic approach to health and utilizing food as medicine. He has the unique experience of being raised plant-based and has been following this lifestyle for over 20 years.
In 2017 Marco hiked the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail powered completely by plants.
He now lives in Costa Rica with his wife Maria where they tend to their gardens and fruit forest with regenerative practices. They enjoy the local beaches and waterfalls in their free time.
Jessica Stidham, NBC-HWC, INHC
Diabetes Coach, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, living with Type 1 Diabetes
Jessica is certified through the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaches and she completed her health coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996 when she was 3 years old. She was also diagnosed with celiac disease at a young age.
Jessica began her plant-based journey in 2016 by becoming a client of Cyrus Khambatta when he was running his company, Mangoman Nutrition. She was able to achieve all of her goals such as achieving a 5.4% A1c, losing 50 lbs, and cutting her insulin needs by more than half while eating 300x more carbohydrates. She has the unique experience of being one of the first hires on the Mastering Diabetes team and even helped decide the name of the company. Now she loves empowering others to achieve their goals!
Diabetes Coach, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Living with Type 1 Diabetes.
Amanda was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was 12 years old. As the only member of her extended family with the disease, she often felt like an outsider. Over the years, she tried every therapy available, but it wasn’t until someone recommended the Mastering Diabetes book that she felt she had found a place to belong. For the first time, she felt like she was in control, not her diabetes. Her A1c is never above 5, and she now has the energy to keep up with her young family.
Amanda has degrees in Dietetic Technology and Health and Wellness Promotion. In November 2022, she passed the board certification to become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach to help others. She also holds certificates in Plant Based Nutrition, Health & Wellness Coaching, Meditation & Mindfulness Teaching, and specialized training as a Lifestyle Coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
John Massengale, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Diabetes Coach, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
John has been a practicing dietitian for over 4 years. After seeing a close family member struggle with their health and wanting to improve his own health, he decided to change careers and become a registered dietitian. After becoming a registered dietitian in 2019, he’s has practiced in a variety of settings. He has worked as a Clinical Dietitian at a hospital, a dialysis clinic, and in a outpatient primary care provider clinic. John graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at Metropolitan State University in Denver Colorado and completed his Dietetic Internship. He later went on to become a Diabetes Educator and Education Specialist.
In his spare time, he enjoys competes in triathlons and gravel bike endurance races. He completed many triathlons including one Ironman.
His greatest passion is helping many clients achieve their health goals by empowering them through education and support using the power of lifestyle medicine.
Jenelle Longo, RN, FNP
Certified Health Coach, Registered Nurse, Master of Science Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner
Jenelle is a certified health coach, Registered Nurse, and holds a master of science degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition by eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
In 2015, her life took a transformative turn after reading "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. This eye-opening read introduced her to the incredible potential of Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) nutrition in preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. Eager to delve deeper, she immersed herself in evidence-based articles, books, documentaries, and attended International
Plant-Based Conferences. Inspired by the life-changing benefits she discovered throughout her own plant based journey, Jenelle made it her mission to share the power of WFPB with others, leading her to pursue a career in health coaching.
In her free time Jenelle cherishes her time with family, running outside, practicing yoga and meditation, and listening to podcasts including "Plant Strong" with Rip Esselstyn and “On Purpose” with Jay Shetty.
Meghen De Santa, BC-HWC, MACCP
Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Master's Degree in Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice
Meghen is a Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach and holds a Master's degree from Boston University School of Medicine in Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice, with additional concentration in Public Health. Meghen discovered a whole foods, plant-based diet after a diagnosis of celiac disease and multiple autoimmune disorders in her late 20s. While struggling with gestational diabetes during her second pregnancy, she began working with Mastering Diabetes as a client. The thrilling outcomes she experienced during the program included a quick 30-point drop in fasting blood glucose, her lowest A1c ever (5.4% upon completion of the program), relief from several autoimmune symptoms, and a healthy baby girl.
Since then, Meghen has earned her certification in Health & Wellness Coaching and has worked to support and empower 125+ clients to reverse their metabolic disease markers and lose weight. She is passionate about gathering the stories & experiences of her clients, troubleshooting any and all challenges, fostering community and connection to support healing, and sharing the evidence-based, life-changing benefits of a plant-based diet.
In her spare time, Meghen loves doing almost anything with family, making pottery & rescuing naughty Siberian huskies.
Karin has watched 4 generations of family members get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; including herself. She was diagnosed at the age of 35 while she was a competitive racquetball player. Luckily, she was able to make enough changes to get her A1C back to normal relatively quickly. However, a whole food plant based diet was NOT on her radar so her numbers started creeping back up again. Using the Mastering Diabetes method has proven itself with a diabetes reversal once again (the right way this time).
Karin spent over 20 years in the health and fitness field as a personal trainer and realized that food is the foundation of health. So, she set off to get her Nutrition Coach certification from Precision Nutrition and then her Health Coach certification from Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. Her passion is to empower people with the knowledge and skills to make diabetes a thing of their past using food as medicine in the form of a low fat whole food plant based diet. As she guides you on your journey to health, rest assured that Karin has been on this journey as well, and knows how life-changing it can be to reclaim your health.
Lauren Plunkett, RDN, LD, CDCES
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist, Indoor Cycling Instructor, Living with Type 1 Diabetes.
Described as a "plant-based powerhouse", Lauren is a force to be reckoned with as a thought-leader in upgrading nutrition education. Having professional experience in pediatric endocrinology, performance nutrition, and virtual primary care, she has provided plant predominant nutrition education to thousands of people.
The essence of her practice focuses on whole-person healing that connects emotions to the physical body. Reaching below the surface to examine our relationship with food is the key to establishing long-term, body-positive, stigma-smashing, nutrition habits. Her philosophy focuses on well-being and empowers individuals, allowing plant-based nutrition to become an inclusive standard of nourishment for people across cultures and throughout the life-cycle.
She is an avid public speaker and author of the award-winning book, Type One Determination. Lauren has lived with type 1 diabetes for 30 years. She credits physical activity and her vegan lifestyle of over 13 years for thriving health and boundless energy.
Jacinda Shapiro, RN, BSN, CDCES, DipACLM, Pn1, WellStart Coach
Registered Nurse, Diabetes Coach, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and Diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Jacinda has over 27 years of nursing expertise, and earned the distinguished title of Diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine in 2023. As a dedicated diabetes educator and coach, she passionately advocates for Plant-Powered Diabetes Care, Prevention, and Reversal. Jacinda is committed to empowering individuals, guiding them to take control of their health by embracing the transformative influence of knowledge and making healthy lifestyle choices.
In 2017, Jacinda initiated a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet for her entire family to address her son's severe allergies and asthma. Witnessing the transformative impact on his health, Jacinda also experienced the reversal of her underlying health conditions. Beyond her passion for promoting health, she finds joy in running, hiking, indulging in music, and cherishing moments with her family.
Meet Our Team
Customer Support Specialist and Marketing Assistant
Jose is a plant-based certified health coach with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. His mission is to spread the healing power of plant-based nutrition, exercise, and mindset modifications to conquer diabetes in a natural way.
Jose shares valuable information on how to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, cook delicious plant-based meals, and make exercise part of your daily routine. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Executive Assistant, Customer Success Manager
Alondra Matute started off in our team as an Amla Green support member and since then has grown to be our Executive Assistant and the Customer Success Manager for our Mastering Diabetes clients.
Alondra is passionate about women’s health issues and diabetes health. Living with PCOS and insulin resistance herself, she knows the challenges many experiences as they transition to a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle. You can always count on her to welcome you and support you in any regard in your journey in the Mastering Diabetes Coaching Program!
Jose Roman, born in Venezuela and currently residing in Peru, is a Freelance Translator and Virtual Assistant.
As a former Civil Engineer student, Jose Roman developed a problem-solving mindset. His attention to detail and interest in constant learning have taken him to acquire skills that would help him perform better as a digital worker, including general design and editing software knowledge. He is also experienced in 3D Modeling and is currently studying programming in his spare time.
Jose Roman currently works behind the scenes on different Mastering Diabetes projects.
Customer Support Specialist
Jennifer has been in customer service for over a decade, working with different industries from travel, hospitality, logistics, eCommerce, etc. As part of Mastering Diabetes, she learned how this program can help people and make a difference in this modern day of age. She is passionate about rescuing and fostering animals and has a life-long dream to have her sanctuary someday.
I’m Robby, an experienced Customer Support Representative who loves helping customers find the right solution for their needs.
For more than 8 years, I’ve helped businesses and clients in the support industry with a knack for connecting with people and providing a positive experience, and making their lives brighter.
Now, in Mastering Diabetes I hope to help you in anything that you may need.
Coaching Enrollment Specialist
Jillian’s first foray into plant-based diets began at the age of 16. Throughout her 20s, she traveled across 30 countries and found her consciousness around what she put in her body grew alongside the passport stamps.
In 2017, Jillian went on a low-fat, high fruit diet to combat severe GI issues and symptoms of autoimmune disease. Achieving dramatic results in a short amount of time, Jillian became committed to spreading the message on how low-fat, plant-based diets can transform lives. She now serves as a Coaching Enrollment Specialist, helping people choose the coaching program best suited to their needs.