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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

No Guts No Glory

The 10th annual Guts & Glory (G&G) Digestive & Wellness Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 23, 2023, on the Perkins Plaza event lawn. There will be expert lectures on nutrition, fitness and healthy living, healthy food, alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks for sale, live active demonstrations, kidzones, holistic experts, a MEGA-colon gut-heath exhibit, massage tent, farmers market, live local music, free tasting samples and free health screenings.

Founder Aparna Mele, M.D., a board-certified gastroenterologist with Digestive Disease Associates since 2007, says, “I take care of all kinds of patients with varying degrees of health. I spend each and every day educating them on the critical importance of diet and nutrition on digestive health and the ability to prevent disease just by what one does and does not put into one’s mouth. The phrase,‘You are what you eat,’ is a gastroenterologist’s mantra! However, studies have shown that patients recall and retain about 50 percent of what a healthcare provider tells them, and I have found that lecturing patients is only so effective. I wanted to find a creative and memorable way to get the message across to the community that a healthy diet facilitates digestion and helps maintain ideal body weight, and in turn, taking control of digestive health prevents disease and can improve overall health, well-being, and happiness.”

She explains, “Rather than a health lecture or a scolding, I wanted instead to create a way to collectively celebrate the beauty of wellness and inspire people to eat and live better and motivate them to make positive and healthy behavioral and lifestyle changes and understand the wealth of resources in our community to help them on their journey. This is how Guts and Glory Digestive and Wellness Expo was born!” Her hope is that the fair will capture interest, educate the health conscious and health curious, and improve the health of the community by promoting healthy behavioral changes.

This particular milestone is very special to Mele. She shares, “I am incredibly touched by the love and support of my community to support my endeavor and join me in this grassroots health revolution I started 10 years ago. And when I did create this event, I had no idea it would become a decade-long annual event that grows bigger and bigger every year! I am forever surrounded by a massive hive of loyal supporters, followers, team members, volunteers and community friends who are solely responsible for G&G’s longevity and success.”

She beams, “We have name recognition and people of all ages and from all walks of life mark their calendars to be there! Year after year, our humble event has expanded the minds, and hopefully improved the lives, of many, and we will continue our work to inspire our community members to not succumb to illness, but rather embrace control over their wellness!”

G&G has expanded into a universal and all-encompassing panorama of not just individual physical health, but also societal and community health (the relationships with one another despite differences, and the relationships with first responders); animal health (the relationship with pets and wildlife); spiritual health (the relationship with faith and belief systems);  environmental health (the relationship with the external world and the planet); mental health (maintaining a strong mindset and taking care of emotional well-being); nutritional health (creating a positive relationship with food and making clean dietary choices whenever possible); and cultural health (embracing a diverse community, immersing in unique customs and practices of other cultures and learning and embracing cultural differences).

Mele says, “We plan to build up our live cultural program, showcase new and interesting area vendors and hopefully have a variety of different foods to enjoy.  Our big, inflatable colon will welcome each visitor, as everyone must walk through it to enter the ‘guts’ of our expo. We have special commemorative 10-year anniversary T-shirts for sale, and we hope people will buy and wear them with pride to help spread the message that we must celebrate and protect our health, and that we have a huge role to play in our own wellness.

“I fantasize about finding a way to have a drone take an overhead aerial view of our celebration, and I want to frame it on my mantlepiece to remind myself of how far this little creation has come! It’s a people expo and an experience expo that allows all of us to come together and celebrate life and health. Plus, this nonprofit endeavor has allowed me to meet some of the best citizens of our community and the wealth of friendships I have made and partnerships I have created through Guts and Glory just makes my heart smile, as does the joy of seeing people turn their lives around after learning a thing or two at our humble expo.”

Admission is free. Location: 1801 Broadcasting Rd., Reading. For more information, visit