In April 2018, I left NYC as a graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy, and had that feeling…the feeling of urgency and excitement that I had to make good use of all I learned. I had firsthand experience with how invigorating the vegan lifestyle and a plant-based diet are, and I wanted to share that with the world. I set out to be a vegan coach to help others make the transition. Soon, however, it became apparent that most people are still intimidated by the “V” word. So, I tweaked my approach a bit, to something like this: eat more plants, fewer animals, feel amazing, boost your health.
I thought about how I came around to being open to the vegan message. My mom, a long-time vegetarian, would tell me that there were risks to my meat-heavy diet, but I brushed off her warnings. What made me listen was seeing the newer documentaries, YouTube videos and studies that proved there were health risks to consuming meat and dairy. The diet I thought was making me strong and healthy was doing the exact opposite.
This is what made it click for me—the nutritional aspect of the vegan lifestyle. Making the switch helped me realize that food has the power to heal, nourish and energize the body far beyond than what I thought I knew. I was able to finally make peace with food, overcoming binge eating and cravings. These are struggles many people have because of the confusion the food, diet and fitness industries create, combined with the serious lack of solid nutrition education for the general public. So I set out to help others, through plant-based nutrition, to overcome the diet and health struggles I had experienced.
I used myself as an example of how you can achieve your health goals with a plant-based diet and a balanced lifestyle approach—showing through my Instagram feed that you can eat delicious, healthy, colorful meals, and still have the fun foods in moderation. There’s no need for food group restrictions or ridiculous dieting rules: just fill up on the nutrients you need to thrive. I also shared tidbits on nutrition, to summarize information in relatable parts.
It was at that point that I started getting clients—most of them omnivores who were interested and open to plant-based options. By the end of their coaching programs, they were readily switching out eggs for tofu scramble, trying out vegan meats and choosing the veggie options at restaurants over the meat ones. They overcame hesitations around eating more calories, and fueled their bodies with real food. Showing them that were more nutritious foods to choose from (rather than telling them to cut out foods or cut calories), they increased the amount of plant foods in their daily diets, and were more aware of veg options when grocery shopping and dining out. In turn, this increased their intake of nutrients and fiber, which is ideal for the results they were looking for, as well as their long term health.
What I have gathered from coaching clients in this way is that people want to know more about nutrition, how to get off the diet roller coaster and how to feel better. As long as I can give them the information on how to do this in a way that fits their lifestyle, they can make better choices on their own. Educating clients on how to nourish themselves with all the wonderful, colorful, delicious plant foods from this Earth is my mission, and it’s my way of spreading the power of this lifestyle to as many people as possible. It truly is a joy to do!
Jaré Cervantes is a nutrition & lifestyle coach, certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator, and is certified in Vegetarian Sports Nutrition. She lives in Los Angeles, CA where she works with clients in person and online to develop their unique “Healthy Balance.” She has written two recipe ebooks, most recently a Meatless Monday Meal Plan. You can follow Jaré on Instagram @wellnessevolved and Facebook. She also teams up with her husband, Saul, a personal trainer, to help their clients get healthy and strong. You can follow them on Instagram @heroicstrength.