Interview with Jessica Roberts: Vegan Personal Trainer
Written by Leigh-Chantelle
Created Thursday, 09 May 2013
Jessica Roberts is a nutrition and health coach specializing in vegan nutrition. She is a Certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and Bikram Yoga Instructor, and currently pursuing her Registered Dietician certification.
A long-time vegan, Jessica’s passion is teaching people the value and practicality of adding delicious, nutrient-dense plant foods into their daily diets. As a retired veterinarian, she has a deep understanding of animal-welfare and food safety issues. She plans to combine her veterinary background and her RD to provide the community with a unique approach to veganism.
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I began my vegan journey when I was 12. Once I learned where hamburgers came from, I stopped eating red meat.
One day my mom made my favorite chicken dinner. I looked down at my plate, and said, “I can’t eat this. I can’t eat chickens. Animals are my friends. I don’t want to eat my friends.” So that day I stopped eating all meat and eggs. A year later, I stopped eating dairy. I was vegan for about 15 years.
In my thirties, I went through a very emotionally traumatic period. I was in and out of severe depression. I started having cravings for animal foods and began adding them back into my diet with a heavy heart. My body, mind, and spirit were at odds with each other.
In the fall of 2010, I finally had enough. I had to get back to my veganism. My perspective had changed. I returned to veganism older, wiser, and stronger. I’ve been 100% vegan since.
How long have you been vegan?
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
I’ve benefitted most by finding harmony with my body, mind, and spirit.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism means compassion.
What sort of training do you do?
I have been practicing yoga for over 15 years. I also work with am amazing team of trainers: Joe Klemczewski
and Kori Propst
. I follow a weight-training program, which alternates between high intensity/high volume exercises, and heavy weight/strength training.
How often do you (need to) train?
I weight train 3-4 days a week, practice yoga every day, and play any chance I get.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I offer health coaching and yoga training services.
What sports do you play?
I love to play hockey, baseball, and swim.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
The biggest misconceptions are that vegans are anemic and frail, eat strange foods, and can’t possibly get proper nutrition without meat and dairy. I address the issue by being a good example of health and wellness. I go out to eat with family and friends. I have plenty of muscle on me. I eat fun, healthy, and tasty food I love to share with family and friends.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I believe my strength comes from being very in tune with my body. Mindfulness helps me train smart and stay healthy.
What is your biggest challenge?
I think this goes for most athletes: allowing for proper rest and recovery.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
I am extremely fortunate to have trainers and a team who fully support my veganism.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
I am also fortunate to have a supportive family. When I decided to be vegan as a teenager, my mom and I spent a lot of time researching and creating new recipes. While no one in my family is a vegan, they support me 100%.
What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
Like most vegans, it’s usually the protein question. I show them examples of how I incorporate plenty of protein in my diet.
Who or what motivates you?
Compassionate living motivates me.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
- usually a protein smoothie with Sun Warrior
protein, hemp protein, chia seeds, greens, almond milk, homemade granola, fruit/veggie juice. I will also have whole grain pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal.
Lunch - loads of greens and veggies, quinoa, lentils, hemp seeds, nuts.
Dinner - more greens, sweet potato, tempeh, tahini, nutritional yeast, miso.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) – Dark Chocolate, cookies, cereal, fruit, nuts, dried fruit.
What is your favorite source of:
Protein - tempeh
Calcium - chia seeds
Iron - dried apricots
What foods give you the most energy?
Do you take any supplements?
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle – Eat and Lift Heavy weights.
Losing weight - food log/journal everything.
Maintaining weight - be consistent with diet and training.
Improving metabolism - add in greens with every meal.
Toning up - strength train 2-3 days per week.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I try to live a compassionate life every day. If people have questions or negative comments, I respond with positive and encouraging answers. I speak my truth, but I’m conscious not to preach or appear self-righteous. Be compassionate. That’s my goal every day.
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
You can visit my website, Twitter
, and Pinterest
to see what I’m up to. I offer programs to help people transition to a vegan diet. Find me and say hello.