Happy Friday, everyone!! Today’s interview is with someone I’ve only known since the beginning of October, but has grown to be a dear friend. I met Jen through Lauren (from last week’s interview) when they ran the Fall In Love With Life challenge on Instagram this past October. Not only was the challenge a healing experience for me, but it also connected me with some pretty fantastic people. Over the months, Jen and I found out we had random little things in common – almost eerie – I truly believe the Universe brought us together for a reason. I’ve also become a huge fan of her blog (which she’ll talk about in the interview below); I’m constantly learning about new products, along with practical tips! Jen is a strong positive light and radiates nothing but good energy ❤
INTERVIEW WITH JEN
- TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF! “I turn 26 on Feb. 21! I was born and raised in Gig Harbor, Wa. At 18 I moved to Utah for college and I am currently living in New England with my amazing fiancé and our 8 adopted fur babies. My pets are my world and my kids. I don’t know what I would do without them! I would describe myself as a forest-fairy-mermaid, haha! I have to live near the ocean or else I lose my mind, I grew up looking at the ocean every day and cannot stand to be away from it. The other half of me has to be close to nature and the forest. My summers ever since I was a baby have been spent hiking (as a baby I was in the backpack not carrying my own, haha) and backpacking in different parts of the country depending on where I lived. I love to travel and I desire to learn from other cultures and religions. I believe everyone I meet has something they can teach me. I live a toxin-free life. I do not use toxins in or around my house, everything from my house paint, furniture, to my water is clean or purified. We use no form of medication (unless absolutely necessary) meaning no pain pills and the only pills of any sort in this house are probiotics and vegan B12.”
- WHEN DID YOU GO VEGAN? WHAT WAS YOUR “AHA” MOMENT? “I actually decided to give up red meat in early 2012, as I was having allergies to dyes being used (super gross). I was also having so many other health problems being misdiagnosed as ADHD, depression and even considered bipolar when I still wasn’t sleeping on meds. My moods were awful after being on three or four unnecessary pills at a time! In the end all I had to do was give up the junk and eat more plants! The summer of 2012 I read Skinny Bitch and The Kind Diet, the last time I ate animal flesh was September 2012. I was diagnosed by my doctor as lactose intolerant at 16 so cheese ended up being relatively easy to give up. I knew I was meant to be plant-based for a long time. My father will even tell you when I was little I would tell him I didn’t want to eat anything with a face, and I would always ask for something else. I grew up with a ton of cats and a husky, I also rode in equestrian sports starting when I was 5 and I just couldn’t think to eat my “friends”. Why was a cow different from a horse or dog? My first few years of college I majored in Wildlife Biology and Environmental Sciences and I realized how much the animal species depends on us to protect it. This earth needs us. For myself plant-based wasn’t just for the animals, it was for the planet and for myself. We are all connected; I am no different from the trees or the birds. I give thanks for the plants I do eat. Blessing food is a huge part of how I live. But, I can no longer take the life of another to survive. I’m told all of the time “but we’ve killed and eaten animals for thousands of years”. We’ve been killing each other for as long as we have killed animals, yet that doesn’t make it right. Why value one over the other when in fact, there could be harmony amongst all? I chose to no longer bring the pain and suffering of another into my body, vibrational field, or karma.”
- WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING VEGAN? “Some people may not like this response but for myself the hardest part has nothing to do with eating vegan, it is the “vegan police”. I still own things that are not vegan and slowly we are selling and updating our wardrobes with cruelty-free items. That seems to make a lot of people uncomfortable. I understand that I made these choices prior to this lifestyle; I also come from an environmental point of view and can’t see myself getting rid of a perfectly functioning item and exchange it for a toxic, cheaper version made in China. It is hard, but I am finding alternatives day by day that are perfect for my lifestyle, and honestly I don’t lose sleep over it. How many vegans drive cars with leather seats? Or own books, TVs and other items that have been made with animal parts? When you look into it you realize being 100 percent vegan is almost impossible today. I sold what I truly did not need, like designer bags and leather boots, while I am also finding ways to keep my personal style and be cruelty free. As time goes on my closet will be 100 percent vegan but until then I focus on the changes I have made and hope to inspire others to do the same. I wish all vegans realized we are all working towards the same goals and judging someone working towards what you are does no good in the end. I see it all of the time though, the shaming based on which plant-based diet you have, how you dress, etc. I wouldn’t even call this a hard part, I think you just move past the critics because they exist in the world and it usually stems from their own insecurities. I realized it is never about you but always reflects on the other person. Not all are like that either, I have met some amazing people I can honestly call good friends! Better friends than some I have had for a long time!”
- WHAT DOES NATURAL HEALTH MEAN TO YOU? “Natural health is such a tricky term; I think a lot of things might be natural, yet not good for you. So personally, for myself natural health means no toxins in any form in my life. No toxic body products or candles, no more toxic furniture or wall paint. I don’t even wash my pets with toxic shampoo or feed them toxic treats. I have a holistic dentist and my doctor is geared towards holistic practices. We also see a holistic vet who doesn’t over-vaccinate pets, and performs titer tests (most states require dogs to be vaccinated by law). Natural health means I use nature to solve health problems. I get to the root of my problem instead of masking symptoms. I do believe there is a place for Western medicine and without it a lot of people would not be here today. But chronic illness has an underlying cause, and a lot of cancer can be prevented. Natural health is a balance between mind, body and spirit. I am very optimistic that we are now realizing the power natural health practices have. So many people have practiced these methods for even thousands of years, while Western medicine is still pretty trial and error. What once was deemed safe, 30 years later may not longer be ok. I remember my dad telling me they used to play with liquid mercury not knowing the dangers of heavy metals at the time! Science may change constantly but nature has continued to provide us with answers.”
- TELL US ABOUT YOUR BLOG! “Jen Goes Green is a place to bring light to the world. To show people that going green is easy and fun! Three or four years ago I started a YouTube channel and vlogged about beauty reviews, etc. I worked with a fashion website producing reviews for them and one day realized the amount of toxins in these products.I closed down the channel and stayed quiet for a bit. My passion for vlogging and blogging never went away. Now I get to focus on amazing products that wont hurt, but help people! I love green beauty, to give lifestyle, exercise tips, and answer diet questions. I want to help others thrive! I post a few recipes here and there but I leave that to the food bloggers for the most part.”
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCT AND WHY? “This is so hard! I don’t think I could pick a favorite beauty product since I try new ones all of the time. My favorite cleaning products would be vinegar and water (for literally everything) and Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. It is so versatile and easy to use. You will just have to check out my blog or Instagram for current beauty favorites.”
- WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? “The universe inspires me. Nature inspires me. The good in the world inspires me.”
- A KITCHEN GADGET YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT! “I cannot choose one, so I have to say my food processor and Vitamix.”
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL? “Carbs. Good carbs of course.”
- THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE COOKING INGREDIENTS. “I love potatoes and use them in so many different recipes. Lemons are essential, although I may not use them in everything, but without them life isn’t the same. Oh bananas!”
- FAVORITE RESOURCES REGARDING A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE? CAN BE COOKBOOKS, DOCUMENTARIES, NUTRITION OR HEALTH BOOKS. “I have a post on my Instagram that shows which books inspired the way I eat now. For documentaries I loved Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I also think Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Dying to Have Known and so many others are great. Just log into Netflix or GaiamTV and you will find a ton!”
- ANY TIPS OR WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE? “Do it for yourself or you won’t be able to do it right. I think it is wonderful to be inspired by the suffering of animals, or the environment, but junk food vegan is a dangerous diet with many health consequences. Educate yourself. Make sure you get enough nutrients and fuel your body correctly. Get outside and make sure you exercise. So many say veganism didn’t work for them because they felt awful after a few weeks of eating fake meats, cheeses and highly processed foods. Of course you won’t feel good eating that way. Eat an abundance of organic plants! Find others who are doing the same and learn to thrive on this lifestyle. Remember what you put on and around is just as important as what you put in your body. Cruelty-free, and non-toxic is the way to go!”
- FAVORITE QUOTE “I could choose a highly intellectual, “how insightful” type of a quote. Since you are making me choose just one I will keep it simple. My favorite quote is “You are what you eat”. How basic, yet inspiring. Eating high vibrational, glowing, nutrient-dense food will give you a glowing, high vibrational spirit! Think about it. That quote can pull you pretty deep into thought.”
- THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU! “I cannot be defined by so few words… But if I had to choose a few I would say… quirky, adventurous, spiritual, optimistic and infinite. Did I cheat there? Oh, but I am far more complicated than that, I think.”
- WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU VIA SOCIAL MEDIA? http://www.jengoesgreen.com and my Instagram is jengoesgreen. YouTube is coming soon! You can still find me and subscribe before videos come out though!
Thank you SO much, Jen!! As expected, we have even more in common than I thought 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wonderful interview! I loved learning about Jen and love her attitude about life and everything in it!
Thank you, Brandi! It was fun getting to know her a little more and I agree, I love her attitude about life!!
Great interview Mandy! It was wonderful getting to know more about Jen!
Thank you, Diana! I thought so too – I love her attitude and positivity! Thanks for reading!