I ran into Ellen Jaffe Jones at the Raleigh NC Vegfest, where she was inspiring young and old to get off their butts and embrace a healthy, active, vegan lifestyle. We had met on Skype for a podcast interview more than three years ago, but this was the first time we had met in person.
And since I've become a runner, I badly wanted a copy of her new book, Vegan Fitness For Mortals. As one of the most decorated track and field athletes in the country (and getting more and more competitive as her non-plant-based rivals slow down and quit as their bodies decline), she has a lot to teach me about running well and sustainably.
Here's what Ellen's website says about her (why do the work when someone's done it for me?):
Ellen Jaffe Jones is an inspiring motivational speaker, personal trainer, running coach, author, and instructor of healthy cooking classes.
As a former investigative reporter and anchor for 18 years in major market TV news, Ellen won 2 Emmys and the National Press Club award. She became known as the “Earth Mother in a Suit” when she left TV and became a successful Wall Street financial consultant for 5 years. She wrote her first book, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, after seeing too many news stories saying eating healthfully was impossible on a budget.
Ellen, an accomplished endurance and sprint runner, has won 104 5K+ Age Group awards since 2006. She placed 7th in US National Senior Games, W60-64 1500 Meters in 2013, and 1st in Florida’s W60-64, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 meters races in 2014. In 2014 Ellen was also named PETA’s “Sexiest Vegan over 50.”
She combined all of her skill sets with her latest release, Vegan Fitness for Mortals. Recognizing that fitness and diet are two sides of the same coin, Ellen developed routines for a variety of activities along with dietary recommendations that augment fitness—a winning combination designed to help anyone achieve a healthier lifestyle.
For someone in her 60s with hundreds and hundreds of race medals to her credit, she could be forgiven for slowing down a little; after all, she has nothing left to prove. But her energy, commitment, and passion have only increased over the years.
In our conversation, we covered:
- why fitness is as important as diet
- the need for each of us to become our own investigative reporter
- life as an experiment in beating the odds
- her back story as a sick kid from a genetically compromised family
- the long history of “fake news” in the food and health space
- “there's no money in broccoli”
- waking up to corporate malfeasance from within the la leche league
- racing as activism, and arriving early to get the best parking spot for the VeganMobile
- discovering her instant-on allergy to cow's milk
- the difference between health and ethics as motivators for veganism
- the vegan / plant-based linguistic debate, and why Ellen prefers vegan
- the key skill of life: listening to our bodies
- the importance of focusing on injury prevention
- a good-natured plank contest with Robert Cheeke
- “Why Look at Animals,” by John Berger (RIP Jan 2017)
- and much more…
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
Ellen's website: VegCoach.com
Why Butter is NOT Back – video
Why Look at Animals, by John Berger – PDF
Ellen Jaffe Jones plank contest vs Robert Cheeke – video (he's totally doing downward facing dog! 😉
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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