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Jennifer Gieseke

The Journey to Healthy Chef Wellness

How I became plant-based

We’re all on our own food journey through life and mine took and interesting turn when our children began eating solid food.  I realized that at the rate they were growing every bite they took was used to develop their rapidly growing bodies.  I had little nutrition knowledge at that time, but I loved to eat (nearly everything), and I was young, so I didn’t pay attention.   Suddenly I was tasked with the most important thing in the world – raising healthy children.  With this new mission we began to pay attention.  First, after reading about the harmful effects of growth hormones on little girls, we switched to organic dairy. Soon we bought as much organic food as we could afford.  We also read how important having dinner as a family (together, at a table) was for emotional development.  And then the thing happened that really changed our food direction.  In 2010 our then 16-year-old daughter decided to be a vegetarian. This came out of left field, so I started to research.  What do I need to feed this child to ensure that she would thrive?  Where was she going to get her protein, iron, and calcium from?  As I researched (google, library, documentaries), I was blown away by what I learned, or rather what I didn’t know, and I quickly joined her by eliminating meat from my diet. As I continued to study, the science behind the health benefits made total since.  Why had I not known this?  I pretty much immediately removed all animal products from my diet (dairy, eggs, meat).  


Where did this take me?

In my quest to share my newfound health knowledge, we opened Healthy Chef Meals, a plant-based prepared meal service (the first vegan business and the first prepared meal service in our area).   Each week we delivered fully prepared vegan meals.  We also had a store front for pickup service and grab n’ go options daily.  Most of our customers were not vegan, they were simply looking for healthy convenient tasty food.  Many chose us for lunch and dinner instead of a fast-food restaurant (yeh!)!


We decided to close Healthy Chef Meals in 2019 so I can continue on my journey to learn and share what I’ve learned.  Since closing I have received my Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, became a licensed Food for Life instructor and a Certified Integrative Medicine Health Coach.  I am still on a quest to learn more about food and health and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned on my journey with you!


Other information about me

  • I grew up in rural Maine, the 5th child (out of 6) in a single parent home.  Since my mother worked and most of my siblings were older and busy, I did a lot of the cooking. 

  • I have also lived in Northern Virginia, Southern Illinois, Nebraska, Chicago, and Louisiana.

  • I tried some crazy diets (cabbage soup, grapefruit, Atkins…), in my quest to manage my weight.

  • I love food and really love to eat.  Eating is actually my favorite pastime, I could eat all day – yes all day! 

  • I can relate with the daily struggle of loving yourself for who you are (warts and all).  I know that we are all beautiful creations to be treasured

  • I battle daily with motivating myself to exercise and to eat the best foods for my body.  Full disclosure: some days I'm successful and some days I'm not!

  • The number one thing I have learned is by accepting my imperfections I am giving myself room to grow, improve and jump back into my life without regrets!

  • I want to share what I’ve learned to help others turn their health destiny around

Disclaimer

Jennifer (Healthy Chef Wellness, LLC) is a licensed Food for Life Instructor with the Physcians Commitee of Responsible Medicine and has earned her Health Coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is not licensed, certified or registered as a health care provider in her state of residence, Louisiana. Any food or dietary supplements recommended by or in connection with Healthy Chef Wellness, LLC are not medically prescribed. This sharing of information is for educational and informational purposes only and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Jennifer, Healthy Chef Wellness, LLC, strongly encourages you to be in contact with your health care professional.