This has been a great start to the Bad Ass Vegan New Year. And there have been many new additions to the company such as the Bad Ass Power Cookie. But there is no other addition greater than that of Child Birth. That is why we chose our Good Friend Jessica for this month’s Sexy Bad Ass Vegan of the Month. She is a living example that a woman can go through a natural “VEGAN” child birth and raise a vegan child. Let’s Bring in the New Year right and learn more about our good friend Jessica… January 2013’s Sexy Bad Ass Vegan of the month
Name: Jess Schoech (Pronounced Shay)
Where do you live and where are you from?
Originally from the Bronx, NY but I’ve been in Los Angeles, CA for 4 years
What do you do for a living/profession?
I am a personal trainer and bootcamp instructor
What do you like to do for fun?
EAT! I kid… a little… 😉 One of my all time favorite past times is meeting up with friends over a lovely meal and chatting the night away. It’s amazing how much food can bring people together. Especially when its cruelty free. Ahhhh.
How long have you been vegan?
I have been vegan for about 2 years.
Why did you become vegan?
I became vegan after a trip to Sea World with my husband. He lovingly set up an Encounter with the Dolphins on our anniversary as I had always dreamed of being near those magnificent beings. The experience was magical. It was everything that they tell you it will be, in fact. I looked into the eyes of the dolphins and felt an instant connection. Little did I know that would transpire over the next few days would be far from the idyllic image I had in my mind about these encounters and their role in places such as these. After posting pictures from my trip, someone on Facebook said, “Jess, you do know that they are slaves in there, right?” I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I spent the entire day searching the internet to prove him wrong. But instead, my whole life changed right before my eyes. Through tears and audible sobbing, I saw pictures from the movie the Cove, stories from Taiji, The Sea Shepherds, first hand accounts of dolphins being so depressed in captivity that they rammed their heads into walls to end their own lives, and on and on. It was on that day that I decided I never wanted anything to have to suffer for my enjoyment ever again. I finally saw truths I had been blinded from for so long and I had no choice. I became a vegan. Best decision of my life.
How was your transition?
My transition to the food was quite easy. One of my best friends, Christina, who had been vegan for a year prior to me was my lifeline. I think having her as my support system was really what made the transition easy. Coming from a Puerto Rican background, my family of course thought I was crazy and killing myself. I lost many friends on Facebook because of the insensitivity from so called friends. And once we got pregnant, some of my family and friends thought I was harming our baby. Even when they heard that all of my iron, protein, calcium, and hemoglobin levels were perfect, they still believed I was doing damage to our unborn child. It’s interesting dealing with people who don’t understand the lifestyle when its just you, but a completely different thing when it’s a baby that isn’t even here yet. I heard things from “your child will be weird and an outcast” to “what are you going to do when they go to a friend’s house and there are chicken nuggets there? Will you let go of control then?” It takes a lot to keep your cool when people say things like this, but ultimately, they just don’t understand and sometimes more compassion is needed for the human race than we realize. I will say that the transition for myself was far easier than the transition as a vegan mom, but it helped me educate quite a few people in the process. Power to the Vegan Mamas out there showing the world that we can raise beautiful vegan babies.
What is the funniest misconception(s) that you have heard about vegans?
That I couldn’t grow a healthy human or be healthy mom on a plant based diet. I truly believe that my diet is what kept me at my healthy baby weight all throughout my pregnancy. And without getting into too much detail, I avoided about 95% of the typical pregnancy related woes that most moms encounter. No morning sickness, no swelling of the ankles, no crazy cravings, no insane weight gain, no deficiencies like iron or protein, etc. And my baby is growing healthy, strong, and poised for a beautiful delivery with our midwife at her birth center.
What is your Favorite thing(s) about being a vegan?
My favorite thing is that I never ever have to count calories, watch what I eat, or focus on my intake of macronutrients like I used to. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I feel a certain way, my body tells me what I need. As a trainer and athlete, I used to focus so hard on these things to maintain my weight, as I had been 60 lbs overweight when I was younger. I always thought it was hard work to keep the weight off and build lean muscle. But a plant based diet has completely changed my world as my body has maintained its natural healthy state without having to counter the cholesterol and saturated fats in my previous diet. Best part about it all? Guilt free eating! No animal harmed in the process of my meals. Pretty awesome.
What do you think makes a Sexy Bad Ass Vegan?
Conviction and compassion. If you are confident in your lifestyle, proud of the life you lead, and kind not only to the animals but the humans around you, omni included, you are a Sexy Bad Ass Vegan.
What is the best vegan dish that you make in your kitchen?
Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal
100% Whole Grain Oatmeal
Chocolate Hemp Milk or Regular Hemp Milk (if you want it less chocolatey)
2 tbl Peanut Butter
1 tbl Apple Butter
1 tbl Vegan Carob Chips
1 tbl flax or hemp oil
Cinnamon, to taste
Coconut Threads (optional)
Cook the Oatmeal as instructed using hemp milk as your liquid
Once cooked, stir in all remaining ingredients except coconut threads. Add more milk if its too thick. Serve and garnish with coconut threads.
What is the best Vegan Restaurant you have ever had the pleasure of eating at?
This is a toughie. I have so many favorites. I will go ahead and say M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. Raw food and the absolute BEST flavors I’ve ever tasted. As a matter of fact… I need to make reservations this week. J
What advice do you have for those that are thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
Be kind to yourself. Gene Baur once said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of progress.” We will never be 100% perfect in our journey. We might buy a veggie cheese that has casein in it. We might buy something that was tested on animals on accident. We might still have leather shoes and run them into the ground until we toss them. (Yep… I’ve done all of these things!) But we’ll progress if we don’t beat ourselves up about these things and instead learn from our past and move forward with intention to do no harm
Do you have a website to share with the BAV nation?
Since Jessica and I completed this interview she has given birth to a beautiful vegan baby boy. Congratulations Jessica and her Family from the whole BAV nation.