Courtesy of Catherine Perez
“Take it one meal at a time. Not every meal will be perfect, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, we are all making progress and doing the best we can.”
These are the words that the 37-year-old vegan dietitian Catherine Perez wants you to remember when going through her fascinating and elaborate list of plant-based meals that she has meticulously practiced since 2009. Today, Perez is one of the better-known professional vegan chefs online, but this was not always meant to be. Here is the informative and heart-warming story of an activist who converted to an eco-friendly diet to save her own life.
In hear early twenties, Catherine Perez knew something needed to change, and quickly. Her family history included heart disease and diabetes, and the young medical technologist was already developing alarming symptoms. “I already knew that my own health was suffering,”, she told the CNBC, “I had high cholesterol, I was on the verge to get high blood pressure.”
After going through some research on the benefits of veganism and plant-based diet for heart and overall health and well-being, Perez decided to switch to a vegan diet in 2009. For her, the transition to veganism was one of the most fulfilling and productive of her life. Unlike some, she did not find the experience taxing at all; to the contrary: “I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. After doing it, I just felt so good that I wanted to continue.”
At first, the decision was a purely personal one and she continued working at hospitals, taking patient samples and performing blood tests. Nonetheless, she enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to help others do the same. After enrolling for a master’s degree in Human Nutrition at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and finishing a 1,200-hour accredited internship with the University of Houston, Perez was officially a professional dietitian. Soon, she started working as a grocery store dietitian, an outpatient cardiology dietitian, a corporate dietitian and a virtual nutrition counselor.
She has continued working since in keeping with her firm belief that veganism is “A means to reduce suffering for the animals, humans and the planet as much as possible”. Gradually, it dawned upon her that the preventative remedies that had changed her life could be shared with a broader audience online than the few visits that she used to have at work. “Over time, I realized the power of being able to spread all of this preventative information online,” she says.
Perez first opened an Instagram account, that today boasts an impressive following of 619,000 people. Her breakthrough came with the now-famous vegan diet blog ‘Plant Based RD.’, which she first started in 2017 “as a library for recipes I loved.”
“The number of people I can reach today versus what I was reaching before is just crazy to me,” Perez tells the CNBC, attributing her success to luck and “Being very open” about the facts behind veganism and plant-base diet.
Today, at 37, Perez lives a happy and healthy life spend her days researching, recipe-testing, and making content for her online blog and social media accounts.