Rich, radiant beauty jumps off the pages of Jenné Claiborne's websites for her personal chef, cooking instruction, and health coaching business The Nourishing Vegan, and her blog Sweet Potato Soul. Both feature vibrant photography and emphasize the many benefits of plant-based living.
Jenné herself is also an embodiment of those benefits, with her glowing skin, gorgeous smile, and positive attitude. "Becoming vegan was the best decision I've ever made," said the Atlanta-born, NYC-based entrepreneur.
Jenné moved to New York as an aspiring actress, and she cut out animal products while working at a vegan restaurant, Peacefood Cafe, in 2011. "I had been a vegetarian and a pescetarian before that, but it wasn’t until I started making vegan friends that I realized the weight of my decision to still eat some animal products."
Shortly after that, she launched Sweet Potato Soul. "I [planned to be an actress] but my biggest passion was food," she recalled. "I didn’t think I could actually pursue a career in that passion, and so I started the blog as a creative outlet I could work on in my free time. Two years later, I decided to stop acting and start a business as a personal chef and health coach. That’s when The Nourishing Vegan was born."
That turned out to be a good move, and her decision has been paying off ever since. Demand for her services -- and the amount of people embracing vegan living in general -- is on the rise, Jenné said. "My health coaching practice has picked up lately, and I have more people coming to me just via Google searches," she added. "Also on my social media outlets people are asking for more advice on becoming vegan. Around the country, people are becoming more interested in eating well and learning about the connection between food and health. You know when Walmart starts selling organic and vegan items something is happening."
That's what we like to hear! We also chatted with Jenné about her impeccable style (she calls it "aspirational," we call it awesome), her plans to expand her business, and advice for smart -- and delicious -- eating. Read on! (Bonus: Click on the food pics for delicious recipes!)
Aspirational. I want to dress cooler and sexier and more hip, but comfort and laziness seem to be my M.O. for style. I’d like to wear more heels and platforms, dresses, and crop tops, pops of color, all-white, all-denim, and all-black. I like big sunglasses, and cat-eyes. Also I like big hair.
My black tight yoga pants. I like how my butt looks in them, and how comfy they are. For something a little fancier, I love wearing my all black pencil dress. It’s sexy.
Wish it existed:
Super sexy and comfortable heels in a few different variations: stilettos, pumps, and booties. I love heels, but living in NYC doesn’t allow me to wear them often.
Favorite outfit for winter-to-spring transition:
Slip on sneakers, skinny jeans, a colorful scarf, and a thick sweater.
I stick to a fashion budget, and so I shop at places like H&M and Forever 21 a lot. I also love Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.
I love Lotus Moon products, everything from their cardamom scrub to their B12 moisturizer. It’s all amazing and makes my skin radiate even more. I also love Acure products. And I do an Aztec Healing Clay mask once a week. For my natural 4C texture hair, I love the Trader Joe's conditioners. I only condition my hair (about every 4 days), and use absolutely no shampoo ever. I also adore the Jane Carter Nourish & Shine cream. For makeup I love the Urban Decay Naked foundation. I’ve been using it for years. I also love the Anastasia brow pencil and the Stila Amazonian clay mascara. Good stuff!
Biggest business challenge:
Staying organized and on track. I always have the best intentions to post three times a week on my blog, and to host a fabulous event in the city, but it’s so hard to execute sometimes. I have always been a terrible organizer, and working for myself means I have to deal with this weakness, and overcome it.
Best part of the job:
Interacting with my clients and my followers! I love sitting down with a client to discuss their health goals, and sharing advice with them. I also love answering comments and questions from my YouTube subscribers and blog readers. Obviously the delicious food is a super wonderful part of my job, but it wouldn’t be as good if I didn’t have all these people to share my recipes with.
Advice for new or aspiring vegans:
I actually just made a video about this very topic. If I could give just one piece of advice though, it would be to eat enough calories, and make sure those calories are coming from nutrient-dense whole foods like greens, veggies, fruits, healthy fat, legumes, and whole grains. You don’t need to count calories, just eat enough to make you feel full and nourished. In my experience coaching, clients come to me thinking veganism isn’t for them because they’re tired and feeling weak. I look at their food journal and can see right away that they are not eating enough food. So, you must eat. Wholesome and balanced vegan foods won’t make you fat.
Now that The Nourishing Vegan has been successful, and I’ve been able to make a living working for myself (and even save up), I’m spending a lot more time on Sweet Potato Soul. In the past the blog and YouTube show have taken a back seat to my business, but now they are the most important thing on my agenda. I want to grow my YouTube channel and blog to include more posts per week, vlogs in which I share more about my own life and health, and more engagement with fans across social media. Eventually I’d like to have a wildly popular show (on YouTube or TV), and be able to inspire way more people to find greater health and happiness with plant-based/vegan food. Now you know my master plan.