Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.
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Volunteer Spotlight: Jeanne Schultz

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August 4, 2014

We met Jeanne in our Master VEG Program in 2011 and since then have really enjoyed her involvement and support of Northwest VEG. We are especially excited that Jeanne is organizing a NEW quarterly NW VEG Gresham Potluck starting this October! Read on to find out more...

1. How long have you been veg and why?
I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian (with the occasional seafood) for over 25 years, before adopting an all plant-based diet in 2011. Originally my motivation to transition to a vegetarian diet was in protest of using animals in medical research and against factory farming practices. Then I went vegan for health issues. At first I was worried that I wouldn't be about to get enough of the right nutrients without including meat and dairy, but, with the help of NW VEG, I soon learned that was not true and began making changes in my life. I think subconsciously I turned away from going vegan in the past because I used to smoke cigarettes. It is strange what influences an addiction can have over the thoughts-I knew I couldn’t go vegan without quitting smoking and would have to face it, and did. I was able to successfully quit smoking in 2006. Food wise, it was a huge transition going vegan because I thought I could not live without the foods I was used to cooking and eating my whole life like milk, cheese and especially pizza. Now I realize I can still have all my favorite foods!

2. How has being veg impacted your life?
My health has improved tremendously, including losing more weight, and it just continues to improve. I had a series of surgeries and other injuries over the past seven years and eating a clean diet has helped me to maintain the gains I have made in my overall health. Improved health has given me encouragement to work harder. Now, I am grateful to prepare and consume foods that are whole, fresh, organic, local, and fair trade. I used to create gourmet meals with dairy and cheese and when I went plant-based I ended up discovering all the wonderful techniques, foods and flavors of plant-based cooking. I have always enjoyed foods from around the world. I am looking forward to completing Vegan Fusion training with Mark Reinfeld in August. I am also looking forward to teaching cooking classes and conducting food demos in the future.

3. How did you get involved with volunteering for NW VEG?
I discovered NW VEG in 2010 when I attend their Portland VegFest at the Convention Center. I attended the Master VEG Program afterwards and was intrigued to learn more. I tell people the more educated you can be about how your food is grown, manufactured and sent to market, the better choices you can make for yours and your families' health. I believe that education is the key to making effective and mindful changes.

4. What has been your favorite or most memorable NW VEG volunteer experience?
Choosing just one event as the most memorable experience I have had with NW VEG is very difficult. I have been involved in many activities and met so many awesome, dedicated and knowledgeable people and friends by being a volunteer with NW VEG. The nice thing is that there are so many different types of activities we need volunteers and participants for. Just about anyone can get involved in making a difference in the lives of animals, theirs and their families’ health, and in improving their own food choices.

5. What advice would you give to individuals considering volunteering for NW VEG?
My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering for NW VEG is that you should attend any of the events that interest you. I am partial to the potlucks though because I like to cook. You will be able to meet people and check out some of the other opportunities there are for volunteering, plus get to try some really great food. I have enjoyed many potlucks and the speakers too.

6. What is your plan for the future in terms of being involved with Northwest VEG?
We are starting a new NW VEG Gresham Area Potluck dinner this fall and I will be hosting that event at the Healing Hope Seventh Day Adventist Church located at 15150 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97230. I am also excited to volunteer at classes and tabling events with NW VEG in the future.

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