Aloha! I’m Joanne
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia and lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years. But in 2018, big city life no longer appealed to me. I was burned out and needed a lifestyle reset, so I gave up the city for simplicity and moved to Maui, Hawaii.
I’ve always been a huge animal lover, but I never connected the dots when it came to consuming animal products. I just ate whatever my family served. But when I started modeling in my late teens, I began to educate myself on health. I then made the decision to became a vegetarian having taken a sudden dislike toward meat. The goal was to then become a vegan, and it was also around that time that I began to learn about the disturbing realities of the way animals were treated by meat and dairy industries. I was ready for the next step. It was Easter of 1994, when I made the decision to become a vegan and never looked back. My true compassion towards animals was my deciding factor in going vegan, and as a result I also felt more energized and passionate about health.
Of course back in 1994, many people didn’t know what a vegan was. When talking with other people or explaining my food preferences to waiters, I would often have to say: “No meat, no dairy, no animal products”, as opposed to using the word vegan. We didn’t have the variety of vegan products on the market back then like there are today. I mainly shopped at a local health store and made my own meals. This taught me to understand more about plant-based foods and nutrition. Having a love of learning, I did my own research and educated myself further on veganism. It transformed my entire lifestyle and as a result I became more intuitive, which led me to discovering I had an intolerance to gluten a few years later.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always forged my own path and love to inspire others to do the same. I started writing a column for the Australian magazine, Vegan Voice while I was living in LA. I covered the local vegan scene in Southern California. Then one day, the editor asked me to write an article for vegan readers who had emailed her to ask how I managed to stay thin, because they had apparently been struggling with weight gain since becoming a vegan. It occurred to me that many vegans assumed that eating plant-based junk food or processed products wouldn’t have an affect on their weight. I was able to educate them about clean eating.
I then wrote a cover story on Supermodel, Carol Alt, for Natural Health & Vegetarian Life, which appeared in the HBO documentary, About Face: Supermodels Then & Now. I also began writing a column for Nature & Health, and was soon approached to write the foreword for the book Vegans Are Cool by Kathy Divine. Over the years I’ve appeared in numerous health magazines in Australia, UK and US.
Despite my vegan lifestyle, my family members didn’t quite get the whole vegan thing or see any importance in a plant-based diet, until many years later when they began developing serious health issues. My dad and uncle developed Diabetes Type 2 but chose to continue eating the same way and now they’re both insulin dependent. Then my aunt developed heart disease and osteoporosis. I’ve been able to coach my aunt back to wellness through a plant-based diet. As a result, she has learned to read nutrition labels and started getting creative in the kitchen with new plant-based recipes. She has discovered a real passion toward health and started to enjoy food again. A friend who was diagnosed with prostate cancer immediately made the decision to eat a plant-based diet and today he is cancer-free.
Why wait until you have a diagnosis to start taking care of your health?
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