Interviews

Ms.FitVegan: How to Become Mentally Resilient

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by Shari

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2 Comments

Jeannette is a friend, and I knew many of these stories already. And yet, I was moved to tears. 😭 Again.

Jeannette was born to share her story with the world. And she’s making up for lost time!

This Interview Will Surprise You

You will walk away entertained, inspired, and determined to demand (and GET) more from your time on earth.

Jeannette has been a raw vegan for nearly 13 years – and talks about how to heal from physical ailments, how to process grief after a loved one dies, how to recover from food addiction and emotional eating, a traumatic childhood, caring for a sister with a disability, reincarnation, overcoming suicidal tendencies (in part two), and how to get mentally tough so you can finally reach your biggest goals.

If you’re interested in learning about her upcoming six-week course on food addiction freedom, email [email protected] the words, “I am ready.”

If You Know Ms.FitVegan, You Know

A mutual friend, Kuba (future interview guest), mentioned her guided meditation on YouTube. When I checked it out, I noticed she offered accountability coaching (at the time), and I needed help sticking to a 100% raw vegan diet.

We worked together for a LONG time, including weekly Zoom calls. She had me reading books, digging into my past, trying EFT tapping, and going FAR beyond simple accountability. 

She also got me thinking “bigger” – she wanted me to set higher goals and surround myself with people who supported those goals.

And she shifted my entire life trajectory up to that point.

I started volunteering for plant-based influencers because I knew that my work would be shifting.

Over time, I became her book Editor – and a “manager” of sorts for a weekly, live Instagram show she had with Matt from Raw Intuition (another future interview guest).

At this point, we had become good friends, and we got to connect quite a bit during a couple of trips to Florida.

Ms.FitVegan 1

We’ve been through a lot together in these few years, including the passing of her mom and grandma recently. I’ll let her share the stories, but the main takeaway if I were to explain the many attributes I admire about her – is her mental toughness.

She takes her pain, the traumas of her past, her major setbacks, her grief, and all her challenges and uses them as fuel to learn. And to become a better person.

And then she uses those lessons to help the animals – and to help her clients.

As mentioned above, she also runs a highly successful, reoccurring 6-week course for overcoming food addiction (see below for more details). She is transforming lives and empowering women to embrace self-love and recognize their inherent worth.

What I find most impressive about Jeannette is that she gets over hardships quickly. She doesn’t take things personally.

I’m grateful to know someone like this exists. And I think you will, too.

Here’s Part one of the (transcribed) interview – enjoy the inspiration.

Shari

I think that most people from your podcast and your interviews know what you’re about and know the basics. But just for the beginning, I would love for you to give a 2-minute version of your life. Can you do your life story in 3 minutes or less?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Yes, I’ll set a timer. This is exciting. So here we go.

So, of course, my name is Jeannette, also known as Ms.FitVegan, and my life started in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up like an everyday person, eating lots of junk food, fast food, gluten, fried chicken, French fries, Chinese food, Dunkin Donuts, all the things regular. I grew up regular but kind of under the poverty line.

So when I was around 14, I started gaining a lot of weight because of my lifestyle. I also had started developing really bad cystic acne around 13-14. And this led to depression, lots of health issues, constantly getting rashes and migraines, and constant gastrointestinal issues. I had to go to all these specialists.

I could never breathe. I had all these sinus issues, constantly going to the emergency room for bronchitis, and all these things that I thought were normal.

And then, in 2010, I saw a documentary called Food, Inc., and it completely changed my life. There was an animal cruelty scene in the movie in the documentary, which was basically about GMOs, and from that second, I could never eat another dead animal’s body part.

However, I didn’t know fish were part of that. So who — I didn’t know. Fish, like, were real animals? I don’t know. I had never met a vegan or a vegetarian in my life. So I was still consuming fish and dairy because I just did not — I was not aware of the word vegan.

I didn’t know how to do it. And this was before Instagram, and there might have been YouTube. But I don’t think so. I don’t remember having YouTube at the time. 

So I, eventually, I got a job at a health food store, a vegan health food store in New York City. And I started learning more about nutrition and health.

And then that’s how I found the raw vegan diet in 2011. And I decided to go raw for 7 days in 2011, and it’s been 12 years. I’ve never looked back because the raw food diet literally changed my life.

It saved my life, and it changed my life, and I think this is why I get so frustrated and angry at raw vegan gurus and YouTubers that talk badly about the raw food diet or that really try to promote juice cleansing as a form of being a raw vegan — you know, a healing modality, because I know that that really doesn’t work.

And I know the raw food diet does work, and so I get really angry at defending it. You know, at anyone who talks bad about raw foods. It totally changed my life.

I lost over 60 pounds. I completely cleared my cystic acne. I have no more health issues. My depression has lifted everything about me physically and mentally, is completely different. And that is because of this amazing lifestyle that I love to share, and I have 5 seconds remaining. Oh. There we go 3 minutes.

Shari

That’s good. I’ve heard. I’ve heard some variation of that a couple of times. But I — good job — I don’t need to cover too much of why you went vegan because I think people find that online.

But I do want to real quick touch on the shift moment because you and I know about how important that is to me and why certain people can decide to go vegan but then struggle and have junk food and have to have a transition and have all these things, and then some people can just shift, and they don’t. They don’t even consider food that’s not food; you know it’s not tempting anymore because it’s not even food to them.

Why are some people able to shift like that, and some will struggle?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Why do some people — are able to shift in a moment — and some are not?

Well, that’s a very, very good question. I have my own beliefs about this. And I truly believe that I have heard this message over many lifetimes, and now I’m ready to really act on it.

I think that some people. Yeah, they see slaughterhouse videos. They find out that animals are being, you know, enslaved and tortured and raped and murdered every second of every day, and they see the videos, and it doesn’t affect them as much as it would affect someone else because their consciousness is just not ready to accept it.

And they just go into denial mode. This is my belief, you know. I really don’t know why somebody could be aware of something and not take action on it.

Me, it’s very hard for me to unlearn something or unknow it, and I think a lot of people… they can find out about something, and then they can just compartmentalize it in their brain and not act on it, not live the truth.

And maybe it’s a personality thing, Shari, because you know, I’d like to ask you the same thing. But maybe it’s a personality thing because I also, in many aspects of my life, if I learn something, if I know something, it’s hard for me to UN-know it.

For example, like nail polish, you know, I know it’s toxic. And once I started researching it and learning about the dangers of formaldehyde and all of these chemicals. I can’t look at polish the same. And so I just recently got my nails done after six months of not having my nails done, and I’m like, Oh, I really don’t like it anymore, even though I love the way it looks.

I just can’t UN-know what I know. So I actually can’t wait to take them off to take the gel polish off because I just can’t unknow it.

And same with animals I could never, ever, ever. It’s so easy for me to be vegan, I mean, it’s so easy for me to be raw, but vegan is just like — I can never UN-know the animal cruelty that’s going on.

And so It’s not even a temptation ever. You know my favorite foods on earth are bacon and fried chicken, and lasagna and sausages, and even sardines. I loved sardines. These are not foods to me. These are dead animal body parts to me now.

So that is a great question. But I think it’s twofold – the lifetimes, you know, having been here multiple lifetimes. And now being ready, and also my personality.

Shari

Okay. Well, now there are more questions — because there’s shifting because you will never eat an animal again [ethical reasons], which is my situation. I will never even consider it. It’s like a no-brainer. But I’ll still have vegan junk food, or I’ll make raw gourmet or something like that like. You went straight to clean, pretty much.

I mean, there’s a difference between struggling with eating clean and healthy and low fat. And you know, those kinds of things, versus doing it for the animals — makes it a no-brainer, but not necessarily healthy choices.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Ms.FitVegan 2

Yeah, that — okay, for me, being a raw vegan is easier than eating vegan junk food once in a while because I used to suffer from a food addiction. I have become very aware of what it is that works for me and what is easier for me to maintain.

It is very difficult for me, as a former food addict, to have vegan junk food once in a while, so I abstain from it forever. And to me, it’s easier.

And again, that’s another personality trait. I think some people reading this will be able to relate to that, and some people will not. Some people say, Wow! That’s so restrictive. But to me, it’s so much freedom. You know, the discipline of being a raw vegan is so freeing because I know exactly what is on the menu.

I know what is going to make me feel good, and I know what is not. And vegan junk food is something that is gonna taste really, really good. But then I’m gonna have so many regrets that I’m going to have at this point in my life after 12 years raw. I’m gonna have so many negative side effects — that it’s actually a blessing if I have a vegan burger, I’m gonna be sick for days. So, it’s just not worth it.

Shari

You’re comparing it to almost alcoholism because of your day, which is better to do a hundred percent abstinence — than even a little —

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

— for me and my personality. Correct. But a lot of my clients… it’s, you know, it depends on the person. But for a lot of my clients, it works out for them to have vegan junk food once in a while. You know, some people can do it.

Yeah, most people, though, it’s just too tempting because — once you have something. It’s in your bloodstream, and then you want it again and again and again. You want it the next day. You want it the next day, you know, whatever is in our bloodstream, we’re going to crave.

So like, if you don’t even put it in your bloodstream, you’re actually — you’re so much better off if you’re trying to get healthy and you’re trying to stay off food that should never have been invented to consume.

Shari

Yeah, but I’m even putting cooked food in that for the people that want to be raw. Sometimes they have trouble just choosing fruits, veggies in the raw state, and you know. It varies for everybody. You’re right. But I think you’re right about people with food addictions, perhaps, and their view of food will change. So you don’t consider those — even cooked food. Most of it, you don’t consider food, for you.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

If you, if I can’t eat it raw, I won’t eat it, so like if you bake an apple, if Shari bakes me an apple, I will eat it.

Why not? It’s an apple. She baked it just for me. I’m gonna eat it.

But you know, if I go to someone’s house and she has some vegan junk food that contains sugar, salt, and oil, and she tries to get me to try a little bit of it. Well, I’m not going to because I don’t consider sugar, salt, and oil — I don’t consider processed food foods. So yeah, that’s a good question. But you know, let’s — we have to understand all cooked food is not created equal.

Shari

Yeah. A steamed sweet potato on a salad is where you’re at. I got you.

Why, no — for people that are not vegan that are reading this — what about salt, sugar, and oil? We know sugar’s bad. But why not a little bit of, you know, Himalayan salt, a pinch, and a little tablespoon of cold pressed olive oil on a salad? What’s so bad about those?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Well, listen. I don’t think there’s anything wrong — if you want to have some olive oil and you want to have some salt, do you, Boo. I wouldn’t say you’re not going to be healthy. For me personally, Jeanette Donofrio Ms.FitVegan, I don’t like to consume stimulants because I know their purpose, you know.

Oils are processed food. Salt is a rock. These are not exactly health foods. I’m eating to live. I’m not living to eat… anymore.

And so I like to consume things that help me and heal me, and fuel me, and oil and salt are stimulants that help things taste better. Now, if you’re trying to make a salad taste better. There are other ways.

Ms.FitVegan 3

Okay, there’s hundreds of thousands of raw vegan dressings without processed foods, without oil and salt to choose from. If you want to continue eating salt and oil and you feel no negative side effects, then continue. But me personally, if I put salt and oil on a salad, then I’m going to break out because oil makes me break out. I have very, very sensitive skin. Okay?

And so people compliment me all the time on my skin. But what they don’t understand is what goes into healing my skin. What sacrifices I have made to have that skin! So you know, people just think other people are lucky. But what I’ve done is, I’ve given up salt and oil and all processed foods in order to have clear skin, which is what I always wanted.

And then for the salt. You know you can do things like celery. You can have lemon and lime are great for salt cravings. Okay. Dulse [seaweed] is extremely salty. There’s lots of other alternatives for salt. I just don’t believe we should be eating rocks.

I’m not saying we should be eating seaweed, either.

But if I’m going to have — if I’m going to choose between one of those things, I’m going to choose seaweed over a rock.

Shari

Yeah, it reminded me… So you know, the baby lives next door and the baby, because I live next door, that baby keeps trying new fruits every week, and it’s been a beautiful experiment to just see what it is when you’re unadulterated, and you just like to try something for the first time.

What is our natural reaction before you’re inundated with junk, food and commercials, and all that? So it’s been really neat to witness. 

And that’s what you remind me of when you say if you have something with oil, you’re gonna get acne because your body is now pure. And so you bring something in our bodies to tell us these things.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Okay, yes, but also Shari… before I went raw, it was happening, too. I just didn’t know that food was doing that.

I was always breaking out because of oil — maybe not because of salt, but definitely oil. I was — I had a very, very oily Ph, like — my skin was out of control oily. And now that I don’t eat oil, my skin is not oily, so it’s just the elimination process. And I finally realized that oil is not part of a healthy, raw vegan diet.

I — for the first six years, ate oil, or maybe not six years, I can’t really remember. But the for the first few years, I did have lots of oil because I thought it was healthy. And I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So, I was still breaking out, still having oily skin. And now I realized that it was definitely the oil.

Shari

People that don’t break out that have oil, though… it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for them.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Right. Well, they’re just not as sensitive, and they might be causing other issues for sure. They’re causing other issues like blood sugar issues, clogging their arteries. 

There’s absolutely no reason for oil in a human diet. It’s a processed food. If you can’t find it in nature, then it is not for humans. I can’t express this enough. And again, this is my experience and my opinion. But I really don’t think we should be consuming something that isn’t made by nature.

Shari

That is well said, I’m with you now. I just want to clarify that part. So you touch on two things in this part. It’s gonna take us forever to get through everything. I — that’s why there are two parts.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Shari, we should do a show together.

Shari

I know. I know.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

You don’t want to be on camera. Can you wear a mask?

Shari

Can we do – AI?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Can you get a mask that looks exactly like you? And wear it?

And can we — can we get a voice synthesizer?

Shari

Oh, what’s that thing that Kanye does or not Kanye — Drake! Can I get that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Oh, yeah. Autotune.

Shari

Yeah. Can I just do that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

I don’t know why; there’s so many people that need your inspiration and knowledge.

Shari

I’m channeling you for that.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Hmm.

Shari

Okay, we’ll talk about it.

Hey. So just on this one part to button up on two things, you said reincarnation is one of the reasons you mentioned prior lifetimes. You might have not been ready, and now you are. It seemed very natural to get this knowledge and take it. After all the diets. You’ve tried everything you’ve done. And then — now, it was just very effortless — it — and you shifted.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

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Yes, I do.

I can’t explain it, and I can’t prove it.

But my intuition tells me that it’s very much possible. I don’t know how to explain it other than a feeling I get sometimes, especially since my mom and my sister have passed. 

Once in a while, I will see a bird, and all of a sudden, I will get a feeling that it’s my sister, and I couldn’t explain that before she passed. But I do believe in reincarnation. And I don’t really have any research to back it up. It’s just a feeling.

Shari

I obviously believe in it as well. I do have proof. I do have a lot of reasons why I believe it — and I agree with you on that. Going on the record! I’m taking a risk here.

But do you — do you think we have a certain soul tribe, like the same sort of people —

People — come and go — that teach us lessons that are challenging, that are meant for a chapter of our lives — and then move on. 

But then there’s like a certain core that — that we’ve had through [many lifetimes]. Like my mom would say, either, you saved my life in a past lifetime, or I’ve saved yours. And that’s why the roles are reversed in the next lifetime.

She took really good care of her husband, who got Alzheimer’s, and she thinks maybe, you know, he did that for her in a different lifetime. He saved her life. Like you just don’t know.

But I have read that there are soul tribes, and I feel like, possibly, you and I have been in that. I feel like your mom. Certainly, your sister. Certainly Awa. How do you feel about that, have you heard about that? What’s your view?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Well. The only experience that I have with this is, I did speak to someone when I first moved to Florida. I was living with a roommate that was really into Kabbalah, and so I went with her to the Kabbalah Center, and I was starting to study it, and it was very interesting teaching, and I agreed with a lot of it. And so I spoke to one of the teachers in the Kabbalah Center.

And I told him some of my issues, which is, one of them is, I’ve always felt very, very guilty my entire life. And I wanted to talk to him about WHY. Because I didn’t really understand it.

I am friends with other people, and I would tell them my experience in life, and I would say that I feel so guilty that I can go in the ocean. My sister can’t.

And I feel so guilty that I can live an abundant life when there are so many people suffering, you know.

And so, how do I find joy in the moment when I think about all the animals and the people suffering?

And he said that one of the reasons why I feel so guilty all the time is because I was supposed to have a brain tumor — and my sister, she took it from me before I was born, and she got the brain tumor.

And, of course, you know the story, and if people are reading this, my sister had a brain tumor when she was very, very young, and she passed away. She, you know, made it to 35, which it was a miracle.

An absolute miracle.

But she suffered a lot, and I was always very guilty that it was not — it was her suffering and not me like.

Why did I have two arms and two legs that worked, you know, and she didn’t? And why was I able to go to school, and you know, work and have all these privileges of walking and running and dancing that she couldn’t do so, anyway, that’s the only experience I have with past life. Really.

Ms.FitVegan 5

Although one more thing, I was working in a crystal store in New York City called Stone, and then we had another location called Rock Star, and somebody came in, and there was always these really cool people coming in, like celebrities and past life readers and psychics.

And this one woman. She asked me if I knew that John Lennon’s spirit was around me at all times, and I was like, what?

And I thought that was really cool, and she said that — she said some other things about my past life, but she said that I was connected to John Lennon in a past life that was amazing, Shari because I loved him so much as a teenager.

And I just thought that was really cool, and how would she know that? So I don’t really have too much experience, and I’d love to hear more of your experiences. But, those are my only real two experiences with past life.

Shari

Do you intuitively believe that there are certain core people that you’ve traveled different lifetimes with?

Does it feel like that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Perhaps. Yes.

I never thought about this question. This is a really good question. Yeah, I could see that. I don’t think there’s any coincidences in this life.

I do believe in free will, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

So yes, I can see that. And you also. Yeah, I do. There’s certain people I feel like I’ve known them for lifetimes. So yes, I agree with this.

Shari

It’s just an interesting thing. Once you get in that rabbit hole. Because of that. We know who we’re, like, your mom — you, you guys had a love-hate relationship in many ways. But yet, there was a reason for so much of that. That is pretty obvious to me.

In terms of you being meant to incarnate when you did and have challenges with her. And the way —

Yeah, for the audience, we’ll probably — I could fill in the gaps [in writing]. But do you want to do a quick timeline, just real quick, of your upbringing because you said you went vegan at 13 to 14 or no — that’s when you started to gain the weight and have the health issues. But that’s also the age that you went back to your mom’s, right?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Yes.

Shari

So, do you want to give a quick timeline of your childhood and the foster care and things like that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Sure, I’ll set a 3 min timer. This is fun. Okay.

So I grew up with my sister. We were — where do I start here? Okay, okay.

So one of my very, very, very earliest memories is being picked up from kindergarten by two police officers and put in the back of a police car. This is like probably my first memory, although I also do remember throwing up macaroni and cheese. Okay, so, like, those are like my two first memories. and I’ve never even it since. I’ve never, ever even macaroni and cheese since I was in kindergarten.

So I was in the back of a police car, crying hysterically because I didn’t know what I did wrong. I didn’t understand anything, and they took us to the precinct, and then I think they took us to my grandparents’ house.

And so, in the beginning, I was raised by my grandparents. And I’m not really good on the timeline. We could have went to foster care, but I don’t really know, and my mom doesn’t either.

She was really not mentally stable to have children.

But what happened was that she really wanted them.

And you know, you have to take – you have to get a permit and then take a bunch of tests to get a driver’s license. But anybody can have a kid. So that’s what happened there, and you know, a lot of people are having kids, and they’re not equipped to have them financially, mentally, emotionally. And my mom just wanted friends. You know, two friends. She wanted to love and be loved like all of us. So she had kids.

And you can obviously tell I have my own opinions on this.

And what happened was — is that — my father left. Abandoned my mom and me and my sister after my sister was officially diagnosed with a brain tumor, a malignant brain tumor.

My mom could not really handle that. And so she left my sister in a restaurant one day, so my mom could go to work because — I think the babysitter canceled, or my mom couldn’t afford the babysitter anymore, something like this.

And so what my mom did was – she left my sister with a coloring book and a $20 bill in a restaurant, and my sister is like four years old, you know, going through chemotherapy and radiation, and — or less than four — and the police were called, and then they picked me up in a kindergarten. Pre K.

I’m not good with these timelines, Shari.

And then they took us to our grandparents’ house.

And then, for a few years, I was raised by my grandparents until they really didn’t want us anymore.

And so then we were put in the foster care system. And my mom at this time was — oh, that’s 3 minutes.

Yeah. My mom, at this time, was on a lot of different drugs and alcohol.

And so we did have visitations. But like sometimes she didn’t show up.

And that was really difficult.

And so we stayed in foster care until around 13 when we went back to my mom. It was very difficult in the beginning, of course, because it was a very unstable household, and we never really had enough money for everything.

And so, my mom, she didn’t — she thought rent was optional. So she wouldn’t pay rent sometimes. And then, after a while, we would get eviction notices, and we would always have issues with cops being called and all this stuff. 

So eventually, I dropped out of high school. So it took me like two years. I guess, and then — so I only went to the first year of high school. I dropped out of high school, and I got a job.

I was just really tired of dealing with the stress of not having food, not having money, the bills not being paid, the police being called. And all these issues.

My mom always screaming and having, you know, stress because of finances. So I dropped out of high school, and I got a job.

And I’ve had so many jobs. By the way, let’s do a whole entire episode on the jobs I’ve had.

But so — that, I think, is where the story ends.

Right? Is that — yeah, sorry. It’s just amazing to think about this stuff because now I’m sitting here looking at the beach in my own apartment, you know, like having enough money for food, and not having any of these horrible things that used to happen, you know, having such a peaceful life. It’s just so interesting to think of back upon our old lives, you know.

Shari

Yeah. And I was also just flashing. If we do a few of these interviews and they’re transcribed, you can almost like, paste them together by the end, and we’d have your autobiography done!

Because I’d like to dig into each different thing. But for today…

Yeah. Another thing is, we couldn’t do an interview together because you just make me cry like every other — so I’m not gonna be able to be on camera for that reason also.

Related to your mom real quick. We won’t go into all that today, either. But I have a friend who’s a therapist of — for people who had narcissistic parents.

And how we aim to please others when we’re young because we have those kinds of parents, and that we kinda walk on eggshells.

And we end up carrying that over to adulthood, and we try to please others. And then we end up abandoning ourselves again. So we have the same problem.

We do it because we’re trying to avoid self-abandonment. But then we end up overcompensating, and we abandon our own needs anyway. Right?

So what we’re trying to avoid from our childhood, we end up doing to ourselves again. And she talks about that a lot. It’s really super interesting.

But I guess I have two questions.

The first one relates to your mom. Do you think she was? 

How did that childhood affect you, is the big question?

But obviously, there’s a lot to unwrap with that.

[We clarify a bit about why I asked this question in the follow-up interview.]

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

My mom, I don’t think, was a narcissist, although we all have narcissistic tendencies. My mom was just someone who had a really, really, really bad childhood, and she just wanted to be loved. And she wanted to love.

And she had a lot of mental health issues. and rightfully so; based on her childhood, she had a very difficult situation.

Shari

What do you feel comfortable sharing about that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

It’s tough because she’s not alive, so I can’t really ask her if it’s okay to share. So I don’t know.

Shari

Was she in foster care also?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

No, but she had — she ran away because she was getting beat a lot.

And she grew up very, very religious, and she was getting beat every day. You know, by the same person that beat me. Okay. So her father, you know. So I understand why she ran away. It was very horrible, and basically, she ran away. 

And then she started dating.

And a major thing that happened very early on in her life is that she was like 14, and she was dating a police officer that was much older. And you know, it’s obviously illegal. She got him in a lot of trouble, and then she got in a lot of trouble by my grandparents, and she just was looking for love.

And so I don’t blame her for not being able to handle children. You know, she had a lot of emotional issues, which we all do. She was never given the proper tools and guidance on how to heal, although she went to therapy eventually, and you know. 

But you know, therapists have their own issues.

And not all of them are doing what they’re supposed to be doing in life. You know, they’re not all called to be therapists. Some just came to be therapists.

And so yeah, I think that there should be more screenings for people that want kids. That’s my personal opinion. Okay?

But yeah, I don’t really know how much I want to talk about my mom’s childhood because I just —

Shari

No, that was fine. I mean, I’m relating it now back to your being 13 —

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Another thing is my mom wasn’t wanted. So my grandma didn’t want her, and that’s very difficult to be a child of someone who didn’t want kids. 

But back in those days, I mean because my grandparents are so religious, they — an abortion was not at all an option, and so, I mean she was conceived like on the honeymoon. You know, like, probably the first time they had sex.

And my grandma and my grandpa weren’t ready for a child. They had just gotten married.

And yeah, so my mom was never treated with love and respect as a child because she wasn’t wanted. And you know, it’s hard to be feeling like that your entire life. And then, of course, what happens is you manifest other people that don’t want you. And so she kept marrying. She got married, like, five times.

She kept meeting men that didn’t really want her, and she also didn’t know her worth. And so she just, you know, tolerated any type of treatment, and you know — we teach people how to treat us so. If you allow someone to cheat on you or beat you, or curse at you or yell at you or play mind games with you, or, you know, disrespect you. Then that’s what you’re gonna get.

You’re getting in life, what you are tolerating, and also how you treat yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you will always allow somebody into your life that doesn’t love you. If you don’t have boundaries. You will always allow other people into your life that don’t have boundaries.

And so on and so on. So that’s what happened with my mom’s life.

Shari

When you were with her when you were 13 or 14, and you mentioned all these health issues and weight gain.

Do you think it’s from what happened leading up to that moment, or from living with your mom, or what? What do you –?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Oh, yeah. So, being in foster care was very difficult, and eventually, it catches up to you all the — you know, pain and trauma and getting beat.

Because, you know, I was the only white person in the entire school so I used to get beat up a lot. And I was even, like, punched in a classroom, and the teachers were afraid of the students, so like, the teachers, didn’t do anything. I had to call my foster parents, and they took me to the hospital. Like, the teachers didn’t even help me to call 911, you know, like it was just such a — a horrific situation in this school.

Shari

How long did you do that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Foster care?

Shari

No, this horrific situation at the school. How long did you endure that?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

It was always that way. It was multiple schools, but I was always the only white — or maybe there was, like, two other white kids in the entire school.

Yeah. For years. A lot of it is pushed down so far in my memory that I really can’t remember it. But once you get out of trauma, that’s when you feel the effects of it.

Because when you’re just in it, you’re just surviving. And then you get out of it, and then you have to find a way to carry on with your life and try to act normal.

And what I found was food, and I — so once I got out of foster care, I went back with my mom. And you know, there was a different kind of trauma there because it felt like I had two kids to take care of, my mom and my sister —

Whereas in foster care, I just had my sister. And so to deal with the stress of, like, you know, quitting school, abandoning my dreams of being a singer, taking care of my mom and my sister, and we didn’t live in a good neighborhood.

So the stress of, like, getting robbed multiple times, you know, our apartment being vandalized and things like this. And just the stress and trauma of what I had been through in my childhood. I started eating, and when I started eating, I just could not stop, and I found a release. I found a drug that could really help me to feel better, to be able to survive.

So I started eating, and for a few years, I didn’t have any side effects. But after, you know, 2 or 3 years, I started getting really, really sick and gaining lots of weight and having acne. And all these types of health issues, chronic bronchitis, always having a cold and flus. And all these.

All these random health issues that are completely abnormal for the human body, that are completely avoidable. And I don’t suffer with any of them now, so I know for sure it was all the food, but I literally couldn’t stop eating.

And no matter what — no matter how much weight I gained and how miserable I was, it was just like a drug that I couldn’t stay away from, and plus you have to eat so like, I felt like it was a trap, like, I wanted to die.

You know, I was very suicidal throughout my whole teenage years because I just didn’t think there was a solution because you have to eat. But yet, every time I eat, I can’t stop until I’m physically in severe pain.

Shari

There’s so much to dig into on the topic, too – the mom relationship and how you got over that. So maybe part two, we’ll go into that a little more. And the suicidal thing I’d like to go into a little bit more so —

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Perhaps I can book a session with you and Brad [EFT practitioner] — to under – to try and hypnotize you, to hear your voice instead of hearing the voice that you hear.

Shari

I like my voice. Actually, that’s a little bit of a secret.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

But I’d love to do this as a podcast because you’re a really good interviewer. These are really good questions. And you have me thinking about things I never think about.

Shari

Quick question to button up on foster care for today’s interview. Could you possibly say the worst thing that happened to you in foster care and the best thing that happened to you from foster care?

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

The worst thing that happened to me. Or you want me to save that for part two because it’s, like, heavy?

These are great questions.

Shari

I haven’t even got to my questions. 😅

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

The worst thing that happened to me in foster care was having to watch my sister being punished. So my sister was a very rebellious child. And so she — I don’t know what she did. I think she broke a dish while doing dishes and as her punishment.

MsFitVegan 6

The foster mom put a pan on the stove and put the stove, put the stove on, and made my sister put her hands on the stove. So watching that was one of the worst things that ever happened to me.

Because my sister was disabled, and that was just really horrific, and I cried way more than my sister did. My sister was extremely strong.

The best thing that happened to me in foster care — was the fact that — the best thing was that I was able to stay with my sister.

Although, she was bussed out to a school like she got to stay in her school that she was already in because she was disabled. But I was really happy that we got to stay together the whole time, as far as, like, where we lived.

So that was really good.

Shari

You know, when someone has a disability like that, like a physical disability, I noticed a lot of those types of children have some sort of gift, like a gift that compensates for the physical disability, do you? What would that be for your sister?

Like the way she kisses people’s hands when she sees them, like, she’s very loving and able to be happy despite anything around her — like, things like that.

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Yeah, so my sister had a gift of always waking up smiling, no matter what.

And that’s a major gift in this lifetime because how many people reading this wake up stressed or depressed, or miserable? And they have so much more than my sister ever had. You know, they have a full, functioning body.

They have both sides of their brain. They have a job. They have food in the fridge. They have people that love them. They have a phone; they have a computer. They have, you know, they have so many things, so many opportunities, so many things to be grateful for. And they are not happy. And they are not grateful.

And my sister was literally never complaining about anything.

And always happy and grateful to be alive.

And it just doesn’t make sense.

It doesn’t make sense that somebody could be like that when they have nothing. When they can’t even speak, they can’t eat on their own. They can’t go to the bathroom on their own. They can’t do anything, you know, and for them to still be finding ways to be happy and grateful.

That is definitely a gift.

She was also a very, very talented artist. She had a lot of passions in life, but unfortunately, a lot of those things were taken away from her because she had strokes during surgery. And so she wasn’t able to do the art that she loved. She was so passionate about so many things.

She loves movies and art and music. And she’s definitely very similar to my best friend, Awa, who is also very passionate about so many things.

So I really like that. Awa really reminds me of Lisa. Like even all of Lisa’s favorite junk foods is Awa’s favorite junk food. So it’s really cool.

Um. Yeah. Wow, such a great question, Shari.

Shari

We’re gonna interview Awa in a future —

Jeannette Donofrio | @Ms.Fitvegan

Oh, my, gosh, no way!

Shari

And we’re gonna we’re also gonna talk about your friendship with Awa on the next part, too.

STAY TUNED, FOLKS - WE’RE ABOUT TO DIG EVEN DEEPER!

A Message From Jeannette – MisFit Mondays Weekly Zoom and Support Membership

Thank you so much for your love and support ☺️🙏🏼🍉 I REALLY appreciate you! 

Now is your chance to connect with your fruity family, learn EXACTLY how to be a healthy vegan, and get your specific questions answered every week!

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About Ms.FitVegan

Jeannette is the author of the wildly popular, The Raw Vegan Beauty Book, along with many other ground-breaking books and courses in the plant-based, living foods community.

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She is extremely passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge of a fruit-based raw vegan lifestyle, which she has been following for the past 12 years. Since 2011, Jeannette has naturally healed her cystic acne, chronic fatigue, migraines, IBS, eczema, and depression, lost over 50 lbs, and more! 

She is one of the most authentic and trusted leaders in the raw vegan movement. Jeannette is also the Director of The Woodstock Fruit Festival, a YouTube sensation (with her viral fruit-tutorial videos), and hosts a weekly member community, Misfit Mondays, that meets live on Zoom every Monday at 4 pm PST.

Jeannette is known for sharing her expertise in selecting, ripening, and all things fruit, which was demonstrated in her latest appearance on Chef AJ Live here.

Jeannette is a former Food and Beverage Business Consultant and is currently working towards opening Fruit Is Life, the world’s FIRST fast-fruit cafe!

The Food Addiction Freedom Course

Based on her years of experience in overcoming food addiction and studying all the modalities for healing, Jeannette was inspired to create a six-week course (The Food Addiction Freedom Course) to help other women do the same. Although all aspects of the plant-based diet and exercise are covered in depth, the emphasis of the course is on helping women change their mindset.

If you’ve tried EVERYTHING to lose weight, clear your skin, and/or stick to a healthy vegan diet… then I’ve got news for you… You haven’t!

Because you’ve never gone through my brand new Food Addiction Freedom 6-Week Course…. and it’s only available for 10 women every six weeks!

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Click the button below or email the words “I Am Ready” to [email protected] – and I’ll send you all the details to see if I can help you specifically achieve YOUR goals! Mention you heard about the course from Shari!

What’s unique about my course is that we aren’t going to stay on the surface.

We are diving deep into the core reasons exactly why we are self-sabotaging, and then we will ELIMINATE those reasons.

Prepare to do some very uncomfortable things like working out with me, tapping on your face, sharing and getting vulnerable with me and 9 other amazing women, and receiving the support we ALL need to make major changes and take massive action in our lives to get the health, body, and life we REALLY want and deserve!

YOU GOT THIS! But you don’t have to do it alone!”

This unique approach has created a high demand for her course, but she limits each session to 10 women in order to provide her undivided attention and dedication.

Click the button below or email the words “I Am Ready” to [email protected] to applymention you heard about the course from Shari!

Download the course syllabus below:

Jeannette is inspiring the world to eat more fruit and providing value through her free resources and courses, her social media platforms, and her YouTube channel, where she posts daily content on fruit, healthy living, goal-achieving strategies, and more!

From Ms.FitVegan:

🍉 How To Be A Healthy Raw Vegan | 6 Week Course Is Available Here

🍉 Ms.FitVegan’s FREE Raw Vegan Recipe Book is Available Here

🍉 The Raw Vegan Beauty Book is Available Here

🍉 Ms.FitVegan’s Guide To Tropical & Exotic Fruit Is Available Here

🍉 Introduction To The Raw Vegan Lifestyle: A Seven-Day Meal Plan Guide Is Available Here

🍉 Additional Ms.FitVegan Resources + Free Goodies Here!

🍉 Check Out The Ms.FitVegan Podcast on Spotify Here

🍉 Watch My Latest YouTube Video Here

🍉 Let’s Connect on Instagram

🍉 Use my code “MsFitVegan” To Receive $100 OFF Your Ticket To The Woodstock Fruit Festival Here

🍉 Ms.FitVegan Guided Meditations that you might find helpful:

5 Min Guided Healing Meditation

5 Min Guided Meditation To Stay On A Healthy Diet

5 Min Guided Meditation For Abundance FAST

5 Min Guided Visualization Meditation To Manifest The Life of Your Dreams

🍉 Books That Have Helped Me On My Journey 

The Mucusless Diet Healing System by Arnold Ehret

Return to the Brain of Eden by Tony Wright and Graham Gynn

Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

🍉 Documentaries That Have Opened My Eyes 

Game Changers | Earthlings | Eating | Forks Over Knives | What The Health | The Milk System | Cowspiracy | SeaSpiracy | GMO OMG | Food, Inc. 


Check out all of our Interviews here.

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About Shari

Shari Likes Fruit is all about making fruit and vegetables enjoyable, loving animals, and cherishing the joy within all of us.

2 thoughts on “Ms.FitVegan: How to Become Mentally Resilient”

  1. Excellent questions from Shari and brave, open answers from Jeanette. Beautiful, ladies! Jeanette, I loved you before but now I also admire you!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Eva! She’s an incredible soul. I’m still tearful since doing the interview! I’m grateful you two are out there inspiring others and letting them know that we can overcome anything as long as we still have a heartbeat! xo

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