Meet Living With Harmony’s Co-founder, JP

Introducing our Co-founder

JP, or John Pierre, is the co-founder of LWH, along with Andrea Rose. He travels extensively around the country lecturing about the concept of Ahimsa, the powers of  plant-based eating, health and fitness and other humanitarian efforts. For those of you in our community who don’t know him and haven’t had the privilege of seeing his lectures, we wanted to provide an interview to introduce you in more depth to the work that he does and how that is greatly impacting the vision we have for the future of LWH.

 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: My name is John Pierre and my website is www.johnpierre.com. I’ve been following a plant-based diet for over 34 years as well as teaching nutrition and fitness. I’ve spent over 25 years working in the geriatric field where I created the first brain-building program centered around a plant-based diet. It incorporated nutraceuticals (nutrients for the brain), the ancient art of aromatherapy (essential oils), physical exercises that stimulate brain activity and mental games to enhance nerve growth. I have volunteered with animal advocacy groups and women’s organizations for 30 years.  I have led lectures on health, fitness and personal safety.  Part of my work included collecting and organizing clothing and toiletry items to donate to women and children’s shelters in the United States, Asia and Mexico.  I also led food drives for these organizations, enabling them to have access to healthier food.  More recently, for the past few years, I have worked hand-in-hand with Project Child Save, an organization that is very special to me.  LWH is a proud sponsor of this wonderful organization that helps children rescued from trafficking around the world.

 

 

 

 

I have written  two books.  The first one is The Pillars of Health , Your Foundation for Lifelong Wellness and the second one is Strong Savvy Safe, Empowering Tools for Self-Protection and Vibrant Health. I also help run a very successful ultimate weight-loss program with Chef AJ and have created multiple cooking DVDs. I have been teaching classes at the North American Vegetarian Society’s (NAVS) Summerfest since 1994 and in 2014 I was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame, a great honor.

 

Q: Why did you start following a vegan lifestyle?

A: I went vegan when I first became aware that the majority of food I was eating was once a living, sentient being. I never thought about the fact that a hamburger, fish filet, or pork chop was once a conscious breathing animal. Then I began to learn about the environmental consequences of a meat-based diet and soon to follow, I learned about the negative health implications of following an animal-based diet towards your well-being. I have always wanted to live a kind and gentle life where I do as little harm as possible.  I believe that we all have a responsibility to protect the planet and the animals to the best of our ability. I found the vegan lifestyle encompassed most of my beliefs allowing me to lead as compassionate a life as possible.  The vegan lifestyle was actually a perfect fit for me.

 

Q: What inspired you to become a nutritional consultant? 

A: Starting in high school, I was fortunate enough to work in an amazing, supportive, family-run health food store where I had access to hundreds of books and magazines and had the opportunity to attend seminars and natural food conferences.   I began implementing this newly acquired knowledge into my life and noticed that my energy and athletic performance improved by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and eliminating animal products.  This was exciting news that needed to be shared with as many people as possible.  I became fascinated with the intricate science behind our food choices. I noticed that many people’s dietary choices were diminishing their own vitality and well-being.  As a side effect, it also contributed to the unnecessary suffering and killing of animals and to the destruction of our planet.  I figured what better career could I choose than the field of nutrition that would simultaneously help people to live healthier, more fulfilling lives and help protect the environment and animals.  I wanted to help make this life-transforming information accessible to everyone as quickly as possible.

 

Q: It seems that you have been on a lifelong mission to share this information with others. 

A: Yes, I have grown to become an advocate for the planet, animals and humanity.  Ultimately, we are all one and have to learn to live harmoniously together.

 

Q: Why did you decide to start Living With Harmony?

A: Andrea Rose and I founded LWH as a non-profit (501(c)(3)), to help raise awareness surrounding the preservation and restoration of the environment as well as the suffering of animals. We want to serve as a resource to educate individuals on how to create more vitality, well-being and reduce their risk of disease through plant-based eating. We wanted to put everything we are working on together under one roof so that we can not only help those in need, but to also educate people about the causes that we most hold dear.

 

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the classes you will be teaching at the Living With Harmony Sanctuary and Retreat Center? 

A: Nutritional education will play a key role in all that we do. Classes on sprouting and micro-greens and the benefits of smoothies and blended soups will also be a core component of our curriculum. We have some of the top chefs in the nation who are eager to start preparing delicious food for our visitors at our Cafe and to teaching classes on plant-based eating. As a core component of our Sustainable Harmony retreat center, we will have classes on simpler living, composting, reducing waste and gardening. The most popular classes that I’ve taught have been my boot camp fitness classes. Here is a video of me leading Ellen DeGeneres and her staff in a workout. We will be teaching a wide variety of fitness classes, healing modalities, meditation and mobility training.

 

 

Q: What message is at the core of LWH?

A: The core of LWH is based on the Sanskrit term Ahimsa which means compassion and reverence for all beings. We also seek to teach that we are stewards of the land and animals and that we must act accordingly to help protect and preserve them. To read about our company mission, please read our previous post Behind the LWH Logo and Mission.

 

Q: How will LWH impact the community?

A: We seek to educate, inspire and connect with our community members. We welcome people with open arms, keeping in mind that many of the concepts we teach may be foreign to them. One of our core values and beliefs is that it is important to bring people together. We want to impact our neighborhood by creating community and by bringing people together in a welcoming, loving and supportive environment.  

 

Q: What is your vision for the future of LWH?

A: We are currently fundraising to purchase our retreat center in or near Boulder, Colorado, where we will create a home for rescued animals, have a space to teach classes and bring in speakers to educate and inspire others. Our goal is to add more love and compassion to people’s lives on a daily basis. 

 

Q: What are the next steps for making that vision a reality?

A: We currently need financial donations of any size that will go towards purchasing a retreat center in Colorado and to help run our current programs. We also would welcome the donation of an established property or land. In addition, we are in need of help with fundraising, social media management and outreach. We appreciate any help that can assist us in bringing our vision of a LWH facility to the next level.

 

Q: What is currently on the LWH agenda?

A: I just finished a three-day conference in California where Living With Harmony had a booth and I taught two classes.  I recently taught a class on plant-based eating and athletic performance to a fire station in L.A.   I also completed a Facebook Live video about the benefits of a plant-based diet, compassion and the destructive nature of animal agriculture. I taught a class at a yoga studio on my first book, The Pillars of Health and then completed a Facebook Live video for Weight-loss Wednesday that I teach with Chef AJ. I am also continually working on collecting financial contributions, along with medical gear, healthy snacks, shoes and boxes of toys for Project Child Save, the organization that we work with that rescues children from trafficking around the world.

July 4th – 8th, NAVS Summerfest in Johnstown, PA.  Living With Harmony will have a booth and I will be teaching classes all week.  This will be my 24th year in a row!

July 28th – 29th, Living With Harmony will have a booth at Colorado VegFest at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. It will be our first educational outreach event on the front range, which will be a wonderful opportunity for our local community to come and see what we’re all about. Both Andrea and I will be there. We are hoping to spread more awareness about the zero waste lifestyle and are excited to be introducing attendees to the benefits of composting!  We will offer composting at our booth and feature products geared toward zero waste and sustainable living for people to see. We hope to see you there!

 

Q: How can those who wish to contribute get involved?

A: We appreciate you, our community members, without whom none of this would be possible. If you would like to get involved, make a donation or become a volunteer, go to www.livingwithharmony.org or call 224-216-9054.

 

This interview was conducted by volunteer blogger, Madeline Rubin.

Madeline is a blogger and freelance writer passionate about sustainable living and the zero waste movement. She focuses on the connection between spirituality and sustainability, positing that taking time to connect with nature is the first step in awakening compassion for ourselves, the planet and all living things. She uses sustainable living as a spiritual practice to treat the earth with kindness and respect and to live a life of abundance and balance. She strives to help empower others to do the same. To read more of her work, or to inquire into other freelance services she offers, visit her website www.backtonature.life

 

 

 

Behind the LWH Logo and Mission


Our Logo and into the Core of our Mission

 

Ahimsa

The sanskrit word, Ahimsa, means to have reverence for all living things. Its core principle calls for the embracing of compassion and nonviolence by consciously not causing harm to any living being, with the understanding that the same divine energy comes back to us. Ahimsa asks us to awaken into compassion and to deeply understand the nature of our interconnectedness. This includes compassion for the self, others, and the entirety of nature. Our logo seeks to express these ideas as the visual interpretation of the core values of our organization.

 

Our logo

Snow topped mountains are encircled by plant life, footprints of wild animals, domestic animals and human beings, symbolizing nature, the animal kingdom and humanity living together in harmony.

The wild animal footprints represented are the raccoon, the skunk, the deer and the coyote. These symbolize the animals that are most in conflict with human urbanization and suburban life. How can we create more awareness about how our actions affect them?

The domestic animal footprints are the horse, the chicken, the dog and the cat. They are present because they represent the most common animals that live together with humans. How can we be more conscious about how they are treated in society and about our care for them?

The human footprint is present as a reminder that while we are the cause of much suffering, environmental destruction and degradation, that we can also be the solution. How can we be more conscious about how all of our actions have the power to either nurture or destroy?

The footprints, along with the plant life, heart and peace symbols, complete the circle around the mountains, symbolizing that we share this world together and to create peace and harmony, love is a vital component.

Our beautiful logo was created by John Beske. Please visit his website www.johnbeske.com to see more examples of his artistic creations.

 

 

 

Retreat Center

At Living with Harmony, we believe in creating a sanctuary where people, animals and nature can co-habitate in peace and harmony. The truth is, our world is far from that idyllic state at the moment, which is why we are convinced our message of compassion is more vital now than ever.

That is why embracing Ahimsa extends into every action that we take, including our lifestyle habits, and choices. That is why sustainability is of paramount importance. When we throw something ‘away’, where is away? We have come to realize that there is no ‘away’.

At our retreat center, we want to assure that every system in place, including what we eat, the things we purchase, and how our energy is produced, does the least harm to people, animals, and the environment.

We will offer life-affirming classes, gardening, sprouting, fitness and plant-based nutrition. We will also hold workshops on ways to eliminate unnecessary waste by applying the ‘6 R’s’: Responsibility (for our actions), Refuse (single use plastic and items), Reduce (our waste and consumption), Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle.

We will have an organic garden where we will not only grow delicious fruits and vegetables for both animals and people, but will also turn all organic waste into sustainable, life giving compost. We also plan to power the facility with solar and other alternative energy sources.

We want to give people hands-on experience learning about a different way to live – one that doesn’t harm the delicate ecosystems of the planet. That is why we want to create a retreat center to educate and inspire people and help them see the reality of a kinder world.

To us, balance is key.  That’s why addressing women’s rights, human trafficking and animal abuse go hand in hand with our message of sustainability and compassion. We seek to empower all beings from the ground up and to truly transform lives. We want to make our retreats an experience people can remember and take home to their own communities!

 

 

 

Sanctuary

A sanctuary is a place of rest and renewal. For animals, it is a place where they can regain their lives after living in oppressive and neglectful situations, and be seen as the individual, sentient beings that they are. That is why we seek to create a haven where they can live in peace for the rest of their lives.  Many of these animals are damaged and will have special needs that will be addressed by competent and dedicated staff members.

For us as human beings, it is a place to come for inner peace, contemplation, and to reconnect with ourselves. The relationship between people and animals fosters the understanding that we are more alike in our emotionality than we might think.  What affects us affects them as well, and ultimately we are all one.

At LWH, we seek to meet you where you are on your individual journey from a place of non-judgement. We want to help build bridges, rather than walls. The more we can empower you and help you step into alignment with yourself, the more it will create a ripple effect that has the potential to reach your community and spread to the whole world.

 

 

Cosette, eating her greens

 

Fiona, a sanctuary resident that was permanently injured by a car

Sprout, a sanctuary resident that lost a wing when his nest was destroyed by a condo management company.

 


Fundraising Continues

We are still actively fundraising and searching for our forever home, while we continue to work on our projects.  If you feel moved and inspired, you can make a direct donation to our 501(c)(3) organization. We will use the money raised to purchase a property in the northern Colorado area and every contribution helps enormously in getting us get closer to our vision.  Please join our mailing list so you can follow us and see what we are up to.

Imagine a world where the principle of Ahimsa is revered above all else, where nonviolence and compassion for all living beings and the earth is embraced and cultivated. We believe in providing an example of what that world could be like. We believe that together we can create the reality of Living with Harmony.

 

Thank you from all of us at Living With Harmony!

 

 

Guest post by Madeline Rose Rubin

Madeline is a blogger and freelance writer passionate about sustainable living and the zero waste movement. She focuses on the connection between spirituality and sustainability, positing that taking time to connect with nature is the first step in awakening compassion for ourselves, the planet and all living things. She uses sustainable living as a spiritual practice to treat the earth with kindness and respect and to live a life of true alignment. She strives to help empower others to do the same. To read more of her work, or to inquire into the freelance services she offers, visit her website www.backtonature.life

Living With Harmony’s #GivingTuesday Challenge

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, the Black Friday shopping event and Cyber Monday.  #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on the holidays and end-of-year giving.

More information about GivingTuesday can be found on the website GivingTuesday.org website.

Living With Harmony’s #GivingTuesday Fundraising Challenge

One great way you can help support or get involved with Living With Harmony during this year’s #GivingTuesday, is to donate or volunteer.

Our #GivingTuesday fundraising goal this year $2,000.  Money raised from this campaign will be used to help our resident medical fund for this upcoming year.

We’re also welcoming any form of volunteer help from the community for various projects to help further our organization.  Please contact us for more details.

Donating or Volunteering is a one of the best ways to get involved in the Living With Harmony community.

Can You Donate to Our Medical Fund?

Some of our residents suffer from physical or medical challenges and we strive to provide them with the best chance for a happy and fulfilling life.  Several of them are healthy now, but still need routine care and monitoring, including vet visits.  As our residents age, most likely they will struggle with an illness, a chronic condition or a medical emergency at some point.  This means we cannot rescue as many animals as we would like because we need to ensure we have the resources, the space and the funds to treat them.  Medical care can be quite extensive and expensive.  We evaluate each animal carefully to ensure that the diagnostics or treatment that they need is appropriate for them and that it will not cause unnecessary pain or duress if they are suffering from a condition that they will not recover or improve from.

Cosette’s Dental Drama

Dental disease in rabbits is common – especially in middle-aged or older rabbits.  It can be very challenging to treat and some rabbits do well, but for some it may take several surgeries and rounds of anti-biotics to clear.  The expenses add up quickly from diagnostic tools such as radiographs, cultures, bloodwork, cytologies and from the procedures themselves.  Even if we elect not to treat or to do surgery, we still have to determine what is wrong and to see if the resident has a good chance to recover.  This is only fair and we certainly don’t want finances to be a deciding factor.  We always strive to keep our residents healthy, providing the best diets and practicing preventive medicine.

Cosette, feeling well enough to eat carrots

We would like to share Cosette’s story about her struggle with dental disease.  Cosette was found as a baby, abandoned in a park.  She was always bouncy and healthy for over 3 years until this past June when she started to go off of her hay and then started nibbling on her other food.  Food is something that rabbits get really excited over and if they don’t, even for one meal it is a cause for concern.   After bloodwork, skull radiographs under anesthesia and abdominal radiographs, she started her nursing care and treatment for an unknown illness.  Her treatment entailed syringe feedings, subcutaneous fluids and medications.  After a few weeks with nursing care,  she improved temporarily until she relapsed in August with similar symptoms.  After more radiographs of her skull and teeth, it was determined that she had a molar root abscess that was finally visible and surgery was required.  She had the surgery and after several weeks, had not fully recovered.  She went to an exotic specialist for a CT scan of her skull at Colorado State University’s Vet School and it was determined that she suffered from a jaw fracture, caused from infection.  After two more surgeries. including another molar extraction and weeks later, she had another surgery last week.   She still hasn’t fully recovered and the area needed to be flushed and debrided again.  We also had some tissue sent off to a lab for analysis to make sure we know what disease process was happening.  Thankfully, the tissue report came back as nothing serious.

Cosette, eating her greens

Cosette has been bouncing back between surgeries and we really would like to see her free from discomfort and pain.  It is very challenging sometimes to make the best decisions for our residents and we try to approach if from what is best for them and not for us.  We are hoping that this final surgery will finally fight this aggressive infection and hopefully it will be her last surgery.

We hope to raise funds so we can continue to offer our residents the diagnostics and treatments that they deserve.

Please consider making a donation to our #GivingTuesday fundraiser!

Can You Volunteer?

We also are in urgent need of a person who can help us draft up a business plan, so we can present to potential investors, supporters and donors.  We’re welcoming any form of help that you can give.

Please keep us in mind if you have some time or skills that you would like to share with us.

To make a donation for #GivingTuesday, please visit our GivingTuesday Donation Page here.  If you’re interested in talking with us about volunteer projects, please visit out Contact us Page here.

Thank you very much!

Living With Harmony’s Residents Transform

We have been busy working on several projects this fall.  After trying to attend a conference that quickly sells out for 3 years, Andrea finally participated in Farm Sanctuary’s “Farm Animal Care Conference” in September.   This three-day conference was taught at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.  It covered many aspects of starting and running an effective organization, including fund-raising, educational programs, volunteer programs and animal care of the many species of animals that are housed there.  Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization.

LWH continues to work with the Colorado Pet Pantry at 3 locations per month.  This helps them to accomplish their goal of feeding Colorado pets to help keep them out of shelters and with their families.

John Pierre Puts The Pillars of Health Into Action

John Pierre has been in Los Angeles doing outreach and working with clients, local groups and organizations.

JP demonstrated how to make healthy meals, when traveling, while on Jane Valez-Mitchell’s LunchBreakLIVE show in October.

John has been working with some pretty amazing folks.  Check out Gene Bauer, the president from, Farm Sanctuary, working with JP on the pillar of movement.

 

JP has also been giving lectures locally, on podcasts and around the country.  He has been spreading the news about Living With Harmony and his other projects.

Recently, JP spoke to staff at the local L.A. PETA office about some of the principles from his book, “The Pillars of Health.”  This included eating as many plants as possible and reducing processed foods to stay healthy and vibrant.

Eating as many plants as possible helps us stay healthy and vibrant!

John Pierre at Los Angeles PETA office.

Update on Some of Our Residents

In addition to looking into leads for our retreat center, we have been working with some of our residents and their special needs.  Sometimes, these needs can be physical, but for several of them it is emotional.  This type of special need requires extreme commitment and patience.  That is why we have Denise to take on this most important task.

Here is an update on the three dogs we adopted, who were all rescued from laboratory research last winter. They are being cared for by Denise. We are not going to dwell on the suffering they endured, but instead are going to focus on their recovery.  They are so amazing, such loving and forgiving souls despite the trauma they endured when they were merely considered objects with no rights of their own. The struggles have been difficult and many, the worst being overcoming their fears, mainly of humans, more specifically men, but also of everything they never experienced while spending years in labs (Elyse was in drug studies for 7 years, and she is now 8 1/2 years old).

Elyse, happily trotting on her afternoon walk.

The first issues were learning how to interact with people, other dogs (they had to learn how to be dogs), house training, leash training, and learning how to live in a home. There is so much that we take for granted that is so foreign to them; doorbells, microwaves, T.V.s, radios, vacuums, mixers/blenders, popcorn popping, the clanging of pots and pans, washers and dryers, and the list goes on.

Until their release from the labs, they would have never seen, smelled, or walked on grass, experienced wind, rain, snow, cars and trucks, sirens, joggers, bikers, yard sprinklers, bugs, etc., etc., etc.  It’s all so very overwhelming for these precious animals to have to learn about and adjust to almost all at once. So, it requires a lot of patience when helping these little ones transition from being property to becoming a family member.

Our three new residents have all had, or still have at least one thing they continually struggle to overcome. Larry and Bobby have severe separation anxiety, and an occasional accident in the house, unless we leave, then they seem to have more than an occasional accident in the house. Crates are not even an option, as these sweet lives have endured enough hell in cages. So, we gently, lovingly help them through their fears.

 

Larry, catching some shade

 

Bobby, enjoying her life and freedom.

Elyse has had the most difficulty settling in to a “normal” life. Because we will never know what her life was like in the lab, aside from the studies she was in, but rather how she was treated by her handlers, it’s impossible to say why her fearfulness is so much greater than the other two. She would cower at the slightest human movement, would flatten herself to the ground when trying to leash train her, did not eat until we were far enough away, and could find the tiniest nook in the house or yard to hide whenever people came over, or even worse for her, children. She is not yet at a point where she can tolerate children, and we wish we could understand why.

Their transformations from fearful dogs to confident, trusting, happy, healthy family members has been so rewarding. Even with Elyse, good morning snuggles were something she could not tolerate at first, and now she initiates it. When she spots us in the yard, she no longer runs away, but rather comes bounding towards us, excitedly wagging her tail and wanting to be petted. Gone are the days of waiting for us to leave her so she can eat. Elyse now pushes through to make sure she doesn’t miss out on any tasty treats. Her nickname is Miss Sassy Pants because she lets us and the other dogs know that she is there for her share (and theirs if she’s fast enough). It has been a delight to see the layers of sadness fall from their bodies, their faces, their eyes, but what is the most beautiful to witness is the gift of a new life emerging. It’s a testament to the power of LOVE.

To help other animals and dogs like Elyse, Larry and Bobby, please buy cruelty-free products.

Check out the Cruelty-Free Kitty website for more information and for shopping guides to help you make well-informed purchases that don’t involve the use of animals.  Be sure to look for the cruelty-free bunny logo as well.

 

We’re Still Seeking a Place to Call Home

We are still actively seeking a property and have been looking into several leads. If you know of any properties that could house farm animals and domestic pets, or if you would like to make a donation, we would love to hear from you.

Please consider making a donation to Living With Harmony so we can continue our work providing loving, forever homes for animals in need.

Find us on the Amazon Smile program so every time you shop on Amazon, Living With Harmony automatically gets a donation.

Thank you!

Winter Work with Living With Harmony

Living With Harmony continues to speak and work locally and nationally to further our mission to heal and transform the lives of people and animals.

We have had a very busy Winter and are happy that Spring has sprung.

JP’s Work in South Florida

In February, John Pierre traveled to Florida Atlantic University to teach about the benefits of plant based eating. While in Florida, John also spoke about plant based eating and sports nutrition at Progressive Self-Defense Systems.

Our Work Transforming The Lives of All Beings

Living With Harmony’s ultimate vision is to build an animal sanctuary and retreat center to protect, heal and transform the lives of all beings.

While working to make that vision a future reality, we’re also transforming the lives of people and animals in the present. This takes many forms and goes beyond simply rescuing animals and promoting plant-based eating. Here’s some of the work we have done this year.

Fall Rests but John Pierre Doesn’t

Fall may be coming to rest for another year, but John Pierre, founder of Living With Harmony, never rests as long as there’s compassion to be spread and health tips to be heard! This summer and fall he’s been busy traveling across the US lecturing and teaching at several conferences and events. Read more

Having Fun at our First Fundraising Social

On Saturday, October 1st, Living With Harmony hosted our first fundraiser.   We were not planning on doing this right away, but thanks to Daria Joanna, we got the idea for our afternoon social and concert fundraiser. Read more

Fundraiser for Living With Harmony Animal Sanctuary & Retreat Center

Thanks to everyone that helped, donated and sponsored our event!

Watch for photos and event highlights coming soon.

Read more

An Absolutely Awesome Summer of 2016

Our founder John Pierre (JP) and the team at Living With Harmony have had quite a busy and exciting summer!

Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA

At the beginning of July, JP celebrated his 21st year of participation at the Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA while the festival itself celebrated its 42nd year. Read more