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