A 37-year-old woman became a vegan dietitian to save her life

Catherine Perez became a vegan dietitian to save her life.

Courtesy of Catherine Perez

In her early twenties, Catherine Perez faced developing health issues and decided to take charge of her own life by changing her lifestyle.

“I already knew my own health was taking a hit. I had high cholesterol, I was on the verge of high blood pressure, and I knew these things were happening in my family as well,” says Perez, whose family medical history also includes heart conditions. disease and diabetes.

To get ahead of health issues on the horizon, Perez researched preventative measures such as healthier food choices. This journey led the 23-year-old to dietetics.

“I looked at some of the research, mostly because I was already into science at the time,” she says. Perez was a medical technologist, testing patient samples and performing blood tests in hospitals.

Her decision to focus on veganism soon followed.

“I saw a lot of compelling evidence in terms of plant-based diets and veganism in general,” and decided to switch to a vegan diet in 2009, she says.

Although removing animal products from her diet can be difficult for some, it was a smooth transition for Perez: “I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. After doing it, I felt so good that I wanted to continue. “

Within six years, Perez earned her master’s degree in human nutrition, passed her dietitian exam, and became a full-time dietitian.

“I was able to become a dietitian at a grocery store,” she says, “and it opened up more doors and opportunities for me because I was able to interact more with the public.”

Initially, Perez met people one-on-one, and in small groups occasionally, to share dietary information. But eventually, she felt her reach was too small and wanted to share the tips with more people.

“As great as it was to spread this information, it felt a little limited. There’s only so many people you can meet in a day,” she notes.

“Over time, I realized the power of being able to get all this preventative information out online.”

Perez opened an Instagram account and started posting pictures of her meals here and there. Over time, she noticed people were curious and wanted to know more about the cooking process.

“So, I was sharing the recipe, and then I was also sharing nutritional information. And slowly the number of people watching that grew exponentially,” she says.

NOW, At 37, Perez is a popular vegan dietitian who offers free advice to her social media followers, including advice on how to pair foods for optimal nutrient absorption.

Each week, Perez juggles managing a blog and his Instagram and TikTok accounts with research, recipe testing and content editing. She also still advises a small number of people, one-on-one.

Prior to her social media success, she earned $65,000 a year as a dietitian, but now she earns a healthy six-figure salary of over $125,000.

“The number of people I can reach today compared to what I reached before is just crazy to me,” she says.

Perez attributes his ability to grow a customer base of 600,000 people to transparency.

“I feel very lucky to have been able to come to this so soon. I think a lot of it comes down to being very open,” she says.

“We have a lot of people spreading scare information about specific foods, making people confused about what they should be eating. And I wanted to at least try to be a voice of reason online (and) encouraging people to take power in (what) they ate.”

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