When I launched Main Street Vegan Academy back in 2012 as a multi-facted intensive to train and certify Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators, Vegan coaches were largely unknown. Because I myself was certified as a life coach and as a holistic health counselor, I’d had some experience with training programs and knew what it took to create one that was rigorous, complete, and presented by a top-notch faculty. I am proud to report that MSVA now has some 600 graduates on six continents. They are the cream of the coaching crop and can guide Vegans and prospective Vegans in a host of crucial and sometimes surprising ways.
- A VLCE (Main Street Vegan-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator) can get you from where you are now to happily, healthfully Vegan.
If you’re interested in going Vegan but don’t know where to start, or if you’ve tried several times and always went back to cheese or conventional baked goods and then gave up entirely, our coaches can meet you where you are and help you get where you want to go. They do this without a smidgen of judgment, remembering that they weren’t always Vegan, knowing that everyone’s path has twists and turns, and respecting the realities of your life circumstances as you make this transition.
- And they can help you be an even healthier Vegan.
Whether you’re in the transition process or well past that, you may be looking for someone to help you eat a higher quality diet so you can live a higher quality life. All of our coaches are fully equipped to do this. If you’re looking for additional expertise on the health side, some MSVA coaches have additional certifications as health coaches and a handful have licensure as Registered Dietitians. (Note: coaches are not qualified to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you have such a condition, see a licensed healthcare practitioner and let them know that you plan to work with a Vegan Lifestyle Coach.)
- A coach can teach you to cook, or to cook Vegan, or simply inspire you to enjoy
your time in the kitchen.
A VLCE with expertise in culinary coaching can bring you up to speed on the kind of food prep that makes sense in your life. Maybe you’ve never cooked before, or maybe you have a reputation for creating delectable meals in the buttery French tradition and you don’t know where to start when it comes to plant-based cuisine. You may need to cook for a family, perhaps including those who don’t care to eat plant-based, or you’re a single so disconnected from cooking that you store sweaters in your oven. A good coach will, once again, meet you where you are and be sure you have a viable repertoire of meal plans and recipes that are nutritionally complete and so delicious that even the anti-Vegans will come back for seconds.
- They can provide counsel on interpersonal issues that make it harder to stay vegan.
Despite the increased visibility and popularity of Vegan living, it’s still a minority choice. Vegans are surrounded by omnivores — in social situations; at work, school, and places of worship; and with extended family, as well as life partners and others who share a home (and a refrigerator). Friction, cross words, isolation, harassment, and hurt feelings are far too common in these situations, and a return to animal products, just to keep the peace, happens far more often than it needs to. Because the same arguments — and the same fears — come up over and over, coaches know how to help Vegans stay true to their convictions and have productive relationships with those who may feel threatened.
- The coach you choose can help with burnout, discouragement, and “Vystopia.”
While a Vegan Lifestyle Coach is not a therapist, they do have an understanding of what Vegans go through in recognizing the cruelty ubiquitously inflicted on innocent animals and ignored by almost everyone else. Through deep listening, application of workable strategies, and access to myriad resources, the coach can be there for you as a wise mentor and trusted friend. They can help you accept that the ugliness does indeed exist, and deal with that by working to end some of it in your own life and sphere of influence, and by taking exquisite care of yourself.
A VLCE can offer practical help on issues with animals.
It’s one thing to stop eating and wearing animals, and something else to interact with other-than-human beings themselves. Maybe you’re confused about what to feed your dog, or you’ve read a rant against spay and neuter and find yourself confused. Maybe you’ve seen a mouse in the house and want to avoid an infestation without resorting to cruel glue traps and poisons. Or perhaps you’ve accepted, after consultation with your veterinarian, that your cat must be fed meat but you’re feeling guilty about it. A certified VLCE can help you with all these issues and more, based on good sense and respect for you and all beings concerned.
- Your coach can be there as a mentor and guide as you create a philosophical framework for a life of compassion and nonviolence.
Most of us approach adulthood with the conviction that we’re a good person committed to living a good life. When we later learn about the animal abuse and environmental havoc inherent in the food system we’ve long supported, we need to rebuild our moral foundation. It’s a daunting task at thirty and even worse at sixty. Moreover, the person you might otherwise turn to — a wise family elder, a professor, a member of the clergy — is most likely still eating meat. The coach can step in here, not to craft your ethical prospectus for you, but as a resource and a sounding board as you craft your own.
Note: Because there is no licensure for coaches, anyone can call themselves a Vegan Coach, Vegan Lifestyle Coach, Vegan Life Coach, Plant-Based Coach, etc. One way to assure that the coach you choose is qualified is to look for the initials VLCE (or MVLCE, master coach) after their name and ask if they’ve completed the Main Street Vegan Academy program. Look up the coaches featured here and check out others at https://mainstreetvegan.com/success-stories/. If you yourself are a committed Vegan looking to move your expertise and outreach to the next level by becoming a certified VLCE, do check out the inimitable MSVA course: https://www.mainstreetvegan.com. Our next class begins in September, all new and live via Zoom, with classes recorded should need to miss a session.
Victoria Moran, CLC, HHC, AADP, MVLCE, RYT-200, is the founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, author of books including Main Street Vegan, The Good Karma Diet, and The Love-Powered Diet, and a cofounder of the Compassion Consortium, an Interfaith center serving the spiritual needs of animal advocates. She will be speaking at The Best Plant-Based Conference Ever in Dallas September 30-October 1, 2023, and at Peace Begins With Me: The Whole Planet Spirituality Retreat in the Kansas City area October 20-22, 2023. Victoria sees a limited number of clients interested in aging well, as well as those seeking guidance in living an ayurvedic Vegan lifestyle. Follow @mainstreetvegan on IG, or reach out to: [email protected].