Why These ‘Buff’ Vegans Chose Dallas

THE VEGAN VOICE | Dallas ushers in the age of the new vegan with startups that help locals build muscles with plants

vegans

veganvoice-iconWant to know how to make vegans roll their eyes? Just ask them where they get their protein.

One of the biggest misconceptions about a vegan or a vegetarian lifestyle is that we’re lacking in the protein department, and seen as frail hippies who just eat grass (if you’re still thinking that, you can read my first column for a better perspective). 

What these folks don’t know is that many vegetables, legumes (beans), and seaweed have more protein than animal products.

A vegan diet, like other diets done right, can be one of the most nutrient-rich paths to becoming healthy — and even ridiculously buff.

Phil Letten (on left) and Matt Letten (on right) getting in their daily workout. Photo courtesy of Matt and Phil Letten.

Phil Letten (left) and Matt Letten getting in their daily workout. [Photo courtesy of Matt and Phil Letten]

Matt and Phil Letten, also known as the “Vegan Bros,” are actual brothers who embody the bro’ mentality by lifting weights, throwing back some beers, and being blunt with their opinions.

VEGANS CAN FIND A LOT OF PROTEIN IN DIETS

“I had heard how vegan-forward Dallas is,” Phil said. “People assume that Dallas equals meat, but we see Dallas equals vegan.”

These buff brothers travel across the nation, sharing their strategic vegan outreach by living in the cities they believe have good energy — Dallas being one of them. 

“We started Vegan Bros to usher in the age of the new vegan, and Dallas is literally a picture of that happening,” Matt said. 

Many professional athletes are also changing their diets.  

“The ‘Godfather’ of modern day bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is telling everyone, you don’t need meat to be strong,” Matt said.  

Lewisville Vegan Couple Jasmine Marie and Fabrice Ortiz at the first V Market in January.

Lewisville vegan couple Jasmine Marie and Fabrice Ortiz at the first V Market in January. [Photo courtesy of Jasmine Marie]

Another chiseled duo chose the Dallas area, where they represent Plant-Fueled Fitness as a couple. Lewisville locals, Jasmine Marie and Fabrice Ortiz are the vegan power couple that helps local fitness enthusiasts reach their goals in the gym and nutrition on a plant-based diet. 

“I have been a nutritionist for years, and I decided to do a six-month experiment of being vegan,” Jasmine said. “I always thought I was already such a healthy person, but it wasn’t until transitioning to a vegan diet that I saw all of my allergies disappear, more energy every day, and I felt myself recovering faster from my workouts. There was no reason for me to go back after seeing that.” 

Jasmine, who grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, wanted a more professional city to reside in, and found her place in Dallas, where Fabrice found her by way of #VeganBodybuilding through social media. 

VEGANS HAVE A THRIVING COMMUNITY IN DALLAS

“While researching places to live, I was really surprised by the growing vegan community that was thriving in Dallas,” Jasmine said. “I always thought of Texas as ‘cow country,’ but that’s really not how it is anymore.” 

“While researching places to live, I was really surprised by the growing vegan community that was thriving in Dallas.” Jasmine Marie

Unlike Jasmine, Fabrice was born and raised in Texas, but moved away to join the military and then play football in Miami. He always sought a challenge for his fitness endeavors. It wasn’t until his vegetarian football coach asked Fabrice if he had ever considered a diet that wasn’t based on animal byproducts, that he thought about going vegan. 

“I dove right into the research for living out a vegan diet and how it could work with my goals,” Fabrice said. “After just 30 days of cutting out meat and dairy, I was actually pretty shocked at how amazing I felt. I even tried reintroducing meat back into my diet and it turned out that I felt horrible, so I knew being vegan made me stronger and there was no going back.” 

Fabrice moved back to Dallas after an injury and ended up staying due to the diverse community that showed him that it had just about everything. 

“Texas is like its own little country, with so much character to offer,” Fabrice said. “So I knew I wouldn’t be missing out on anything even as a vegan here since the community is just continuing to thrive.” 

Jacques Laventure achieves his fitness and nutrition goals in the kitchen. Photo courtesy of Jaques Laventure.

Jacques Laventure achieves his fitness and nutrition goals in the kitchen. Photo courtesy of Jacques Laventure.

And it doesn’t stop at powerful vegan duos. MTV sensation, The Naked Chef Jacques Laventure is known for his shirtless cooking demos, but what many don’t know is that the food he’s making is always vegan. 

“I was looking to live an abundant life and realized the sacrifice that animals were giving, so I chose to give up meat and teach people that foods are healing … ,” Laventure said. “So being a vegan is all about living and enjoying the foods of the earth.” 

CHEF CREATES HIS FOOD FOR VEGANS

Throughout his career, Laventure made a point to not only practice what he preaches, but also find the things that work best for him to share with his audience. 

“Fitness restored my psyche and has always kept me sane, so I felt I had a moral obligation to do that for myself and the people in the fitness industry,” Laventure said.

“Fitness restored my psyche and has always kept me sane, so I felt I had a moral obligation to do that for myself and the people in the fitness industry.”
Jacques Laventure 

Laventure created a business model of building wellness centers that not only specialize in physical fitness but also overall well-being. After successfully building his business in New York, California, and Chicago, Laventure looked to Dallas to continue the vision.

“Dallas pulled me into this vortex because I feel what Dallas is pushing change and forward growth, and that’s what I was chasing,” Laventure said. “I’m so fortunate to be here now because we’re doing something big in downtown. As Dallas’ mantra is to be ‘Big’, we feel like we should be a part of the forward movement.”

WellnessCenterJOQ Wellness Center will be celebrating its grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. July 23 at 300 N. Akard St. in Dallas. 

A PLACE VEGANS CAN IDENTIFY WITH

“I feel people are floating and trying to figure out how to better themselves,” Laventure said. “A lot of people don’t know what wellness means, they think it’s just eating healthy and working out. But wellness has many components to it, so if we build people up and give them a place they can identify with, we can change and create an epidemic to help people’s lives internally and externally.” 

If you want to know more about the JOQ Wellness Center, it will be celebrating its grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. July 23 at 300 N. Akard St. in Dallas. 

What’s the difference between a vegetarian and Vegan, anyway?
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products, according to The Vegetarian Resource Group

DallasInnovates.com Voices offer a wide range of views from regular contributors and guest writers. Their opinions are their own.

READ MORE

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Q&A: ‘Naked Chef’ Jacques Laventure Debuting Wellness Center in Dallas


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