As you navigate social media and women’s magazines, you’re likely bombarded with conflicting advice on what to eat and what to avoid. Some claim certain foods will work wonders for your health, while others brandish certain foods as harmful. It can be overwhelming to discern the truth about what truly benefits our bodies, but Wendy Lopez and Jessica Jones, who are registered dietitians, aim to help by emphasizing that you can nourish your body while enjoying delicious meals. They champion this message through their multimedia platform, Food Heaven.

Jessica’s journey in the food industry began unexpectedly during high school when she worked at Hot Dog on a Stick, despite being a vegetarian and unable to consume the products they sold. During their time in school, Jessica and Wendy were involved in the New York City Department of Health’s Stellar Farmers Markets initiative, focusing on improving nutrition in underserved communities with limited access to fruits and vegetables. Jessica played a key role in starting this initiative.

Reflecting on her experience, Jessica shared, “It taught me how to simplify nutrition information for others. People prefer practical demonstrations over mere verbal instructions when it comes to making healthier food choices.”

After Jessica’s year of work, Wendy joined the team, and together they focused on Farmers Markets, particularly in the Bronx. Motivated by their seasonal work, they embarked on a journey to create a lasting impact beyond the market’s end.

Jessica recalled, “We wanted to maintain the positive momentum we had built and continue spreading our message of balanced and inclusive healthy eating. The idea of creating a television show for Brooklyn Public Access TV came to us, and I submitted a pitch for Food Heaven, which was accepted. This led to requests from friends and family outside Brooklyn to make our content accessible online. We began on Vimeo and YouTube, and our platform expanded from there.”

Through their involvement in the Stellar Farmers Market initiative, Jessica and Wendy grasped the significance of communicating health and nutrition in a welcoming, non-intimidating manner.

Discussing the importance of a balanced diet, Jessica highlighted, “Research demonstrates that a well-rounded diet can lower the risk of developing chronic conditions. It’s vital for individuals to find a sustainable balance in the long run. Often, people express an interest in vegetarianism, but if they disclose an enduring fondness for meat, I engage in conversations with them to outline the long-term benefits of vegetarianism if it aligns with their lifestyle.”

It’s really important that people try to find that balance that is sustainable for them in the long-term.

According to Jessica, maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet involves making sustainable choices by initiating manageable adjustments.

She remarked, “The key is incorporating gradual changes into our daily routines, not just in terms of eating but also regarding overall self-care practices. Are we prioritizing sufficient sleep and nourishment? Are we engaging in enjoyable physical activities regularly?”

It’s all about making small changes that we can incorporate into our daily lives.

Jess and Wendy expanded their outreach by launching the Food Heaven Podcast in 2015, delving into topics such as food, health, and nutrition. They’ve addressed issues like the importance of therapy for everyone, embracing personal style regardless of size, and maintaining a healthy diet while traveling.

In 2017, Jess and Wendy published a cookbook called 28-Day Plant-Powered Reboot, a resource for plant-based eating.

“Creating this cookbook was incredibly fulfilling as we were able to compile recipes we stand behind and offer a helpful and exciting guide for readers,” Jessica expressed. “Our aim is to make cooking enjoyable, not complex.”

Looking ahead, Jessica envisions expanding the Food Heaven platform to serve as a hub offering “balanced, evidence-based, inclusive nutrition guidance.”

“I aspire to position Food Heaven at the forefront of wellness conversations, possibly establishing a creative space or photo studio dedicated to featuring diverse voices and stories within the wellness sphere. For instance, I envision an agency producing images for various brands or media outlets, showcasing a diverse range of individuals rather than the typical representation of the wellness industry. My goal is to enhance inclusivity and representation within this space.”

Jessica and Wendy are The Everygirls…

Favorite summer activity?
J: Night bike riding
W: Laying in my local park listening to music

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
J: I once interviewed and did a profile on Amy Winehouse
W: Ariana Huffington (we were honored by her organization, Thrive Global!)

Favorite food to eat for breakfast?
J: Oatmeal with chopped nuts (often almonds), and a sliced banana or berries
W: Eggs with toast! Simple and filling

Last album you played on repeat?
J: Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap
W: Ozuna, Aura

Most underrated snack?
J: Toast and nut butter
W: Almonds, cheese, and crackers (all together!)

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
J: Beyonce. I want to see what her personality is really like.
W: Maria Hinojosa. I would soak up all her wisdom.

This article was originally published on February 7, 2020.


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