Alumni Spotlight: Jane Esselstyn
May 7, 2015

See Jane. See Jane eat. Jane eats good food.

You are what you's been known for centuries that the state of your physical body reflects the quality and quantity of your dietary choices.

As a lifelong athlete and a Big 10 Backstroke champion in 1984, Jane Esselstyn, R.N. has realized the power of such choices to create positive outcomes. The passion and perseverance she invested in her career as a student-athlete at UM has translated into advocating for a plant-based diet as a way to create positive health changes in the human body. Letterwinners M Club Board Member Marc Ramirez owes his reversal of Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol to Jane and her family, calling them "Rock Stars of plant-based world". According to Ramirez, Jane Esselstyn and her family saved his life with their empowering message about the benefits of plant-based nutrition.

Jane is a registered nurse, health educator, plant-based nutrition presenter, author, wife, and mother of three teenage student-athletes. She comes by her role naturally. Her mother, Ann Crile Esselstyn, modeled confidence, voice, and positive attitude as a 6th grade teacher. Her father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., was an Olympic gold medalist rowing champion and has served as a clinician and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic for more than thirty-five years. He is a leader in the field of plant-based nutrition and starred in the 2011 documentary "Forks Over Knives." Indeed, Jane's entire family is now involved in the plant-based diet revolution. Jane wrote all the recipes in her brother Rip Esselstyn's book, My Beef with Meat, a New York Times #1 Bestseller, and she co-authored The Prevention and Reversal of Heart Disease Cookbook with her mother. Recently, Jane worked on a study with Michael Macknin, M.D. that was published in The Journal of Pediatrics. This study shows how a vegan diet benefits obese children more than American Heart Association Diets with improvements in body mass index, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and insulin levels.To view this study, please visit

Research has repeatedly affirmed the benefits of a plant-based diet, including internal and external markers, despite the cultural norm of consuming large amounts of meat to build muscle tissue. Jane's three children are all athletically talented, strong, and healthy. One daughter was a state champion swimmer in Ohio. Her son stands 6'5" tall at 14 years of age. They all grew up on a plant-based diet.

Jane is quick to point out that a host of accomplished athletes have chosen to consume only plants, including Arian Foster, Mike Tyson, Rich Roll, Serena Williams, Ultimate MMA fighter, James Wilks, and even the 2011 world's strongest man, Patrik Baboumian, who hails from Germany. In addition to achieving peak athletic performance, the Esselstyns advocate the plant-based diet as a means of avoiding and reversing chronic disease and achieving whole health for the average citizen, by comparing numbers like LDL's, total cholesterol, insulin, body weight, BMI, and blood pressure.

Look at Jane. Jane is happy. Jane is healthy. I want to eat like Jane.

If you'd like to know more about Jane, visit: Or watch her teach a cooking class here:

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