If you were to tell Jasmine Simon and Marjorie Simon Meinefeld that you’re feeling under the weather, expect them to have a solution.
Because these two sisters—certified plant-based nutritionists, vegan chefs, and the healthy powerhouses behind their Anything Vegan business—believe wholeheartedly in the healing power of food.
When this writer mentioned that her daughter had a bad cold, Jasmine immediately said, “Oh, we’ve got a great summer cold remedy.
Get some fresh lemons, roll them and then slice them up. Chop some ginger. Add a couple drops of echinacea. Then boil in water. Refrigerate and take it a couple times a day, hot or cold. It’ll knock that cold right out.”
Turns out they were right. Jasmine has been fascinated with the links between diet and health since she was 15 years old. She says she started looking around her and saw “a lot of people who were ill, overweight, and unhealthy.” She wasn’t feeling so hot herself.
“In your teens, you’re cranky, you’re hormonal. When you’re eating unhealthy food on top of that, it just makes things more difficult.” So she “intuitively” decided to start cutting meat out of her diet and eating more produce. And her severe acne started clearing up.
“I was all in at that point,” she says. Years later, when her sister Marjorie was diagnosed with gall bladder disease, Jasmine—who had been a committed vegan for more than a decade at that point—asked her to try eating healthier first before resorting to surgery.
She eliminated meat and then dairy, and by the time she went back to her doctor, her tests were negative for gall bladder disease. From there, Marjorie joined her sister in learning all she could about plant-based diets. Wondering if they could make a career of it, they decided to perform a “social experiment.”
At the time, Marjorie was an attorney with the US Air Force, and she invited some of her friends and colleagues over for dinner. She and Jasmine cooked plenty of conventional fare, but they also cooked vegan versions of the same dishes.
“We made regular lasagna, and then set really great vegan lasagna next to it,” says Jasmine. Turns out, the guests loved both versions of the dishes, some even preferring the vegan versions. When they learned which dishes were vegan, some of them didn’t believe the sisters.
“One guy even started looking through the garbage for meat wrappers!” says Jasmine. The guests asked how they’d managed to make the plantbased dishes taste so good, and they replied with what would become their company catch-phrase: Anything you can make, I can make vegan!”
A few years later, the two launched Anything Vegan, which is based both in Washington, DC, where Jasmine lives, and Germany, Marjorie’s home base.
The two became certified plant-based nutritionists through Cornell University and now offer vegan nutrition consulting (remote and in person), vegan cooking classes, vegan catering, and wellness planning.
They are also popular lecturers, including at the Green Festivals® (greenfestivals.org). The two recently published a vegan cookbook Fork Diabetes; Go Vegan, and also launched their own brand of vegan cheese, O’SO Cheesy Cheese.
One of their more popular services is an a la carte option on their website that allows you to send them 20 of your favorite recipes. They’ll convert them to vegan and return 20 healthier, meatless versions to you.
The sisters also welcome clients who simply want to eat healthier, vegan or not. “We don’t recommend that people go vegan.
It’s a personal choice, and telling someone they must go vegan can be met with resistance,” says Marjorie. Instead, the sisters prefer to encourage people to educate themselves on the benefits of simply eating more plant-based foods.
They have an Internet campaign aimed at doing just that called “The Leading Causes of Life.” “I’ve been hearing time and again about leading causes of death: cancer, smoking, diabetes,” says Marjorie.
“If those are the leading causes of death then what are the leading causes of life?
For us, it’s 1) lots of water; 2) a plant-based lifestyle; 3) connecting to healthy people; and 4) consistent, enjoyable exercise. It’s not about deprivation. It’s about a healthy, balanced lifestyle where the foods you love love you back.”