From Mountain Dew To Farm Fresh

The last time Jackie Trippeer Batruch auditioned at Ripley-Grier Studios was five years ago, when she danced professionally. Now, instead of twirling and kicking, Batruch brings vegetables to Ripley-Grier for Farmigo, an online farmer's market that joins upstate growers to NYC home cooks.

Batruch became a Farmigo organizer because she wanted to build a healthy food community for performing artists. Tall and graceful, she radiated onstage. But secretly, she had been downing Mountain Dew before ballet class and sneaking cigs. Over time, she and her husband began to feel so unhealthy that they committed to a meat- and alcohol-free diet.

The switch was remarkable for her—it strengthened their bond and led to her becoming a holistic health coach. Now, 40, she recently competed in the Brooklyn Marathon. At her stand at Ripley-Grier, Batruch and YogaCity NYC’s Ann Votaw discussed life with fewer injuries and greater possibility:

Ann Votaw: When did you get into clean food?

Jackie Trippeer Batruch: In December 2010, my husband and I needed to feel better. We were eating whatever. He had gained 80 pounds and had rheumatoid arthritis in his hands. He had a cyst surgically removed from his hand and was told he would have take medication for the rest of his life. We did not want to continue on the path. We decided to try a plant-based diet. Within a short period of time, I felt amazing and clear-headed. That’s when I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a holistic health coach.

AV: How do you work with clients?

JTB: I work with people for three to six months. Each time we meet, we add another layer. In the beginning, I might focus on drinking water. The next time, we might focus on breakfast. Later, we work on fitness or relationships. I could tell clients to eat two ounces of this or that, but then they wouldn’t understand the connection between nutritious food and health. If you tell people about these connections, they think for themselves and become more comfortable planning meals and shoppi