Cookbook author and cafe owner Gigi Jones is your local vegan ambassador

When Gigi Jones was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015, her entire life changed. She says it was for the better. The diagnosis led to a lifestyle change, at the center of which was a plant-based diet, which gave way to a career change. Jones became Gigi the Vegan, a certified dietician and health and wellness coach. Before long, Jones was cancer-free—and she had the inspiration for a new business venture. In July 2020, she opened Gigi’s Vegan & Wellness Cafe in Westport, where you can pop in for a cold-pressed juice, pick up natural supplements or book a wellness class with Gigi herself. This month, Jones is expanding into publishing. Her debut cookbook, Jumpstart 21 Days to Veganism, comes out on July 16 with a release party at the cafe. You can find it at local grocery stores—including Nature’s Own, Price Chopper and Whole Foods—and, of course, at Gigi’s cafe.

What’s in the cookbook?

This is a kickstart to going vegan in twenty-one days. These are delicious foods that people usually prepare at home and we are veganizing them. It’s in memory of my mom, who died from heart disease. If I had known then what I know now, we could have reversed that. So I’ve taken a lot of her ordinary, everyday recipes and made them vegan. Tuna salad is made with chickpeas and sea vegetables, and it’s delicious. Even if you don’t stay on a vegan diet long-term, it gives you a foundation.

In your book, you talk about vibrational foods. What are those?

When we take in what most people would consider raw foods—leafy green vegetables, red and purple vegetables—those are vibrational color foods that can help heal our bodies on a cellular level. I call them vibrational foods because when we eat foods that are alive, our body is alive.

Who are your typical clients?

I have a lot of clients that come to me because they or their parents are struggling with cancer or diabetes and they heard about my story or someone told them about me. I work with people who want to change their lifestyle, and I work in conjunction with their physician, so they go back to their physician and say, “This is what Gigi has me eating,” and nine times out of ten, the physician says, “That’s working for you. Stay on that.”

Perfect Day

Up and at ‘Em: “I start my day at 5 am with a workout at Woodside. I love going into the steam room after hitting the gym, and then I follow it up with my own cold-pressed green juice.”

Breakfast Break:Urban Cafe has some great vegan options, and I think chef Justin Clark is amazing. I like the vegan urban bowl with quinoa, mushrooms, spinach and sweet potatoes.”

Tea Time:Soulcentricitea on Troost flies under the radar. They have fabulous teas. I get the hibiscus tea and hide there with a book. It’s one of my favorite spots.”

Snack Attack: “I love Mattie’s Vegan for their nachos. Incredible cashew queso and cashew sour cream.”

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