Dani TaylorHaverhill, MA

Vegan Proteins Co-Founder, PlantBuilt Co-Founder, Figure Competitor and Coach

Dani Taylor is the co-founder of VeganProteins.com and also co-founded PlantBuilt.com, a non profit organization of strength based vegan athletes who compete together to raise awareness for veganism and money for rescued animals at farm sanctuaries. Dani Taylor is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist who has been vegan for twelve years. She has never let the naysayers stand in her way or anyone else's when it comes to achieving fitness goals while following a vegan diet. Helping people become more confident in themselves via exercise and a healthy diet and mindset is what motivates her on a daily basis. She believes in honoring your body by treating it well and listening to it, while simultaneously challenging it and never becoming stagnant. She especially enjoys working with women who have always been too nervous to lift weights, and loves seeing the confidence that clients see when they realize their own strength for the first time! She also enjoys teaching women that food is not something to be afraid of, but rather a gift we give our bodies to fuel it all the way through life. Aside from basic fitness and physique needs, she also specializes in helping people suffering from low confidence and self esteem, depression, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating on a one on one level. Dani is both a Certified Personal Trainer with the NASM, and Certified in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.

Dani provides online on-on-one coaching for strength based athletes, bodybuilders, and those who want to change their physiques. This includes personalized meal planning and training programs, and coaching in flexible dieting as well.

Areas of Expertise: Bodybuilding, Bulking, Flexible Dieting, Nutrition, Weight Gain, Weight Loss

Services: Consulting, Meal Planning, Personal Training, Coaching

Credentials: Champion Bodybuilder, CPR, American Red Cross, NASM Certified, Personal Trainer, Plant-based Nutrition, eCornell

Availability: In person, Online, Phone

I became vegetarian at the young age of 8 after watching a lobster, that I had been hanging out with all day, get dropped into a pot of boiling water for dinner. I cried my eyes out and kicked and screamed, but more than anything, I didn't understand! These were my parents! How could they do this!? I remember asking my mother why we ate animals if we didn't have to, and being told that's "just the way it is" (side note: my mother has been a vegan now for 5 years!) Right then I made the connection between animals on my plate, and animals that I loved; my cats and dogs; the cows at the petting farm. I stopped eating meat right then. I stayed a lacto-ovo vegetarian through most of my teens. I had never even met a vegan, but I had heard of them, and I didn't think they made much sense because I believed cows had to be milked, and chickens laid eggs on their own, and no one got killed, so what was the big deal? While doing a research paper my junior year of high school, I stumbled across a website that explained very clearly the links between the dairy and egg industries and the meat industry that I had long ago decided not to support. I realized then that in supporting the dairy and egg industries, that I was still paying for cruelty and I went vegan overnight.

At first, I wasn't really sure what to eat. I didn't know any vegans and there were very few resources for new vegans then. I ate a lot of cereal, plain bagels, french fries, and hummus. Not the greatest way to go vegan, but it was all I knew at the time. And I was very surprised, that even though I was mostly eating junk, just cutting out dairy and eggs, weight was falling off my obese frame (I topped out at about 210 pounds at 16 years old). It was at this time that I had the empowering notion that I actually had some control over my body by what I put into it and how I chose to exercise or not. I began doing research and found several vegan cook books and started learning how to cook vegetables, beans and grains that I had never heard of before! I tried mangos and avocados for the first time! I had so much energy that I was able to start lifting weight regularly. And the rest is history. Even with very limited vegan resources in 2003, I never found being vegan to be difficult because when it is an ethical decision, it's not something you're willing to compromise.

My main form of vegan outreach is through fitness and nutrition. I do sign petitions and go to protests and the like, but the best way that I have found to teach people about veganism is by being a healthy strong representative of it. By breaking the stereotype of the frail, skinny, pale (well, actually, I am quite pale!) vegan, people are intrigued and it opens up a lot of non-threatening dialogue that most people are open to. I think there need to be many types of vegan outreach, from educating about factory farming, to cooking and sharing delicious food, to making and using fantastic cruelty free cosmetics, to being great vegan athletes. I think it is best to find your niche and get the word out in your own special way. For me, that's be being a strong competitive athlete and talking about it openly. Also, by being an athlete, and creating Team PlantBuilt, we have created a way to raise money for other direct action animal rights organizations like farm sanctuaries (There are so many amazing ones, but this year, we donated to Pigs Peace Sanctuary, For the Animals Sanctuary, and Edgar's Mission Sanctuary) and vegan organizations who directly help other people transition to veganism in their day to day life, like Our Hen House.

If there is anyone reading this who has been contemplating going vegan, I say "What do you have to lose?". Most people expect veganism to be a lot harder than it actually is, and the number one thing that I hear from newer vegans is "I wish I had done this sooner". Take baby steps towards and it don't completely give up on the idea if you slip up. No one is perfect, but it's about doing the best that you can to minimize animal exploitation, and every bit helps. Although it can be painful at first, it's important to think about the bigger picture and what part you want to play in it. Don't be afraid to reach out for support. Most vegans want nothing more than to see other people go vegan, so if you ask for help, there's a very good chance that you'll get it. Just take the first step.