When facing challenges or setbacks, I’ve learned the importance of resilience and adaptability. By focusing on the present moment, taking one step at a time, and seeking support from others, I’ve been able to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Challenges have taught me valuable lessons and allowed me to grow stronger and more determined to continue living a healthy and active life.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ellen Jaffe Jones.

Ellen Jaffe Jones, 70, is a GetSetUp Athlete who is a vegan runner from Florida. As an accomplished athlete and author, Ellen is dedicated to promoting vegan health and fitness. Her diverse background as a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist and financial consultant adds depth to her expertise.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I’ve had quite a diverse and fulfilling journey in my career. It all started as an investigative consumer reporter and anchor for 18 years in Miami and St. Louis TV news. This experience taught me the value of seeking the truth and advocating for the well-being of others. Later, I transitioned into becoming a successful, socially responsible financial consultant at Smith Barney. This role allowed me to understand the importance of financial wellness and planning for a secure future. Eventually, my passion for healthy living and fitness led me to write my first book, “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day,” which was a pivotal point in my life as I delved deeper into promoting wellness and a plant-based lifestyle.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of the most interesting recent memorable moments of my career was when I became a GetSetUp Athlete. This gave me a platform to share even more about my plant-based lifestyle and the importance of health and wellness. I was sponsored to go to the 2022 and 2023 National Senior Games by GetSetUp, where I competed in all 7 of the track running events. This opportunity allowed me to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and share my knowledge about wellness and healthy living. During this time, I met other individuals who had transformed their lives or were just starting to transform their lives through plant-based diets and fitness, and it reinforced my belief in the positive impact of healthy lifestyle choices.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Throughout my journey, I am deeply grateful for my family and friends who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way. Their unwavering belief in my abilities, even during challenging times, has been a driving force behind my success. One person who stands out is my boyfriend, Troy. I’d known him for several years, during which time he’d hosted potluck dinners at his home (before Covid). He always introduced me kindly as a local resource and asked me to say a few words. As luck would have it, after 4 years of knowing each other as professional acquaintances, we both became available and agreed to go to dinner as friends. That lasted 6 weeks as we discovered not only were we both long-time self-taught vegans, but were runners, competitive racers, and even discovered we’d run the same half marathon and hadn’t realized it. I had grown up in the real estate business as he had, and when Covid ended my national speaking career overnight, he invited me to work as a realtor in his office, where he was the broker. It wasn’t until after several dates we were astounded to discover he was 15 years younger than me. As long as I can keep running 5Ks, I think we’re good.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Three character traits that I believe have been instrumental to my success are perseverance, adaptability, and empathy. Perseverance has helped me overcome obstacles and stay focused on my goals, especially when faced with health challenges. Adaptability allowed me to embrace change and continuously evolve with the times, which has been crucial in my diverse careers. Empathy has been essential in connecting with others, understanding their struggles, and offering support, especially in my role as a wellness advocate.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I consider myself an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity due to my extensive research, personal experience, and the impact of my work. I’ve come to understand that my life experiences have shaped me in ways that many people may not get to experience. As the youngest in my family, I had a lifetime to see what I didn’t want to happen to me, where possible. My sisters were 9 and 11 years older than me. I was by my sister’s hospital bed as she reacted terribly to her treatment of breast cancer. My parents were so sick and diseased by the time I had children in my late 30s and 40s they couldn’t lift my babies, let alone babysit them. Entire generations are losing each other and don’t even know it. I kept thinking there must be a better way than the medications and surgeries that didn’t seem to work. Figuring out the truth about diet and exercise became, yes, the obsession and investigative reporting job of my life. I became my own lab experiment. I tried or read about every diet, fad and otherwise. As a vegan athlete, author, and coach, I’ve shown that living a healthy, active life is not only achievable but also empowering. Genes do not determine destiny. My unique contribution lies in dispelling myths about veganism, offering practical tips for a healthy lifestyle, and inspiring others to embrace positive changes for their overall well-being.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

My search for health, vitality, and longevity has indeed taken me on an inspiring path of veganism. Embracing a plant-based diet and fitness routine has not only enhanced my physical health but also brought clarity and purpose to my life. I’ve traveled to various places, meeting individuals who shared their wellness stories with me, and witnessing the transformative power of healthy living has been truly awe-inspiring.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”?

  • Proper Nutrition: A balanced and nourishing diet, focusing on plant-based foods, provides essential nutrients for overall health.
  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as running and cycling, keeps the body strong and boosts mental well-being.
  • Mindful Living: Practicing mindfulness and stress management techniques contribute to emotional and mental health.
  • Social Connections: Cultivating meaningful relationships and staying connected with others promote happiness and longevity.
  • Purposeful Living: Having a sense of purpose and passion in life brings fulfillment and adds meaning to every day.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

To live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning, I believe in embracing the following:

  • Gratitude: Expressing gratitude for the blessings in life, big and small, brings joy and contentment.
  • Pursuing Passions: Engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment allows us to experience a sense of purpose and happiness.
  • Embracing Challenges: Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning adds depth and meaning to life.
  • Being Present: Living in the present moment and cherishing each experience enhances our overall sense of well-being.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

I believe both nature and nurture play essential roles in longevity. While genetics can influence certain aspects of our health, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors also significantly impact how we age. Making conscious choices regarding diet, exercise, stress management, and social connections can lead to a healthier and longer life. It’s about finding the right balance between our genetic predispositions and the choices we make to optimize our well-being.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

When facing challenges or setbacks, I’ve learned the importance of resilience and adaptability. By focusing on the present moment, taking one step at a time, and seeking support from others, I’ve been able to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Challenges have taught me valuable lessons and allowed me to grow stronger and more determined to continue living a healthy and active life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Things don’t happen to people, people happen to things.” This quote has been relevant in my life as it reminds me of the power of focus and going for what you want in life. We all get the same 24 hours, and leaving this world in a better place has always been a goal. I remember in high school, I applied to travel abroad with a program to South America. But because girls then were encouraged to take home economics and stay away from more challenging classes such as science, math, and foreign languages, my 2 years of high school Spanish were not enough. Rather than sulk, I applied and was accepted to travel with the international cast of Up With People. Part of their traveling college program included quickly learning the languages of the countries where we traveled. It was a great learning experience with early exposure to doing TV interviews. That ignited my career in broadcasting.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a movement, it would be focused on promoting plant-based diets for a healthier and more sustainable world. By spreading awareness about the benefits of plant-based living, we can improve our health, protect the environment, and show compassion towards animals. A movement centered around plant-based living can create a positive ripple effect, benefiting both individuals and the planet. Since I adopted a vegan diet after my sister had breast cancer, I know how inexpensive it can be to eat healthfully. My passion drove the idea to crunch numbers on every recipe I made, and my first book, “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day” was born. Knowing what to buy and how to shop still makes eating quality foods on a budget true to this day.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

Readers can follow my work and stay updated on my journey through my website, where I share articles, tips, and information about health, wellness, and vegan living. Additionally, I actively engage with the GetSetUp Community by offering classes and content there. I also have my own social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube, where I share insights, and recipes, and inspire others to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.