Putting the Blue Zones Power 9 Into Play
Fort Worth is the largest certified Blue Zones Community® in the country. Each month we talk to a different member of our community and find out how they experience wellbeing in their neighborhood. This month’s featured guest is John Hernandez, who is a banker-turned-non-profit-leadership coach. He’s served as president of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and on at least a dozen committees working toward better health and opportunities for the people of Fort Worth.
Q: Tell us about your sense of Purpose, one of the Blue Zones Power 9 principles that may decrease stress and increase longevity.
A: I believe my purpose is to help strengthen our Fort Worth community. BoardBuild allows me to pursue this passion by training and matching diverse leaders with qualified nonprofits. BoardBuild is an online, self-paced, board governance training that was started at Leadership Fort Worth and incubated by the United Way of Tarrant Co. Everyone is looking for passion and diversity – in race, gender, thought – and we’re confident we can help.
Q: You have an unusual work history.
A: I have an MBA with a concentration in finance and strategy, which led to a career in wealth management. But during the recession of 2008, I asked for a hiatus and turned in my wing tip shoes and suit for jeans and a t-shirt. I restored classic cars on the side, and that turned into a viable business. In 2015 I sold the business to my employees and they’re still going. That’s when the opportunity to lead the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hit my radar.
Q: And you and your wife Monica Vasquez recently committed to eating with a Plant Slant, another one of the key components of the Power 9.
A: I had an eye-opening health episode in July 2021. My wife, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, started inundating me with documentaries on healthy eating. After a good amount of research, we decided to make the jump to a plant slant diet. On August 1, we went 100% plant based – no meat, no dairy, or eggs and the results have been incredible.
Q: You learned about Blue Zones Project when you became the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President.
A: I proudly agreed to serve on the Blue Zones Project Advisory Committee. There was a push to change some of the unhealthy ingredients in a few of the most popular Mexican dishes. That met with some resistance for sure!
Q: How are you eating during the holidays?
A: We’re still going strong. We’ve reintroduced a little bit of dairy, and a little bit of sugar. For the Christmas holiday season, my family’s tradition is making tamales. I asked if we could get a little creative and make a plant-based tamale this year!
Q: During COVID you found a way to Downshift, another Power 9 principle that is associated with longevity and health.
A: We have a Peloton, and I’ve started doing yoga. At first it was just stretching and a way to release my tension. I share a home office with my three-year old son, so I need calming! About five days a week I do yoga in the office with him. It wakes me up and gives me a space to prepare myself for the day.
For more information about the Blue Zones Project, visit LiveLongFortWorth.com