DePaul nutrition coach shares passion for health and wellness


Sofi Martinez

Mierwinski encourages students to lead a healthy lifestyle when he talked at DePaul.

An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. 

This is the type of thing that Nutrition Coach Peter Mierwinski is teaching about at DePaul’s Ray Meyer Fitness Center. On Wednesday, Mierwinski held an hour-long workshop in which he advocated for a plant-based diet in support of a healthy immune system.

“We’ve done different types of workshops, but this is the first time we’re doing an immune system health workshop,” Mierwinski said.

For the next few weeks, the Ray is holding health and wellness workshops on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

DePaul freshman Logan Takahashi attended the nutrition and immunity workshop this previous Wednesday.

“I first saw it on Instagram,” Takahashi said. “But I’m also part of the Edge program [at DePaul], and one of our leaders was telling us that there are all these workshops happening.”

The audience turnout totaled five people, but that was not to Mierwinski’s dismay.

“It’d be great if we can get six people to show up, and I’d also be happy with one,” Mierwinski said. “If I can share this message with even one person, I feel that my time has been well spent.”

Mierwinski’s passion for nutrition began almost nine years ago when his doctor tried to prescribe him another medication in addition to the ones he had already been taking. Mierwinski worked in a high-stress corporate job and had been on blood pressure medication since his early 20s. When he rejected his doctor’s initial prescription, the doctor then handed him a different prescription sheet. On that sheet was the name of a documentary: “Forks Over Knives.”

“He said ‘I want you to go home and watch this documentary,’” Mierwinski said. “[Now], it’s the number one documentary I recommend.” 

“Forks Over Knives” was Mierwinski’s introduction to the world of whole-food, plant-based diets, and now his passion for that world drives him in his efforts to bring this knowledge to the DePaul community. 

“Health compounds,” Mierwinski said. “The more you do today, the better you’ll feel tomorrow”

However, it is not just current DePaul students that Mierwinski is reaching.

Susan, whose last name is to be omitted, is a local Lincoln Park resident and DePaul alumna that takes workout classes at the Ray and found out about the workshop from the fitness center.

“I just am interested in hearing what insightful things he has to say about the immune system and nutrition,” Susan said.

Mierwinski spoke about what a plant-based diet entails and the importance of consuming foods that come directly from the earth.

“You’d be surprised how many medications people are on for some of these chronic conditions that could be fixed through dietary change,” Mierwinski said. 

Mierwinski spoke about the creation of a strong gut microbiome through consuming fiber. 

“Fiber is the part of natural whole foods that we don’t digest,” Mierwinski said. “There are trillions of bacteria living in our gut. They digest it.”

Mierwinski also says he tries to avoid intake of all animal products. He outlined the fact that animals whose products are typically associated with certain vitamins actually get those vitamins from the food that they eat from the earth.

“Only plants make vitamins,” Mierwinski said. “A cow doesn’t produce any vitamins. Unfortunately, the industry has trained us that we need to eat [those cows] in order to get the key nutrients.”

Mierwinski’s main goal is to reach people with this information and positively affect their lives in a proactive way.

“I was in my late 30s, and I was starting to suffer the consequences of eating the standard American diet,” Mierwinski said. “I wish I had known [in my 20s] what I know now.”

Not only does Mierwinski spread his knowledge to the public, he does it in a manner that is inspiring and motivating.

“It’s so easy to do this kind of thing,” Takahashi said after completing the workshop. “You have so much control over what you put in your body.”

Mierwinski is also interested in streamlining his efforts toward athletes.

“I’ve already met a few folks who are on sports teams here and they’ve expressed some interest,” Mierwinski said. “That’s really what I’m excited about because I think that student athletes are thinking more about what they put in their body and how it affects their performance and we want winners here at DePaul.”

Ultimately, Mierwinski is passionate about doing all he can to inspire others to take on the same naturally-fueled lifestyle that he did over eight years ago.

“There’s no greater satisfaction I can have than knowing that what I shared today has a special place in your mind, and maybe you’ll also share it with [others],” Mierwinski said.