Founder of meatfreeathlete.com
Vegan Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, Animal Rights Activist, and Founder of Meat Free Athlete.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a vegan athlete and animal rights activist from Toronto, Canada. I’m the founder of MeatFreeAthlete.com, which is a vegan resource and blogging community. MFA is the place where I aim to lead by example and show that living a vegan lifestyle is healthy and rewarding.
I have been a competitive athlete since I was 9 years old, starting with Gymnastics. When I was 16, I started playing competitive hockey for the next 10+ years. In 2008 I started training in Tae Kwon Do, and martial arts quickly became my passion!
When I’m not training in Tae Kwon Do or MMA, I’m spending time with my wife/best friend/soul mate of 11 years, and our adopted Jack Russell, Mr. Shenanigans. I’m also a sci-fi enthusiast, and love Star Trek (the Voyager series is my favorite, with TNG a close second).
Why do you follow a plant-based approach?
I am vegan because I can live a happy, healthy, and active life without exploiting and harming animals. Eating vegan plant strong food, avoiding animal products (leather, wool, etc) and not supporting animal exploitation (circuses, marine parks, breeders, etc) allows me to match my morals with my actions.
What benefits have you experienced from making the change?
The benefits have been both physical and spiritual. Living a vegan lifestyle has given me a deeper connection with my relationship to the world around me and has given me a greater appreciation and respect for my life and those I share this earth with.
As an athlete, there’s been a definite improvement to my performance since becoming vegan. I have more energy to train longer & harder, and I recover faster.
What are your top 3 tips for individuals wanting make a switch/ depend less on animal products?
First, and most important, is perspective and attitude! Have an open mind, keep a positive attitude, and enjoy the journey! An example of how to do this is by focusing on what you CAN have, and not what you “can’t”. Also, enjoy trying new foods and products! If you try something new and don’t like it, no big deal, just try something else! Veganizing your favorite meals is another great way to embrace and enjoy veganism!
Second, if the idea of going vegan seems overwhelming, I suggesting removing one animal based food at a time, and try adding new plant based foods. Soon, you’ll see that being vegan isn’t as hard as you might have thought before!
Third, count colors! Make sure you’re eating a good variety of foods, and you’ll be sure to get all the nutrition you need no problem!
For recipe ideas and nutrition tips, also check out my MeatFreeAthlete.com!
What is your current training regime?
My current training revolves around improving my skill set in Tae Kwon Do and MMA. I aim to train 3-4 times a week. I also practice Yoga when my schedule allows it, and I find that it’s great for athletes of all levels! Also, I do my own stretching routine at home before bed pretty much every night, which is a habit I picked up from my competitive gymnastics days.
Could you give us a sample meal plan for your average day?
I aim to eat mostly organic foods. I strongly believe in the health benefits of organic foods over conventional**
I don’t have a set meal plan because I just eat what my body asks for, but in a typical day:
flax oatmeal or fortified cereal (great source of B12) with organic unsweetened soy milk, and fruit (banana, apple, blueberries, and/or strawberries)
Almonds, mixed nuts, and/or fruits.
Or, raw veggies and hummus
*I drink decaf green tea, or other decaf tea flavors (I avoid caffeine). I also, drink water throughout the day.
kale salad with tempeh and avocado, with a plain bagel
Or, a peanut butter sandwich on hearty breads (whole grains, seeds, flax, etc).
Almonds, mixed nuts, and/or fruits.
Or, raw veggies and hummus
Mixed beans with quinoa, kale, a good variety of veggies, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
Or, whole wheat pasta, a good variety of veggies, with tofu and spicy red sauce sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
* When I train, I have a “2nd dinner” at night when I get home, which includes meals similar to my dinners. I don’t restrict calories or portions, I’m more concerned with eating a variety of foods and getting all the nutrition I need.
What was a major physical/ emotional challenge you faced and how did you triumph over it?
Injuries are my biggest physical and mental challenges by far! In the past 5 years alone, I’ve had injuries ranging from ACL, 3 dislocated ribs, torn hamstring, concussions, fractured nose, and most recently a torn hip flexor muscle. It comes with the territory of full contact sports (TKD, MMA, and Hockey), so I accept that these types of injuries happen.
The real challenge for me in the mental/emotional stress of not being able to be active! It’s tough not being able to train when I still have tons of energy and I’m mentally focused on training, but my body physically can’t do it yet. Having the patience to give my body the time to heal properly is definitely a challenge, but I have learned over the years that giving my body the right amount of time off is key to a strong return after recovery, and minimize my chance to reinjure.
What do you value in your life?
I value life itself. I don’t take anything I have for granted. My priority in life is to stay focused on what is truly important, and to not waste time stressing about negative people or irrelevant things.
What are 3 empowering beliefs that propel you?
Equality, Respect, and Compassion.
I believe that every single living being equally deserves a life free from exploitation and harm.
When you truly love and respect yourself, you will naturally want to extend that love and respect to others. Especially those who are at our mercy.
Compassion is essential to our evolution as human beings, and that to truly have compassion we must stop abusing our power over others.
What is your next goal?
Currently, I’m a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, so my next goal is to earn my 2nd Degree Black Belt. Ultimately, my goal is to earn my 4th Degree Black Belt.
How would you like to inspire others?
My mission in life is to spread awareness and guide people to live a compassionate lifestyle. I aim to inspire people by showing them by example that being vegan is easy, affordable, and healthy!
If there was one thing that you would like to change in the world, what would that be and why is this important to you?
I would change the elitist attitude that people have where they think that they are better than animals, and therefore they think they have the right to deny animals their right to life. This is hugely important to me because this type of elitist attitude is the same we have seen throughout history where humans have used this same logic to exploit and/or harm other humans, such as with slavery, the holocaust, LGBT discrimination, etc. The human race needs to evolve together, to stop repeating these mistakes and embrace equality and compassion, for all living beings.
What is the one idea that you can give to others to contribute to a positive change (on a personal level or the world at large)?
I truly believe that if people invested more time in themselves they would unleash their true potential. I would also urge people to avoid negative people and situations because it will only drain you of your positive energy and motivation. If you can’t avoid negative people in your everyday life, learn to block their energy by not accepting it. Know that you deserve to be happy and that you won’t let your happiness be dictated by someone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Be around people who raise you up, and in turn, you will become someone who does the same for someone else!
How are you Evol’ved (along the lines of our manifesto: awaken, connect and inspire)?
My eyes are wide open. Ignorance is not bliss, especially for the victims. Now that I know better, I will be better. That is a promise to myself, and to those without a voice. It’s a lifelong journey of learning, and evolution.
What is one of your favorite recipes?
I love my Turmeric and Thai Curry Baked Cauliflower recipe!
It’s great for athletes because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the spices used.
Turmeric and Thai Curry Baked Cauliflower
By: Anne-Marie Campbell
Founder of MeatFreeAthlete.com
1 large head of cauliflower (cut into pieces)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp thai curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic herb sesasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt (optional)
1/2 cup of water
Toss all the ingredients together with oil
Place evenly into a glass casserole pan
Add 1/4 cup of water
Cover with foil
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes
How can you be connected?
My Website: www.MeatFreeAthlete.com
Join the free Meat Free Athlete online community and write your own blog or fitness journal!