Posts

Save 25% On Vega Products – All Made With The Best Real, Plant-Based Ingredients

Vega products are all plant based and packed with nutrients to fuel any activity. All products are certified Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten Free as well as soy free. My favorite line of theirs is the Sport Line which includes protein bars (20 grams) and smoothie powders (30 grams) containing 6 BCAAs which help to put your muscles back together after a hard workout. I also love their Vega One bars and Smoothie Powders as well. Coconut Cashew is my favorite. If I need a quick pick me up in the afternoon or between meals I grab a Chocolate Carmel Protein & Snack Bar. These bars are only 200 calories and contain 11 grams of protein.

 

This month, Vega is teaming up with Sage Mountain to offer 25% off MSRP on any product. We ask you donate back at least 10% of the discount back to Sage Mountain. Go to www.myvega.com to see a complete product listing and description.

Please email Alisha with your orders akniswander@gmail.com by February 27th.

 

Co-Founder Lauren Lockey Interviews With KPCW

Co-founder Lauren Lockey interviews with KPCW on behalf Sage Mountain’s “compassionate traditions” campaign. Click the link below to listen:

http://kpcw.org/post/local-news-hour-november-15-2017#stream/0

(Lauren’s interview starts at 34:28)

Vega Promo For The People

If you are active or on the go, you don’t want to miss this! We would like to share an offer from one of the best plant based nutrition companies on the market, Vega. Local plant powered athlete and friend, Alisha Niswander is partnering with Vega to offer you 10% off on your purchase. In addition to that, another 10% of your purchase will go directly to Sage Mountain. Enjoy delicious plant powered protein, recovery and snack items PLUS help one of your favorite animal sanctuaries in the meantime. That’s a win-win if we’ve ever heard one. Here is a picture of some of Alisha’s daily go-to Vega products.

Please don’t hesitate to drop her a line with any questions. Check out their website and take 10% off your MSRP pricing! Remember, they will match that discount and send it directly to Sage Mountain.

Any order over $100 will receive a free Vega Blender Bottle so you can shake your nutrition on the go!
Orders must be in to Alisha by September 15th! Don’t hesitate to contact her with any questions regarding the product or pricing!
Alisha Niswander
Mountain Vista Touring
(435) 640-2979
akniswander@gmail.com

Feature Profile: Interview With Salt Lake Local About 10 Day Plant Powered Challenge

It has been about 1 month since 10 people finished the 10 day Plant Powered Challenge. Inspiration came from a film Sage Mountain, the Park City film series, and Vegfund hosted called “What The Health”. If you haven’t seen the film it can now be viewed on Netflix. The challenge, led by Kent Maurer, entailed consuming a whole food plant based diet for 10 days. All animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fish were removed from their daily food choices. Everyone learned how and what to buy at the grocery store, how to order vegan meals at restaurants, watched educational films, attended a community potluck and met the animal ambassadors at Sage Mountain’s animal sanctuary, experienced a loving kindness meditation, went on a few hikes in Park City, received new recipes and daily emails from Kent about the momentum of this movement along with answers to any questions.

Lauren Lockey recently had the opportunity to interview one of the participants, Michelle Sharer. Michelle is 26 years old and  grew up just outside of Boston. She moved to Salt Lake to be near the mountains, worked as a web developer for 3 years, and now is a yoga instructor.

LL: What sparked your interest and commitment to do 10 day challenge? 

MS: I follow a lot of food blogs and Instagram accounts, and those had been inspiring me for a while to try this way of eating. I loved the idea of eating whole plants because even before I knew about the challenge I was already excited about avoiding processed foods. I also watched the Forks Over Knives documentary on Netflix. I knew the challenge would be a good way for me to be able to ask all of the questions I had about going plant based.

LL: What foods were you consuming before the challenge?

MS: Mostly everything. Lots of eggs. Dairy and meat too. I avoided processed foods and I was already a little bit     crazy about reading ingredients on food labels.

LL: Did you notice any immediate changes within the first few days? negative or positive

MS: The very first thing I noticed was that coffee with almond milk tastes better than coffee with cows milk! Within the first few days of the challenge, I felt different, a little tired, because I was still learning what to replace the animal foods I’d been eating with, so I ended up consuming less overall. Now I eat more snacks and add more toppings and that helped a ton.

LL: Give a few examples of some new foods/meals you discovered during the challenge

MS: Banana ice cream completely blew my mind (one ingredient – frozen bananas). I still eat it every day and every time I want to cry tears of gratitude to nature and the existence of bananas. And there are so many choices for add-ins too! Dates, peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, mango. My favorite breakfast is oatmeal. I literally go to bed every night excited for my peanut butter oatmeal in the morning. Another current obsession is toast – my two favorites are toast with hummus and raisins, and toast with avocado and salsa. 

LL: Did you ever find yourself unsatisfied during the challenge?

MS: Actually, what’s cool is I eat my favorite foods every day now. Before, I felt like I had to limit myself on things like pizza, ice cream, etc. Now I feel like I’m indulging in every meal. I stuff my face with banana ice cream every day and it feels great.

LL: what activities do you enjoy? Did you find you had more or less energy during the challenge?

MS: I love rock climbing, yoga, and mountain biking. At the beginning of the challenge I think I had less energy, but I still attribute that to not eating enough calories, but now that I know how to manage that better I feel great in terms of energy level!

LL: Are you presently plant powered?

MS: Yes I am!

LL: What was the highlight during the 10 days?

MS: The pot-luck! It was really inspiring to see and taste all of the delicious home-cooked plant-based food, AND be surrounded by amazing, like-minded individuals!

LL: Do you plan to stay plant powered?

MS: Absolutely. I wish I had started sooner

LL: What would you say to those considering this lifestyle?

MS: It might feel hard or extreme, and there’s kind of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it comes as naturally as ever. You’ll discover new and exciting things to try! Honestly, I enjoy eating more now than I did before. If someone is hesitant I would encourage them to start out by just changing one thing. Switching to almond milk or soy milk for example. Or try cooking one plant-based meal a week. Or jump in on Meatless Mondays. There are so many recipes and ideas out there and so many people who want to help you. The community embracing this way of eating is amazing right now.

 

You can follow Michelle on her plant powered adventures on instagram and facebook . Thank you Michelle for making such a positive impact on your health, the planet, and the lives of farmed animals and  please continue to share your experience with everyone around you!!
Stay tuned for another challenge this fall. Also mark your calendars for Plant Based Utah’s first annual Nutrition symposium this October featuring Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Ann Esselstyn, and producer of “Cowspiracy” and “What The Health”, Keegan Kuhn!!

The Reluctant Vegan

By: Alisha Niswander 

I grew up on a farm. I was surrounded by animals. Animal products had a place at the table nearly every time we sat down to eat. This was Ohio. My family had animals. I remember watching my grandpa butcher chickens and seeing them flying around headless. I also remember feeding baby cows out of a huge baby bottle. Looking back I was probably feeding them hormones so they could grow big, quickly and be sent to slaughter.

In fourth grade, I joined 4H. I was in both Girls 4H, where I took a nutrition and cooking class, and Boys 4H where I had pigs and rabbits that eventually I took to the county fair. I loved my pigs and rabbits. They were pets. I taught my pig to walk around our property, guided by the gentle tap of a cane on her jowls. Her name was Elvira. I learned how to care for her, by feeding her, washing her and cleaning her pen. One time she and some others escaped the pen and went haywire in my Grandpa’s apple orchard, eating all the fallen apples that had fermented. They got quite tipsy! The fair came. I showed Elvira, with pride. I walked her around the arena and was awarded 4th place. I showed my bunnies too. I remember what I was wearing. I was wearing bright blue pants and a white shirt with ruffles and a silky ribbon. The bunny kept trying to eat the ribbon and I thought that was so cute. I wasn’t concerned what the judge thought. This was my pet and she was being funny.

Toward the end of the week it was time to sell Elvira. I remember standing in the middle of this huge arena, by myself, and the auctioneer giving the specs on Elvira and then the bidding began. The bidding was a price/pound. I think she went for about $250.00 which at the time was a lot of money! After I paid my parents back for her food, I had a decent amount of money I could put in the bank for college. This was really exciting. However, I didn’t have Elvira. I never saw her again. I was sad but I had to get over it. This was what we did in the country. One thing you learn in the country is where you food comes from. You realize quickly that chicken or hamburger doesn’t just show up on a piece of styrofoam wrapped in plastic in the grocery store. This peculiar package in the deli section was an animal.

In high school I worked at a chicken farm. I don’t know how many thousands of chickens were in the barns. I literally could not go in there. The dust, ammonia smell, feces and noise was overwhelming and would send me into an allergic reaction. I worked out front packaging the eggs. This was my first (and luckily only) experience working at a factory farm.

I experimented with vegetarianism in high school, mainly for shock value. I quickly traded in the pot roast for romaine lettuce with fat free ranch dressing. I had no idea how to be a healthy vegetarian, but it felt liberating to say “I’m a vegetarian.” In college I started eating meat again, because it was easy and I didn’t really know how to do anything else. Years later, I only ate fish. Then, I only ate meat where I knew the source. A while ago, I gave it up all together. The last meat I was eating was the free range chicken that my parents raise. I would say I was probably about 90% vegan for quite a while. About a year ago, I gave up all animal products. It is not hard. I feed my body with plants, fruits and legumes. “WHERE do you get your protein?” Once in awhile when I do track what I’m eating on average I’m getting about 80-100g of protein per day.

Why am I a reluctant vegan? I hate labels. I don’t like to put myself in a corner where I’m being watched. I remember someone saying “You’re vegan right?” my response was “Uh… I don’t eat animal product.” He said, “Come on! We need you!” I realized then, that my food choices make others take note. I should seize this opportunity to be a good example and to inspire others to make different food choices. My hope is that people will realize vegan food is amazingly good! I am constantly complimented on my cooking so that’s a start! Vegan food is the best choice for our planet and for our health. Plant based diets are quickly gaining speed and I can’t think of any other way I want to fuel my body.

Alisha Niswander is an endurance athlete and the owner of Mountain Vista Touring. She guides clients through different mountain activities fueling them with her plant based protein bars and energy bites. www.parkcityhiking.com

Follow Alisha on instagram @mountainvistatouring to see her latest adventures

The Plant Powered Challenge

By: Dave Swartz

It was just this morning heading westbound down Parley’s Canyon on interstate 80 when I slowly passed yet another animal transport truck filled to capacity with pigs, swine, or hogs. I’m actually not sure what the correct term is. I guess it depends on who you ask. My vehicle and the transport truck were going roughly the same speed so I had a little time to peek in. I’m not sure how many motorists do the same and actually look through the metal slats to see who is inside one of these trailers. I’m hoping many but I’m guessing only a few. This sight immediately makes me stop my thoughts and have a moment for the animals that are surely  bound for the slaughterhouse. As much as this sight breaks my heart, I do not feel any hate or anger towards the driver, the trucking company, the producers, or the processors. I try my absolute hardest to send only good thoughts and absolute love to the animals inside. Every time I see one of these trucks the same question in some form or another pops into my head. It’s usually something along the lines of “How in this day and age is raising and slaughtering animals for food still a thing?”

What we know in 2017  is the science based fact that the more animal protein one consumes the more health problems and disease one will have. It is science based fact that animal agriculture is responsible for most of the water pollution, ocean dead zones, and deforestation on this planet. Not to mention it is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation industry combined.

It was not until my 22nd year on this planet before I realized the amount of suffering I caused simply because of my regular “western” diet. When I realized that not only would a plant-based diet or vegan diet eliminate this needless suffering but it would also be the healthiest diet for my body and least destructive of all diets on our environment, it simply was a no brainer to make the switch.

Early next month, Sage Mountain is sponsoring our  10 day “Plant Powered Challenge” with local fitness expert Kent Maurer. I strongly encourage you to sign up and see for yourself how empowering a plant based vegan diet can be.

Keep in mind that nothing will do more for human health, this planet’s environment, and most importantly reduce suffering, than removing animal products from our plates…and that is a science based fact.

*If you would like more information on our 10 day Plant Powered Challenge please email Kent Maurer at kwmaurer@gmail.com or Dave Swartz at dave@sagemtn.org

One Single Act-“For the Betterment of Humanity”

By: Kent Maurer

unnamed%5b3%5d

There is “one single act” that every one of us has absolute control over for the betterment of all of humanity, and that is what we choose to eat. We literally vote with our food choices at the grocery store, a restaurant, a drive through food joint, or a convenience store. Every time we make a purchase its telling industries what we want, demand and supply. When we order it, buy it or crave it, big business will continue to supply it, no matter what the health or environmental costs. Of all the food choices we are making, the choice of eating animals and animal products is, by far, making the biggest (negative) impact on our personal health and very dramatically, the health of our planet.

img_2572

Let’s talk about environment first. We all live together on this planet and share its resources. Two thirds of the planet is water but only 3% of that water is fresh water and 2% of that fresh water is ice. That leaves 1% of planet earth’s water available for all to share. Of course humans think of themselves first, without water we will die. Right now there are 7 billion plus people on this planet, just 50 years ago there was just over 2 billion. By 2100 there is expected to be 12 billion people all sharing that 1% of available fresh water.

We are not alone on this planet. Other living creatures and plants need to share that 1% of available fresh water with us and this is where it gets disturbing. Because of our voting habits when it comes to food, there are presently 70 billion factory farmed animals being raised world wide to satisfy our demand for animal products. Those animals require a dramatic amount of water when it comes to growing the food they eat and the water they drink. It’s estimated by the United Nations and other water watch communities that 23% of all the fresh water in the world, 50% of all the water in the United States and 70% of all the fresh water in the western U.S. is being used to grow food used specifically to raise farmed animals. In the mean time everyone and everything else is taking the blame for our water shortage We are told to take shorter showers, let our lawns die, tell growers whose plants take more water than normal like nut trees and certain fruits, to cut back on their crops or go out of business altogether, while collectively, nothing comes close to the amount of water being used to grow animals. Of all the restrictions being put on water use, animal agriculture gets a free pass with no restrictions.

In addition to the massive amounts of water being used by factory animal farming, in the U.S. alone 80% of farmland and 70-90% of our grain crops, is dedicated solely to raising animals for food. Millions of people in the U.S. and 2 billion people world wide do not have enough food, but factory farmed animals are fed till they are as fat as they can get to warrant the most money at slaughter. Our forests are being leveled to make room for more grazing area and to grow crops to feed to animals. This is a huge problem in the Amazon in South America where an acre a minute is being leveled to support animal agriculture. The Amazon and all vegetation are the lungs of our planet; plants absorb the carbon dioxide and breathe out the precious oxygen we all need (along with that 1% of fresh water) to survive.

img_2454

Then there are the airborne diseases that are escalating in this world, bird flu, avian flu, swine flu and on and on. 70% of the entire antibiotic supply made in this world goes to factory farmed animals in an effort to keep them alive in horrendous conditions until they are slaughtered. The overuse of antibiotics creates antibiotic resistant bacteria super-bugs, add that to the waste that 70 billion plus factory farmed animals are producing and a serious health problem is created. There are no sewer systems dedicated to these animals, their entire excrement ends up in our aqua fillers, rivers and oceans creating “dead zones” where nothing will grow and even more airborne diseases arise.

So why do we put up with an industry that’s estimated to contribute to 51% of all greenhouse gases produced? …Protein…

img_0916

We are obsessed and convinced that without our burger, chicken sandwich, hot dog, scrambled eggs, steak and fish, that we will not survive. While quite frankly the opposite is true, the science, case studies, and facts prove otherwise. Animal protein is the problem of our ill health, not the cure. We’d be immensely better off if we stopped eating animals and got our protein from the same sources the cow, pig, chicken, elephant, gorilla, racehorse and every other animal on this plant that has an anatomy similar to ours gets their protein from, plants!

75% of all animals on this planet, including humans, have an anatomy perfectly designed to take in soft easy to acquire plant food. We are the total opposite design of a carnivore like a lion or an omnivore like a bear. Humans have slow foot speed, small mouths and short dull teeth that could never bite through the skin of another animal and if we could we absolutely wouldn’t like the taste of blood. When fiber-less animal flesh enters our bodies our low acidic stomach acid and long windy intestines are not designed to absorb and eliminate that flesh. As the meat sits in our 11 times the length of our torso intestines, our 98.6 degree internal body is the perfect environment to produce the same type of bacteria that breaks down a dead animal on the side of the road. This is a disease producing acidic environment. Whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are the perfect foods for the human design and can be made into an unlimited variety of tasty, filling meals and produce the alkaline blood we are designed to thrive on.

img_1691

We cannot continue to justify the amount of water, food and land needed, as well as the diseases produced in our quest for animal protein. Not to mention the immense amount of pain and suffering 70 billion plus land animals and 100 billion sea creatures go through, unnecessarily, each year. As much as we don’t want to admit it, humans are not that important to this planet. We may have gotten the bigger brain and the ability to reason, but what have we brought to the table for the betterment of planet earth, I-phones, bombs, pollution? If bees or ants were to vanish from this planet the earth might not be able to survive, but if humans were gone, this planet would thrive.

We were put on this earth to oversee and protect it and all its inhabitants; unfortunately,we are not doing a very good job. But I do have confidence in my fellow human species, if we are given the correct information and then minimize, or better yet, eliminated our unnatural appetite for eating animals, we could save this planet and our health.

Stop believing the marketing hype, we don’t need animals for protein, calcium, iron, omega 3’s or any other nutrient, plants have it all. After absorbing this information and researching it yourself, don’t think you can call yourself an environmentalist or a humanitarian if you still choose to eat meat. I believe our future population will look back on this period of our planet in sadness, but also with pride. Pride that we took action and realized the problem and then corrected it. Just like any other disease, we have to get to the root of the problem instead of using band-aids in trying to correct the problem. THE single biggest problem, is raising and eating animals for food!

With one single act, the whole planet will benefit; animals need to be taken off the breakfast, lunch and dinner table, NOW.

http://www.onesingleact.org/

kent%5b1%5d

Your Vegan Grocery List

Your Vegan Grocery List

By: Lauren Lockey

oro-gold-on-vegan-food

     Since making the choice to be vegan many years ago, my visits to the grocery store have become second nature. I know exactly what to buy! Of course I add a few new items here and there but the bulk of it stays relatively consistent. It wasn’t easy in the beginning though. I had already been vegetarian since age 11 but giving up dairy such as cheese pizza and cream in my coffee, six years ago, left me kicking and screaming! Dairy coffee creamer was the last thing to go but  once making the switch I never looked back!

   Changing any habit can be daunting and difficult. So whether you have eliminated animal products completely from your diet or have reduced your consumption, great job!!! Keep it up because you will not regret it!

Being vegan does not mean you have to break the bank or buy ALL Organic. Nor does it mean munching lettuce or preparing some elaborate meal that takes 2-3 hours. It’s actually quite simple and plant based foods are becoming more reasonable and mainstream. You WILL NOT feel deprived! You WILL feel strong, healthy, and satisfied!

      For the vegan, vegetarian, “reducetarian,” or those who are contemplating taking this easy step,  you will find a grocery list below  of very basic items (and not so basic items) to keep stocked in your kitchen.  You do not need to purchase everything you see listed! I wanted to offer a variety of my favorites! I put a star(*) next to items I feel are necessary staples. Certain foods obviously go bad so mix and match every few visits because it’s chalk full of delicious-ness!

Produce(seasonal fruits and veggies)

This would be the one section to buy organic IF you can! The best option is to head to your local farmer’s market because nothing tastes better! But do what you can. NO STRESS! Have fun here because with such a wide variety, you can’t go wrong. There are so many benefits to eating fruits and veggies!

                                           20160325_101440 20160325_101420

  • Bananas*
  • Apples*
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Lemons*
  • Sweet Potatoes*
  • Purple Potatoes
  • Mushrooms*
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale*
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach*
  • Spring Mix
  • Arugula
  • Celery
  • Red Cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Sprouts
  • Onions*
  • Olives
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Brussels Sprouts

Bulk Items/Dry Goods

  • Flax Seeds(ground)*
  • Chia Seeds(ground)
  • Sunflower Seeds*
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Almonds*
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts*
  • Almond Butter*
  • Peanut Butter
  • Brown or Wild Rice*
  • Quinoa*
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal/Rolled Oats*
  • Trail Mix
  • Granola
  • Dried Cranberries*
  • Raisins
  • Almond Flour*
  • Nutritional Yeast(someone needs to come up with new name!)*
  • Dried Peas, Lentils, Beans*
  • Whole Grain Pasta
  • Whole Wheat Bread/Sprouted Bread*

Non Dairy(non dairy cheeses can be high in sodium so use sparingly!)

  • Almond Milk (my favorite)*
  • Soy/Almond/Coconut coffee creamer*
  • Earth Balance “buttery spread”*
  • Daiya shredded vegan cheese
  • “Field Roast” Chao slices
  • “Follow Your Heart” vegan cheese
  • Make your own vegan cheese

Meat Substitutes (can be high in sodium so use sparingly!)

field-roast-sausages Jason-Wrobel-Mock-Chicken

  • “Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips and Fiesta Crumble”
  • “Field Roast Grain Sausages”
  • Tofurky Oven Roasted Deli Slices
  • Sesame Ginger Jack fruit
  • “Lightlife” Tempeh*
  • Firm or Baked Tofu*
  • “Gardein” Fresh and Frozen Products*
  • “Boca” Spicy Chik’n Patties
  • “Sol Cuisine” Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Frozen Foods

  • Blueberries*
  • Waffles
  • Acai Smoothie Packs
  • Amy’s Frozen No Cheese Pizza*
  • Coconut Ice Cream
  • Edamame
  • Frozen Mango Pieces
  •  Grapes(put in freezer for summer treat. Tastes like candy!)
  • Frozen Veggies*

Canned Goods/Pantry Items

  • Tomato Paste/Sauce*
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Black Beans*
  • Kidney Beans*
  • Chick Peas*
  • Amy’s Soups
  • Vegetable Broth*
  • Lentils*
  • Sweet Peas*
  • Corn
  • Corn/Flour Tortillas*
  • “Mary’s Gone Crackers”
  • Sesame Rice Crackers
  • “Fantastic World Foods Tofu Scrambler”
  • Hibiscus Tea

Sauces/Dips/Condiments

  • Hummus*
  • Braggs Aminos*
  • Maple Syrup
  • Minced Garlic*
  • Coconut/Olive Oil (Use sparingly. Vegetable broth works great as substitute)*
  • Apple Sauce*
  • Salsa
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Agave
  • “Just Mayo”/”Vegenaise”*

Herbs/Spices

  • Sea Salt*
  • Pepper*
  • Cumin*
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Turmeric*
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder*
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Onion Powder*
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Vanilla
  • Basil
  • Curry Powder*
  • Cayenne Pepper*
  • Ginger

Recipes

Short on Time??

hero-1-text-339d776feee7b3d184ef20679712b4b8

 

Enjoy the journey as your eyes and taste buds discover  a whole new world of foods even beyond the list above! That’s the beauty of embracing a vegan lifestyle. It never gets old and there is always something new on the horizon!

 

vegan-2 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bizarre Foods Bring Change

Bizarre Foods Bring Change

By: Jeremy Moore

          Growing up I was passionate about animals, sports, and eating and let those things define who and what I was.  I believed I was sensitive to the suffering of others but never really looked at what I was eating. In my travels I’ve eaten many bizarre foods most notably, dog meat.  At 14 years old I couldn’t bring myself to eat dog meat anymore and decided to give it up, but had no qualms about eating other animals.

Shot Put  Physically, I was an enormous 320 pound All-American shot putter, and with that came a diet of 10,000 plus calories a day and it definitely included a lot of animal protein.

My love for animals in my free time was largely given to gaining experience through my hoard of lizards, snakes and turtles with the future intention of working in a zoo or breeding reptiles for a living. Upon graduation, I basically gave all those animals away to anyone that would take them since I was going to leave the state for school. I didn’t really vet anyone, I just got rid of them as quickly as I could in my own “loving way”.

Transitioning away from home as a student-athlete, I had to be on campus a good month before the rest of the students. I lined up this really cool gig at the Philadelphia Zoo Reptile and Birds of Prey exhibits. That job lasted about 1 week. The conditions there were despicable and they really didn’t want to hear complaints from an 18 year old kid. Zoos already gave me a bit of a bad taste in my mouth but I thought maybe things would be different there.  They obviously weren’t.

I managed to get a wonderful volunteer position as the PSPCA(Philadelphia SPCA) where I volunteered close to 30 hours a week for two years. This job changed me forever. I fell so in love with so many of these creatures and was really heartbroken whenever one of my buddies “didn’t make it” out of the shelter in time. After a few weeks of working there, I was roaming around a back room and saw where all those magnificent animals that “didn’t make it” were being kept. There was literally a head high pile of dogs and cats. That very moment reminded me that I used to actually eat dog and  I had vowed to never do it again.  I then realized that all other animals I had been eating were really no different. They all deserve better. Whatever meat I consumed for breakfast on that October morning was the last.

I quickly learned of the suffering that occurs from the animals that are subject to the dairy and egg industry. There was no real transition, I found out about it and couldn’t do it any longer. Basically, I went from eating over 10,000 calories of food a day(including a lot of animals), to life completely free of animal suffering in a 2 week window. That was in the middle of October 2001. My track coach was not supportive of me going vegan and feared I’d dwindle away. In reality, I got much stronger, very quickly and managed to be the Rookie Conference Athlete of the Week two times in a row. Unfortunately, week three gifted me with a career ending hand injury that I never really came back from.

On My Way to Winning The 2014 Wisconsin Cat 1-2 State TT Title I left school, had surgery, tried to come back, reevaluated and picked up cycling. I had to lose a good 100+ pounds to be taken seriously and accomplished that in one year. Two years later, I was winning races on the velodrome as well as time trial courses.

In 2009, I managed to get on the Philippine National Cycling Team and stayed there a bit before picking up speed skating. I’ve had a few hiccups with a car accident but I’m on my way back and have hopes on being a World Cup and Olympic Speed Skater. My goal is to use these competitive avenues as a means of bringing light to the suffering of animals in the Philippines.

Skate

 

Plant Based Muscle

Plant Based Muscle

By: Dave Swartz

Vegan Athlete

Living in a town that is one of the endurance sports meccas of the country, one tends to see many fit people on a daily basis.   I participate in many of these sporting activities including cross country skiing, trail running, mountain biking and road biking.  Since Park City is in the mountains and these are human powered activities, going uphill is required.  Due to that fact, I have always kept my weight down all year round as it tends to be easier to go uphill when you have less weight to carry.  However, this fall/winter I wanted to try something different, weight lifting to gain weight.  The idea was to gain 10 to 12 lbs of weight/muscle which is a lot of muscle when you only weigh 155 pounds.  Since becoming vegetarian/vegan almost 18 years ago I have always stayed around the same weight, never fluctuating more than 5 pounds or so, however, within 6 weeks I had gained 10 lbs and noticed large gains in strength and muscle.  All I was doing to achieve this was eating more plant based foods and weightlifting 1 hour per week.   I always knew that one could gain weight/muscle on a vegan diet but never really tried it until now.  I just couldn’t believe how quickly the results came.   I have since leveled off my weight/ muscle gain as I still want be competitive in the endurance sports and didn’t think more weight would be beneficial.   Don’t believe me?  Here are some strength athletes that took it a bit further.