Mike & Talitha – Vegainz Coach & The Plantritionist

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When did you first become Vegan?

T: My first stint was back in 2012, I’ts a bit fuzzy but I was vegetarian and opted to try being vegan. I hadn’t researched it at all and probably lasted only a few months before dairy and eggs crept back in. When Mike and I went on a summer holiday in late 2013 we stayed with one of Mike’s friend who was a strict vegan and I remember being so excited about being able to try it again. A light switch went off straight away and since then I have remained vegan.

M: Yes, that 2 week challenge a friend gave us whilst we were on holiday in New Zealand quite a few years back was the start of it for both of us.

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What was the driving factor for becoming Vegan?

T: Health reasons and then I became privy to just what kind of suffering animals on farms are put through. Once you see it for yourself, you can’t go back. I’ve always preferred my veg over meat so I think it was natural progression.

M: Driving factor to becoming vegan was for health reasons. I had learnt to many truths so how could I not adjust? Later down the track I made a stronger connection to the ethical implications of my choices and how my choices affected others. But the kickstarter was for health.

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How did you find the transition from eating everything to plant based diets?

T: Pretty easy as I was already halfway committed having been vegetarian for a few years prior. Also Growing up my dad cooked absolutely everything and from a very young age I was introduced to all different types of foods and interesting flavours and with so much more variety in the plant kingdom than meat it meant it became a real creative outlet.

M: Well for me, I did it mainly for health reasons. A friend of mine in New Zealand showed me this documentary about the health reasons and the health benefits of eating a plant based diet and the negative effects of eating meat. It really slapped me in the face with everything i thought I knew about nutrition. Everything I did myself and everything i taught my clients I decided that while I was staying with him I would make the transition to a vegan diet.

And I felt amazing, slept incredibly and everything just really felt really great. So I stuck with it. And so I think because of that experience and that holiday it made becoming vegan so much easier.

T: I think it gave you a chance to be open minded to it.

M: I think that certainly made a lot easier. Then we came back to Australia and I was thinking I am going to loose all the progress I’ve made in terms of training you know go up on this plant based diet. I ended up sticking with it and went from a two week challenge to a month and I realized I didn’t need any of it. I have the same trouble with clients who think we are going to take all these things out of my diet and i’m not sure if i can do it and then they get there and show them what it looks like on a weekly basis and it’s really not that bad or scary as they thought it was.

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Everyone seems to always ask about Iron and Protein intake on a plant based diet. How do you both answer this from an educated background?

T: Protein deficiency isn’t a problem for anyone getting enough calories. Protein is virtually in everything so as long as you’re eating enough calories, you are most likely doing fine, however if i was ever worried, I would discuss with my doctor and request a simple blood test.

M: Iron is the the big one I talk about. It’s a double edged sword. You have too little iron, you have a problem with anaemia. However, too much iron isn’t the answer either. So again I would eat more whole foods. However, if you are low in iron, you can take Vitamin C to help the absorption of the plant based iron. It’s not just oranges either, there are plenty of other vegetables that have loads of Vitamin C to help with this process.

But back onto protein, it really is a non issue. The thing about protein from animal products is it has no fibre or phytonutrients. So really they are not balanced foods. When we direct our attention to how much protein we are getting we are missing the bigger issues. I think before we put something in our mouths we should be asking, does it have fibre. Not how much protein does it have. The way food is marketed has changed our whole perspective on food.

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Is there a vegetable you couldn’t live without?

T: All of them! Although, at the moment I am just loving tomatoes, roasted tomatoes with wild rice and tahini.. it’s become my go-to comfort food (with a side of greens, of course!)

M: My go to vegetable is the potato. Any potato at all, white, sweet, any. I have them everyday.

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