Top 3 tips for being healthy if you're a vegan or vegetarian

May 16 2017, 10:55 pm

Written for Daily Hive by certified professional trainer, coach, blogger, ebook author, and first ever Vegan World Naturals bikini pro, Samantha Shorkey.

This goes out to my vegan and vegetarian Vancity brethren who don’t quite fit the stereotypical vegan mould. It’s for all my thick and curvy, plant-powered sisters and brothers who, despite their ‘clean’ food and lifestyle choices, just can’t seem to lose those extra few pounds. Yes, this is for anyone and everyone who’s travelled down the plant-based road on a quest for leanness only to discover that they’ve put ON weight in the process.

Sound familiar?

Well fret not, you are certainly not alone and I am here to help you.

My name is Samantha Shorkey and I’m the brains and brawn behind I’m also speaking at this year’s Veg Expo on May 28.

As a vegan coach and the first-ever vegan World Naturals bikini pro, I’m honoured to say that I’ve been helping plant strong warriors like you transform their bodies for many years. Consequently, I’m happy to share my thoughts on why so many of us struggle to get fit despite our healthy, earth-grown diets.

So now, I’m sharing my top three theories on fat loss and my solutions to help turn any soft, mashed potato-esque vegan bod into a svelte, shredded-like-lettuce one.

Eat more protein

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I hate to go down the annoying ‘where do vegans get their protein from’ path, but vegan or not, I cannot stress the importance of getting enough protein in your diet.

The truth is, if your body can’t find enough protein to sustain itself, it takes it from your muscles – not your body fat. Protein also helps you to feel full so you end up craving less carbs and fat.

I personally consume protein at every meal and advise my clients to do the same if their goal is to create muscle tone and definition e.g that ‘hard look’ most of us strive for.

My rule of thumb: consume 0.8g of protein per 1b. of body weight and stick to the leaner plant-based sources like tempeh, tofu, protein powder, beans, and seitan.

Lower carb and sugary fruit intake

We all know that carbs are the body’s main source of fuel and are essential for energy and mental clarity. Carbs break down into glucose (sugar) and is either used immediately for energy, stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles (for easy access) or turned into fat for longer-term storage.

I’m all for eating carbs but eating too many of them does overload your system with energy it can’t use. Guess what happens then? Yep, it gets stored as fat.

I personally eat fruit earlier in the day when I know I’ll be able to burn it off. And I’ll save my starchy complex carbs like oats, sweet potatoes or rice for before and after my workouts only. This way, they’re providing fuel for my training then replacing my lost glycogen stores post-workout.

Lay off ‘healthy’ fats

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We vegans sure do love our nuts, seeds and nut butter, eh? Yes, ‘healthy fats’ are definitely good for your heart, they’re nutritious, and contain protein. But they’re also super high in calories. And as we all know, a caloric surplus = fat storage.

Believe me, I wish I could eat an entire tub of peanut butter every damn night but at a whopping 90 calories per tablespoon, it’s just not happening.

You have to be conscious of how many fats you’re consuming and ask yourself: do I really need oil in that pan? Are chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts really necessary in your oatmeal?

I hope these tips are helpful. And I hope you’ll come on down to Veg Expo at Canada Place on May 28 to attend my ‘Mindful Meathead’ presentation. I like to think that I epitomize the right balance of ‘vegan hippie’ and ‘meatless meathead.’ And if you want to learn more, let us ohmmmm and grunt together as I delve into everything from bodybuilding and plant-based nutrition to body shaming, living life with intention and how you too, can unleash a healthy mind and sexy vegan body.

See you there.

Samantha Shorkey at Veg Expo Vancouver 2017

When: Sunday, May 28

Time: 10 am to 6 pm

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver

Price: $5 for children/$15 for general admission/$13 for seniors/$35 for a family pass – all available through Veg Expo online

Use the promo code DailyVeg and get $2 off your ticket at the checkout.

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