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Interview with Meagan Duhamel: Canadian Vegan Figure Skater

Meagan Duhamel is a Canadian pair skater. With current partner Eric Radford, she is the 2012 Canadian national champion, 2011 Four Continents silver medalist and 2011 Canadian national silver medalist. She previously skated with Craig Buntin, with whom she is the 2010 Four Continents bronze medalist, 2009 Canadian national silver medalist, and 2008 & 2010 Canadian bronze medalist.
Megan_D
Why Vegan?
The vegan diet is healthy and leads to a compassionate lifestyle.

How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I went vegan after reading the book Skinny Bitch. I had no intention of becoming vegan but that book was a real eye opener and I decided I wanted to change my life.

How long have you been vegan?
I've been vegan for 3 and a 1/2 years.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
I've gotten so many benefits. My weight is easily maintained, my skin glows, I sleep better and I feel more energized.

What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism means living compassionately. It's not only a diet but a lifestyle. Being a vegan is life changing, not only for oneself but for the people around you. You'll lead a more positive, patient and gracious life.
 
Training
What sort of training do you do?
I am training for the 2014 Winter Olympics as a pairs figure skater.

How often do you (need to) train?
I train Monday-Friday. 3 hours daily spent on the ice, training elements and our routine. I spend 2 hours off the ice everyday training as well, doing pilates, yoga, running and stretching.

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I coach in my spare time as well as help the other skaters at my rink with their flexibility and off-ice training.

What sports do you play?
I mostly only have time to figure skate! But this summer I'm playing on a baseball team.
Megan__partner

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences

What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
That we are malnourished hippies!! It's not true. We are just individuals who want to live a healthy lifestyle without harming anything or anyone is in process.

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I feel I have become stronger since I started a vegan diet and I have more energy to train harder and longer.

What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge comes when I travel. We have meals supplied to us through the organizing committee of competitions and it's very rare that they include meals for me. Usually it's just lots of meat, cheese and pasta.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Everyone is supportive. The other athletes love the treats I bring with me to competitions and often ask me for recipes.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes my family and friends are very supportive and never judgemental.

What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?  
They ask me what I eat! haha. It surprises a lot of people when they hear my answer. They assume I only eat fruits and vegetables.

Who or what motivates you?
I am easily motivated. I am always looking for ways to improve myself and it's a neverending process.

Food & Supplements

What do you eat for:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries and almond milk
Lunch: Granola bars, fruits, soy based yogurt, and bagels
Dinner: Salad filled with various vegetables and quinoa
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy): I make some pretty amazing chocolate cupcakes! I love to bake so anything from muffins to cookies to trail mix
 
What is your favourite source of:
Protein: Beans
Calcium: Broccoli, Kale and other green vegetables
Iron: My iron supplement ;) ha ha
 
What foods give you the most energy?
Mostly anything! i make some super-charge me cookies filled with seeds and dried fruits and those usually do the trick.

Do you take any supplements?
I take an iron supplement and B12 vitamin along with a multi vitamin and Omega 3-6-9 vitamin.
 
Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle: Pilates or yoga. It is not hard on the body and you can do it at home by yourself or in the studio with a trainer.
Losing weight: Move! Don't stop eating, just add exercise to your daily routine.
Maintaining weight: Eat a balanced diet.
Improving metabolism: Eat a balanced diet.
Toning up: Again, pilates or yoga.
 
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I try to talk to anyone who is interested. I am not surrounded by any other vegans in my life so I'm advocating alone for veganism!

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
This I don't have an answer because I'm not involved in much because like I said, I don't really associate with other vegans, I don't personally know any.
 
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