Viva La Vegan!
Deearnah De Marco is a Yoga teacher, Personal trainer, and Group Fitness Instructor who teaches a variety of group fitness classes from hard-core training to relaxation classes. Dee is a 48-year old mother of two, who is extremely passionate about helping people achieve their health and fitness goals to improve their quality of life for life. She strongly believes it all starts with what we eat. Dee shares information, and encourages people to research for themselves how eating meat and dairy products is not only affecting your health in a negative way, but also the animals and our environment. Dee is a firm believer in the Albert Einstein quote “nothing will benefit health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I have actually never tasted red meat. I was a vegetarian from birth. I ate some fish as a child, not much and then first tasted chicken and other seafoods (the only other meats I have tried) in my late twenties. I have been a vegetarian mainly for most of my life and now vegan. I am very passionate about health and fitness and decided to become a vegan for my own overall wellbeing. Initially my motivation was for my own health, but now even if I really loved meat and dairy products but had to stop eating them to stop the cruelty to animals I would immediately.

How long have you been vegan?
Over 2 years.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
My mind is clearer. I have more focus and motivation. I am a more positive person. My daily energy levels are high and overall health and vitality is much better. I virtually never get sick and if so it would be for one day, maximum. I have heaps of energy to get through my busy days. I look and feel healthier.

What does veganism mean to you?
It means I am doing the best I can to not support the meat and dairy industries and the cruel treatment of animals. It also means I am doing my best to not support the pharmaceutical industry. I do not have a doctor and have not had a doctor since leaving home at a very young age. I provide my body with the best nutrition I can and find it heals itself when needed. It also means I am giving myself the best possible chance at a great quality of life.

What sort of training do you do?
I do yoga almost every day. I train weights, kettlebell training, jog, body-weight training and dancing.

How often do you (need to) train?
I normally train 5 times a week 1-2 hours a day, as I enjoy the feeling of training regularly. I can feel healthy, strong, vital, and remain lean with training as little as 2-3 times a week for an hour because of what I eat. When I was not vegan I trained 7 days a week for longer periods to feel this good.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Yes. I am a personal trainer, yoga teacher and group fitness instructor teaching a variety of classes from boxercise classes, kettlebell training, circuit classes, spin, aqua classes, ChiBall, pilates, yoga and a low impact women’s only workout I have developed over the years. I offer one-on-one or small group PT sessions, private or small group yoga sessions, and dietary advice.

What sports do you play?
At the moment, I don’t play any sports. One of my greatest passions is sailing and I sail 1-2 times a week. I love being out on the water.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
Where we get our nutrition from - and I address this by sharing the knowledge I have gained and directing people to where to find and research this information themselves.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
My energy levels, stamina, recovery time, and my body’s ability to heal itself quickly.

What is your biggest challenge?
Finding food to eat out that is as good as the food I make myself.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Generally, they are, especially if they know me well before they find out I am vegan, as they know how fit and healthy I am and are surprised I have the energy levels I do on a vegan diet. I find generally people are just uneducated on the subject and if you are a living positive example, they are interested to know more.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes, very supportive. I find my close friends and family are not only supportive but inspired to change things in their diet as well to feel better. Both my daughters, now 22 and 19, have been brought up mainly on a vegetarian diet and have chosen to try everything over time, and have now - naturally of their own accord - come back to vegetarian or vegan diets as they feel so much better.

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 where I get my protein and calcium from, and I respond by informing them of how much protein and calcium is in the different organic foods I eat - compared to processed meat and dairy products - without the harmful things that are in these foods. I also like to discuss that the reason why most people think they know where to get protein and calcium from, is because that’s what mainstream media has always told us. The meat and dairy industries have a lot of products and want to sell them, but now as its costing governments more money as people are so overweight and so sick, the truth is starting to slowly come out in mainstream media as well. If these products had what we needed to be healthy, we would not have the current level of diseases we have today.
Who or what motivates you?
For most of my life the burning desire I have had from a very young age is to have the best quality of life. The longest life I can motivates me to eat well and move a lot. In addition to that, now not wanting to support the dairy and meat industries also motivates me to be vegan.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Generally a smoothie. My favourite smoothie is:
1-2 Bananas
Half an avocado
2 tablespoons of my organic pea protein powder
2 tablespoons of organic cocoa powder
Handful of frozen berries (whatever I have) blackberries and blueberries are my favourite. I mix just enough coconut water for the blender to mix the ingredients. So thick you eat with a spoon. Yummy.

Lunch - I eat a lot of raw food, a lot of dark leafy greens. Sprouts are also a favourite. I make big salads, mixed with a choice of chickpeas, lentils, rice, nuts and seeds, and seaweeds, tofu and tempeh.

Dinner - Generally I would eat the same for dinner as lunch. Otherwise, I also love organic rice and curries. Chickpea and potato - or tofu and tempeh - curries with a lot of greens and chilies.

Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Generally I snack on seeds and nuts, seaweed, raw carrots, capsicums, apples or organic vegan cocoa bars. My not so healthy snacks would be organic corn chips, sweet potato chips, Wasabi peas and organic vegan chocolate.
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Lentils, tofu, tempeh, chickpeas and nuts.
Calcium - All the dark leafy greens I eat. Particularly love rocket, mint, coriander, spinach, kale, tempeh and tahini.
Iron - Legumes, (tofu, tempeh, lentils), brown rice, nuts and seeds.
What foods give you the most energy?
Cocoa powder – in my morning smoothies - legumes, dark, leafy greens, seeds, nuts and chilies.

Do you take any supplements?
Occasionally I will take some supplements, but feel great without them.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Go vegan. Train hard, eat well, and get enough sleep.
Losing weight - Go vegan. That’s my tip for everything. Better for you, better for the animals, better for the planet, everyone’s a WINNER.
Maintaining weight - Go vegan, train regularly, and eat according to how much you move.
Improving metabolism - Go vegan, eat spicy foods, especially chilies, train regularly, and do not overeat.
Toning up - Go vegan. Train hard, eat well and eat according to how much you move around. Energy in equals energy out.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
Via social media channels and through conversations with people.

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
See my Facebook page. There and the Internet are great ways to find out about the benefits of veganism. Two great YouTube videos to watch if interested in veganism: Dr Michael Greger – Uprooting the leading causes of death and Gary Yourofsky – Best speech you will ever hear.
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