Viva La Vegan!
James Aspey is a 27-year old vegan health and fitness coach from Sydney, Australia who embarked on a 365-day vow of silence in 2014. He educates his clients on exercise, nutrition and positive thinking through various books, movies, meditations and his own personal experiences. It is a privilege for James to be a guide and service to others, and he is grateful every day to have such an amazing job.
James_Aspey
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I went vegetarian to experience the personal benefits, then during my research became aware of the harsh reality that is happening to animals today and knew I could never, nor would I ever want to go back to eating meat. A few months later after understanding more about the dairy industry, which I previously thought was in no way cruel to animals, I stopped purchasing dairy and only ate it if it was going to be thrown out anyway. A few months later I decided I didn't want to ingest the product of pain and suffering of another living being and have been a happy, thriving vegan ever since.
 
How long have you been vegan?
Almost 2 years.
 
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
The joy I get from eating food that isn't causing cruelty and violence towards other living beings. 
 
What does veganism mean to you?
To me, being vegan means to be living in constancy with the belief that violence and unnecessarily inflicting pain and suffering and killing other beings is wrong. It means respecting life and seeing non-human animals as more than just a product to be taken advantage of. It's living the healthiest, most compassionate, most environmentally friendly way to benefit the whole of nature and Earth's inhabitants.
 
Training
What sort of training do you do?
Resistance and sprint. 
 
How often do you (need to) train?
Since I've been vegan, far less to maintain a fit, strong and healthy body. I usually train at least three times a week. 
 
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
Yes, I've been a Personal Trainer for the last 8 years.
 
What sports do you play?
Surfing, break dancing, tennis.
 
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
That what we are doing is extreme and unachievable for most people. I address it by often explaining that if any lifestyle is extreme, it is definitely not the vegans, it is the ones exploiting and murdering innocent animals. Also, by showing how easy and enjoyable it is to be vegan through delicious food and recipes.
 
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
It's so much easier for me to maintain a healthy physical appearance. I've done far less exercise than usual as of late though my body has maintained muscle mass and aerobic endurance far better than I would have in my previous meat and dairy eating lifestyle. Also, the food I eat energises me and makes me want to be active rather than making me feel bloated and wanting to lie down and do nothing. 
 
What is your biggest challenge?
The constant disagreement from people who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to vegan nutrition or the “health benefits” of eating animal products. 
 
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Some are, some are not. That's why it is important to be a shining example of the lifestyle. 
 
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Absolutely, my Mum and Dad are now both vegan and have both lost near 20kgs and are feeling and looking better than they did 30 years ago. Many friends have also gone vegan and the ones that haven't understand why I am and respect it.
 
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?
People ask me, "What do you eat?" I say, “More variety and amazing food than ever before in my life. Veganised versions of everything you eat and then all the rest. Pizza, pasta, smoothies, curryies, sandwiches, cakes, ice cream, muffins, stir-fries, burgers, noodles, fruit."
 
Who or what motivates you?
I'm motivated by the suffering of animals and inspired by every single vegan activist who speaks up on their behalf.
 
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Fruit feast, smoothies, oats with berries and nuts.
Lunch - Zucchini pasta with avocao, chia seeds, sprouts, nutritional yeast. Lentil burgers and salad. 
Dinner - Satay tofu stir-fry. Curry and rice. Roast veg and soy sausages. 
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Banana ice cream. 
 
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Lentils, tofu, tempeh.
Calcium - Tahini.
Iron - Kale.
 
What foods give you the most energy?
Fruit, especially bananas.
 
Do you take any supplements?
No.
 
Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Do weights slowly and in a controlled manner until you reach failure in each set. Eat a variety of high protein, whole-foods.
Losing weight - Read "End Emotional Eating" by Dr. Jennifer Taitz.
Maintaining weight - Figure out how many calories you burn in a day, consume around the same. 
Improving metabolism - Resistance training at least 3 times a week.
Toning up - Full body, and weight training program. 
 
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
For all of 2014, I have been involved in a campaign called Voiceless365, where I have taken a 365-day vow of silence while travelling around Australia. My blog is about the experience, and about all aspects of animal exploitation, veganism, food, health and all things related. I promote it by being a shining example of a healthy, positive, thriving vegan. I bring up veganism at any given opportunity and strive to educate others on how to take on the lifestyle.
 
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Visit my website, follow Voiceless365 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Read as many books on veganism and animal ethics as possible. Join all the vegan groups on Facebook. Share all the enlightening quotes and videos. Educate, educate, educate and be the change you wish to see in the world.
 
 
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