Viva La Vegan!
Steph Davis is a professional climber who lives in Moab, Utah, USA. She started climbing when a freshman at the University of Maryland in 1991. Climbing is her anchor and passion. It’s as much a part of her as eating or walking. For Steph, living half tamed feels right. She love high places, and seeing the world from above. Steph started skydiving and base-jumping seven years ago and has learned that climbing really is a metaphor for life in many ways. Read her full story here.   
Steph_Davis
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I started eating vegan in 2002. I was experimenting with different eating systems to improve my climbing performance. I tried four different diets for four months each. When I was finished, I did the master cleanse. When I started to eat food again after the cleansing fast, I found that the only things I wanted to eat were whole-food, non-meat items, and I decided to just go with it. I quickly discovered that I was climbing and feeling better than before, and that's why I stayed vegan.
 
How long have you been vegan?
Over 12 years.
 
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan? 
Athletic performance and overall health.
 
What does veganism mean to you?
To me, it means being healthy, eating mindfully, respecting the environment and causing less harm to other living creatures.
 
Training
What sort of training do you do? 
I climb and train for climbing 5 days a week. I base-jump (carrying my gear to the top of the cliff or mountain) 4 days a week. I trail run 2-4 times a week.
 
How often do you (need to) train?
See above.
 
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others? 
I own a company called Moab Base Adventures, which offers climbing clinics, climbing coaching, base jumping guiding and base jumping instruction.
 
What sports do you play?
Climbing, base-jumping, wing suit flying, trail running and Nordic skiing.
 
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I feel it's changed a lot over the years, but climbers used to think that you needed animal protein for climbing performance. I've also heard people say that males and endurance athletes "need" animal protein, despite what we see from ultra-runners like Scott Jurek.
 
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
Beyond just being vegan, I'm very interested in nutrition - eating whole foods, nothing processed, and no refined sugar.
 
What is your biggest challenge? 
I don't like to rely on refined wheat products to fill me up, and it can be harder when traveling to find good food, depending on the part of the country or world I'm in.
 
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not? 
Yes.
 
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes.
 
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?
"How do you get protein?" I explain that people can actually process much less protein than the common perception, and that eating excess protein is actually just a waste.
 
Who or what motivates you? 
At this point in my life, my main motivation for being vegan is to remove my consumer dollars from the factory farming system, and in that way cast my vote for halting animal abuse.
Steph_Davix_tre_cima_high
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Homemade granola and soy or brown rice milk, or just fruit if I'm not very hungry.  Also ginger tea.
Lunch - Usually I don't eat an official lunch, rather I eat throughout the day as I feel hungry.
Dinner - In the summer, salad with nuts and sauteed tofu. In the winter, brown rice or quinoa with tofu and veggie stir-fry.  Sometimes brown rice pasta with grilled vegetables.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Homemade hummus with red peppers and cucumbers is a real favorite, nuts, fruit and dried fruit.
 
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Tofu, lentils, garbanzo beans, black beans, almonds, and walnuts.
Calcium - Kale, chard and spinach.
Iron – Spinach.
 
What foods give you the most energy? 
Hummus and vegetables.
 
Do you take any supplements? 
I take B vitamins, creatine and sometimes Iron.
 
Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle, Losing weight, Maintaining weight, Improving metabolism, and Toning up
For all of the above, lots of exercise, being mindful of including protein sources in meals and eating lots of whole grains and vegetables.
 
How do you promote veganism in your daily life? 
I love cooking, so I always cook for people and bake for people, and I share recipes on my blog.
 
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do? 
Go to a climbing gym, or go to a drop zone and make a tandem skydive!
 
 
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