Viva La Vegan!
Lani Muelrath, M.A. is an author, teacher, TV show host, and university kinesiology professor who is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University. She has a Masters degree in Physical Education and is credentialed to teach multiple fitness modalities including yoga and pilates and holds Fitness Nutrition Specialist advanced credential. She is celebrity coach and presenter for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine 21-Day Vegan Kickstart and VegRun programs. Lani is the author of Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts and The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide (2015).
Lani_Muelrath
Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
As a longtime lacto vegetarian – for over 40 years – I had intermittently eliminated dairy products. My reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet back then were just as they are now:  for health, for humanitarian reasons, for the animals, and for the environmental impact of eating animal products. These same reasons are even more compelling today – and have become ethical considerations in whole new dimensions. Consider the ethics of monopolizing land, air and water resources to grow plants to feed to animals as livestock – when we could feed far more directly. Consider the ethics of farm subsidies making healthy-damaging meat and dairy less expensive for the consumer, when those who invest in their health end up paying the disease tab for all. That’s just for starters.
 
How long have you been vegan?
From the switch from vegetarian to vegan, it has been over seven years.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
Aside from health benefits, I’ve distinctly noted since abandoning animal products: easier weight management, no more ear infections or head congestion - and the sense of integrity from making the choice to eat vegan has a profound effect on well-being.

What does veganism mean to you?
It means being a conscious eater who eschews animal products and makes the best choices I can every day to reduce and eliminate harm to other sentient beings – and our planet - with what I choose to eat and wear.

Training
What sort of training do you do?
I run daily and walk just as often, and complete resistance and flexibility training three times a week.  Several times a week I bike ride, when the weather allows. I enjoy hiking and scuba diving as well.

How often do you (need to) train?
Physical activity is essential for proper brain function and well-being, let alone for your health and physical confidence. For that reason I exercise every day, even if it’s as simple as long walk.

Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I specialize in helping people transition to a whole –foods, plant-based diet so that they can realize their ideal weight and a healthy happy relationship with food, eating and their body – without grueling exercise or excessive hunger. Along with that, I have taught and am credentialed and certified to teach many modalities, including Hatha yoga, pilates, and resistance training. My book Fit Quickies:  5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts (Penguin/Alpha Books, 2013), provides complete instruction on specific exercises that together form a complete resistance training program. The book has been adopted as required text for a college Kinesiology course and I teach and train groups and clients with these exercises.

What sports do you play?
Fitness is my focus, so if running and scuba and biking are considered ‘sport’, I’m in!

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
Vegans have been perceived as scrawny and weak – this public perception is changing though as we have more athletes and active vegans coming forward and sharing their lifestyles – along with their diets.

What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
Consistency.

What is your biggest challenge?
Getting in pushups and planks. They are my least favorite muscle challenges, yet essential for upper body and overall strength.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
A little bit of each – as people become more educated about ‘protein’ and nutrition in general, consideration and acceptance becomes easier.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes – very!  As a matter of fact, decades ago when I first became vegetarian, within a relatively short amount of time so did my parents and sisters. My husband and I were on board at the same time, together.
 
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?
The protein question always comes up, which I welcome because it is an opportunity to educate.  Other than that, people often say “I could never give up….” I respond differently depending on the person. I respond with positive replacements. The best way to win hearts is through example – and good food!

Who or what motivates you?
All of the above. Making a difference.
 Lani_Muelrath_Fit_Quickies_book
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:

Breakfast - Fruit and whole grains, sometimes pancakes, waffles or muffins.
Lunch - Sandwich with hummus, veggies, sometimes cashew cheese, and big slices of tomato and onion with salad or soup.
Dinner - Whole grain or starchy vegetable with more veggies and salad.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - Fruit, toast and nut butter, brown rice with beans and salsa, crackers with veg cheese.
 
What is your favourite source of:

Protein – All plant foods. I’m big on beans
Calcium – Greens and beans.
Iron – Greens and beans.
 
What foods give you the most energy?
Whole plant foods in variety – make sure to eat plenty of whole grains and starchy vegetables. We need the calories - you can’t get by on just the high water content veggies.
 
Do you take any supplements?
B-12.
 
Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle
- Challenge the muscles and eat enough calories.
Losing weight - Reduce dietary fat and processed foods.
Maintaining weight - Reduce dietary fat and processed foods, and sneak in a little intermittent fasting for improving health!
Improving metabolism - Stay active and eat enough calories over the course of the week to stay lean yet energized.
Toning up - Targeted muscle shapers along with comprehensive exercise.
 
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
Living by example, writing and authorship, public speaking, teleclasses and webcasts, supporting other authors and speakers by promoting their books, work, and events.

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
Start by implementing changes in your diet – keep educating yourself!  There are multiple resources on my website and a huge list of books, resources, and websites with information for support.
 
 
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