VLV Articles

Jaie Nelson is a 25-year old male, who consider himself to be extremely active if not hyperactive. He has been vegan for over a year and feels amazing for it. Jaie works as a Health Consultant, is a practitioner of the discipline Parkour, the founder of the volunteer group Vertical Freedom Parkour, a martial artist and also recently become addicted to calisthenics.


Why Vegan?
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
My wife and I first became vegetarian to save money after our wedding, and two months after that I just woke up one morning turned to her and said, “I’m Vegan from now on.” My mind and Body just told me to do so.
How long have you been vegan?
I have been Vegan now for over a year.
What has benefited you the most from being vegan?
I feel the most functional and clean I have ever been, functional being in my training and mental state. Clean being internally. I also found that after 3 months of being vegan I grew in my already immense love of animals and really started noticing the debauched state we treat animals in society.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism for me was the next step in my physical and mental purification of my body. It was not just a change in diet, but a way of life and a new way to view the world.
What sort of training do you do?
I am a Traceur (Parkour Practitioner) and am also heavily involved in calisthenics.
How often do you (need to) train?
I feel I need to train everyday. Personally, I don’t believe in rest days.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I started a volunteer group, Vertical Freedom - we hold regular Parkour training sessions and all our work we do for free.
What sports do you play?
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I feel the biggest misconception about vegans is that we all are unhealthily thin and non-functional. When I hear this said I can’t help but jump up and show off a Parkour or Calisthenics technique that leaves the instigator speechless.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
I have become more flexible, which helps a lot, and as I mentioned above I feel more functional and energized constantly.
What is your biggest challenge?
I don’t believe I have any.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Not particularly. I work at a gym so at times I get bombarded by the rubbish ‘ideals’ of other Personal Trainers.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
They are. My wife is vegetarian however we always eat vegan, both my family and in-laws are hugely supportive, when we come around for tea they both make and eat vegan meals too.
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?
We all know it’s, “Where do you get your protein and iron?” I respond to this by explaining that there are plenty of other natural sources of both and that these are more easily absorbed by our bodies.
Who or what motivates you?
Three things:
  • My constant striving to be the most functional I can be.
  • My wife Shayli.
  • A colleague at work who is also vegan and has been a lot longer then myself.


Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast – Hot cocao, and a fruit smoothie (only using fresh water system, reverse osmosis water.)
2nd meal – Something light and quickly digested eg. Tobbouleh or quinoa salad.
Lunch – A rice or rice noodle dish eg. Laksas or vegan sushi.
4th meal – Again something light and also fruit.
Dinner – Varies, but I do enjoy vegan Indian meals.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) – Homemade hommus, and vege chips.
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Chickpeas
Calcium – Rice milk
Iron – Raw spinach or kale
What foods give you the most energy?
If I have to pick one I’d say my smoothies.
Do you take any supplements?
Sometimes I experiment with trying to make my own non-caffeinated protein pre-workout shakes/drinks - always be cautious as a lot contain hidden animal products.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle – Eat a lot, frequently, and train muscle groups till exhaustion.
Losing weight – Eat frequently but in smaller portions and don’t snack. Also end all your training sessions with a hard hitting cardio workout.
Maintaining weight – The saying “eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for tea” comes to mind. Try to get at least 3 -5 workouts in a week.
Improving metabolism – Through my own experience I can say step up the amount of times you eat. Eat frequently but in smaller portions and don’t snack.
Toning up – See above for improving metabolism. Also I have found training 6-7 times a week works well - I don’t believe in rest days.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I talk to a lot of people working at a gym and when we discuss diets, I make myself available to answer any and all questions asked.
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
I have a lot of mottos to live by. One of my favourites being “shut up and deal with it” - so get yourself out there, and train to be strong and useful.
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Leigh-Chantelle is an International Speaker & Consultant; Author, Singer/Songwriter and Blogger.

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