VOLUME 2 APRIL-MAY 2013
NYC’s YOGA216 PRACTICE AND PEACE IN THE CITY
BARNIVORE: VEGAN BOOZE
TOMMY REYNOLDS PERSONAL TRAINER, MODEL & HEART-THROB
BETWEEN HAITI AND THE HIMALAYAS.
Meet “The Blissful Chef”: CHRISTY MORGAN ON NUTRITION, PURPOSE AND WHOLENESS
GORDIE HOLT AINSLEY RODRIGUEZ MALIN JOHANSSON ROCHELLE WHITE
WHY BLUE MATTERS Why Blue Matters is an inspirational and aspirational platform that provides a look as well as a sound for those in pursuit of their goals and dreams.
WBM / AUTR VOLUME 2 APRIL-MAY 2013
Earlier this past February, we released our first digital magazine, highlighting the incredible talent of a few fashion designers from Nolcha Fashion Week 2013, as well as some photographers and visual artists. This new issue celebrates the diverse aspects of a life of wellness. We believe that, like anything else in life, wellness is a multifaceted experience that involves mind, body and spirit. Our features for April-May represent the best of these qualities through their accomplishments, perseverance, good humor and positive impact upon others.
Why WBM? In 2009, we were inspired to do something very amazing. Our mission: Identify those not only in pursuit of their aspirations, but those who had the vision, patience, and determination to turn their aspirations into something tangible. The result: The discovery of individuals and organizations who would become hue-man interest pieces while giving new significance to the color blue. Stories were told. Hundreds of them, about people from all around the world. People all striving for the same thing– to have their impact felt and their efforts acknowledged. So as a means of inspiration, we curate stories about those who personify creativity and resilience while etching into time new legacies to share.
EDITORS Production Management
A. L. Roberts
WRITERS / INTERVIEWERS A. L. Roberts Lital Khaikin
DESIGN Design Direction and Editing
PHOTOGRAPHY Ramzi Hashisho, Javier Hernandez of Inline Photography, Jonathan Hillis, Roger Kirby, Gary Leung, Sonya Looney, Lenny Mazliah, Marc Brian Queyquep, Heather Schramm of Austin Vivid Photography, Melissa Schwartz of Schwartz Studios, Brett Seely, Fellipe Silva, Cathy Snider, Mateuscz Stachowski, Petr Vins, Bas van de Wiel.
PERSONAL TRAINER, MODEL
PERSONAL TRAINER, MODEL
PERSONAL TRAINER, DANCER
PERSONAL TRAINER, GYMNAST
PRO MOUNTAIN BIKER
FITNESS YOGA WORKS
“THE BLISSFUL CHEF”
IS YOUR BOOZE VEGAN?
ANDRE L. ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY
Passion--it's the fuel that drives the human heart. Entrepreneur and personal trainer, Tommy Reynolds has a significant amount of it. It has moved him in a direction of living a life of wellness, while also enabling him to start a business that encourages others to be fit.
PASSION â€œ The fitness aspect has always been a part of my life, growing up playing sports. When I was 18 or so, I started taking the gym much more seriously, and when I was about 24 is when I really took my training and fitness to another level. The modeling thingâ€ŚI still don't consider myself a model or anything like that. It was never something I aspired to be or do, but I have just been blessed with some awesome opportunities.
Just a regular guy who works hard, believes in living life in positive manner, and is very loyal to his close ones.
“I absolutely love to train. I look forward to it every day. Keeping myself motivated is easy when I surround myself with positive motivating people. I feel like I have a lot of people looking up to me and I'd be letting people down if I didn't do what I do. I will never take it for granted.”
“Motivating and inspiring others. Having people write to me and come up to me to tell me that they look up to me or that I have inspired them in any way is by far the coolest and biggest accomplishment I have received during this journey.”
“Honestly, this past year or so, I haven't had any. If I do have some spare time I enjoy going out to dinner and watching movies. I love spending time with my friends and family. Really my life has been revolved around fitness, food, and health for so long now that down time mostly involves working.”
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU WANTED TO PURSUE? I actually graduated college with a Real Estate degree, worked in the field for three years after I graduated, and did really well until the market crashed. When that happened, I switched my mindset and decided to focus on doing something that I love to do, and if I'm good at what I love the financial benefits will then follow. I haven't looked back since.
WHAT TYPE OF OPPORTUNITIES HAVE YOUR ENDEAVORS PROVIDED FOR YOU?
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU? This is funny. A day in my shoes is nonstop. It starts around 7 am, wake up, and it's a combination of cardio, eating, or working. And that combo usually lasts until 10 pm. I love being busy and, like I said before, when you do what you love it really doesn't feel like work. But some days I just wish I had a little more me time.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE SUPPLEMENTS OR VITAMINS TO MAINTAINING PEAK PERFORMANCE? They are important just as much as any other aspect of health and fitness. I think you should get most of your nutrients from whole foods, but I also know that there are plenty of times when our body needs more. I think, depending on your goals, supplements can be crucial to your peak fitness physique.
I originally started bartending as I started my personal training business, and allowed it to grow at the pace that I wanted it to. Until just recently, I was given an opportunity to work with a great company, at Muscle Egg. My business is booming and I'm opening a gym in the process. So, I can truly say I'm doing what I love and don't consider it work for a second.
HOW CAN SOMEONE BEGIN TO TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR LIFE IN A HEALTHY WAY? I think the first step is to really want to make a change. Everyone I know wants to be in shape, everyone wants to look good, be fit, and eat healthy. The problem is everyone just wants it without the work and dedication. I always tell my clients to take baby steps. You can't go from living a unhealthy life to just cold turkey and eating the perfect diet and have the perfect exercise regimen. It takes time and if you really want the change it will come.
“You have to love what you’re doing. You have to love it so much that not a day goes by that your dread going to "work". If you truly are passionate about what you do the possibilities are endless.”
â€œIf, when I leave this earth, I know that I have made a change in people's lives in a positive way, I will know my job was done. I think I have been given certain skills, and inspiring people and spreading the word of positivity is all part of the plan for me.â€?
For some, fighting is a way out. We’re fighting our way in.
REASON? www.areyouthereason.com Photograph courtesy of Stokkete via Photodune.
RODRIGUEZ INTERVIEWED BY ANDRE. L. ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAVIER HERNANDEZ
When you live your life to the absolute fullest, there's no telling how many people you will inspire along the way. What started off for Ainsley Rodriguez as a personal decision to dedicate her life to healthy living has now enabled her to become not only a role model, but also someone whose professional insight and experience is well sought after.
WHAT PART OF THE WORLD DO YOU CALL HOME? I was born and raised in the warm city of Miami, Florida, and Iâ€™m currently still living in paradise!
WHAT'S THE MOST AMAZING THING ABOUT LEADING A LIFE OF WELLNESS? How I feel on the INSIDE! Being fit has not only changed my body but, more importantly, it has changed my mind, and given me both physical and mental wellness. I am content and confident, and that is something that NOBODY can take from me!
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN COACHING AND TRAINING OTHERS TO SUCCEED? I have been coaching and training others to succeed not only in attaining their dream body on the outside, but also toward helping them find that positive attitude that will help take them anywhere they want to go in life. I try to help shift clients’ attitudes from “this is what I want” to “look how far I have come”. The majority of my coaching is done online, which has been so rewarding for me because it gives me the opportunity to work with people all around the world!
YOU HAVE A HUGE FOLLOWING ACROSS THE SEVERAL DIFFERENT SOCIAL NETWORKS. WHAT CAN YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS TO? My success in the fitness industry is attributed to staying true to myself. The fact that people can relate to me on a personal level is what has allowed me to get me this far today.
HOW HAS YOUR PASSION FOR WELLNESS CREATED OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU?
When you have passion in your life towards a particular goal, you become unstoppable. When passion takes over, you are able to tap into your reserves of mental and physical energy to drive you toward what you want. That’s pretty much where I’m at now, and helping others achieve this same mental state is something I find essential to getting what you want and long for! Opportunities are presented to us every day but it’s our perception, passion and a positive state of mind that will determine the outcome.
A LIFESTYLE! Being “fit and healthy” doesn’t happen overnight. Most of the people who struggle expect results too quickly and resort to crash diets that are not realistic or sustainable. The key to fitness is consistency! It’s something you work at every single day, just like anything else in life. Change requires time and effort, but after you get started, it’s nearly impossible to stop!
FAVORITE MU TO WORK ON?
Sure is! Taking classes or changing your setting is a great place to start. I personally just started incorporating calisthenics and Bikram Yoga into my routine. Try out something new or take your workout outdoors one day! It’s not easy to stay motivated, so changing things up to avoid boredom is definitely a great way to stay on track!
SCLE GROUP ?
My legs are my weak point in my opinion, and I am constantly struggling to build them and put mass on them, so they are definitely my favorite to train. Thus, I split them in order to hit them twice a week! Plus, I always make sure to eat more on my leg days and I usually have a cheat meal here!
WEEK MONDAY Shoulders and abs
TUESDAY Quads and calves
WEDNESDAY Rest Day
THURSDAY Biceps and triceps
FRIDAY Shoulders—rear delts—and abs
SATURDAY Hams and glutes
SUNDAY Chest, back and calves
“I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD GET TO THIS POINT OR EVEN BREAK INTO THE INDUSTRY. I WAS LIVING A DEDICATED AND HEALTHY LIFE FOR MYSELF AND EVERYTHING ELSE JUST KIND OF FELL INTO PLACE.”
I would have to say that would be inspiring as many people as I do. I never thought I would get to this point or even break into the industry. I was living a dedicated and healthy life for myself and everything else just kind of fell into place. I guess it’s all intertwined as fitness builds a confidence that in turn illuminates everything else in your life. My experiences have shaped me into who I am today, but by no means am I done learning or growing!
I never saw myself impacting the world at all! I was just your everyday girl who found pleasure in staying in shape, and slowly but surely my name and message started to spread. I am forever blessed and thankful for all that has come my way, and the people I have touched.
Many of my followers and fans help me TREMENDOUSLY. The amount of love, support and respect I get from them constantly keeps me motivated. As many times as I may hear that I inspire others, they really donâ€™t realize that they in turn inspire and motivate me too! EVERY single email I get from someone telling me I have helped them on their journey puts a smile on my face. The fact that someone would take the time out of their day to reach out to me is more motivation than anything else.
SET A GOAL. KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT IS THE FIRST STEP TO MAKING IT HAPPEN!
Maintain a positive mindset. So many people spend their time and energy reflecting on what they “haven’t” done or “didn’t accomplish”. If you gear this energy toward thinking about what you WILL do, it keeps you upbeat and less likely to fall off track!
BE PATIENT, STAY CONSISTENT AND DON’T GET FRUSTRATED.
STRIVE FOR PROGRESS…NOT PERFECTION! PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE AND WILL ONLY LEAD TO FUTURE FAILURE.
FOCUS. Make the mind-muscle connection and keep your eyes on your priorities.
Everything will fall into place with time, just do your part and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way!
“FOR NOW, I HOPE TO CONTINUE INSPIRING AND MOTIVATING OTHERS AS WELL AS BEING A HELP TO THOSE IN NEED OF GUIDANCE WITH THE PERSONAL ONLINE COACHING I PROVIDE…
IMPACT …FITNESS PUT ME ON A ROAD TO PERSONAL DISCOVERY AND MOVED ME TOWARD THE REALM OF BETTERING MYSELF AND LIFE ALONG WITH THE PEOPLE SURROUNDING ME. I WISH TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE AND SHOW THEM THAT FITNESS SHOULD ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIFE, NOT TAKE OVER IT.”
HOLT INTERVIEWED BY ANDRE L. ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY LENNY MAZLIAH
Our ability to move gives our lives shape. The movement of Gordie Holt enabled him to find opportunity. Through his steps, he has danced on many stages and inspired with his grace.
“GORDIE IS AN OPTIMISTIC, ETHICAL, VISIONARY, AND PASSIONATE DANCER AND ARTIST.
Although dance has been his primary line of focus, he has been afforded the opportunity to gain experience in all things creative, recently working as the assistant director for a fashion exhibit for the city of Norcross, and collecting solo choreography credit for the stage production of “In The Midnight Hour”.
In addition to dance, he is also a personal trainer, and fitness consultant. He is a “country boy” native of Leesville, Louisiana but has been home in Atlanta for 13 years. He’s a hopeful romantic, the oldest of eight children, and has been the local “big brother” for Atlanta’s growing dance community.
DANCE IS… …the most important thing in my life. I may sound like a typical, deeply emotional artist, but dance has always been.
I WOULDN'T BE GORDIE, I'D BE SOMEONE ELSE WITHOUT IT.
I got my start when a friend of mine, Cliff Boyce, introduced me to a guy named Javon Simms. At the time, Javon was the choreographer for this new artist KeKe Wyatt. Long story short, he hired me for a promo tour. That was my first “professional” dance job.
AS A DANCER, HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS OR IMPROVE UPON IT? I have been able to maintain and improve upon my physical fitness by making it a career. In addition to being a dancer I’ve been a certified personal trainer for 11 years. Fitness is a way of life for me.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
MY IDEA OF SUCCESS IS ACCOMPLISHING WHATEVER GOAL YOU HAVE SET FOR YOURSELF. YES, I'VE KNOWN SUCCESS OFTEN AND I MEET HER EVERY CHANCE I GET.
INFLUENCES CHUCK MALDONADO JAMAL SIMS SWOOP ROGER LEE
TOP 5 DANCERS DEBBIE ALLEN
FOR HER PASSION AND LOVE OF THE ART. FOR THE SOUL OF HIS SHOES: HE TRANSCENDED TAP. HAS THE DOPEST GROOVES, AND WAS SO COOL. IT’S MICHAEL!!! HE LIVES IT, THROUGH AND THROUGH.
OPPORTUNITY With dance I’ve had the opportunity to see the world. I’ve been able to see the magic behind movies and videos. I was blessed to be one of the first people to see the Martin Luther King memorial. My family hasn't gained directly thus far, but they get a kick out of seeing me on TV. WHICH CAME FIRST: STYLE OR FORM? That’s a very good question, and I think would be debatable per dancer. For me style comes first. In my opinion you can teach a monkey form, but style is in you. No one can teach it, and it’s difficult to pull it out of someone. You get there on your own.
THE MUSIC CAUSES YOU TO MOVE; IS IT SOMETHING YOU HEAR FIRST OR SOMETHING YOU FEEL? For me, it’s a feeling. Sometimes I don't even know or I’m not cognizant of music playing, but I'll start moving. It’s definitely felt first.
â€œWhen chasing your dreams, just keep swimming. You will make mistakes, you will get tired, you will have bad days, but if you are diligent, and learn as you goâ€Ś
...It gets easier, and there is happiness the whole way because you are doing what you love. If God gives you that fire, passion, and ability, itâ€™s for a reason. Just keep moving.â€?
The journey to embody wellness..
Inspiration can be found anywhere, and we had something amazing sent specifically from Sweden. With the proper mindset, the things that you can do are limitless. Fitness enthusiast, personal trainer and track and field athlete Malin Johansson lends her insight why. -Andre L. Roberts
MALIN JOHANSSON, BORN IN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN IN 1987. I AM A GYMNAST AND HAVE BEEN FOR 22 YEARS. I ALSO DO TRACK AND FIELD ( 100 METER AND 200 METER), AND TOGETHER WITH THAT I HAVE BEEN TRAINING IN THE GYM FOR ALMOST 12 YEARS . . .
WILL BE PAIN.
Today I work as a personal trainer, and I have been doing that for five years. I have studied to be a physiotherapist, and have had a long and great background of strong and successful rehabilitation of a knee injury— ripping my cruciate ligament anterior on both knees.
I have always picked myself up and been even more motivated to get back and get stronger than before, in my heart and body.
“WE ALL TRAIN, AND THERE
BY MALIN JOHANSSON
It is all about you, what you choose to do with what you have, and what you will become in every aspect of your life—your determination and motivation to go as far as you can. It could be about getting a new lifestyle, feeling comfortable with yourself and your body, getting skinnier, healthier, stronger, building muscles, heading for the Olympic Games, or ending the season in a moment of greatness. We all train and there will be pain. You choose to train as much as you can, and though sometimes your mind will tell you to stop, but your heart chooses otherwise because your will to reach for the finish line is stronger than giving up. You are determined to reach for even higher goals and create something more powerful that will last forever as your "best friend, enemy and creator of something extra ordinary". Together we all train, and a key expression in my life is: you have to have heart to do the things you wish for. Anything is possible if you just work hard and stay focused on your goal. I didn't say it was going to be easy but you will get there. I promise you nothing is impossible as long as you believe it isn't. You have to give it everything you’ve got, and you have to have patience and strength to be someone beyond measure.
…sometimes your mind will tell you to stop, but your heart chooses otherwise… …you have to have patience and strength to be someone beyond measure.
A DIFFERENT FROM
Travelling the world between Haiti and Nepal, Sonya Looney is an inspirational athlete full of stories for anyone with a passion for cycling and exploring cultures. INTERVIEWED BY LITAL KHAIKIN
PERSPECTIVE M THE SADDLE
LOONEY It seems like Sonya is always on the go, from her training and races, to sponsorship work with Ergon, and writing for specialist magazines. Sonya shares with us her bike-borne adventures and thoughts on what it means to be a professional cyclist, what it takes to succeed, and what the bright world looks like from her eyes.
Photo by Brasil Ride/Photo Team
HER STORY I grew up playing soccer and tennis, and was a band nerd through high school. Education has always been an important part of my life, and I have dedicated the same amount of hard work towards my schooling as I have towards my bike. I got into cycling by accident. I started running during my senior year of high school because it made me feel more confident in myself. I ran my first marathon at 18, but kept getting nagging injuries. I started going to spin class at the gym and a coworker told me to try mountain biking. I got out on my first ride on my brother’s old bike from middle school. I did my first race a month later and the rest is history! I started riding right around my 20th birthday. These days, if I’m not riding, I love to play guitar and sing, go running, frequently go to yoga, go camping and hiking, and I love to cook—especially for my friends. I’d love to start a band someday!
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Boulder in August of 2005 to go to CU Boulder for grad school. I had been racing and riding for two years and really wanted to pursue mountain biking so I chose Boulder. I entered in the PhD program for Electrical Engineering. I opted out with my Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on Electrophysiology and Biomedical Instrumentation.
It’s not about how many races you’ve won and how badass you are on a bike. A sponsorship is a partnership. How are you going to help them sell more products? Will they get their investment back by giving you something for free? Are you an ambassador? What else do you do in the community besides ride your bike fast in a race? How do you make others feel? Are you approachable? Do you have outreach? If you are sponsored by a brand and wearing their logo, you are representing them. How would you want someone to represent you?
CRA…SH? I actually don’t have any embarrassing crash stories, but I have had some bad crashes. I don’t feel embarrassed, but I feel angry with myself. I’ve smashed up my face, had concussions, broken my wrist, hurt my knee, and lost a lot of skin. It’s all part of the sport I guess! If you want an embarrassing story, I have some of those. One involved getting stung on the butt and having to pull down my pants after eight hours on the bike in front of a cute doc to remove the stinger… or having some bowel problems and crapping my pants and having to wipe with leaves! Fortunately, this is a very rare occurrence!
I started as an XC racer—meaning a race that has multiple laps on the same course and normally is around 20 miles. I started in the ultra-endurance realm because I love a challenge and an adventure. I got tired of the stressful environment of XC racing where one mistake can cost you the race, and I was bored with riding around in circles. With ultra-endurance, you can cover a large distance and be way out into the mountains or forest. In foreign countries, you really get to see the raw culture. It also gives me a great sense of self-confidence.
The mental aspect of a long race is almost as important as the physical aspect. I love the accomplishment of finishing and of overcoming all the inevitable things that come up along the way. I race ultra-endurance because it makes me a better person not only on the bike, but everywhere else in my life.
I do get scared while riding sometimes. The more common and less intense fears are usually if I’m riding something where I think I’m going to crash. I either get off and walk, or I go for it and hope for the best. For fear regarding technical riding, I make myself forcefully exhale to make me relax and make sure I’m breathing. The only time I’ve felt truly scared on my bike were during a couple intense lightning storms in the mountains and walking on a sloped, icy, narrow, snow-packed trail carrying my bike in the dark, and being off balance with a cliff on one side. Breathing in the nose and out the mouth is what calms me down the most. I focus on what I need to do to fix the situation, and try to concentrate on getting to safety instead of all the bad things that could happen to me.
SUCCESS “When it becomes all about winning and being fast, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and why you are racing your bike.” Success can have different meanings to different people. In the mountain biking world, there really isn’t a lot of money, and sponsorships themselves are very limited. To be successful at anything, it requires commitment, enthusiasm, and discipline. I think to be a “good” mountain bike racer you have to really have a positive attitude and the ability to genuinely love riding your bike, because there are a lot of challenges along the way.
Being a pro often means giving up a lot of things in order to train. I strive to maintain balance in my life, so it’s not 100% bike-focused. Some would say I don't take it seriously enough. Personally, I need to have that balance to truly enjoy racing. When it becomes all about winning and being fast, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and why you are racing your bike.
I have to choose every day. There are many different career opportunities I see for myself. I choose to spend my time traveling, training, and racing. I also work two jobs to make it all work. I could choose the conventional route and use my Master’s degree. I had even taken pre-requirements to go to Physician Assistant School after I finished grad school.
I love to be fast and to win, but I focus on the experience and the journey. Racing is also a very hard financial battle. Most sponsors don’t give money, yet race entries and travel add up quickly. Almost all of my free cash goes to racing, which I gladly will pay. A lot of pros will take a lower paying job in exchange for flexibility.
If I didn’t race, I’d probably have a house, a husband, and children, which are all wonderful, but my lifestyle makes it hard to have those things. I do want them someday! I choose to go to races instead of fun vacations. I choose to spend money on plane tickets instead of save for a down payment on a house. I choose to follow my heart even though sometimes it sounds crazy.
My success in racing has been tied to not giving up on my dreams. I’ve been racing for nine years and it wasn’t until maybe two years ago that I’d say things really started to fall into place for me. It’s been a long term commitment and lifestyle I’ve stuck by, and I really believe that if you work hard and not give up on your dreams, almost all really great things are possible.
I sometimes have to choose the bike over friends and family. I hate that part. I have doubts at times, but I see that what I’m doing is working for me. I believe that I will make good choices in my life, so it tends to quell any feelings of doubt. Plus, I know that I have a ton of different options if I want to change my mind, and most of those things will always be there for me.
I work really hard to maintain my friendships and relationships with the amount of time cycling requires. The advances we’ve had in technology make it way easier with my iPhone and laptop! I like to be connected. I’ve had to learn when to decide that the bike or the training has to wait and not come number one. I just do the best I can.
I’m truly doing what I want to do in my life. I find that empowering and I feel very fortunate. I don't live day to day thinking, “someday I’ll do that…” I live doing it.
For aspiring cyclists, I think that finding a diet that makes you feel good and balanced is the most important. Restricting yourself to the point of being unhealthy or miserable isn’t worth it. Focusing on being healthy rather than being skinny has been good for me. I also love red wine—especially Michael David Winery—and microbrews, but I drink in moderation. I don’t see anything wrong with throwing a few back with friends a couple times a week. I also love baked goods, and having cookies or chocolate every once in a while is nice! I tried restricting all the things I love, and I didn’t see an increase in my performance. What I saw was a decline in my motivation approaching burnout.
BIGGEST MISTAKE A MOUNTAIN BIKER CAN MAKE…
IN MOUNTAIN BIKING
The crazy thing is that most people assume that because we—endurance athletes—train a lot, we can eat whatever we want. The truth of the matter is that endurance athletes really try hard to eat a super healthy diet, and even restrict calories, and it’s still somewhat of a battle.
Diets are a very personal thing. I haven’t seen a huge difference in styles between cycling or triathlon disciplines. The common theme I see is that most elite endurance athletes try to eat a lot of unprocessed and organic foods; diets are rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I see many different things that work for people including gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo. It really is what works for you and makes you feel the best both physically and psychologically.
There seem to be less financial sponsorship opportunities for women in mountain biking. A lot of races have stepped up in the last couple of years pushing equal payout for both men and women. It’s tough because the male fields are much bigger than the female fields, hence the validation of prize money discrepancy. I don’t think that women mountain bikers are frowned upon in any way. Sure, you get the occasional guy who automatically assumes he’s better than you on a bike because he’s a man, but I let the pedal strokes speak for themselves. It’s much more satisfying that way! Talk is cheap baby! There are lots of great opportunities for women to get into the sport. I see tons of women-only rides, clinics, camps, and bike brands growing the female specific market.
The biggest mistake you can make is to take yourself too seriously. This mistake applies really anywhere in life, not just to mountain biking. Take yourself too seriously and you probably aren’t much fun to be around, and honestly, you probably aren’t having that much fun yourself. Normally, people take things too seriously when they are trying to prove something, whether it be to themselves or someone else. Putting too much pressure on yourself can really make things a drag. I have been in this boat during the first year or two, racing as a pro on the XC circuit. I was actually miserable in most of my races because I could never meet my own expectations. When I realized what I was doing, I was able to fix it and started wearing funny socks and focusing on what I was doing and how much I loved it rather than how “slow” I was or what I didn’t have. It’s still a very tough balance to manage reasonable expectations for improvement versus the “just have fun” factor. When you make a lot of sacrifices and put so much into something, it’s hard if it doesn’t turn out the way you want. However, learning to deal with it when it doesn’t go your way is a much better lesson than when everything goes perfectly—but it’s not always fun when that happens!
The most interesting place was Haiti. I did the first mountain bike race ever in Haiti this year called MTB Ayiti. It was a 3 stage race starting in Port au Prince, traversed the mountains, and ended on the coast near Jacmel. It was very hard to see the poverty, but also really inspiring to see some people still taking pride in their lives despite everything that has devastated Haiti.
I prefer traveling with my bike because you tend to get out of the touristy areas and can really see a country in a way that you couldn’t experience in a car. You feel the terrain in your body, the smells, the light, the sounds and it’s all self-powered. I wouldn’t have had the travel experiences I’ve had if I didn’t ride. It brings me to places I never imagined and it’s fun to meet other like-minded people along the way. Travel limitations for me are the same as they are for anyone else: time and money!
My favorite mountains in the world are the San Juans in Southwest Colorado. They are beautiful. I started camping there with my family when I was very young and it’s been a very special place. Other than Nepal, I’d say my favorite country I’ve visited is Brazil. The people are so warm and fun!
I never felt that I was in danger except when I was going over Thorong La Pass. There are some spots where if you slipped, you’d slide down the mountain for a long time. I actually do not enjoy dangerous routes. However, what’s dangerous in my mind is probably different than what someone else would find dangerous. I don’t like routes where I would die or get severely injured if something happened. When I’m in foreign countries especially, I do not take big risks. I go a little bit slower on the downhills and am more likely to walk technical sections.
It’s all about risk versus reward. Getting badly injured in a remote place in a country with limited medical care is not worth the reward of going a teeny bit faster. No narrow trails and high altitude aren’t dangerous in my mind! I guess mountain biking can be seen as a dangerous sport, but it’s really only as dangerous as you want to make it and riding within your own limits. Of course, these limits tend to expand with more experience!
Photos by Sonya Looney
I was lucky enough to do the Yak Attack for the second time this year. It’s a 10 day mountain bike stage race across the Annapurnas in Nepal. I was the first woman to finish it last year and was so excited to return. We had an acclimatization day in Manang, which sits around 12,000 feet surrounded by the 22,000+ feet of the Annapurna peaks. It’s really a magical and enchanting place. Everything is really simple and happy. It’s inspiring to see how little people have and that the best things in their life are in fact, not the things that they own. It’s also a very spiritual place with bright prayer flags, prayer wheels, and a monastery. My favorite times in Manang this year were going on some hikes with fellow racers. I liked slowing down, snapping photos, and sharing the experience and views with other people.
WHAT’S NEXT? My dream is to be a fully sponsored professional athlete. I work for my title sponsor, Ergon, which has been great and opened a lot of doors for me! I do sales and marketing so I travel to bike shops all over the country and work at events. It does impede my training and racing quite a bit because I’m always tired from traveling for work. Between work and racing, I’m traveling at least two weeks per month. On my work trips it’s also extremely hard to train, so I actually do not have very consistent training. I’m not sure what opportunities are out there for me to have that. I have it really good right now. However, my dream job would be to write like I’m doing, make videos—I don’t have time to do much video editing—do more clinics, do three to four international stage races a year, and continue racing domestically. I’m doing all these things already, but having less of a financial burden and having more time to train, rest, and actually have down time where I’m home for more than seven days at a time would be absolutely tremendous! It’s very rare that I have time to relax or sit still because I’m fighting to get everything into my action packed day from the moment I wake up to when I go to bed. I plan to keep racing and searching for the hardest stage races in the world and traveling off the beaten path with my bike. My next big adventure will be the Mongolia Bike Challenge in September. I can’t wait! I also have some fun domestic races coming up including the Transylvania Epic Stage Race and the Breck Epic—my favorite race!
WRITING I never thought I’d be a writer, it was always a hobby. I’ve always enjoyed writing and started my blog in 2005. It was mostly a journal to keep track of where I’ve gone and what I’ve done in my earlier racing days. I had no idea other people really read it until people started coming up to me at events saying they read my blog. It’s still really flattering that people care what I have to say!
I did a couple pieces for Competitor to get started and from there, it’s become a pretty big part of my career. I love sharing my stories and things I’ve learned with other people. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help people learn new things or to maybe be an enabler to try something they’ve always wanted to try. I also love photography, and it’s just fun to take photos and write! CLICK HERE TO VISIT SONYA’S BLOG!
INTERVIEWED BY ANDRE L. ROBERTS
Passion is personified by, and exists beautifully within, Nicole Katz. As the founder and lead practitioner of YOGA216 in New York City, it's never business as usual. For Nicole, Yoga isn't some fad or just a means of fitnessâ€”itâ€™s a lifestyle. Through her efforts, other people are now able to improve the quality of their own lives, starting first on the mat while finding peace and joy in the process.
We wanted to make the attention of private Yoga available to more people. Right now, you can either pay a lot of money for an hour long private session, or take a $12 group class with up to 60 people in the room. There really isn’t anything in between—that’s where we come in. You get lots of attention from a highly trained teacher with plenty of space to move around. It’s really a calming experience from the second you walk in the door. You get your butt kicked, don’t get me wrong, but in an environment that’s rejuvenating.
Why is what you do so important? Our goal is to rock the Yoga world! We want to change the way people think about group classes! Our mission to “teach” Yoga in your body, not just lead you through a group flow. Our bodies take such a beating in the modern world of sitting at desks and staring at our smart phones, that we need to be clear about how to realign the body before we do any sort of training, or we are just further exacerbating a problem that will most likely lead to injury at some point.
“YOGA IS NOT JUST A PHYSICAL PRACTICE.” You specialize in a type of Yoga that neutrally aligns and eliminates pain from the body. How do people’s experiences cause them to become misaligned and hurt? True! Okay, so I use the following example a lot. Say a person sits at their desk all day; most likely, their shoulders have adapted to that posture—short tight muscles on the front shoulder and long weak postural muscles on the back body. If I take that person and lead them through a Vinyasa sequence, that has lots of Chaturangas without first realigning that structure. They are just further exacerbating the problem and reinforcing a shape that will most likely lead to pain and injury. Instead, we spend time at the beginning of every class teaching proper alignment of a pose and then gradually transition into the peak pose, so that by the time you get there, you have a healthy shape that is not only counteracting your day, it’s balancing your muscle groups allowing them to do the jobs they were designed to do.
[In terms of] the physical practice, that really depends on the person. But my answer is generally, “any amount you can stick to”. Five days a week for three months is nothing compared to two times a week for years. In general for myself, I find three days a week a doable amount. It is also very important to mention that yoga is not just a physical practice. Asana, as we know it, is part of an eight limb system that addresses all parts of our lives and can easily be incorporated every day!
YOGA In what ways has Yoga made an impact in your life? Yoga changed my life. In little permanent ways over the course of my practice, I can easily say Yoga changed my body, calmed my mind, gave me the courage to follow my dreams and avenue to deal with all the pain along the way.
As a practitioner of Yoga, how do you improve upon what you're mastering? By practicing every moment of every day. I have a teacher I love and a Satang of people who support my journey - that is the most important thing!
How has your passion for wellness created opportunity for you? Because I am doing what I love, what I feel my purpose is I have juice to keep going, keep doing, keep trying. What you feed will grow- so it seems to keep growing!
Seeing and experience others who are braving to live their passions and purpose. We all have one, we all know what it is, standing in that light can be terrifying so something we step into it. I find inspiration and bravery from seeing that in others. Honestly, I still almost can't believe I was brave enough and lucky enough to leave a stable, financially successful job—that was slowly sucking me dry—and follow my dream. The first step is by far the hardest and that is what I am the most proud of. The universe takes care of the rest!
“I want to share people with their bodies… Our biography is our biology, and by working through it on the mat we can find peace and joy off of it.”
WHY BLUE MATTERS? SO GREEN DOESN’T HAVE TO. WWW.AREYOUTHEREASON.COM Photograph courtesy of Lesser via Photodune.
THERE ARE 121 CALORIES IN ONE LARGE (8" TO 8-7/8" LONG) BANANA.
WE HAVE OUR REASONS.
ARE YOU ONE? WWW.AREYOUTHEREASON.COM Photograph courtesy of Dotshock via Photodune.
The stressors that the work week brings can weigh upon us heavily, taxing both our minds and bodies. Rest assured, you can find peace amidst the chaos. With a way to improve the quality of your life, you no longer have to wait to exhale. Your path to wellness starts here. -
ANDRE L. ROBERTS
WHITE BY ROCHELLE WHITE.
What is Yoga? As a teacher, I get asked all the time about Yoga, what it does for the body, and if touching the toes is a requirement to practice窶馬o, it is not by the way. Yoga is about uniting the mind, body and breath into a physical practice as preparation for meditation.
IT’S GROWING! There is a slow unification taking place between employee health and the workplace. Fitness is becoming part of the corporate health and wellness structure, with Yoga at the forefront of holistic exercises that reduce stress. Insurance companies are rewarding employers for their participation in preventative care choices made toward the benefit of their employees. In the wake of new health care reforms and increasing premium costs, people are looking for ways to escape some of the monetary costs that are associated rates. Not to mention, fitness programs decrease burnout and costly employee turnover.
IT WORKS! Yoga programs remedy the situation in two ways. The first way is through physical activity that is modified to suite the practitioner. Second, meditation gives additional health benefits that help to reduce cardiovascular heart disease, high blood pressure. Overall, Yoga helps to decrease most major chronic health issues that demand costly long term care and decrease productivity.
SCIENCE! A study done by the American Psychological Association in 2012 called “Effective and Viable Mind-Body Stress in The Work Place”, showed statistically significant reductions in stress and sleep difficulties. There were also improvements in the employees’ breathing rates and heart rhythms. Caring for the body is essential to reducing costs of future medical expenses and is vital in maximizing potential in a person. The effects of a practice such as Yoga have long term positive effects. Long after the practice is over, the body continues to mend and heal itself, becoming stronger with more vitality.
These programs are becoming more popular in the workplace because they are convenient, approved by the employer, and compliment the employee’s schedule. Employers become more significant when empowering their workers toward a healthy lifestyle. It is a good feeling to know your employer cares.
In light of the Affordable Health Care Act, many businesses are attempting to learn strategies that can help reduce costs of healthcare insurance. Big corporations have already sought out fully fledged health and wellness programs that give monetary incentives to their healthcare savings accounts. These include discounts to gyms, health care screening, check-ups at company wellness clinics, and smoking cessation programs.
WHITE Photos by Marc Brian Queyquep Hair and Makeup by Randy Darden
How can smaller businesses implement a health and wellness program for their employees? One solution is, they can start by finding a program that gives options based on services and cost. Classes can be an out of pocket expense by the employees who wish to participate, reimbursed through health saving accounts, or paid directly to the service provider by the employer. If you as the employer take on the expense for your workers there are a few tax credits and incentives that can be taken to reduce tax liability. Keep in mind, any new health and wellness program should be launched with an event that acknowledges that services exist. Signup sheets, information on nutrition, health care screening call all are able to be set up on ground for virtually no additional cost.
It is safe to say Yoga is going to be a vital fitness form to these programs. There is no bulky equipment to carry besides mats, set up is easy, and people who have never done Yoga can easily participate. In addition to other fun forms of fitness, Yoga is a great way to teach meditative techniques that can be used throughout the day to reduce stress, management conflict, or simply just take a breather. Both employees and employers have options. Learning how to effectively launch a wellness program that is enjoyed by employees will generate productivity, happiness, and peace in the workplace.
Photo by Melissa Schwartz
One of the first and most satisfying steps towards a healthy lifestyle is a conscious diet. Veganism has never before been so popular, and the reasons have never been more urgent. Christy Morgan, currently based in Austin, Texas, is â€œThe Blissful Chefâ€?, an author, and an encouraging rolemodel for anyone interested in the irresistible benefits of healthy eating. Interviewed by Lital Khaikin
After college, I moved to LA to work in the wardrobe department on movie sets. It was not an easy field to break into! I had to volunteer long hours and wasn't really all that happy. One day my friend Sue said she was thinking of going veganâ€” she had been vegetarian since she was a teenager. We watched the Meet Your Meat video on PETA and decided to go vegan together. At the time, almost 11 years ago, there was only one vegan restaurant, so I had to teach myself had to cook. That is how I got interested in cooking. We reached out to the vegan community and had a few potlucks. I loved seeing people's faces light up when they ate my food so I moved back to Austin and enrolled in The Natural Epicurean. At the time, it was a program based in macrobiotics, so I not only learned how to cook, I learned about the healing effects of food and how cook the whole foods way.
DID YOU HAVE TO LEARN ABOUT MEAT AND OTHER ANIMAL FOODS? ARE THERE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN ABOUT VEGAN COOKING? The culinary school I went to was macrobiotic. It was mostly vegan, except for a few fish classes. Thankfully we didn't have to prepare it or taste it. Since I never really learned how to cook growing up, I don't even know how to prepare meat dishes! There are a few natural food cooking schools in the United States but not enough as far as I'm concerned.
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN AS A CHEF AND DEVELOPED YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR CRAFT? I feel like I'm constantly growing and finding my own style! The food I'm doing right now is some of the favorite things I've made. I'm constantly trying to make simple meals exciting, so that every home cook can make them, but they have my special flair. Since I was trained as a macrobiotic chef I have a strong Asian influence in my food. But since I've traveled the world, I love blending many cultures together in the same dish. I'm kind of quirky like that!
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO EAT A VEGAN AND MACROBIOTIC DIET? DID YOU HAVE A SIGNIFICANT TIME OF TRANSITION? I went vegetarian in 2002 as an experiment to see if I could do it. My best friend in college was vegetarian, and I often ate veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets, so it seemed like a natural progression. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles, three months later, that I went vegan overnight after watching the horrific video on PETA about the meat and dairy industries. I honestly had no idea what was happening.
ALL I KNEW IS THAT I DIDN'T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE VIOLENCE AND DEATH ANYMORE. “IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I'VE MADE IN MY LIFE.” WHAT ARE SOME REASONS THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO EAT PLANTBASED DIETS? For me personally, I went vegan as an ethical choice. The side benefits of great health, beautiful hair and skin, weight maintenance, more energy, faster recovery time with my workouts, better sleep and sex life, and getting to eat so many amazing foods are pretty awesome too. But I applaud anyone who can take steps to eat more plant-based. If you aren't ready to go whole hog, then do what you can. Slowly start transitioning out the animal foods, like switching to non-dairy milk, while you take away the harmful foods. This is called “crowding out” the bad so that all that is left is the healthful stuff.
This black rice belongs to photographer Heather Schramm
“FOR ME, HEALTH IS CONNECTING TO MY BLISS. IT'S LIVING OUT MY PURPOSE.”
HOW HAS YOUR VEGAN DIET IMPACTED YOUR ABILITY TO STAY FIT?
I've become pretty obsessed with fitness lately! In September I will do my first Olympic Triathlon, so I've been training hours a day, six days a week. My recovery is amazing; my body can do high intensity training and heavy lifting that I could never do before, and I've dropped my body fat percentage from 23 to 18% in six months while increasing muscle mass. You do not need meat or whey protein to be strong, it's just a myth. Eating plants gives your body a more alkaline environment, protecting you against stress and boosting immunity. It's a nobrainer; if you are an athlete, try going vegan and see your performance increase. Photos by Gary Leung
Photo by Heather Schramm
DO YOU THINK SENSATIONAL AND “LOUD” ADVERTISING LIKE PETA’S IS NECESSARY RIGHT NOW, OR HAVE YOU SEEN QUIETER CAMPAIGNS HAVE THE SAME KIND OF EFFECTS ON PEOPLE’S DIETARY CHOICES? I don't necessarily agree with all their tactics, but I see there being room for everyone in the vegan and plant-based community. Some people need that kind of in-your-face activism to go vegan, some people want to focus on health, some on the environment. I see all these as spokes on one big vegan wheel. When we work together, the wheel moves smoothly and we can cover more bases.
IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING, WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING WITH VEGANISM AND OTHER CONSCIOUS DIETS? HOW ARE THEY GAINING MOMENTUM, AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGER PROJECTS THAT YOU KNOW OF? In the last year or so, vegan and plant-based diets have become popular and are gaining momentum with media coverage in print and on television. There have been vegan television shows like “What Would Julieanna Do?” on Veria; vegans winning shows like “Cupcake Wars”; influential magazines like the New York Times have written articles on the health benefits of a plant-based diet; Bill Clinton talked about it on national T.V.; new vegan cookbooks come out every month. I think we will continue to see this grow and grow. It's only a matter of time before people realize that we need to eat healthier not only for our health, but for the health of the planet.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR LOWER-INCOME FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND FILLING VEGAN FOODS? Vegan food is real food that everyone has access to, no matter where you live or your income level. You can get fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds at any grocery store at affordable prices. If you are on food stamps, focus your diet on these whole foods. There is no need to buy processed junk food or vegan faux meat products, which are the specialty items that tend to be more expensive and hard to come by.
IS HEALTHY EATING INCREASINGLY BECOMING MORE ACCESSIBLE ONLY TO MIDDLE OR HIGHER-INCOME FAMILIES? Like I said, the vegan diet is available to all people, if you want it. The problem is most people won't take the time to plan meals and cook at home. It's easier to go to the drive thru. Our government and school systems don't support communities in healthy eating, so we need big changes to happen to teach children and families about preventing disease through healthier eating.
People in the East have been using food as medicine for centuries, but the advent of Western medicine threw that all out the window. I believe we are in a shift to get back to nature and eat in a way that's healthful for us, the animals and the planet. Eating vegan or plant-based is becoming quite mainstream across the world. As far as my purpose, I really love feeding people. First I did that with personal cheffing, but then I realized what a gift it was to teach people how to make food for themselves and their family that is truly nourishingâ€”the whole teach a man how to fish theme. Now my purpose is to empower others so they can take control of their health and become their own health guru. There is no reason why we can't be healthy, without sickness, age gracefully, feel energetic, and live out our purpose in life. I really feel that my diet allows me to be the best version of me possible, while inflicting the least amount of harm to others and the planet. It's just awesome!
Photo by Mateusz Stachowski
WITH JASON DOUCETTE OF
“BARNIVORE” WRITTEN AND INTERVIEWED BY LITAL KHAIKIN
CHASING THE VEGAN SPIRIT
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME BLOOD WITH YOUR WINE? An often elusive entity, the vegan diet is filled with mysteries that confound the modern eater. Surprising discoveries are made every day by converts and disbelievers alike, the most popular being, “Wait, so you won’t die from a vegan diet?” Unbelievable as it may be that grains, vegetables, soups, and crafty desserts are enough for a body to be happy and strong, there is still a critical question left unanswered by many: is your booze vegan? Although it is a heavy sigh of relief that comes when Jack Daniels is officially confirmed as safe for vegan consumption, it is still an unfortunate fact that many other breweries and distilleries produce drinks that are not vegan-friendly. If you are really serious about your diet, alcohol is no exception to your values, and you deserve to know what’s going into your brew. Even if you’re not vegan, there are certainly a few practices that may cause you to think twice before popping those bottles.
Photo by Roger Kirby
Jason Doucette, along with his partner Angela and an enigmatic central figure known as Sarah, is the mastermind behind Toronto’s Barnivore, the leading vegan alcohol resource board on the net. With close to 12,000 entries that specify vegan and nonvegan beers, wine, and liquors, Barnivore is more than just a database for thirsty vegans.
Photo by Petr Vins
“Back in the late ‘90s I heard about animal ingredients in alcohol production while I was volunteering at the Toronto Vegetarian Association resource center,” says Jason, “but it was more of a vegan trivia factoid than anything else, without any hard facts behind it. I had an inkling of an idea to call a few companies, but never got around to it.” Between 2002 and 2008, the initial strides were taken towards the founding of Barnivore as it is today. “Most of our challenges are in organizing the information, which can get tricky with international brands where products are made in multiple countries, sometimes with different rules. This is getting more problematic with smaller companies being regularly bought by the big ones, but on the bright side, larger companies seem to use fewer animal ingredients.”
Photo by Bas van de Wiel
So why is Barnivore so important? As is the case with many foods and beverages, companies may not always advertise the ingredients or the production methods used to create their alcohol. Though animal products are used on a regular basis, they are not always as apparent as yeast in beer.
Photo by Fellipe Silva
For vegans, this is about as important as whether their grandma’s pie is filled with baby lambs or that ramen was cooked with pieces of cow. There are also many people who are simply sensitive towards what they consume, and don’t want to be a part of an unnecessary process involving animals’ lives, or have medical reasons for dietary restrictions.
“THE BEER AT THE HOUSE ISN’T WHICH IS WHY
THEY MAKE WHITE VEGAN. I NEVER VISIT.” -as uttered by Jason Doucette. Photo by Cathy Snider
Photo by Ramzi Hashisho
WHAT CLASSIFIES A DRINK AS VEGAN? “
The obvious connection happens with base ingredients, where a good example would be dairy products present in a milk stout or a crème liqueur. Where it gets more complicated is when products are fined through the addition of a product like isinglass—from fish—or albumin—from egg—or other fun stuff—including blood—to improve clarity and reduce tannins in wine. These products are filtered out, so there’s some debate with winemakers and brewers as to whether they’re actually present at all in the final product, but many vegan consumers prefer a product that avoids them entirely. And yes, there are meaty drinks produced from time to time, often as marketing gimmicks, like bacon-infused alcohol, or the limited edition beer that BrewDog made with a taxidermied squirrel wrapped around the bottle.
“I don’t know of any company that makes non-vegan product specifically to screw vegans over, so it’s generally a manufacturing or export issue.” One of the questions you get a lot is whether a drink can be vegan in one country and not in another. How is this possible—are there different understandings of what veganism actually is? I don’t know of any company that makes non-vegan product specifically to screw vegans over, so it’s generally a manufacturing or export issue. It’s frustrating, but international brands are often brewed in each country by a different company who has the facilities and a license to produce the drink. This mostly, if not entirely, happens with beer. A good example would be Australia, where for a time--I’m not sure if it’s still the case— most foreign brands that were otherwise vegan-friendly were all brewed by one company, and that company happened to use isinglass. Another scenario is when a company uses a different fining and filtration process for bottled beer, and those are the bottles that are shipped worldwide.
Is there some kind of secret vegan drinking society that people can join? Are there clubs or bars that serve vegan alcohol, or do you have to go through some rite of passage to demand your veg-booze? There are some vegan restaurants out there who serve alcohol, and many of those use Barnivore as a reference. There’s also Vegan Drinks, a regular event in many cities where vegans get together and drink, and I haven’t been to one but I’d assume the drinks would be vegan as well. And if there was a secret club, well…
Would someone be sacrificing certain elements of taste in a drink to enjoy a vegan beer? There are vegan beers brewed in just about every style. The one sticking point with most people is Guinness, who use isinglass—though this is under heated debate in North America, where it’s possible but difficult to confirm that the licensee here might not. That’s always the hard one to replace, and there are good local stouts that some feel are as good as if not better than Guinness. I haven’t found a replacement that’s as widely available worldwide.
What are some of the wildest or most unbelievable claims that you have seen alcohol companies make? I haven’t seen any really blatant lying, but what can often happen is that the person at the company doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about and they simply give wrong information, because who in their right mind would put fish in beer, right? We deal with this through a standardized question that we ask people to use, combined with a double—and triple—check.
How is veganism a part of your own life? Over the years it’s become a lot more tied to my central nervous system, so to speak, so it’s not really an active choice as much as an obvious thing I do. The decisions I make every day are based on veganism, but I feel like it’s a part of my identity, so while the reasons I avoid animal products are still based on fundamental ethical, environmental and health issues, it’s mostly a factor of who I am these days. Outside of myself, I’ve been lucky to have fostered a healthy vegan environment. My immediate family is vegan, as are many of my close friends, and Toronto is one of the best cities in the world—in my incredibly unbiased opinion—for vegan living.
What are some of the most common, or most difficult, questions that you get through Barnivore? Usually it’s something simple like “do you know if [product X] is vegan?” If it’s not on the site, we generally don’t have it on a secret list for our friends, and we don’t have the resources to ask every company ourselves—it turns out there are a lot of them—in addition to keeping up with the flood of submissions from people who’ve used our standardized question.
How do you believe Barnivore can affect change? Do you think that similar projects can become a vehicle for necessary questions and demands? We’ve been contacted by several companies who let us know that they’ve changed their production process to exclude animal ingredients and I don’t think it’s because we publicly shamed them or anything, but we do raise the awareness that there is a significant customer base who prefer a vegan product. We’re a handy resource for people with fish and egg allergies as well.
“THE SURPRISES, TO ME, ARE THAT SO MANY COMPANIES ARE WILLING AND ABLE TO SWITCH AWAY FROM SOME OF THESE TRADITIONS, LIKE FINING WITH ISINGLASS, AND STILL MAKING GREAT QUALITY PRODUCTS.”
Photo by Jonathan Hillis
WE HAVE OUR REASONS. ARE YOU ONE?
WHY BLUE MATTERS HYBRID CREATIVE AGENCY & PUBLICATION EMAIL: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / WEBSITE: www.areyouthereason.com TWITTER: www.twitter.com/whybluematters / INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/whybluematters FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/areyouthereason / PHONE: 646.570.0710
Published on Apr 21, 2013
WBM/AUTR-Wellness-AprilMay2013-Vol2 Post-publication edits: * The black rice does not belong to Heather. In fact, it belongs to Melissa Sc...