Name: Julie Henderson
Weight: 135 lbs
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Current Residence: Buffalo, NY
Sports: weightlifting, running (5k's, marathons and obstacle mudruns), P90X
Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I am a fitness coach and a NY state licensed massage therapist and esthetician. I love working with people and I love animals as well! I do TNR (trap, neuter, release) for local feral cats and I also run a facebook page for pets that are lost in Western New York (facebook.com/WNYpets).
Why did you become vegan?
I have been vegan since 2009. I have always had sinus problems and decided to give up dairy to see if that would help. I noticed a difference with my sinuses almost immediately after cutting dairy out of my diet. While researching all the reasons to give up dairy I started finding more and more information on being vegan. I am embarrassed to say that until then I had never completely made the connection between animals and what I was eating. The more I researched, the more I knew being vegan was something I wanted, and needed, to do. I honestly couldn't find a reason NOT to! From then on I've been vegan and have never looked back!
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
Through middle school I loved swimming and was a certified SCUBA diver, but once I got to high school I wasn't very active at all. It wasn't until I graduated that I joined a gym and started lifting weights and was hooked. A few years after that I started running. It wasn't until I became vegan that I really started pushing myself athletically. I now had something to prove, that vegans could be athletic! Since then I've run countless 5k's, five obstacle mud runs, five 1/2 marathons and two full marathons.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I try to eat as many whole foods as possible. I love veggies, but I also have a sweet tooth. I make a lot of green smoothies, veggie stir-fry's, hummus wraps, soups and lentil and quinoa salads. I try to make food ahead of time if possible so it's ready when I'm on the go.
Do you take any supplements? If so, which ones?
I drink Shakeology everyday. I also use Vega products like their Sport Recovery and Recovery Protein powders. I occasionally take a B vitamin and I take vitamin D in the winter.
How would you describe your training program?
I get bored very easy, so if I'm not constantly changing things up I won't stick with it. My training varies depending on what my goals are. If I'm training for a marathon I'll do strength training three times a week and run 3-4 times a week, usually with one long run. If my goal is to put on more muscle then I won't run as much and I'll change up my weight lifting. I like to add in P90X, Body Beast, yoga, swimming and cycling, too.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
I think the most common misconception is that you can't be athletic or have muscle on a vegan diet. I'm constantly asked where I get my protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, etc. Most of the time it's from people who honestly just don't know. Another misconception is that I can't eat anything, which couldn't be farther from the truth. I get to eat the best foods available! I get told a lot, "You don't look like a vegan". I think some people think vegans are skinny and pale.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
Don't listen to the naysayers. The second you become vegan everyone becomes a nutrition expert. They will be so concerned over what you're putting into your body, but not what they're putting into their own body. Do your research. Some of my favorite go to vegans are Robert Cheeke, Brendan Brazier, Tim van Orden, Kris Carr and nomeatathlete.com. Forks Over Knives is a great documentary and the Engine 2 Diet and Skinny Bitch are great books. Try out different recipes. Just because you don't like one recipe doesn't mean you won't like any vegan food. And most importantly, find like minded people! This way you won't feel totally alone and you'll be able to talk with others that share your passions and ideals.
Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share?
My goal is to be the best face for veganism that I can personally be. I try not to just "preach it", but to also "live it".