Name: Judi Gelman
Year of Birth: 1961
Birthplace: Abilene, Texas
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
The Visionary Vegan (facebook page)
Fabulous Fifties - A New Beginning (facebook page)
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have:
I just retired after almost 25 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. I have always had a passion for fitness and nutrition. Just recently I became a vegan and have never felt better in my life both physically and morally! I will turn 53 in a month and I am always being complimented on what great shape I am in. I also have a passion to share with others my age, or any age, that it is never too late to start a vegan life of good health, fitness and happiness!
Why did you become vegan?
The first reason I became a vegan was to do my part to help stop the suffering of animals. I have always had a passion for animals and nature but it wasn’t until recently that I truly became aware of the atrociousness of what is happening to our fellow living beings and it breaks my heart. I have also seen several documentaries (Forks Over Knifes, 101 Reasons To Go Vegan, Food Matters, and many more) about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how eating meat is detrimental to your health, as well as the fact that milk is full of hormones and antibiotics, and that eating animal products of any kind is not natural. I have done a lot of reading and research.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have been interested in fitness since I was 19 years old. I started with the Jane Fonda program and leg warmers! LOL! I have always loved bodybuilding as I see it artistically. It is a way to shape and mold your most precious asset. I have participated in numerous activities during my life such as Hapkido, rock climbing, mountain biking, road biking, running, boot camp classes, etc. I have completed one marathon, two duathlons and one century. I love to stay busy and active! It was also important to stay fit due to my previous profession of being a Special Agent with the FBI.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I have a lot of food challenges due to being allergic to wheat and soy. So, I eat mostly whole organic foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains (brown rice, rice pasta, oats) and healthy fats (almonds, avocados). I try to eat limited processed foods but if I do, I have to look for items that are vegan, soy free, gluten free and organic! Going grocery shopping can truly be an adventure! I always start my day with a bowl of oatmeal with flax milk, some type of fruit, and ground flax seeds. After my workout I have a protein shake with maca, a banana and flax milk.
I usually eat every few hours with items such as nuts, fruits, a bowl of rice and beans, a veggie burger, raw vegetables and hummus, olives, a tortilla wrap with veggies and avocado, pasta with a veggie sauce, etc. I also love my chocolate!
Since I am now retired, I have the time to focus on cooking which I love! I recently purchased a food processor, a pressure cooker and a juicer. Now I just have to learn how to use them all! LOL! I want to get to the point where I make most of my foods such as veggie burgers. peanut butter, nut butters, etc, instead of buying processed versions. I have become a cookbook addict! I laugh when people ask me “but what are you going to eat now that you are a vegan?” There are soooo many options!
How would you describe your training program?
I weight train about 4-5 days per week with my husband at Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA. We also run at the beach 1-2 days per week. Our goal is to stay fit and healthy into our 90’s and beyond! My husband is also retired from the FBI as a Special Agent and as well just recently a vegan. We are on this path together!
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I used to take a lot of supplements but have now narrowed it down to protein powder, a multi-vitamin, B12 and calcium. I feel that if I eat healthy, I should be getting most of my nutrients from the food choices that I make.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
The first question they ask is “how do you get your protein?” and then they may say “you are going to lose your muscle”. I have also been asked “but what will you eat?” LOL! Through reading and researching the vegan lifestyle, I have learned that these are typical responses. The reason I started my new Facebook page is I would love to dispel these myths. Often people will feel uncomfortable with someone who is “different” but that is ok and I don’t judge. I just try to set a good example.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That we are all unhealthy, skinny, pale and weak. This could be further from the truth! We are and can be healthy, fit, strong, active and happy!
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
At this age I realize that you can’t force someone to understand the message you are trying to promote. What works best is leading by example. I often have people asking me what I eat to stay so fit. I see this as success as to promoting the vegan lifestyle. I am always happy to share the knowledge I have learned. I also try to spread the word about the benefits of being a vegan on my two Facebook pages. My youngest step-daughter has even expressed an interest in this lifestyle which I attribute to the example my husband and I have set. I believe the younger generation is becoming more and more aware and they have the ability through social media to change the world!
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
As one previous co-worker used to tell me: Consistency, consistency, consistency! It must be a lifestyle! And, to have a positive attitude!
What do you like best about being vegan?
The way I feel both physically and morally. I just feel like it is the right thing to do. I feel like I am doing my part to make this world a better place.What do you like best about being fit? Being energetic and active. I am almost 53 and I see too many people my age and younger suffering from diseases that are attributed to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. I don’t want to be in that category.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Go at your own pace, don’t compare yourself to others, be consistent and learn the proper form of whatever sport you are participating in which could be learned through reading, getting a trainer or taking classes. It is about being fit and healthy but not getting injured. Take it slow and go with the flow is my motto!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan? Read, read, read about the nutritional aspects of being a vegan. Watch the numerous documentaries that are available. The more educated you are about being a vegan, the more you will make it your lifestyle. Also, do the best you can and don’t get down on yourself if you make mistakes. Everything is a learning process and no one is perfect. Enjoy the process!
What motivates you in life?
Being fit, healthy and happy! I want to make a difference in the world by following a compassionate, kind humanitarian lifestyle. When my day comes at the end of the road, I want to feel good about what I have done in my life. It won’t be by how much money I made or by how many possessions I have. I will be at peace with my life by how I affected others in a kind and compassionate manner and how I influenced others to lead a healthy life both nutritionally, physically and morally.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
Veganbodybuilding.com has been an invaluable asset to my education and motivation! Being passionate about fitness, it has dispelled the myth that you can’t be active and be a vegan. I have more energy now than I have ever had in my life! Thank you veganbodybuilding.com!
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Yes, go make a difference! Spread the word by being a positive, healthy, happy, kind and compassionate example! Make each daycount and enjoy the process of life!