Name: Christy Morgan
Year of Birth: 1979
Birthplace: Dallas, TX
Current Residence: Austin, TX
Sports: lifting weights, HIIT, yoga, biking, swimming, running, kickboxing, rock climbing
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I'm a vegan chef, educator and cookbook author known as “The Blissful Chef”. In January 2013 I launched an online wellness program with Chad Byers called Wellness Reboot. I love cooking and teach others how to cook delicious, healthy meals with private cooking instruction, my blog, cooking videos and cooking demos at festivals across the nation.
Why did you become vegan?
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, 3 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.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
In college I took a yoga class and played racquetball but I never did sports growing up. It wasn't until post-30 that I decided to get into shape and see what I was capable of doing. I signed up for my first sprint triathlon in September 2011 and will be doing an Olympic triathlon in September 2013.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day every 2-3 hours. In training mode I eat all whole food plant-based with one fun meal a week where I eat out at one of my favorite restaurants. I try to stay away from processed food, sugar, and alcohol whenever possible, but I know how to splurge on a cupcake or fried “chicken” sandwich. As a chef, I'm always creating new things in the kitchen for myself, my blog, and for the meal plans for Wellness Reboot. If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter I post photos of what I'm eating.
How would you describe your training program?
I used to do a ton of cardio to train for my triathlon, but now I'm more focused on weight-training and building muscle. So I weight train 5x a week and do anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of cardio throughout the week. Once the show is over in July I will re-focus on triathlon training and up my swimming, running, and biking all 2 times a week (so about 6 days of training at least 2 hours).
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That it's difficult, too expensive, you won't get enough nutrients and protein; I've heard every excuse possible. But what I encourage people to do is to take baby steps if you can't go 100% overnight. It's better to do something than do nothing.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
Start by adding in more plants and whole foods while you move away from dairy and meat. Think about the amazing array of plant foods you can eat rather than focusing on the very few things that you can't eat. Learn to cook your own food by getting in the kitchen with some good vegan cookbooks and experimenting. You may have a few failures but learning how to cook is the key to your success with a vegan diet!
I was already vegan when I started getting serious about fitness and training and I am shocked at what my body can do. Quicker recovery, longer and harder workouts, I've put on more muscle that I thought I would be able to as a woman. Eating a plant-based diet is a not so well kept secret to having the best performance ever. So if you are an athlete I encourage you to give a whole foods vegan diet a try for a good 6 months (with the help of a professional and this website) to reap the benefits!!