Diet and Lifestyle Choices

What prompted you to become vegan?


Many factors affected my decision to become vegan, but none more compelling than my interaction with a friend back in 1989. This person was someone who you would never have imagined could inspire this sort of transformation. On a rather ordinary day, my friend called to see if he could drop by for coffee before he went out deer hunting. Although my response was positive, I immediately began trying to figure out how to make him feel as guilty as possible before he committed his heinous crime. After dispensing with the usual trivialities, I asked him how he could justify pulling the trigger on such a beautiful animal. I pointed out that it wasn’t fair – the deer had no defence against his bullet. I asked him if it made him feel like more of a man to shoot a defenceless creature.  His response changed the course of my life. He said, “You have no right to criticize me. Just because you don’t have the guts to pull the trigger, does not mean you are not responsible for the trigger being pulled every time you buy a piece of meat in the grocery store. You are simply paying someone to do the dirty work for you. At least the deer I eat has had a life. I doubt very much you can say the same for the animals sitting on your plate.” I was silenced, because I knew deep down inside he was absolutely right. At that moment I vowed to take responsibility for the food I was purchasing, and find out about the lives of the animals I was eating. What I learned sickened me to the point that I knew I could no longer be a part of our system of animal cruelty. At the time, I didn’t actually know any real live vegetarians, and I was a public health nutritionist, encouraging the consumption of a balanced diet, including lean meat and low fat dairy products.  As you can appreciate, I faced some interesting personal and professional challenges. Fortunately, my husband was very supportive of the decision.



Do you have a daily fitness routine?


You bet! I believe that physical fitness is an essential part of optimal health. I have made exercise a priority in my life since the age of 16 years, although I am not fanatic about it. I aim for an hour of planned exercise a day. All other physical activity is a bonus (walking, gardening, etc.)


My typical week includes the following activities:


  • 5 aerobic classes (Global Fitness Kelowna) – TRX, step, spin, high-lo, boxercise, boot camp, etc. (50 min per class)
  • 2 yoga classes (Global Fitness - 1-1.5 hours per class)
  • 2 strength classes per week (Global Fitness - 50 minutes per class)
  • 1-2 times a week - running, hiking or cross country skiing (1 hour running; 2 hours skiing)
  • 3-4 times a week in nice weather (short 20 minute morning jogs)


“What is your usual daily food intake?”


My diet continues to evolve. It is amazing, but no matter how clean a diet gets, there always seems room for improvement. At this stage, I am moving towards a higher intake of raw foods, and a reduced intake of whole grain flour products (bread, crackers, cookies, etc.). Currently my diet is about 75% raw, although it is somewhat less in the winter months.




1 Bowl of Raw or Cooked Whole Grain Cereal
1/2 cup sprouted grains (kamut berries, oat groats, barley, triticale, etc.) or 1/2 cup cooked grains (quinoa, black rice, oat groats)
1.5 cups of fruits (blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, kiwi, pears, plums, bananas, oranges, etc.)
1 Tbsp ground flax, hemp and chia seeds

2 Tbsp chopped nuts/seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, etc.)

2 Tbsp sprouted buckwheat cereal (dehydrated)
1 - 1 1/2 cups fortified soymilk or homemade almond milk (sometimes almond yogurt makes up part of the milk portion)



Green salad with several vegetables, soaked and dehydrated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sprouted lentils or cooked legumes. Homemade dressing.

OR soup (raw or cooked)
Dehydrated sunflower/flax crackers or sprouted grain bread and nut/bean spread
Fresh fruit




Large green salad (kale, romaine, spinach, collards, etc.) with edamame or beans
Homemade tahini/walnut/herb dressing

Hearty soup (e.g. lentil soup)
Collard wraps with vegetable/nut filling and tahini dip
Cooked meal (e.g. homemade stew; veggie loaf or patties with veggie gravy, steamed vegetables (yams, squash, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc.), potatoes; yams and spicy black bean sauce, green vegetable; quinoa or black rice bowl with peanut sauce (grain, steamed veggies, sauce and sprouts))



Fruit “ice cream” – frozen fruit through Green Star juicer or in Vitamix with almond yogurt or soymilk
Fresh fruit

Raw treat - stuffed dates, turtles or brownies
Fruit crisp with pear cream
Raw pie (date/nut crust, fruit filling)



Green smoothie or fresh green juice

Almond yogurt with fruit and granola
Kale chips (homemade)



Favorite Treats

Occasional (1-2 times a week)
Popcorn (generally popped in olive oil or air popped with salt and nutritional yeast on top)
Chocolate (vegan dark chocolate)




Mainly water
Sometimes herbal teas
Occasionally fruit juices (sometimes with sparkling water)



Total intake

Vegetables – At least 5-6 servings a day or more (3-4 green, 1 red, 1-2 purple/blue, 1-2 orange/yellow, 1-2 white)
Fruits – At least 5-6 servings a day
Legumes – 1-2 servings a day
Nuts/seeds – 1-2 servings a day
Grains – about 2-3 servings a day
Soymilk or other non-dairy milk – 1-2 cups a day