VHF: When and why did you go vegan?
aka “The Chocolate Vegan”
I went vegan about three years ago on the 1st of September 2013. I will have been eating all raw vegan for just over eight months by the time this hits newsstands. I went vegan overnight. I spoke with my sister and her husband about it, and that same day I went home and got rid of anything that contained animal products. I did it for the health benefits. I did not truly understand all of what veganism was at the time. I had to do some serious studying. Also I was 400+ pounds and I knew it was time for a change. I had surgery on my knee (ACL tendon) and I knew that being that heavy while trying to recover wasn’t a smart choice at all. This change had to take place in order for me to regain my life. Plus, seeing animals get hurt just for me to eat or wear something seemed kind of crazy.
aka “Raw Vegan Physique”
I went vegan in November 2011 after meeting someone who told me all about the benefits of veganism for the animals, the planet, and our health. I decided to go vegan immediately. I was a junk food vegan for a year and a binge eater, and fell into a pretty bad depression. I started to transition to eating more raw vegan foods in January of 2013, and have been eating 100-percent raw for two-and-a-half years now. I went vegan for the animals. They were, and still are, the #1 reason I am vegan and why I am so passionate about veganism. I then went raw vegan to cure my depression and other health issues (which it did.)
Christopher, 7, and Philip, Jr., 3, have been eating vegan since the day dad went vegan on that 1st of September 2013. They love eating this way. They love animals so much. When we go shopping, Christopher, the oldest, loves to shout out the things that we don’t eat. That puts a huge smile on dad’s face.
VHF: How did you introduce your kids to veganism?
We got rid of all animal products in the house the day we decided to go vegan. We all started learning that day. We love the lifestyle. Nothing is better than eating living foods and not harming other lives in the process. Books, movies, and small chats here and there really helped as well. The kids also noticed the change of my weight and my energy. They love that I can actually run around with them now.
VHF: What are your kids’ favorite foods?
Chris, the oldest, loves smoothies. His favorite one is dates, strawberries, and coconut. He also loves to eat vegan lettuce tacos with just guacamole. He loves and I mean LOVES oatmeal and he enjoys making it. PJ, the youngest, is very simple. He loves pancakes, cashews or tons of fruit. He is very easy to please.
VHF: What are the biggest benefits you have noticed for yourself and other family members since you began eating vegan?
Everyone’s energy levels have increased, seems like it tripled. Our skin has cleared up so much. Our minds are much more clear and alert. Eating this way really helped out with both my and Indica’s depression and anxiety as well. We are so much happier as a family. Knowing that we aren’t hurting animals is a great feeling. Not only are we healthier, but it is so much easier for us to empathize with other beings.
Right: What the family sips during workouts: pureed watermelon and cantelope juice! Yum!
VHF: What is your background in athletics?
Phillip- I was always involved in some kind of sports. My favorite is basketball. I wasn’t too much into weight lifting at first, until I understood the benefits. I have always been a heavy person, so when I did anything that would need high amounts of energy, I would tire easily. I first got into lifting weights about two years ago. The more results I saw, the more I wanted to do it. I got into working out because I wanted to be “in shape” instead of “a shape.” I didn’t understand how much fun exercise can be. One of the best parts about our workouts is that the kids love it too. They strive to be fit and healthy just like Indica and me.
Indica - I had absolutely no background in athletics when I started working out around three years ago. I was extremely skinny and out of shape. Before going raw vegan I was a huge junk food and binge eater, and that caused me to have really bad fatigue and depression. I barely wanted to walk anywhere, much less workout. When I started making healthy changes in my eating habits, I also got into working out. I just wanted to move my body and get the rush of endorphins. I got into weight lifting by watching YouTube videos of bodybuilders, specifically Dana Linn Bailey. I wanted to lift as well. I am completely self-taught. It took me about a year to figure it all out, but it was a fun journey! After about a year of working out and learning as much as I possibly could, I became a personal trainer.
VHF: What is your philosophy of including your kids in your workouts?
We want to properly educate them on fitness and health. We want to show them that fitness is not only fun, but it paves the way to good health. If we give them the right tools in life, they can make the right choices when they are adults. Our goal is to be healthy role models to the kids. We want them to have a better head start in life than we did and be great leaders of the future.
VHF: Do your kids enjoy working out with you?
The kids love working out with us. They love just hearing us say “Let’s go to the gym.” Sometimes they workout on their own at home, and they are so proud of themselves.
VHF: Do you work out with the kids at home?
We like to do yoga and other stretches at home. When we aren’t in the gym we go to the park and run around. We take Zippy, our dog, for long walks.
VHF: What are your athletic goals?
Phillip- My goals are to be lean and really fit. I have thought about competing as well. I will soon start personal training and doing more health coaching. One thing I really want to get back into is playing in basketball leagues for fun. I do enjoy weight lifting and I will also continue that in order to stay lean and fit.
Indica- Right now since I am pregnant with my first biological child my goal is to have a healthy and fit pregnancy. After giving birth, my goal will be to stay in the best shape I can so I can be healthy for the kids and be a good role model for them. I just want to have as much fun as I can with my workouts and stay in shape so I can have lots of energy to keep up with the kids. I want to be the best version of me.
We have a website where we post all of our daily meals (with pictures of the food, calories, macro-nutrient ratios, etc.) what the kids eat, detailed videos of our workouts, recipes and more. It’s RawVeganCouple.com
We will also be hosting free group workouts during the summer at a park in Austin, Texas so follow us on instagram to get updates about that.