I try to live a very active lifestyle, but the summer can be hard! There is always so much going on. Some weeks are great; hiking, running, and eating well – and then there are times with the ‘vacation mode’ mentality — deciding to just slack off and indulge.
So it’s all about finding that happy balance.
I like to know what I’m eating, read labels, know where my food is coming from, and since I don’t eat most animal products (meat, dairy, gelatin), I need to make sure I’m getting all the nutrients I need, especially to be fuelled for all the activities I do.
That said, I’ve been a fan of Vega for years, and it being vegan and a local company are just a couple of reasons why I dig them. I’ve been lucky to meet the Vega team and to collaborate on projects with them too.
That’s how I met rock star nutritionist – Bridgette Clare! Let me tell you a little bit about B…
Bridgette is a nutritionist and instructor at Spin Society in Vancouver. As a nutritionist and an indoor cycling instructor, she ensures that people are heard and encouraged to be their best self. Bridgette has an outstanding background in nutrition, she attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition where she graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and went on to be a Product Specialist. Now she’s the Customer Experience Team Lead at Vega.
Teaming up again, we’re chatting all plant-based tips!
MICHELLE MORTON: Let’s start with some myth busting! So often I hear vegans don’t get enough iron, calcium, protein, or become low on energy. With that said, what are the most common concerns you’ve heard from people wanting to cut dairy and meat from their diet?
BRIDGETTE CLARE: I love myth busting! A concern I often hear is “will I get enough protein?” With a balanced diet, you get the protein you’re looking for. There’s a world of protein options out there. I love plant-based protein because it has what you’re looking for – the amino acids needed to help support muscles, without compromise. If you’re looking to up your protein game I love Vega Sport Protein with 30 grams of plant-based protein coming from a blend of pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and alfalfa.
MM: How do you track if you are getting enough nutrients? Do you have any apps that you prefer to use?
BC: My app space is reserved for Instagram so I don’t use any food tracking apps. I’m a believer in eating a balanced diet loaded with fruits like cotton candy grapes (yes – cotton candy grapes! You can find them at Whole Foods. They’re honestly the best grapes I’ve ever had) and veggies like broccoli. If you have specific nutrient concerns, I recommend that they work with their health care practitioner, a nutritionist or a dietitian to create a plan that works for you.
MM: What are the benefits of living a plant-based lifestyle?
BC: Variety is the spice of life and there’s so much variety with plant-based foods. The biggest benefit is enjoying delicious plant-based foods every day.
MM: How do you transition your diet to plant-based?
BC: Start with one plant-based meal a day! Starting your day with a smoothie made with real whole food ingredients can be a great way to get started. If you’re feeling up for a challenge — Take this 7 day smoothie challenge.
MM: What are some key foods you always have stocked in the kitchen?
BC: Oh man, there are so many. My husband loves coconut water so that’s always in the fridge. I’m a huge Mexican food fan so I always have beans, corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, cilantro and fresh salsa on hand.
MM: Being vegan really is more than whipping up yummy smoothies and flavourful salads – and I always see you posting a variety of fun meals and recipes on myvega.ca, where do you get your cooking inspiration from?
BC: I get my inspiration from Instagram (Erin Ireland is a source of constant inspiration), my friends and fellow Vega recipe creators like Sarah Skalzub. Speaking of, if you’re looking for a dish to make for your next potluck or even for dinner tonight check out her Savory Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.
MM: Summer is coming to an end, and now that we are getting to our regular routine again, how do you stay on track preparing healthy meals with a busy schedule?
BC: I always take a step back and look at my week ahead before planning my meals for the week. If you have a lunchtime meeting on Tuesday and a big family dinner out on Friday, incorporate those into you plan. Knowing what you’ve got going on will help you decide how much you need to prep for the week.
MM: For those days you’re in a crunch, do you have any favourite on the go snacks you like to take with you?
BC: Yes! I always have chopped veggies, olives and washed fruit in my fridge so that a snack is never too far away. I grab something out of the fridge before I head out the door.
MM: Where is your favourite restaurant for a vegan dish?
BC: I love, I mean love smoothie bowls. My all-time fave dish is the Dessert Sunrise Bowl from Choice Health Bar on Maui. If you can’t get to Maui there are loads of places to pick up a smoothie bowl in Vancouver and you can easily make them at home too.
MM: Now let’s be real, it’s hard be 100% on your healthy game 365 days a year – so how do you satisfy your sweet tooth when you want to cave?
BC: Two words: Smoothie Bowl (what can I say – I love them)
And a BIG Thank you, Bridgette!!
You can find Bridgette online too: Twitter/Instagram @Bridgettelclare and find more of her recipes and tips at myvega.ca/blog