There is always controversy surrounding the topic of whether Ballroom Dancing is classified as an art or a sport. Speaking as a full-time Professional Ballroom dancer myself and having danced for 20 years now, I prefer to pop us in the art category but I can totally understand why the argument arises. What we do is seriously demanding stuff, two bodies dancing together for a total of 10 minutes with no stopping. Add 2 and a half-inch heels into the equation and you can see this is no walk in the park. By now you are probably thinking “where is she going with this and how on earth does this relate to Veganism?” but I’m getting there ok! Athletes need a large amount of fuel to be able to compete at maximum performance level, but dancer’s need to have a certain aesthetic ‘dancer’ look as well. I have always struggled with this balance. Not enough fuel, too lethargic to dance to maximum.. enough fuel, but receive complaints of having to lose weight (nasty stuff I know, but it’s unfortunately true). So, what’s a gal to bloody do!?! This is where my title comes in 🙂
Now, please don’t think I wrote this post to come across all preachy and demanding. I simply decided to write it to share some of my own experiences in the hopes that maybe they help you too! I’m no nutritionist so please bare that in mind, but I have done a lot of research on this topic through good old google, some books and watching a few docos. Also, some people have recently been asking me about it so I thought I should just tackle it head on and write a blog post. Steve and I have been eating a plant-based diet now since late April 2016 and I don’t see us going back! We decided to give it a go leading up to one of the biggest comps of our lives, which was in the UK in May. A little risky as who knows what could have happened but luckily I’m pretty sure it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!
We were training like bosses leading up to the competition, doing 4 rounds twice a week (’rounds’ means 5 dances, full tracks of music, no stopping which = ABSOLUTE DANCER DEATH) and I just felt so knackered all the time and couldn’t even notice a change in my body either. This was discouraging to say the least considering I felt like the dancing equivalent of a hamster on a spin wheel. Then one night I watched Cowspiracy and something clicked. I then started researching plant-based diets and decided that I wanted to give it a go. My decision was purely based on the fact that these people were eating roughly 3000 calories a day and looked amazing but also said they felt great too. Also, I am always up for trying something new and if it’s not for me well.. no harm done!
I noticed a change pretty much immediately in terms of my energy levels and alertness. Coming from my previous diet of a lot of protein, good fats, minimal carbs and minimal food in general this was probably an obvious one but I still wasn’t 100% sure on what I should and shouldn’t eat. This became a little bit of a work in progress for both Steve and I as we tried new things but something that really helped us track our intakes and progress was cronometer.com. Here we could enter the foods we were eating and see how we were going with all our vitamins and macro intakes. What I was surprised by was how we were covering all bases with this new way of eating.. it also gave me somewhat of a cheeky response when people said to me “but where do you get your protein!?” The only vitamin that was lacking was Vitamin B12 which us humans get from animal products. When I researched this though, it seems most people are deficient in this vitamin and so we simply bought a supplement which we take twice weekly 🙂
Some things were hard to give up (yoghurt 🙁 I’ll miss you!) but it also made other options that the old me would have never gone near ( HELLO BREAD AND PASTA!) totally accessible. We also found a few vegan alternatives for the things we missed like sorbet for icecream, vegan cheese, veganaise for mayonnaise, falafel burgers and plant-based protein powders. We are currently using PRANA ON protein powder and it’s delish! The other thing I did discover though is how good I felt eating a diet based on fruits, vegetables and grains. These days I eat around 2,500-3,000 calories a day and I feel leaner, stronger, more alert and I have so much more energy. I no longer get to 3pm craving a chocolate bar pick-me-up and I’m not starving for crap food at 11pm like I was before. My skin has improved and I’ve lost around 5 kgs!
As you can see, I could write all day about how happy this lifestyle has made me but I know that everybody is different so you have to do your own research on what works best for you and play around with a little trial and error. Anyone that really knows me, knows I have gone through waaaaay too many silly fad diets because of the pressure I’ve had put on me which have all had short term effects and little reward. That’s why I’m so passionate about this and I don’t feel like it’s another ‘diet’ as I’m not really giving up anything if I vouch for how much better I feel 🙂 Plus I’m sure I’ve made some little animals out there very happy #DOUBLEWIN.
If you’re interested in hearing any more about what food I eat etc. please, oh please leave me a comment below!
Love, Rachelle xx