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News — team vegan

Community Voices: Bryan Barnes

Community Voices: Bryan Barnes

November was World Vegan Month and I want to thank a few of my buddies, Leon, Jon, Colleen and Coralie for sharing their stories.  

1. Where are you from? 
I've been around the Baltimore area for most of my life. I grew up in Reisterstown, went to the University of Maryland and now I live in Charles Village. 

2. How long have you been a vegan and what inspired you to embrace veganism?
I went vegan in September of 2005 and was a vegetarian for 7 years before that. What inspired me to make the leap from vegetarian to vegan was learning more about the dairy industry. The cruelty in the industry and the unhealthy side effects drove me over the edge. The first thing I noticed after making the change was feeling more healthy. I very rarely get sick these days. 

3. How did you get involved with Hill Killer?
My brother, Mike Barnes founded Hill Killer back in 2012. I saw that he was doing great things on his own - and I told him that I wanted to help. It's been a fun ride since then! I have tackled a lot of the marketing and digital efforts, based on my background, but my favorite thing to do is design products.

4. How has veganism impacted you and your role in Hill Killer?
It's been a natural fit. I promote veganism in my everyday life by supporting vegan businesses and working with local groups to grow the community. With Hill Killer, I get to work on Team Vegan, which has been a great way to express my beliefs while promoting the message and power of the movement.

5. What inspires Hill Killer vegan apparel and what has the support of the vegan community meant to you?
Our Team Vegan line was originally started by my brother Mike. Mike has been with me since the beginning and understands the struggles that every vegan goes through, like telling your family that you will be eating Tofurkey at Thanksgiving dinner or answering the seemingly endless stream of "where do you get your protein?" questions. We both felt like it was an underserved community and many vegans are especially proud of their athletic prowess and accomplishments. We want to provide the opportunity for plant-based athletes everywhere to proudly declare that they do not need animal products to live an active and balanced life. 

We were so lucky to have some terrific contributors share their vegan perspectives with us this month. Stay tuned as we continue to highlight voices from our community!

Community Voices: Colleen Howell

Community Voices: Colleen Howell

Meet Colleen Howell, another active vegan in our community! She made the decision to go vegan more than four years ago and has fully embraced all aspects of a vegan lifestyle. Read what inspired her and fuels her passion for fitness in honor of Vegan Month!

1. Where are you from? 
I was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia. I moved to Maryland almost two years ago for my job with Vega, but the bulk of my friends and my family are still there.

2. How long have you been a vegan and what inspired you to embrace veganism?
I have been vegan since July 5, 2013 (my beloved, and well celebrated, Veganniversary), so it has almost been four and a half years now.

I was initially inspired by learning of the health benefits in the timeframe I had just started up my first health blog. In my desire to create exciting content, I embarked on a one-week vegan challenge. During that week, I watched Forks Over Knives and Vegucated. I was enjoying the food, felt great and as though I was making a difference.

I continued on completely focused on plant-based foods and my health for a year until I was introduced to the film Earthlings. That's when my motivation shifted entirely. From that point forward, I was awakened and would forever be mostly driven by the ethics of veganism.

Cowspiracy later came into play, and I too love me some Mother Earth. I am now vegan for all things. I see no other logical way of living.

3. What’s your go-to post-workout meal?
My go-to post-workout recovery meal is my ever so scrumptious smoothie bowl! AKA a smoothie poured into a bowl, topped with deliciously nutritious goodies and eaten with a spoon. I prefer this for an insured slower pace of eating (something I struggle with) and higher satiation levels.

Smoothie bowl base:
frozen banana, frozen blueberries, coconut water/plant-based milk/water, Vega Sport Performance Protein (usually chocolate flavor), maca powder, chlorella powder

ground flax, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, puffed kamut, nut butter of choice

4. What’s your favorite thing about being a vegan?
My favorite thing about being vegan is that I am living in alignment with my core values. Because of this, I feel as though I am able to live a more fulfilled, authentic life.

5. What advice do you have for those new to or considering veganism?
Going vegan will likely be the greatest decision you will ever make AND to read my recent blog post 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Vegan.

Our Vegan Month celebration continues! Follow along for more insight from our community.

Community Voices: Jon Burrier

Community Voices: Jon Burrier

Get to know a familiar face! Jon Burrier often models our gear and serves as our Brand Advocate. He’s also a proud vegan! Learn more about what fuels his passion for a plant-based lifestyle in honor of Vegan Month.

1. Where are you from? 
I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. 

2. How long have you been a vegan and what inspired you to embrace veganism?
I have been vegan for 15 years and was heavily inspired by interviews with several of my favorite artists.  Bryan (Hill Killer Team) made a post on social media validating the trajectory.

3.  How has a plant-based diet impacted your workout regimen?
Eating a plant-based diet has holistically improved my workout regimen. For example:

  • My body produces fewer fatigue metabolites / metabolic waste products, so I can train harder, longer and recover faster. 
  • Reduced inflammation
  • No mucus
  • Mental clarity
  • Improved control over BMI  
  • Less chance of injury and increased bone density prevents stress fractures 
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Improved hydration, circulation and absorption / bioavailability of nutrients  
  • No more acid reflux 
  • Hormonal balance since meat and dairy are naturally full of "dietary" hormones the body does not want or need. 
  • Decreased bioaccumulation (toxic load) means less stress and less detoxification and more energy and life participation! 

This list hardly even scratches the surface of the benefits I’ve seen from a vegan lifestyle!

4. What’s your go-to post-workout meal?
A green smoothie! I make my smoothies with different combinations of: banana, beet, pineapple, mango, maca, date, mixed berries, greens, powdered mushrooms, nut butter, oats, chia, flax, apple, pear with seeds, lemon with peel, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, carrot, soy or nut milk with small amount of kombucha and/or apple cider vinegar. Practice makes perfect. Tasting as you create is key!

5. What question do you hear most about being a vegan athlete?
Most commonly, people ask what I eat and how they can start. We have to educate, so we can appreciate what is on our plates! I believe that interviews like these literally turn those questions into answers and arm people with tools for action. 

Our Vegan Month celebration continues! Follow along for more insight from our community.

Community Voices: Coralie Dee

Community Voices: Coralie Dee

Meet Coralie Dee Arthur, a proud vegan who hails from across the pond! If you follow her on Instagram (@coralie.dee), you’ll see her repping Hill Killer in the Scottish mountains, often with her Dad by her side. Get to know more about her life in honor of Vegan Month!

1. Where are you from?
I am from the North- East of Scotland, near the Cairngorm Mountains.

2. How long have you been a vegan and what inspired you to embrace veganism?
I have been vegan for two years now and my Dad inspired me to go vegan. My younger brother introduced veganism to the family, however, my Dad’s thought process initially was to try veganism before criticising my brother. Subsequently, he has never looked back and neither have I. Knowing that if my Dad (who was brought up on a farm) could do it, so could I.

Coralie Dee wins her group in Triathlon Scotland 3. How has a plant-based diet impacted your workout regimen?
Honestly, I cannot explain how amazing it feels to be a vegan athlete. Eating plants has made me stronger physically and mentally. I am able to train harder and longer than ever before and recovery is a lot faster. I am able to enjoy my workouts even more knowing I feel clean, fresh and strong.

4. What question do you hear most about being a vegan athlete?
“But what can you actually eat?” Yup, definitely the question I get asked the most. All I need to do is show them my Instagram page or my phone which is filled with vegan food pictures and videos.

5. Can you describe the European vegan scene?
Do you think it differs from that in America? After a recent trip to London, I can safely say that the vegan scene is utterly amazing. The sheer number of all vegan restaurants and food stalls around the city was awesome. As a girl who lives in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains, I am very much into eating whole foods from supermarkets, but there are many vegan options in our shops over here. I have heard that America does not have as many options, but it is slowly getting there. Hopefully, Europe has influenced more people over in America and we will start seeing vegan food everywhere around the world.

Our Vegan Month celebration continues! Follow along for more insight from our community.

Community Voices: Leon Beggs

Community Voices: Leon Beggs

In honor of Vegan Month, we interviewed some of the athletes in our community about their plant-based lifestyles. You may recognize our first interviewee, Leon Beggs, since he also occasionally models our gear!

1.  Where are you from?
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey.

2. How long have you been a vegan and what inspired you to embrace veganism?
I have been vegan for almost two years, however, I wish I was vegan from birth. I transitioned to a vegan diet after learning about the cruelties in animal agriculture. I then became an animal activist and started to inspire others to become vegan as well. I will always be vegan for the animals and their right to live free from harm.

3. How has a plant-based diet impacted your workout regimen?
With a plant-based diet every aspect of working out has improved. I recover much quicker even after doing two or three workouts in a day, I build muscle easier and feel lighter doing it, and my stamina has increased. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of whole foods I eat daily and the fact that my blood vessels are less clogged up with bad foods.

4. What’s your go-to post-workout meal?
My go-to post-workout meal is a berry smoothie. I do not use any protein powders or supplements, so my smoothies are always packed with oats, peanut butter, and chia seeds to get the important post-workout protein.

5. What question do you hear most about being a vegan athlete?
Most people ask me if I can compete at a high level and be vegan. I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life and continue to get better every day. Other athletes are also switching to a vegan diet, such as Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard, because it is the best diet for athletic performance. 

Our Vegan Month celebration continues! Follow along for more insight from our community.