What’s in the Fridge of: A Vegan Cross Country CoachHeather Neal
Fridge #3 in the What’s in Your Fridge Series
Debbie is a vegan runner, a high school cross country coach, and personal trainer. Her love of running runs deep – she even got married at the finish line of a race! I love her list of healthy inspirations: vegan athletes and writers.
What is your approach to healthy living?
Enough! Get enough exercise, get enough sleep, eat enough food to fuel my body.
What’s in your fridge and why?
Lots of vegetables (spaghetti squash, zucchini, spinach, and more) and fruit (watermelon, pineapple, nectarines in the photo), protein sources like tofu, tempeh, seitan, almond milk, hummus, salsa, and of course, wine and bread :-). All to get a balance of healthy nutrients for my vegan diet.
Do you have a favorite tip or secret to helping your family eat healthy foods?
My kids are grown up, so I don’t have to worry about them. My husband on the other hand, follows a mostly vegan diet which is healthy at home, but he has a terrible sweet tooth and won’t give up the diet soda. I refuse to nag, so I just make sure that the meals that I prepare are as healthy as possible to offset his dietary indiscretions.
Is any food or drink “off limits” in your house?
Well, meat is off limits, by our choice. I never buy juice, it’s simply not healthy, but it’s not a rule or anything.
Do you follow any diet guidelines?
I’m vegan, so no meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products.
Who is your healthy eating inspiration or role model?
I admire many vegan athletes, including Brendan Brazier, Rich Roll, and Scott Jurek. I also have a large blog roll of vegan writers that I follow, both for inspiration and recipes, including Gena from Choosing Raw, Angela from Oh She Glows, and Chef Amber Shea.
Have you always eaten this way?
I became a vegetarian about seven years ago, vegan three years ago, strictly for ethical reasons, but the health benefits are a nice side benefit. Over the years, I have relied less on “prepared” vegan food and substitute meats and cheeses, and focused more on fresh, whole food. I still use protein sources like tofu, seitan, and tempeh, in addition to beans, nuts, and seeds, but I eat a lot less of the faux meats that are widely available these days (though I do eat them on occasion).