Interview with Orvel Douglas: Vegan Exercise Enthusiast
Written by Leigh-Chantelle
Created Thursday, 31 January 2013
Orvel Douglas has lived in New York City for 18 years, originally coming from Birmingham, England. He is a Nutrition and diet coach who works for non-profit organization BodySculpt. Orvel aims to educate the masses on the importance and value of nutrition as a vehicle to a better lifestyle.
How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I think i was destined to become a vegan from a young age. I gave up read meat and pork in 1985. When i went to school for nutrition and started to learn about animal products that really pushed me over the edge to stop eating meat knowing all these products are associated with disease. I would say i have a strong willpower. Once i decide to do something i just do it.
How long have you been vegan?
I have been a vegan for over 12 years.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
More energy, never get sick, better body composition, just feeling great every single day.
What does veganism mean to you?
We could feed all the starving people in the world and save the rainforest from destruction.
What sort of training do you do?
I do a combination of weight training and high intensity interval training.
How often do you (need to) train?
Six days a week. I alternate the weight training days and cardio days.
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
I do offer fitness advice to others but not fitness services.
What sports do you play?
I do not play any sports.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
The biggest misconception I find is they think we are all stick thin and weak and we only eat tofu and salads. I explain to them that being a vegan does not equal to being stick thin, you have meat eaters who are stick thin, and we are all different physically. It depends on what you eat and how you exercise, and that applies to vegans and non vegans.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
Eating the right foods, knowing that what I eat will fuel my body for the rest of the day.
What is your biggest challenge?
I don’t have any challenges being a vegan. I make sure I am always prepared for every situation.
Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
The non-vegans in my industry are supportive towards me. Because they tell me I blow away the myth what a vegan suppose to look like.
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
My family are very supportive of my vegan lifestyle, One of my sisters is a vegan and my mother eats animal protein maybe once every month or so. They all love vegan dishes.
What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
“Where do you get your protein from?” My answer is the same place the animals you are eating get theirs. A common comment I get when I tell people I am a vegan is “I couldn’t give up meat”.
Who or what motivates you?
Waking up day in day out and feeling full of life and energy. I see so many people who are the same age as me and younger who has all these chronic diseases, low energy, always tired all the time. I tell them I can’t identify with what you are going through, I basically put it down to my lifestyle choices.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - Green smoothie made with coconut water, kale, parsley, watercress, celery, piece of apple, orange, banana, ginger, hemp seed, flaxseed and chia seed.
Lunch - Herb salad with ½ avocado, yellow & red peppers diced, red onions, cauliflower hummus and raw braised mushrooms.
Dinner - Raw sweet potato soup
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy)- Almonds & dates
What is your favourite source of:
Protein - Shelled raw hempseeds
Calcium - dark green leafy vegetables
Iron - spinach and dates
What foods give you the most energy?
Green smoothie gives me the most energy.
Do you take any supplements?
I do not take supplements.
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle - Include essential fats into your diet like nuts and avocados, also hemp is a great source of protein.
Losing weight - Exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, when your body is still in a fasting stage from the night before. If you work out first thing in the morning, your body will tap into its fats stores.
Maintaining weight - When your body reaches its ideal weight, weight will be maintained naturally.
Improving metabolism - Eating enough fruits and veggies, and less grains.
Toning up - I recommend high intensity interval training. Doing high intensity exercise will torch fat well after your workout is over, compared to traditional cardio.
How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
When I do my nutrition workshops, I talk about how you can save your own life by becoming a vegan. Eating all that animal protein puts you at risk for all degenerative diseases, compared to a plant base diet that is going to promote good health and vitality
How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
to get involved in what I do, I try to change their mindset about food. I tell them that food is fuel. You have to treat your body the same way as you treat a car. If you put the wrong fuel in a car it’s going to break down, and that’s exactly how the human body works. I live by example and people do listen to me when I talk, I think it’s because of my age and my physical appearance.