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Interview with Mauro Reis: Vegan Exercise Enthusiast

Mauro Reis is a recent fitness enthusiast, trying to balance his very physical day job (farrier), a second job (web developer for his wife's business) and other social obligations and hobbies, while still saving up some energy for a regular exercise routine. Sometimes it even works out.

Mauro_Reis

Why Vegan?
Because I can't morally justify what nowadays is an unnecessary and detrimental practice. We don't need to use or kill animals anymore.

How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
I was a vegetarian for over 17 years, but for many years had been slowly learning about what is really involved in animal agriculture. After awhile I couldn't ignore it any longer.

How long have you been vegan?
Over 3 and a half years.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
I've lost some extra weight I'd been carrying around and had other health improvements like lowered cholesterol and better skin condition. Plus, now I eat a lot better - as a vegetarian my diet was not really that great.

What does veganism mean to you?
It's an ethical framework, one of trying not to cause unnecessary harm.
 
Training
What sort of training do you do?
Weight training mostly.

How often do you (need to) train?
I try to train at least 3 times a week.
 
Do you offer your fitness or training services to others?
No.

What sports do you play?
Are board games a sport?! I used to practice Aikido, but because my work is too physically demanding, I had to stop some years ago.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Outside Influences
What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
That we only eat salad. I try to talk about the food we eat and depending on the person, even go to a vegan restaurant with them.

What is your biggest challenge?
Being able to maintain a regular exercise schedule. Being self-employed and life tend to get in the way sometimes.

Are the non-vegans in your industry supportive or not?
Most of the people I deal with are indifferent, but at least are not hostile to veganism. When I started, they told me I wouldn't be able to handle my work because I didn't eat meat, but after all these years they realized that was not true at all.
 
Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
My sisters - who are the people in my family I'm most close to - are. I have a number of friends that, while not vegans, see veganism as a good thing. I'm also part of a vegan supper club so I do have a lot of supportive friends. The friends that were hostile to veganism, well, are not friends anymore.

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?
"How do you get your protein?" I usually respond "The same way you do. Pretty much everything I eat has protein in it".

Who or what motivates you?
Compassion for the animals.
 
Food & Supplements
What do you eat for:
Breakfast - bread, almond, flax or coconut milk and fruit. In the mornings when I work out, I eat steel-cut oats before and then add tofu scramble, seitan and protein shakes to my breakfast afterwards.
Lunch - it's a variety of different foods, there's really no fixed menu. Sometimes it's sandwiches, sometimes it's leftovers from the night before.
Dinner - I have a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) share so we eat a LOT of vegetables, especially during the growing season. I try to make sure I have some balance between carbohydrates, protein and fat, but again, there's no fixed menu.
Snacks (healthy & not-so healthy) - lots of fruit, edamame, cherry tomatoes, primal strips, granola bars, I also keep a bag of whole wheat pretzels for emergencies in my truck. If my wife bakes a cake or pie, I'll eat that too.

What is your favourite source of:
Protein, Calcium, Iron - I don't worry about that too much, I just eat a variety of whole/fresh foods. So far it has worked out ok.

Do you take any supplements?
B-12 vitamins.

Advice
What is your top tip for:
Gaining muscle, Losing weight, Maintaining weight, Improving metabolism, Toning up - I'm still learning all that stuff, so for now I don't have any tips. Maybe in a couple of years!

How do you promote veganism in your daily life?
I work with animals, and at some point or another everybody learns I'm vegan. So I let my general ethics and the way I work with the animals speak for themselves.

How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?
I mention I exercise and that I have benefited from it. They can also see by looking at me and seeing that I'm healthy and I look good – i.e. not overweight or too skinny.

 

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