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Thriving on a Vegan Diet, Pt. 3

Maya Henderson

Your source for all things yoga and wellness in Chicago.


As I mentioned in previous blogs, I'm doing the Thrive in 30 vegan diet challenge with a group of friends. They've all agreed to share info about their lifestyle, eating habits and experiences. This week's spotlight is on professional badass Heather Crosby.

Photo: Heather Crosby

Heather grew up on a horsefarm in Maryland, and post-college in 1998, she sold her truck and moved to Chicago with half a job and one month's rent to her name. Being brave has paid off and ChiTown has been good to her. It is her home now. Sorry, Maryland. Over the past 11 years she has become involved with all things inspiring to her: stories, art, photography, design, food, music, travel, dance, fashion, you name it. She is a freelance Design Director for some of Chicago's top design agencies, she is owner and lead instructor for HooperPower Hoopdance in Chicago and she will soon be launching, a one-stop source for exciting things vegan and raw. She's a big fan of Maya, Brendan Brazier, healthy food and working out, so it's only natural that she participate in this challenge. BBB: Describe your typical daily routine. I am currently under contract in-house at a design firm, so I am up at 8am and at work by 9-9:30am from Monday-Thursdays. Fridays, I work at home and get up when my body naturally wants to, more around 9am. BBB: What do you normally eat? I normally eat 70-80% raw a day. At night I tend to want a warm, cooked vegan meal. Every morning I starts my day with Brendan Brazier's Chocolate Vega with Coconut Water (I'm addicted to it. It's kinda like my coffee) and a few Probiotic capsules, too. I make homemade power bars or granola and usually bring those with me to work for snacks. I tend to eat one large salad a day and lately have been having one Kombucha a day. For dinner it depends, sometimes I order delivery. Sometimes I hit Whole Foods. Sometimes I make a nice raw meal for myself. During the challenge I plan on incorporating more raw and less cooked foods. BBB: Why did you decide to do the Thrive Challenge? What are your expectations? I love a challenge. Most times, that's enough for me. I am hoping to build more strength, flexibility and stamina beyond what I have going now. I am already a fan of Brendan's book, but I have not tried following it for 30 days. I am open to the possibilities of the unexpected and expected results. This will be fun yet time-consuming and I am ready for that. I already set aside a lot of time to prepare the majority of my food myself, but I imagine that there will be nights when all I want to do is order some Indian food delivered right to my door. I will have to power through on those nights. That's really my only concern. BBB: Now that we're well into the challenge. How's it going? Is it what you expected? About 5 years ago I stopped eating chicken, beef and pork. I stopped the dairy about two years ago. The occasional dessert out may have some dairy involved, but it is kept to an absolute minimum. I noticed tremendous changes immediately. Emotional and physical. The past two years, I have eaten a highly raw diet and about seven months ago I found Brendan's book. I was interested in some additional guidance since I'm a pretty active person and was looking for more energy. I cannot say enough positive things about this book, it's explanations, plans, recipes and nutritional information have really helped me get to the next level health-wise. The Thrive challenge, well, I am enjoying it, but I have the book. If I didn't have Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life I wouldn't know what to do food-wise. That is my only critique. BBB: Out of the videos you've watched so far, which one resonated with you the most? I have to say Lesson 1. The whole concept of Nutritional Stress was a new one for me when I read the book and to have the reminder was great. BBB: If you're sticking with the challenge, or at least making some changes, have you noticed any shifts in energy, mood or weight yet? I start every day with the Vega Nutritional Supplement and since I started that, I noticed an immediate shift in how the first half of my day played out energy-wise. I feel very alert and awake. That first sip is like getting plugged into an energy socket. I really enjoy some of the post-workout drinks from the book and overall definitely can say that I have greater strength and endurance since I started following many of Brendan's suggestions.

We'll check in with Heather at the conclusion of the challenge. In the meantime, check out her blog, Inspired by Everything and visit the Thrive in 30 website to start receiving your free informational videos on thriving on a plant-based diet. Also, you can meet Brendan in person on Saturday the 14th at Karyn's Raw or Sunday, the 15th at Whole Foods Lincoln Park!



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inspiredbyeverything™ said:

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Thanks for the great post and encouragement to participate in this challenge, Maya. You da best.

Nikki Lynette said:


Awesome post. I love the way you're proving that vegans are normal, healthy, fun loving people with active lives instead of the hippie communist granola monsters that we're typically made out to be. Kudos!

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