Plant Fuelled People is a series in which we speak with various vegans with different lifestyles about why a plant fuelled diet is important and how easy it can be!
Previously we have spoken with vegan fitness coach Ed Griffiths from The Lean Tribe and vegan ballerina Sofia Zaman.
Next up in our Plant Fuelled People range, we spoke to Leon Gregory from Leon Yoga about his journey to becoming a yoga instructor, and when he decided to go vegan along with discussing some delicious meal ideas.
Hi Leon, thank you for chatting with us! Let’s start with an easy one – When and why did your vegan journey begin?
Hey, no problem, the pleasure’s mine! I transitioned to veganism during early 2016. The main reason I changed my diet is that I wasn’t a big fan of what these industries are doing to animals and the planet.
Do you have any tips for someone that is looking to go vegan? This can include any favourite recipes you have, shops to go to, documentaries, or online resources such as eating out guides and blogs.
Almost all meat options now have a vegan equivalent. Lean on these as much as you need to make that transition as easy as possible. The best meat substitute I have tried has got to be Beyond Meat, it’s unreal!
Chickpea and spinach curry with rice is one of my favourites to cook. Although I’m more than capable of polishing off a tub of Ben and Jerrys also.
Follow people online who cook and share recipes and practice yourself. @vegannun on Instagram has lots of good recipes and easy to make foods!
Batch cooking meals and freezing is also super convenient.
Not hitting calorie requirements happens to some people sometimes during the early days, peanut butter has been an absolute saviour for me! Just don’t overdo it if your goal is to lose weight.
Take a good multivitamin. I believe everyone should do this regardless of their diet – I take Holland and Barrett’s ABC Plus Multi Vitamin.
Watch Game Changers and Forks Over Knives! Read ‘How Not To Die’ by Dr Michael Greger.
Tell us more about your vegan journey!
I incrementally relied less on the products I was cutting from my diet. I started by eating more fruit, nuts, beans, lentils, vegetables, vegan mock meats etc. Animal products dropped from making up approximately half of my daily calories, down to 25%, to eventually 0%. This happened over the course of approximately 3 months.
As a vegan yoga instructor, what does your usual day of eating look like?
It varies from day to day but here is an example:
Breakfast – Hummus on (seeded-bread) toast with olives and sun-dried tomatoes (3 rounds), 2 bananas, tall glass of Soya milk
Dinner – Vegan curry (chickpea and spinach) or a Mexican bean burrito with salad
Tea – Mixture of veg (e.g. carrots, mushrooms, mash potato, parsnips with gravy and vegan sausages
2 meals below are examples of what I might make if I’m in a rush or want something quickly…
- Protein smoothies made of plant milk, bananas, peanut butter, flax seeds (sometimes oats also). Even better with roots n shoots powder!
- (This might sound mad). A sandwich made of two rounds of toast, one side with mashed avocado, one side peanut/almond butter, a little bit of turmeric, a tiny bit of black pepper and a big handful of sautéed spinach. (This is packed with calories and protein). Sometimes I eat two of these for lunch) if it’s a very active day.
We would love to know more about how your yoga journey began too!
My mood was becoming low in 2018 due to being dissatisfied with my career in engineering. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in life, so rather than slipping into depression (which I could feel creeping in), I decided to quit my job and travel to India on a one way ticket. I had a small sum of money for a deposit on an eventual house – This was now my travel fund.
I booked a 200 hour yoga instructor course in Goa to keep me busy for the first month. I fell in love with yoga and decided to give teaching it a really good go – In a nutshell!
What are your top yoga poses for beginners to try out?
Standing fold, triangle pose, tree pose.
What are your favourite yoga poses and why?
Handstand variations. They’re so much fun, they also build upper body strength very effectively!
With the uncertainty of current events in the world right now, how are you keeping to a normal(ish!) routine?
I’m mountain biking through various woods, canals and trails most days with friends, doing gymnastics ring training multiple days a week and teaching online live Yoga classes most days also. (Hit me up!)
Which flavour of Roots ‘n Shoots is your favourite?
We know there are many ways of using our products, but how do you use your Roots ‘n Shoots? For example, after a run, in recipes, on-the-go when walking the dog.
Ideally mixed with rice milk within 30 minutes of a difficult workout or first thing in the morning as part of breakfast.
Finally, as this is an interview for Plant Fuelled People, what is your favourite plant food and why?
Spinach is pretty nutrient-dense, a small amount added to your diet where possible will do a lot of good!
Thanks ‘roots and shoots’ for the questions! If anyone reading this is considering going vegan, give it a really good go! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Just take it easy, transition slowly and remember why you’re doing it!