I have always considered myself to be rather healthy since I was born and raised in South Africa to parents who were very conscious of the impact of diet and exercise on the body. My parents became vegetarians before I was born so I grew up eating fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. One of my favourite snacks was apples and we would buy a whole box of apples at the market and my dad and I would finish it in about two weeks.
My mom wanted to make sure her family was as healthy as possible so she baked nutrient dense sprouted bread and would make lovely sandwiches for me to take to school. Of course I did not appreciate all the good nutrition and found myself looking longingly at the white bread sandwiches of my fellow classmates because I wanted to fit in.
For a two year period of time we ate only raw plant based food and I remember feeling very energised and not getting sick at all. With the variety of fruits like mangoes, litchis and pineapple around there were plenty of options to choose from and meals often consisted of eating a whole pineapple or papaya each, for dinner. As a young adult I tasted fish for the first time and it had an interesting texture and for a number of years I ate it occasionally.
At the beginning of this year I was approached, while working out at the gym, by someone who suggested I compete in a bikini pro bodybuilding competition. I had never really considered it before since it seemed to take a lot of time and work. However, I was bored just working out so the challenge of pushing myself to achieve certain goals was very appealing. At first it was somewhat of a pipe dream but as the months have continued it has become very much a reality.
Currently I am four weeks away from competing for the first time and in the best shape of my life. I have been doing this challenge on a primarily plant based diet with a lot of comments and teasing from fellow work out buddies. However, at the age of 39 and with only four months of serious training behind me, I am ready to compete in my first competition and win!
This blog is going to be dedicated to tips on exercise and plant-based meals to provide a resource for anyone else who would like to challenge themselves to be healthier and fitter. If I can do it, anyone can!