With Fitness being the new fashion trend of the times, ripped muscles, washboard abs and killer legs seem to be the buzzwords. Since it’s said that abs are made in the kitchen, one equates ripped muscles with protein rich meat. Have you ever considered a vegan athlete?
Well, Pune based martial artist, vegan athlete and calisthenics expert, Dhruv Chowdhuri, shatters all myths about the diet that goes into the making of an athlete.
In our interview with vegan athlete, Dhruv, he talks about what inspired him to turn Vegan two years ago, and lets us into a few more secrets of following a Vegan lifestyle.
Priya (P): When did you turn Vegan and what was the inspiration?
Dhruv (D): My inspiration was the animals! After watching videos of animal cruelty I couldn’t believe I was a part of so much suffering, just to build my body and “stay fit”.
P: Since you are in a profession where most people rely on meat for nutrition, did you face any challenges in the early days?
D: I was a vegetarian for 5 years before I turned vegan so the only challenges I faced was my family thinking I had gone crazy and all their nutrition “gyaan” that milk and eggs was necessary for my health. But with time I guess they got used to it, but I still get taunts now and then.
P: Is it difficult being a vegan in your profession?
D: In today’s day and age with a variety of vegan supplements around, it’s not too difficult except if one has a soy allergy. So getting enough protein or vitamins and a few amino acids wasn’t an issue for me! Besides the body doesn’t differentiate between a supplement and a ‘natural’ product.
P: Did you have any withdrawal symptoms or the temptation to give up veganism in the early days?
D: I did crave milk products like ice creams and milkshakes, so I used to add in a couple of cheat days a month to help me keep going!!
P: Would you advocate Veganism?
D: Yes I would, especially for the animals and the environment!
P: Since you are a fitness enthusiast what benefits have you discovered after turning vegan?
D: With sticking to a lot of veggies and eating healthy most of the time I realized my vitamin intake had improved. My strength went up, so did my cardiovascular endurance. I felt light on the stomach with no bloating whatsoever!
P: Do you think that there are nutrition deficiencies risk with veganism – protein, calcium and vitamin B-12?
D: Yes there is a risk of being deficient in a lot of ways, but like I said taking a supplement where my body doesn’t know it’s a supplement is much better than killing an animal for those vitamins and protein.
P: It is said that veganism is more expensive than the available dairy and meat options. Is that true? If so, what are some innovative ways to offset the expenses?
D: Not really, it’s almost the same as eating a non-vegetarian diet! Yes you do have to spend on a few supplements but there are cheaper ones that you can consume! But most of the daily intake is just like any other diet!
P: What precautions should vegan people follow while eating out?
D: A lot of products which are used in restaurants contain elements of non-veg or dairy in it so, it is best to ask your waiter for the food item contents and ask the chef to modify it as per your requirements!!
P: What is your favorite vegan dish that is packed with nutrition which you consume as part of your fitness diet? And can you please share the recipe?
D: My favorite dish would be stir fried tofu in olive oil with seasoned veggies and some potatoes or rice with a vegan sauce on the side!
P: Would it be helpful to vegans if there is home-cooked vegan food made fresh to order, delivered to your home?
D: There are options out there that give you vegan meals at your doorstep! They are slightly on the expensive side but are worth it for people who are just turning vegan and don’t know how to match their nutrient intakes!
P: Would you recommend veganism to upcoming bodybuilders and athletes?
D: Yes I would definitely recommend veganism to athletes and bodybuilders as you can look and perform well on a vegan diet!
P: Any other advice or tips you would like to share?
D: The only thing I will say is that you don’t need meat to look or perform a certain way, you just need the right guidance to help you meet your nutrition and calorie goals to help you be the best version of yourself, and guess what – cruelty free!!
As vegan athlete Dhruv mentioned, home-cooked vegan meals can be a solution for those who have never experimented with vegan diets. And here’s where Mealtango comes to your rescue, with Pune’s top homechefs cooking fresh, preservative free vegan meals.
Mealtango is the first community of trained and certified homechefs in India. Visit the vegan menu page on the Mealtango website, you can find approved homechefs near you and order delicious vegan meals online. The food will be delivered at your doorstep. It’s as simple as that! The Mealtango team ensures that you have an excellent experience of relishing scrumptious home cooked food lovingly prepared by the Mealtango homechefs.