Pro Snowboarders Gabi Viteri and Kimmy Fasani on raw and vegan diets

The number one benefit in eating a plant-based diet is digestion; by having proper digestion we’re able to absorb nutrients better and therefore recover a lot quicker from workouts and injuries. Not to mention the energy and vitality we get from the absorption of all the minerals and vitamins from living foods. And by eating Whole Foods (verses processed foods), our body recognizes the food and knows exactly what to do with it. It also takes an enormous amount of effort for our body to digest meat and it creates a highly acidic environment, which can lead to serious problems and diseases.

It means so much to me to see these two celebrated Pro Snowboarders Kimmy Fasani and Gabi Viteri thriving on this diet. They are both such positive role models and they impact so many young girls out there. This is more than living a healthy lifestyle, it’s about living a “responsible” lifestyle.

Of all the different dietary options out there today, why did you choose to go Raw/Vegan?

           KF: The saying, you are what you eat is something I truly believe in. I choose to eat healthy because that’s when my body performs at its best. I don’t maintain a fully raw or fully vegan diet year round but I do believe in incorporating raw foods and eliminating dairy at each meal. Not every body is the same, but for me I find that the more whole foods I put in my system the better it operates on and off the hill. During the summer I love experimenting with raw recipes and find that my digestion works way more efficiently with fresh veggies, fruits, and nuts.

GV: The reason I chose this route of health is after some friends had brought to my awareness of what exactly was in the food we were eating, and the whole industry behind it. Its horrific and it is easy to play the whole out of site out of mind game. But after I saw enough of what was happening I became more conscious of where exactly this was coming from that I am about to put into my body, what animals have suffered and what bad energy I am about to put into myself. I also found that after I went vegan for a while my body felt different, and I had way more energy. I actually realized how sick and low energy I use to feel when I would eat dairy products per say. What is the biggest misconception you’ve heard/read about being raw/vegan?            KF: The biggest myth about eating raw and vegan is that nothing will taste good prepared this way. When the food is made with love, care, and the proper ingredients, it can be more flavorful that most processed foods.            GV: The biggest farce of course is people telling me how I am an athlete and need more protein, how our bodies need these foods to survive etc. etc. What is actually amazing is I can say now that I don’t get nearly the amount of grief I use to, its almost like the population is actually growing into this new way of eating and more people are becoming aware, I am starting to relate more to people rather than having to explain myself and the benefits and actual facts and not just what people think to be true. I feel people are actually starting to find out the true facts and become aware, and it is now getting so much easier to find food to eat even while traveling. What is some advice you would give to other considering making the transition? –

KF: Even if you don’t go fully raw or vegan, start paying attention to what’s in your food and how it’s prepared. Being conscious of where your food comes from can also be a big step in transitioning your diet. Lightly steaming veggies or making raw fresh green smoothies is another easy way to get started.  Start small by introducing one fully raw or vegan dishes into your diet each day, this will help the transition become much more easy. I love the way my body feels and flows when I’m eating this way, instead of always working to breakdown heavy cooked meals my body can breeze through the digestion process of eating whole foods, giving my body time to focus on keeping my system strong and running smoothly.            GV: My advice to others wanting to venture down this path is to see it as a journey and not as a leap of faith to becoming vegan one day to the next. It takes time to see the benefits and it takes time also to relearn how to cook. But this is the fun part, bringing something new into your life and starting from scratch. It took me about 4 years to actually become vegan. I had to do a lot of trial and error to find that my body does like this way of eating and this is feasible and adaptable. Also it takes times for your taste buds to change so patience is key and not expecting to do this over night. I recommend using the Internet, such as Priscilla’s site for recipes. It is amazing how you can find any recipe you like but vegan these days with the Internet. You can literally type in any recipe and there is a way to find it vegan, this way you don’t feel deprived of old food or memories with certain dishes. What are some challenges you’ve face with the diet and how have you addressed them?           KF: The biggest challenge I face in maintaining a raw diet on the road is finding whole foods at the airport. Because of this, I have to pick and choose which foods to eat. The smartest way to maintain this lifestyle is to bring raw snacks with you when you travel, i.e. an avocado, a bag of carrots and celery, or a mixed bag of nuts. If you always have something to dip into when you get hungry, you won’t have to waiver from your eating regiment.           GV: There are challenges with being vegan, but you just have to know how to be prepared for them – adapting to the new way of life. I now travel with food, before I would just eat what was around. Traveling seems to be the only challenge I found but, it’s solved by taking protein or meal shakes with me; also making things like granola and bars ahead of time. This way I will always have something to eat when there is nothing vegan available.

Diet aside, what are some of your career accomplishments?

KF: Video parts in Standard Films 2112, TB20, and The Storming. Nominated for   women’s rider of the year, standout performance, and readers choice at the 2012 Transworld Rider Poll awards. Ms. Superpark Standout 2011           GV: You are not going to get a list of competitions I have won in this column. I stopped competing when I was about 16 because I didn’t see the fun in it anymore, so where my career accomplishments stand is filming. There are definitely a few photo shoots that stand out as accomplishments in my mind. There was a Burton shoot where we hit a huge hip, it was just really fun to me and progressive snowboarding. Also the year I filmed with Peepshow was really awesome, I really ventured outside of things I would usually snowboard on.   What are some other things you’re passionate about outside of snowboarding?             KF: I am a part owner at Mimi’s Cookie Bar in Mammoth, which is an all Organic/Natural Bakery in Mammoth Lakes, CA. One of our major focuses is providing Vegan and Gluten Free desserts to our community. We have noticed that over half our business is customers wanting these specialty items.             GV: I am passionate about being healthy. It actually consumes me a bit much. Eating healthy, taking care of my body and also my mind. I stretch or do yoga every morning and try to read some mindful reading. I love to be outside eather it is hiking, skateboarding, or surfing. I love reading new age books too. Outside of work and riding, what are some goals for this year?

KF: My goals for this year are to be strong and stay focused. I am recovering from a big knee injury right now so I’m putting a huge emphasis on my diet. I am trying to give my body all the nutrients possible by eating a lot of raw fruits and veggies throughout the day.

GV: My goal this year is to stay healthy, happy and present with all my journeys.

“There are so many healthy options today that don’t require meat or dairy. As a snowboarder performing in the cold you do need a high amount of fat, protein and calories, but you can find more than you need in a plant-based diet. There’s lots of protein and calcium in kale alone. Leafy greens are crucial to consume in big amounts, and the quickest and easiest way is in smoothies. Beans are really high in iron and protein and delicious in soups and stews for winter days. There are so many variations of shakes you can make to get all the nutrients you need with minimal digestion. You can put in for example; frozen bananas, almond butter, hemp seeds, maca powder, dates and a vanilla bean. It takes 5 minutes and you have a delicious “Whole Foods” super shakes. Other sources of protein are hemp seeds, sesame seeds, cashews, pistachios, legumes, quinoa, spirulina, nutritional yeast, kale, spinach and broccoli.“

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