The Weaker Sex?

by guest Samira Menezes, Vegetarianos Magazine

cover vegetarianos

Original Interview:

I don´t know in US, but in Brazil a lot of people still thinks that the only way to gain muscles is eating meat. Why this is not true, Sara? How do you do to maintain your muscles being a vegan?
Muscle is rebuilt using specific amino acids. Protein in food is formed from those amino acids and is broken down in our bodies during digestion to those basic parts, which we then use to repair tissue. So anything that has the amino acids we need will repair tissue and most all green veggies, legumes, nuts, and some grains have them. You can also supplement with plant based protein formulas if you feel like you are not eating enough protein from food in your diet. Most all bodybuilders, even meat eaters, supplement with protein powders.

What nutrients and vitamins a woman that wants to be gain muscles should make attention to? Which foods are rich in those nutrients and vitamins that you talked about?
A well balanced diet high in green vegetables, healthy starches, protein, and a small amount of fruit will provide you with all the nutrients you need. It never hurts to add a multi vitamin if you are concerned you don’t eat as well as you should or if you expend a lot of energy. All humans should supplement with b12. Vitamin D should be added if you don’t live in a sunny climate. The best foods to incorporate into your diet are dark green veggies like seaweeds, kale, chard, spinach, collards; bright colored foods in general are higher in nutrients, purple cabbage, orange sweet potatoes, berries, and avocado.

Tell us about your routine: what do you eat, at what time, when do you go to gym, how many hours a day you train?
I currently workout 4-5 days a week, which is a little less than normal for me because I am focusing on strength training rather than mass building this summer. I eat every 2-3 hours once I wake up and go to the gym between my first and second meal. I train anywhere from 1-3 hours a day depending on what I am training for. Foods I like to eat are oats, berries, almond milk, rice cakes, whole grain bread, sweet potato, broccoli, green beans, kale, collards, rapini, tofu, vegan chicken, almonds, apples, and citrus. I use protein powder 3 times a day currently.

Is there any vegan food that you do not eat because don´t consider healthy? Which one and why is not healthy?
Processed foods in general, refined sugars and flours. I don’t eat them often, just as an occasional treat when it is someones birthday or a special event. Refined sugar is one of the worst things we can feed our bodies. It is highly acid forming and very addictive. Anything that makes your body feel sluggish or bad should be avoided.

Since you start training and competing, which benefits did you notice on your body and on your health? What has changed after the trains and the veganism?
I have been vegan for 16 years and only began eating very healthy in the last 2-3 years. I have noticed increased energy, less body fat, more muscle, better skin, less allergies.

Here in Brazil, the women goes mad because of cellulitis and I imagine that this is not a problem for you. Supposing that you don´t have it, what is your secret?
Almost every woman has cellulite. This is normal and not to be ashamed of. Less body fat and more muscle will decrease the appearance of cellulite, but even some women who are very lean still have it. Most photos of women in magazines or on tv air brush the cellulite away so that we don’t see it. You can reduce the appearance through massage and dry brush treatments to the area as cellulite is layered fat and skin adhesions and breaking up the adhesions and increasing circulation will make skin look less dimpled.

By the way, exercise like you do prevents premenstrual tension? Why?
Lowering your body fat can help with some causes of PMT and PMS because it changes the ratio of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone your body produces. Also hard exercise like cardio on the week before and of your period helps some women with cramping and discomfort. For me the biggest influence is eating healthy food and staying active.

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