1. Describe your dairy-free journey.
My body had been asking to become plant-based two years before I honoured the beginning of this journey. I was competing at a very high level at the time I started to get the urge to no longer consume dairy and meat products, and the truth is, I never thought I could keep up with my athletics if these two ‘must have’ food groups were no longer in my diet.
With slight nerves, I decided to make the switch five weeks out before running my first ever 80km race. Wow, was I ever in for a surprise! After crossing the finish line with a beaming smile, boundless energy, and little to no soreness, I knew I was onto something! This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities in athletics, and life overall. Now as a plant-based Ultra Marathon Athlete my ‘why’ has grown beyond levels I ever dreamt imaginable. By diving fully into extensive research, making a commitment to listen to what my body needs on a day-to-day basis, and following my deep love for animals, I strive to educate and bust the myth that animal protein is necessary to be strong.
2. How did ditching dairy affect you? Did you notice any differences in your health? Athletic performance? Mindset?
Within the first two weeks I noticed inflammation decreasing in many areas of my body. I have always been petite, but knowing I was holding onto unnecessary inflammation due to dairy certainly inspired me to continue the journey. In addition, my skin cleared up, my recovery time from workouts was faster than ever (and continues to increase to this day), and mid-afternoon brain fog became non existent! You could say this decision truly changed my life for the best.
3. What is your proudest moment as a dairy-free athlete?
As a plant-based athlete I see every physical challenge as an opportunity! Having recently run an Alpine Marathon in New Zealand, I achieved a new personal best crossing the finish line! Often I am faced with pressure from society with questions like “where do you get your protein?” I am proud to be the example and educate society that protein doesn’t have to come from animals. And in fact, when it doesn’t you will have even better health, longevity, recovery time from workouts, and overall energy. Not only do I push myself to new limits as a plant based athlete daily, I also speak on panels throughout Canada and in the United States to better educate others to believe the same is possible for themselves!
4. What are some of your favorite dairy-free foods?
I am a big fan of making my own almond milk, and I love creating everything from smoothie bowls to morning almond milk lattes and evening turmeric lattes. The simplicity of four ingredients – almonds, water, dates, and salt – leave people in awe saying ‘that is so much tastier than milk!’ One of my favourite parts of being plant based is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplicity is key!
My advice to anyone learning more about this lifestyle is to take it one day a time. Love yourself in the process of becoming vegan, and educate yourself. In no time you’ll be shocked at the incredible benefits you’re gifting yourself, your family, animals, and the world.
Simple dairy-free swaps. Kid tested, parent approved!
Meagan Duhamel explains her dairy-free journey.
Here’s 3: Health, Sustainability, and Ethics