Silver medalist in the 2014 Russian Winter Olympics figure pair skating team event, Canadian Meagan Duhamel from Lively, Ontario, attributes her good health and skating success to a vegan diet.
Twenty-eight-year-old Duhamel says that she adopted the diet in 2008 after purchasing a copy of the best-selling book “Skinny Bitch,” in an airport bookstore. “Skinny Bitch” advocates for a vegan diet based on both its health benefits, and because of animal cruelty. Duhamel says that the morning after reading the book in just one sitting, she purged her kitchen of all animal products. “I guess I’m a very compassionate person so hearing about animal abuse kind of triggered something in me that maybe I should try it,” she said.
The health benefits of a vegan diet also inspired Duhamel’s decision to become a vegan. “I’m really into health and fitness and wellness, so this kind of tied into it. I thought I was just going to do it until the (2010) Olympics, but then I didn’t go to the Olympics, and then I ended up liking it so much, I think I’ll be a vegan for the rest of my life.”
Although, the book “Skinny Bitch” suggests to “wean into it slowly,” Duchamel says that this method would not work for her. “I kind of do everything all or nothing so I was like, ‘I’m just going to do this and see how it goes,’” she said. “Everybody was like, ‘I don’t think this is a very good idea, you’re going to be malnourished,’ and they were all telling me it was a bad idea. The more people that told me that, the more I wanted to do it so I could prove them wrong.”
Duhamel’s skating partner Eric Radford also benefits from the results of her vegan diet. Because it is easier for her to control her weight, Radford finds it helps during their performance when he needs to lift her. “I think for any pair team in skating the girls weight can affect a teams performance. Meagan is always in peak condition so lifting her is very easy,” says Radford. “It’s great working with Meagan. She always has a ton of energy so even if I’m tired HER energy keeps me going. She has brought some amazing vegan baking into the rink to share with everybody and everybody is always so surprised to hear it’s vegan!”
In an interview with Global News, Duhamel explains that she is very meticulous as to making sure she consumes adequate amounts of nutrients to remain healthy. “Well, I eat an entirely plant-based diet. I know the nutrients of almost everything I am putting into my body and I know what benefit I am getting as I eat it. I studied holistic nutrition and I am a certified holistic nutritionist.” She follows a “whole-foods diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, ancient grains, proteins and healthy fatty acids.” She says she eats, “Green vegetables, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, ancient grains, avocado, quinoa, tempeh, beans and fruits are a main source of fuel.” When baking desserts, Duhamel says that she uses “spelt flour instead of white flour, agave nectar instead of sugar, flax seeds instead of eggs, and apple sauce instead of oil or butter.”
Duchamel says, ”So many people tell me they could never be vegan. I just wish people would understand and realize that it’s really not that difficult, and it’s a choice that we make. I think that it is in everybody’s grasp to be able to make a decision like switching to a vegan lifestyle.”
Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford, have won the 2013 World bronze medal, the 2013 Four Continents championship, and between 2012 to 2014 they were three-time Canadian national champions. When she previously skated with Craig Buntin, they won the 2010 Four Continents bronze medal, the 2009 Canadian national silver medal, and the 2008 and 2010 Canadian bronze medal. In this year’s Russian Winter Olympics she won a Silver in the team pairs, and followed it up with a seventh in the individual pairs.
Although in her professional career as a skater, Duhamel has won gold, silver and bronze medals, she says that “One of my proudest accomplishments has been going vegan.” Living life as a vegan, “transfers into my attitude, everything in my life has just become a lot calmer, everything I’m putting in me is clean and genuine and organic and in turn, the way I live my life has started to follow that path.”