After a bit of food and fitness inspo? Meet Lisa Parkes, Australian Ninja Warrior. We grilled her on how she gets her RDI of essential nutrients and how she fuels that incredible athletic prowess.
How hard is it being a Ninja Warrior on a vegan diet vegan?
“Not as hard as you’d think. I’m fueled by a diet of vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts and grains that are all natural and non-processed (that is, they are not man-made or modified). They are all naturally occurring, so for me, it makes sense, especially as I need to be quick and agile, strong and able to function at a capacity to overcome obstacles and challenges”
So, you think being vegan is actually better for your performance and agility?
“Yes! When I eat naturally and make it as easy on my digestive system as possible, it allows energy to ‘move’ my body and think quickly. Overall, if our diet is complicated and mixes food that is not from nature, the digestive system becomes overloaded and other systems in the body have less energy available for optimal function. I could never do everything I do – run two businesses, single parent three boys, run a charity and compete at professional levels such as Ninja – if my nutritional input wasn’t spot on. I eat lots of vegan, nutrient-dense food with only one daily supplement (liquid hydrogen and oxygen). I also up my protein to meet the demands of training with a protein shake from the amazing Bare Blend in Byron Bay (also as lunchtimes are usually on the run!)
Do you feel healthier as a vegan?
“Absolutely. A plant-based diet is easier on the digestive system, keeps us more alkaline and causes less inflammation.”
Do you take any supplements to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need?
“If you eat good quality organic produce there’s not really a need to supplement, especially if you are conscious of eating at least one raw meal a day (cooking vegetables destroys a lot of the protein content). Eating nuts, seeds and legumes protein should be ample. Occasionally women may need iron supplements, but enough leafy greens should combat that.”
What food advice would you give vegans to help them stay healthy?
“Be sure to eat at least one raw meal daily and get sufficient proteins.”
Ah, protein … a favourite question of vegan shamers! Where do you source yours from?
“Some quick protein hits include lentils, pulses, seeds and tempeh. Protein powders are also always a great source of additional protein if you need it.”
How do you get VitB12?
“With a vegan spread like vegemite, which is a great source of VitB12, as well as lots of leafy greens.”
“Both almond and rice milks have added calcium and there is always a supplement. However, with good eating habits such as including lots of the right kinds of veggies, a supplement really shouldn’t be necessary.
What does your typical day on a plate look like?
“It begins with an Acai bowl containing Acai berries, banana, coconut water, frozen coconut flesh and a bit of organic coconut yoghurt. I top it up with my homemade muesli, which contains activated nuts and seeds baked in vanilla and cinnamon, and add some cocoa nibs, coconut and Goji berries. In winter, I make a quinoa porridge with almond milk and top it with fresh berries and muesli.
“My mid-morning snack is usually a homemade protein ball. For lunch, I’ll reach for a protein smoothie from bare Blends, which uses nut butter, frozen fruit, super greens and vegan protein. My mid-afternoon snack is usually some nuts and seeds.
“For dinner, my go-to isa nourish bowl with quinoa, kale, sauerkraut, roasted vegetables, seeds and sometimes tofu, tempeh or mushrooms. At other times, a salad with greens, beetroots and nuts, or a quinoa vegetable salad. My sweet treat is typically a raw organic homemade chocolate. All the recipes can be found on my website – lisaparkes.com.au.”
In addition to appearing on Channel 9’s Australian Ninja warrior, Lisa is an entrepreneur, full time mum, philanthropist and founder of See Change Byron Bay. Lisa’s passion for health, wellness, fitness and their transformative powers to change ones life have been fuelled by her extensive knowledge and experience in the field as well as living and breathing her motto: “your health is your number one asset so don’t find an excuse, find a way.”
You can find out more about Lisa by visiting lisaparkes.com.au
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