I can’t share many details of the contest yet but I can share this interview with Danny Collier.
Danny is a Plant-Based Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, Creator of Simplicity Fitness, speaker and model. You can find out more about him at his website Simplicity Fitness or follow him on Facebook.
Your website says you are a “Holistic Health and Fitness Coach” but what does that mean?
When most people think about fitness, they think about working out and exercising the body. I focus on the whole person – body, mind and heart and I’ve developed a health and fitness program called Simplicity Fitness around that philosophy. The guiding principles of Simplicity Fitness are as follows:
Clean Nutrition – Whole foods that promote alkalinity and decrease inflammation.
Functional Fitness – An integrated approach to maximizing your fitness capabilities emphasizing balance, flexibility and strength in all planes of motion to achieve a lean, fit body in a minimal amount of time.
Wellness – A strong, centered heart and mind attained through conscious, meditation practice and acts of service.
How long have you been plant-based/vegan and how did this come about?
It will be six years in September. My dad was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2007. A few months prior to his diagnosis I read the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. If you haven’t read the book, it documents 24 years of research in China examining the relationship between the consumption of animal based food and chronic western diseases (diabetes, cancer and heart disease). The study concluded that the counties in China with the highest consumption of animal based foods had much higher death rates from western diseases than the counties that ate more plant-based foods and very little animal products.
So I decided on the day my dad was diagnosed to go completely vegan and I’ve never looked back.
What drives you to live this way?
When I first decided to live this way, it was completely about personal health reasons. However, over time it’s become about so much more than that.
First off, by living a plant-based lifestyle I’m being consistent with my values. I’ve always loved and admired the beauty of animals and after doing some research on the factory farming industry and learning more about the mistreatment of animals during the process, it didn’t sit right with me. Factory farming also has a negative effect on our planet as well. In fact, according to the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.
I’ve also found that a plant-based diet is the best way to improve sports/athletic performance. In fact, more and more professional athletes are turning to a plant based diet. One of the main reasons the diet is so effective for athletes is because whole plant foods are highly alkaline and help your body to recover quickly after exercise/workouts. Obviously, when you recover quicker you’re able to train harder and more often.
What do you typically eat in a day?
I’ll usually start my day with a big smoothie:
- 1 Banana
- 1 cup of mixed Berries
- ½ Beet
- 1 handful of spinach or kale
- 1 TBS of raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 scoop of VegaONE
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of almond milk
I’ll have a mid-morning snack of some kind around 10:30am; raw trail mix, an apple, a raw food bar, or a small bowl of whole grain cereal with almond milk.
Lunch can be anything from a big salad to a black bean and avocado burrito. I’ll usually have another snack in the afternoon and finish with a big healthy dinner. One of my favorite meals is a veggie salad super food wrap.
Put in Large bowl and cut up finely:
- 4 large handfuls of spring mix (or baby spinach)
- 2 handfuls of broccoli slaw
- 3/4 cup cooked but chilled quinoa
- 1/4 cup cooked but chilled buckwheat
- 1 to 1 1/2 sliced avocado
- 1/2 red pepper (finely diced)
- 1 apple (finely diced)
- 1/2 tomato (optional)
- 1/2 cucumber (thinly sliced – optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Braggs Liquid Aminos (salad dressing alternative) as needed (moderate amount)
- Very moderate amount of olive oil (optional)
Spread hummus on Ezekiel wrap and put salad on top.
What does your workout routine look like?
It varies. I love being outside in the sun, so I try to get in a couple hikes or jogs a week. Lately I’ve been doing yoga every morning, which is great for the whole self (body, mind and heart). I try to keep things pretty simple; limited fitness equipment/machines and mostly body weight and plyometric types of exercises moving naturally in all planes of motion.
I really like the TRX Suspension Trainer. It’s just a simple strap that allows you to utilize your own bodyweight to do hundreds of full body exercises and stretches. It’s particular great for the core, as virtually all the exercises require being in a plank position. It’s effective for all fitness levels and is super versatile as you can train with it just about anywhere; your home, the park, the gym, etc.
Can you share a success story about one of your clients?
I have two clients (Darren and Jordan) that I’ve been working with for about the past 6 months. Darren is a 24 year old professional golfer who came to me wanting to lose some weight, decrease his body fat percentage and improve his golf game. He was very dedicated and open to doing to whatever to meet his fitness goals. So I put him on a plant-based meal plan and began training him 3 days a week. As of last week Darren is down 25 lbs. and has dropped 9% of his body fat. His driving distance has also increased as well.
Jordan is a 23 year old woman whose goal was to lose some weight and a few inches off her waist size. Though she wasn’t as open as Darren to jumping totally into the plant-based lifestyle, I’ve worked with her on making changes in her diet and she’s began attending my monthly plant-based potlucks. I also started training her two nights a week mostly with the TRX and plyometric exercises with limited rest time in between exercises.
As of last week, Jordan is down 18 lbs. and has dropped 2 pant sizes.
What advice can you give someone who is just beginning to transition to a plant-based diet?
Lean into the lifestyle and take your time to do the research and educate yourself as much as possible on healthy eating and nutrition. Try out new recipes, and work with a nutrition coach who can offer you guidance on your journey.
Do you have advice for someone who has been plant-based for a while but not seeing the results they want?
Some people have this perception that all they need to do is exclude animal products from their diet and they’ll reap all the proclaimed health benefits that a whole food plant-diet has to offer. The truth is, if you’re replacing the animal products with nothing but processed junk food, you’re health won’t improve and most likely you’ll feel more sluggish and lethargic than before. This is precisely why I tell people to lean into the lifestyle and learn as much as possible about the variety of foods you should be eating on a daily basis and where to get certain nutrients from, etc.
Is there anything else you want to mention?
Thanks Holly for doing what you’re doing. Keep up the great work!
Please check out my website Simplicity Fitness and sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Facebook. I offer several personal training and nutrition coaching programs and I currently host a free plant-based potluck on the last Tuesday of each month.
Thanks Danny! If you live in the Mesa area and would like to attend Healthy Cravings and meet Danny email me at email@example.com.