My Vegan Diet as a Dancer

By Audrey Hunt, VRG Intern

With the days
of long, rigorous rehearsals, pushing all my physical capacities, it is
important to maintain a balanced and healthy diet as a dancer.

     I’ve been dancing for over half my life and
for the majority of that time,
I have maintained a vegetarian or vegan diet. I would
train for at least four hours
a day, on top of hours of rehearsals.
I mainly trained in ballet/pointe and modern dance since I was
four years old. For being from
an urban city in Alaska, I have received
doubts on how I will be able to
maintain strength and stamina
as a vegan dancer. Common
questions I would get
would be, “Where are you getting your   protein?”
and “How do you have enough
energy to last you through your
day on just vegetables?”   I came
to realize that it wasn’t
as hard as people were
making it out to

     Before going out to get
my day started, I make sure
I have breakfast. Breakfast is definitely
my favorite and most important meal. I like to start with lots of water
right when I wake up with something citrus, either a mandarin
or a slice of lime. I always
make up a hot beverage right after
I’m done chugging my
water.  For breakfast, I always have to have some
fruit, mainly a mixture of
berries. I like to put them on top of a bowl
of oatmeal and chia seeds,
which will help me stay full all morning. On top of that, I
add a spoon full of cashew milk yogurt for some creaminess
and some pumpkin seeds
for extra fiber and protein.
A breakfast like this is guaranteed to keep me filled up and energized until lunch.

     For me, lunch is the
most diverse meal. It always varies on
how much I am physically
dancing that day and how much time I have. When I’m packing for
lunch, I like to make something
the night before, so I don’t need to
hurry in the mornings. I’m a huge fan of baked sweet potatoes  and greens for the middle of
the day. Sometimes if I know I’ll
be working out extra hard that
I’ll add some baked tofu
as well.

     As a
dancer, I live on snacks.
Some days I don’t have enough time to fit in a properly sized
lunch. Sliced green apples with some almond butter are my go-to when
I am stuck at the studio
for 10+ hours on a Saturday.
Cashews and almonds are
my favorite source of fuel to pack
for the   middle of
the day. My favorite brand of energy bars is Larabars which are sold
at most Fred Meyers’ and Natural Pantry’s’ in flavors including apple pie and cookie dough. Other brands that I’m fond of are
Lenny’s and Larry’s plant-based cookies. Basic chocolate
chip or peanut butter is my
favorite late-night studio treat.

     By the time I get home
from a long day, it’s typically
around 9:00 at night. I’m starving
at this point and I usually try to make a dinner that won’t
take more than twenty minutes to make.
I love buying Don Lee’s organic chipotle
frozen black bean burgers.
They are always well seasoned and you can heat it up in the microwave.
I usually complement that
with some sliced avocado,
lime, quinoa, and brown rice. If I’m extra hungry that night,
I’ll also have half
a baked sweet potato with coconut oil
and maple syrup. It’s the perfect amount
of sweetness; it’s like a dessert. If I don’t want something as filling, but still craving something sweet,
I’ll eat a bowl
of frozen grapes.

     As a dancer and performer, it is very important to obtain
the right amount of daily nutrients within your diet. I’ve never felt fatigued
or malnourished while being a vegan. This lifestyle change has actually made me
lighter on my feet as a dancer. As I keep on dancing, I will always be
expanding my pantry to what plants will have to offer.

For additional
information, ideas, and perspectives, see:

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