MOVE OVER WONDER WOMAN! THERE’S A NEW SUPER HERO IN TOWN, AND SHE’S VEGAN!
By Danielle Bussone
A Wales-born transplant to Australia, Kate Strong took home the 2014 World Championship in Womens’ Long-Distance Triathlon on September 21st in Weihai China in the Shandong Province.
Last November, in her 4th triathlon, she won the Australian National Championship for her age category. There is no stopping this super-charged athlete; she went on to win the World Championship title in her 9th-ever competition!
Kate sailed by her competitors with 15 minutes to spare! This was Kate’s first competition powered solely by plants.
A year ago, troubled by chronic asthma, Kate took the advice of some friends and removed dairy from her diet. Within three days her breathing was so improved she vowed she would never consume dairy again. Over the past year, as her training sessions intensified, she realized she had already been unconsciously reducing her consumption of meat. That’s when she made the decision to give up animal protein altogether.
Kate Strong, more aptly referred to by friends as “Strong Kate,” continues her passion for racing and a vegan lifestyle. The path she has chosen is not for the faint-hearted. Last week, while nursing a knee injury and a gash on her foot, Kate still managed to come in third to qualify for the World Champion Ironman Competition. Her cut developed into a serious infection, migrating to her ankle. She was prescribed antibiotics and has been sidelined for an unspecified amount of time to allow her injuries to heal. Kate is nevertheless psyched about the Ironman competition only weeks away!
She’s not just a pretty face either, though she is that indeed. Kate holds a double masters in mechanical engineering and engineering management and is fluent in three languages. Until recently she owned and operated a bed and breakfast in Australia, which she decided to sell in order to pursue her passion full time. “I’ve chosen not to take a job because I feel my energy would be diluted from my passion and I’d just be treading water again in a job to pay for the rent, in a house that I don’t really like, in a suburb where I’m not really happy, or a weekend I might or might not get if I get the time off from my boss… So, I’m working on developing strong cases of brands. Part of it is a goal that my sport is completely self-funded through sponsorship, though I don’t want to turn professional. I feel that again is too much energy dilution.”
She has teamed up with a woman in Oregon to create courses for MOOC (Massive Open On-line Courses). One of the courses she just released was about how to transition from being a marathon runner to becoming a triathlete. Her next course will be on goal setting. She plans to create a new course every month. She is also working with a company based in Sydney, Australia to create an application that will help individuals create goals in their lives to make positive changes, and give them practical guidance as to how to accomplish these goals.
At the end of April, Kate plans to move back to Europe, to the Lake Geneva area in Evian, France. World championships for triathlon will be held in Sweden and Austria so she felt the Alps would be a great place to train in preparation for those events. She will be launching products for an Australian company called IKOU, specializing in 100% vegan whole foods, cosmetics, teas, etc.
There are lots of balls still in the air as Kate juggles the demanding world of intense athletic training and the practical world of financing her passion and recruiting private sponsorship. Now that she’s sold her home, she finds herself “couch surfing;” that is staying at the homes of friends and acquaintances who have an extra bedroom or a couch she can sleep on when she is training or competing in one area or another. Often she pays her way by preparing vegan meals for her hosts, thereby exposing non-vegans to the deliciousness of plant-based cuisine. She has even had a few converts along the way!
On her jobless decision, she says, “It’s like being a vegan. As soon as you say you’re not taking a job [or you’re becoming vegan], the next question is ‘Where are you going to get your money/protein?’ It is nice to have a little fear in there. I hope you can look at me and realize that life is abundance and I won’t go without. So trust me, please. I know what I’m doing. It’s quite an exciting, brave step forwards. But you’ve got to try these things.”
It doesn’t hurt that she’s a genuinely lovely person. With the guileless face of a child and the drive of a woman on a mission, one can easily see the impact she could have on young people, showing them they can achieve anything if they just trust in themselves. By example, she teaches us to fuel our bodies with nutritious foods that will sustain us as we discover our passions, and then to pursue those passions relentlessly with everything we have and everything we are. I know I stood a little taller after my conversation with Kate Strong.
As for how she feels about going vegan, Kate says, “I couldn’t be happier with the result, and also that I know one hundred percent that this ‘diet’ is sustainable and a great building block for my health, happiness and future.”
Follow Kate’s blog and learn about the ups and downs of training for a triathlon. Your support is most welcome if you would like to help sponsor her so she can compete on the world stage in triathlon.
Posted by Danielle Bussone on Oct 15, 2014 in Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 2 comments
A VEGAN CULINARY ADVENTURE!
by Caryl Eyers
And so another month on our Vegan Food Quest to find, eat, and write about the best vegan food in the world has ticked by. This installment of our regular column comes from Vietnam where we spent a month exploring Hoi An, in Central Vietnam as well as Nha Trang towards the South.
Last month we were wondering what Vietnam would have to offer traveling vegans (us), and looking back on our time in this amazing country we think it’s fair to say it offers us A LOT!
In Hoi An, vegan food was everywhere from local speciality dishes that can’t be found anywhere else in the country to vegan versions of some of the tastiest dishes to be found in Vietnamese cuisine. We discovered new ingredients and flavors like ‘fish mint’ (not really to our liking) and ‘fermented tofu’ (divided opinions, with one of us loving it and the other not being so keen). Our month was a vegan culinary adventure!
My first time at a Cafe Gratitude restaurant was in 2009 at their premier location, in an area that was a little “off the beaten path” in San Francisco. The restaurant had a very colorful, earthy, laid back and eclectic vibe. The wall’s were covered with inspiration quotes, detailed murals, and their pledge to “Nourish a Thankful Community.” The servers and the people were warm and inviting and the restaurant was filled with a mix of hippies, young adults, nature lovers and foodie types. Their Venice Beach location doesn’t quite have that same vibe.
After an intense workout, who doesn’t crave a thick and juicy burger? A veggie burger, that is! That’s exactly what happened to us the other night when my running partner and I had finished a 7-mile “hill training” run in the pouring down rain along the very steep and long causeway bridge. I could think of no other place than the Green Bar & Kitchen, an organic plant-based, non-GMO, mostly gluten-free eatery to satisfy our hunger in a healthy yet hearty way! gb&K is located at 1075 SE 17th St., in very popular and touristy east Ft. Lauderdale.
Posted by Danielle Bussone on Sep 17, 2014 in Asian, Vegan, Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 0 comments
SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA & VIETNAM
THREE COUNTRIES AND COUNTLESS VEGAN ADVENTURES!
by Caryl Eyers
Here it is, our latest Vegan Food Quest update where we can share some of our vegan food adventures from South East Asia. This month we were in 3 separate countries and yet again we didn’t go hungry as we searched out plant-based treats from around the globe.
One of our favourite places we visited was in Singapore, where we were lucky enough to visit VeganBurg, a healthy fast food burger restaurant. French fries seasoned with seaweed, cold broccoli sides and crunchy little ‘spinach pops’ were a healthier alternative to what you’d usually find in a fast food place.
The Boston area hosts several fine vegan restaurants, but True Bistro located in Teele Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, stands above the others. Opened in 2009, it has become a destination eatery that is distinguished by a calming ambiance and an eclectic menu that offers something for everyone, whether vegan or not.
True Bistro is situated on a busy downtown street but as you step through the door, you leave all the hustle and bustle behind. Although the dining room is small—it holds around 40 people comfortably—the high ceilings and large, light-filled windows give the impression of a spaciousness that belies its actual size. Original paintings dot the wall near the entrance, small vases of fresh cut flowers adorn the tables, and soft, soothing music sets the tone for a peaceful, unhurried meal. It is apparent that owners Michael and Linda Harrison have taken great care to create a tranquil environment where patrons can relax and feel welcome.
Posted by Danielle Bussone on Aug 20, 2014 in Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 0 comments
FROM LUXURY HOTEL MEALS TO FANTASTIC STREET FOOD ON THE CHEAP!
by Caryl Eyers
This month’s Vegan Food Quest has seen us discovering fabulous vegan food in Java, Indonesia. We’ve eaten everything from amazing fine dining vegan food in restaurants in 5 star hotels to cheap and tasty street food prepared on a cart at the side of the street.
Check it out! Miss Illinois 2014 Marisa Buchheit (a long-time vegan) is going to be performing at Veggie Fest on Sunday, August 10! “Being vegan has helped me to feel balanced and has given me incredible mental and physical strength,” says Marisa. Come to Veggie Fest to hear her sing, meet her in the children’s tent, and wish her all the best as she represents Illinois at the upcoming Miss America competition! VeggieFestChicago — Free Admission. Free Parking.
The closest thing to Broadway one can find outside of New York City, at least in the US, is the Barter Theater. The Barter, Virginia’s state theater, has put Abingdon on the map, making it a destination for tourists from around the world. One has only to attend a performance, any performance, to recognize the breadth of the talent that resides in this tiny corner of SW Virginia.
NEW LOOK, NEW LOCATION, SAME INTENTION
This June Whole Health Natural Foods store (aka Whole Health Center) opened at its brand new location in the heart of Abingdon. Conveniently situated between I-81 exits 17 and 19, the new location is nestled between neighboring restaurant 128 Pecan—a fun, casual spot with some vegetarian dishes and a vegan option or two—and the trailhead of the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail.