This month's Community Champion is Angie Bedson.
Angie has been a loyal member of our community for many years, and has been vegan since 1999!
Angie used our products recently has just scaled (past) Everest base camp (that’s over 5364 metres above sea level).
We caught up with Angie to ask her a few questions about her journey.
1. You’ve been an athletic vegan for 23-years. How has living this way and eating a balanced plant-based diet helped you in terms of performance?
I have always been keenly interested in nutrition and after twelve years of having adopted a refined-sugar-free, whole foods diet in 1987 (at the age of 27 following a particularly nasty case of Salmonella food poisoning from a Chinese restaurant) I realised that animal products were not doing my digestion any favours so I had no qualms whatsoever in eliminating them entirely from my diet. Friends and family were alarmed, telling me that I needed animal products for protein, calcium, etc, etc but the results I was experiencing told me otherwise.
Almost immediately, my energy levels soared, my sleep became deeper and more refreshing, mood swings balanced out to be barely noticeable, and my recovery times after exercise reduced so much that I could be active in some form every day without experiencing DOMS or fatigue. I knew that I was onto something amazing and I wanted to broadcast it to the world but nobody seemed to want to listen. I watched other women who seemed to think that maintaining a healthy weight meant exercising to exhaustion and/or restricting their diets/denying themselves to absurd levels and it seemed madness to me. Here was I eating and enjoying as much (whole), delicious vegan food as I wanted, full of energy and joy and maintaining my weight past menopause and into my sixties without any effort at all. I felt like I’d discovered the elixir of life but people just didn’t want to believe it!
Finally, I decided that actions speak louder than words and I endeavoured to just show people what my diet allowed me to do. People started to ask me questions when my athletic pursuits reached new heights. The positives just keep on coming once you go vegan. I soon understood that using animals as commodities was morally wrong and that our modern food system was destroying the planet. It is a win-win situation when you feel fit, healthy and vibrant but also know that you are not supporting animal suffering and are helping to reduce climate change. I also found that I no longer caught almost annual colds and coughs. Even if I did succumb to some persistent bug, I recovered from it much faster than those around me. I truly believe that the reason I am still very active and athletic at my current age is completely due to my whole foods vegan diet.
2. We know you’re a super passionate member of the Vivo Life community and we really appreciate it! What is it about the brand and the products that make you feel that way?
I am so impressed by not only the quality of Vivo Life products but also by the ethics of the Company. Their ethos very much aligns with my own outlook on how to live more sustainably and to seek out ways of offsetting consumerism. It is always so reassuring to know that I can fully trust Vivo Life products on these matters. Having been vegan for so long, believe me, I have tried many supplements over the years and I can honestly say that I have never found any of higher quality, purity and efficacy.
3. How long have you been using Vivo Life products and how have they supported/improved your overall health?
I know that I came across Vivo Life in their very early days and began to research their values and product ingredients. I have believed for many years that most of us living in the northern hemispheres, not only vegans, should be supplementing with B12 and Vitamin D3 with K2 and had tried various products with varying success. I have been using Vivo Life’s supplements for years, as they are reliably and consistently good. My vibrant health is testament to their quality. In 2020, I caught COVID and I am sure their products helped me regain my health quickly.
4. You recently climbed to the Everest base camp, which is an incredible achievement, congratulations! What were your biggest takeaways, how did you incorporate Vivo Life products into this journey and what products did you take regularly?
I did more than that! I went past Base Camp and onto the higher altitude climb up and over the Cho La Pass. I felt very strong and resilient throughout. Now, I have years of hiking and training under my belt but I could not have sustained that training without proper, balanced nutrition. From research and talk with other vegans who had visited Nepal, I knew that I would be able to maintain a vegan diet during my three weeks in the Himalayas but I also knew that I would have little control over the actual variety of food I was eating.
‘Water’ porridge for breakfast and Dahl Baht for dinner (rice, lentil ‘soup’, greens, potato curry and a poppadum) became mainstays and were wholesome, delicious and vital but did not provide a lot of variety. (By the way, there is a wonderful Nepalese custom that invites you to have as many seconds of Dahl Baht as you want so I often ate the equivalent of two whole meals!)
In addition to the lack of variety, the higher the altitude, the less able your body is to assimilate nutrients so both my husband and I took Vivo Life Perform raw protein and BCAA powder with its digestive enzymes every day as a failsafe back up. We also took SUSTAIN as an electrolyte balancer. You have to consume at least 4 litres of water per day at high altitude to counteract any possible symptoms of altitude sickness and you also sweat quite a bit so we found Sustain invaluable. Whenever we were doing a long, steep climb, a few mouthfuls of Sustain provided the boost we needed without fail – like magic! Lastly, as we had to travel lightly, rather than take Vivo’s individual vitamin supplements as normal, we had 2 capsules of their vegan multi-nutrient each day.
5. If you could recommend any of our products to someone wanting to boost their daily nutrition, what would it be and why?
As I mentioned earlier, I believe everyone these days should supplement with B12 and Vitamin D3 with K2. Vivo Life make exceptionally good quality versions. Older people (like me!) may not have as much intrinsic factor in their guts to absorb B12, Vivo Life’s liquid version is more easily assimilated. I worked in neurology as a health professional, specialising in Strokes and Dementia and I keep up to date with the latest research on these conditions and take Vivo Life’s Plant Based Omega 3 in accordance with the latest recommendations. Animal based Omegas, often from fish products, can be laced with mercury (very bad for the brain!) or high in saturates so plant based versions are always going to be better.
I would also recommend Sustain for sweaty workouts or strength training to assist in getting the most from the workout and aid faster recovery because it helps avoid electrolyte imbalance.
I highly recommend Vivo Life’s Perform Protein Powder. It is excellent and supported me throughout my training and the trek itself. I have it in some form of smoothie virtually every day!
Recently I started taking Vivo Life’s organic Maca. I have taken this adaptogen in the past (having been told it can be helpful for women) and I love the taste of it. Vivo Life’s version is gelatinised, which increases its absorption and I am definitely noticing a difference from taking it. I rarely have hot flushes but they have completely disappeared since I started using it.
Lastly, collagen products are all the rage at the moment but most have very undesirable, animal based ingredients. A few vegan versions have emerged but I was so happy when Vivo Life brought out their version – Plant Protein Collagen Builder. I know I can trust that it will be the best quality available. I only started taking it just before I left for Nepal but I am now taking it again and will let you know how I get on!
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