Recently, we had the total privilege to interview Sonya Looney, one of the world’s best endurance bikers. Sonya also hosts a podcast about how to live a high-performance life and works as a professional writer, photographer, speaker and blogger. Not only this, but she is a strong advocate for a whole food and plant-based diet and has found some amazing ways to maximize her diet in order to TOTALLY ROCK her extremely active life. We all need to eat more veggies and Sonya gives some amazing insights and advice on how to fit more plant-based foods into your diet. Ready to pick up some pro tips from a pro athlete? Read on.
SH: How would you describe your diet and when did you move to this diet?
Sonya: I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. That means that I do not eat any meat, dairy, or eggs and I also avoid processed foods as much as possible. I aim to eat food as close to its original form as I can! I changed my diet about 6 years ago after watching the documentary, Forks Over Knives.
SH: What motivated you to begin eating plant-based? What motivates you to continue?
SH: How has eating plant-based helped you to kick butt as an athlete and in other parts of your life?
Sonya: Plant-based eating is the most anti-inflammatory diet out there! That means you recover from your workouts faster. (Caveat- biggest mistake athletes make is that they do not eat enough calories!) Because you have better blood flow in your body, that also means better blood flow to the brain. I have a lot more mental clarity and energy too! I also love sharing the benefits of plant-based eating through speaking, writing, and some of my podcast guests because it helps people in their lives too. I think it’s important to say that while it’s ideal to go 100% plant-based, you’ll still get a lot of health benefits if you go mostly plant-based. I tell people to add in as many plant-based meals and food as you can. It’s about being better, not being perfect. However, you might find that you like it so much that you’ll go all in!
An awesome resource for adding in more healthy foods is Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app. Just add as many of these foods into your diet as you can!
SH: Do you change your diet much seasonally?
Sonya: I am fortunate to live in a farm region (Kelowna, BC) where we have an amazing farmer’s market. I try to eat local as much as I can. I’m so fortunate to have access to locally grown fruits and vegetables (and even foraged mushrooms!) Eating local is also powerful because the foods are allowed to ripen to their peak instead of being picked early with the hopes they ripen off the vine. They have more nutritional integrity and taste better too!
SH: What are the top 3 benefits of being plant-powered, in your opinion?
What are some resources that you would recommend for people trying to maximize their plant-based diet or even start on one?
SH: Are there any myths about eating plant-based that you’d like to take this opportunity to debunk?
SH: What are your WOWs (words of wisdom) for anyone wanting to live a healthier and more balanced life?
Sonya: Downtime and rest are so incredibly important. It’s something I struggle with as well, but we need time for our bodies and minds to recover. Activities like spending time with friends and family, spending time in nature, and doing things where you don’t feel like you need to progress are great ways to recover from daily life. SLEEP! Sleep is my #1 priority. It should be your foundation. It’s hard to make good decisions and feel good if you are sleep deprived. We get so busy that the first thing to go is recovery, sleep, and social time but the research (and personal experience) show that spending less time working and adding in that recovery time will make you more efficient. You might work one hour less, but you’ll get more done in the time you ARE working because your brain and body will be way more efficient!
SH: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
SH: If you could make any dessert healthy what would you choose?
Thanks Sonya! PS: you can also check out our awesome healthy cookies here!