Welcome Sara and thanks a lot for joining our Vegan Fitness Blogger series!
As being ethical vegans and fitness enthusiasts ourselves we always enjoy meeting fellow vegans sharing the same mindset. We will publish a series of interviews with fit vegans from all around the world in our blog - and you are the first fit vegan in our interview!
So, can you introduce yourself to our community?
Sara: Hi! I’m Sara Binde. I’m a nutrition nut and weight-loss warrior. After losing 80 pounds weight through diet change, I expanded my attention to fitness after I began modelling.
Through my endeavours, I seek to show that healthy is sexy and anybody can look like a model. I currently lingerie model alongside being a nutritionist.
When did you become vegan and what were the reasons behind?
Sara: I became vegan in January 2013. The short version is this: I dared myself to eat vegan for 6 months just to prove I could do it. And then I never went back!
Here’s the long version: After contemplation, I dared myself to eat a vegan diet for 6 months. I’d already began my 80-pound weight loss journey in the middle of 2011. I wanted to take it a step further and prove to myself that I could control what I ate. I was a food addict and overeater.
How did you solve your unhealthy food addictions?
Sara: Looking back, I probably thought trying veganism was the ultimate way to show that food didn’t have power over me. After 6 months of veganism, I’d learned so much. I felt so much better and met my then-boyfriend, now husband. I felt so amazing that I didn’t want to go back to eating the way I was before.
Let’s talk about sport. What are you passionate about?
Have you always been a fit vegan or when did your fitness journey start? How do you motivate yourself to stay on track even when days are busy?
Sara: No, I haven’t always been fit. As you can guess, I was quite UNfit before I was vegan (being 80-pounds overweight and all). I began working out at the gym occasionally back in 2011. I continued to do it every now and then from 2012 to 2013. And then I didn’t work out at all 2014-2015.
Having a look at your transformation pictures I guess sports came back to your life again?
Sara: I began working out again in 2016 after I realized that I needed to tone up to look better. I ‘d already lost the majority of the weight I needed but didn’t look how I wanted. That’s when I started focusing on bodyweight and weighted exercises.
Three things motivate me to continue working out:
1. I work out because I like the way I look in the mirror. I don’t like it when I gain weight and increase my body fat percentage.
2. Another way I motivate myself to workout is by remembering compliments. Remembering how the compliments makes me feel motivates me to work out.
3. Thirdly, I remember how accomplished and productive I feel after a workout. This is the best motivator if you’re feeling lazy. I don’t feel that way pre-workout, but I’ll feel proud of myself after working out.
Saras dedication pays off - feeling totally comfortable in her own body
How does your fitness routine look like? How often do you train?
If time is short and you have only 30 minutes for a workout, what do you do?
Sara: Right now, I’m just passionate about staying fit and looking toned. I’m still getting into a new routine after switching to a home gym at the beginning of this year (2018) and after being sick.
How you you train at your home gym?
Sara: The majority of my workouts focus on body weight exercises. I don’t do much rigorous cardio as I walk a lot doing errands throughout my day. I used to train 4 times per week but now I average around 3 workouts per week.
Since I’m not focusing on any particular goals right now, my workouts tend to last around 30-45 minutes. They’re a combination of strength training and quick cardio exercises. Simple exercises like planks, jumping jacks, donkey kicks are underrated! They’re effective and even more so when you switch up your workout to include a variety of them.
How do you think do your eating habits affect your fitness?
Sara: My eating habits positively encourage my fitness routines and goals. I firmly believe that what you look like (and weight loss) are 80% what you eat and 20% exercise.
You need to start with a healthy diet if you want to lose weight and get fit.
Do you follow a special form of vegan diet,
e.g. high-carb, low-carb, if it fits your macros or special macro nutrition ratio?
I’ve tried all sorts of specialty vegan diets. I’ve been HCLF (high carb, low fat), raw and McDougall-style eating. Now I currently focus on nutrient density, e.g. nutritarianism.
It’s a concept promoted by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. *1)
The majority of what I eat consists of the most nutrient-dense foods: vegetables and legumes. The rest of what I eat is fruit and nuts. I eat very little (to no) grains on a regular basis.
Added sugar, oil, refined grains are included in extremely low quantities on occasion. I don’t add salt to my food either. I don’t have oil in my kitchen and the only reason I have refined sugar is for my kombucha SCOBY (which is a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast).
Can you share how your typical day looks like eating wise?
What are your favourite breakfast recipes, lunch and dinner and do you care about pre- and post-workout snacks?
Sara: YES! My meals have a similar structure every day. Sometimes I have an apple here or handful of nuts there as a snack.
For breakfast I eat a cup of legumes, half a cup of cooked vegetables, half a cup of berries, a tablespoon of ground flax and my breakfast spice blend. I recently added a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to my breakfast to make it more filling. I found that I got hungry too quickly before lunch.
Breakfast spice blend:1 teaspoon amla powder, 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast and the following to taste: black pepper, turmeric, paprika and cumin.
My favourite breakfast legume is cooked split peas. I combine that with another form of cooked legume, like chickpeas or lentils. For the veggie, I usually have cooked Brussels sprouts or cauliflower.
We like your savoury breakfast ideas. Most German vegans still only have vegan yoghurt, oatmeal, cereals or bread for breakfast. In our coachings we encourage them to try e.g. sweet lentils with coconut or fruit as well.
What's next on the meal plan?
Sara: My lunch typically consists of a meal-sized salad, three “add-ins” (e.g. tomatoes, carrot, sprouts, onion, cucumber, etc.) and my homemade flax/raisin salad dressing.
With that I eat ½ to 1 cup of a legume-heavy leftover. If I’m still hungry I’ll eat some more legumes or a high-fiber fruit, like an apple.
Sounds quite healthy and we really love your way of incorporating flax seeds into your meals. And for dinner?
Sara: Dinner is the same as lunch but instead of a flax in my salad dressing, I use sunflower seeds. Again, I’ll eat ½-1 cup of a legume heavy main meal.
Here are some examples of legume-heavy dishes that I’d have for lunch or dinner:
- Easy Mexican Black Beans
- Mushroom and Pinto Bean Burgers
- Authentic Ooey Gooey Refried Beans
- 1000 mcg B12
- 50 mg zinc
- 1 soft jell Opti3 Omega-3 EPA & DHA
- 2750 mg calcium carbonate antacids, split between breakfast and dinner
- two drops of iodine
- 5 grams of Brazil nuts (selenium, 1-2 nuts)
I outline three salad recipes in my lunch post. That post also contains my basic salad dressing recipe.
How important do you think is meal timing? And do you think supplements and protein shakes are necessary?
Sara: I’ve never thought much about meal timing, to be honest. I eat on a schedule because I like routine. If you have serious fitness goals, (from my experience) it’s seems best to eat more small meals throughout the day. Then you’re always ready to work out. E.g. you’re never too full or too hungry to work out.
Due to my high health standards, I supplement nutrients more than necessary. I supplement with the following every day:
All vegans should supplement with vitamin B12 starting at the very latest 5 years after they become vegan.* 2
Depending on fitness and health goals, some people use protein powders or other high-protein foods to supplement their vegan diets. I don‘t, but my husband does. Protein supplements/powders tend to be unhealthy since most have added sugar and salt. We avoid that by making our own nut milks, seitan, and nut/seed butters.
What are the top five vegan foods you recommend our readers to go for? What are the must haves in your vegan diet?
Sara: My top 5 foods to stay healthy are:
- Apples. Apples are filling and high in fiber. They’re amazing if you’re trying to lose weight. Have you ever heard of anybody gaining weight by eating apples?
- Flax. I’m obsessed with health and I gotta have my omega-3 fatty acids. They’re great for adding fat to your diet and replacing eggs in many recipes.
- Butter lettuce. It’s one of my favourite greens and I’d eat it all the time if I could. I love the soft texture and flavour it offers.
- Carrots. They’re my go-to orange vegetable for my beta carotene. Sometimes I microwave a carrot for 30 seconds as a pre-bed snack if I’m hungry.
- Chickpeas. They’re my favourite legume, just slightly ahead of tempeh. I love how diverse (and delicious!) they are. Use them in anything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between.
As most of our Vegan Fitness Guide readers are from Germany, Austria or Switzerland please tell us about the trending vegan foods and restaurants in your area.
What would you recommend our fit vegans to check out when coming to your city?
Sara: I don’t go out to eat much, since the food usually has added salt, sugar and oil. But I have found a few good restaurants that are 1) truly healthy and/or 2) so delicious I make an exception for them every so often.
Here are my top vegan recommendations for San Francisco:
- Nourish Café. I love the light, filling menu options here. It’s a quaint café but has plenty to offer. You’ll find sweet cookies and cinnamon rolls to nourishing salad and bowls here. There are two locations in San Francisco, but I’ve only ever been to the one on Hyde Street in Nob Hill.
- Gracias Madre. It’s not incredibly healthy but it’s also not that bad either. I love it for the Latino vegan options. I had my first vegan tamale here. If you love Latin/South American food, you should visit this place! Afterward, you can explore the colourful Mission neighbourhood of San Francisco.
- Seed + Salt. This small restaurant in the Marina neighbourhood of San Francisco offers a delicious breakfast and lunch for those who have shopped until they’ve dropped. You can people watch as you enjoy your meal. Interestingly, they don’t offer the same thing everyday so you can snag something special every time you go there.
- If you’re open to eating at a restaurant that’s not 100% vegan, I recommend Samovar Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens. It’s incredibly easy to eat a wholesome and healthy vegan meal there. And since I’m a tea friend, I love their tea, too!
Thank you so much for giving us insights into your vegan lifestyle!
Before saying goodbye let’s play the famous game of 10 questions in 10 seconds.
Sara: Ok, let's start!
- Music or silence while doing a workout? Music all the way!
- Fake meat – once in a while or a no-go in your kitchen? It’s acceptable every once in a while.
- Girls with six pack, hot or not? Hot… to a certain extent.
- When missing cheese you go for … Nothing. I don’t crave cheese. My guilty pleasure is chocolate or dates.
- Counting calories is … a pain but sometimes necessary.
- Your favourite fitness gadget is … the internet. It helps me find new workouts when I get bored.
- The best vegan milk alternative is … oat milk.
- Cheat days are … complicated. I should really write a post about this.
- The best gym buddy is … my husband.
- The best kitchen gadget is … a chef’s knife.
You can read more about my weight loss and nutrition journey on carobcherub.com.
You can keep up to date on my latest nutrition posts by subscribing to my email list on my home page.
Compare and contrast: perfect visual representation of San Francisco. It's cool one day and hot the next. Rain one moment and the one after its sunny. One street is clean and classy. Two streets over is dirty and grungy. • • • Photo: @__sg___ Model: @sara.binde Bralette: @darkestfoxnyc Hotel: @axiomhotel
Das Team vom Vegan Fitness Guide steht in keiner Beziehung zu den interviewten Personen. Die Inhalte des Artikels spiegeln die persönliche Meinung und Erfahrung der Personen wieder.
1) Der Vegan Fitness Guide kennt die hier vorgestellten Ernährungskonzepte nicht im Detail und kann diese daher weder bestätigen noch davon abraten. Generell ist aber eine hohe Nährstoffdichte in den verwendeten Lebensmitteln sehr erstrebenswert und deckt sich z.B. mit den positiven Konzepten von Brendan Brazier.
2) Mehr Informationen zum Theman vegane Supplmenents findet ihr in der Supplement Übersicht im Vegan Fitness Guide