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  • Lifestyle

    Interview with Teen Vegan Athletes

    Vegan Athletes

    Meet Claire and Maddi, vegan athletes. Claire is a senior in high school, and Maddi is a sophomore. Both are competitive figure skaters that train and condition regularly. And both have made the life-changing decision to not consume animal products, to go vegan.


    How long have you been vegan?

    Claire: Three years.

    Maddi: Since September 20, 2017, so a little over a year.

    What influenced your decision to go vegan?

    Claire: Before I went vegan, I already faced dietary restrictions due to lactose intolerance, which was an influence to my choice. However, my ethical beliefs also influenced my decision.

    Maddi: I had a lot of different influences. The first being Claire, who had first introduced me to veganism, and the second being wanting to improve my skating and overall health. Once I did more research on veganism, I started doing it for ethical reasons, as well.


    How has your life changed since you went vegan?

    Claire: I have become a lot more aware of what I eat and no longer care as much about what others think about my decision.

    Maddi: It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned a lot about food and what is actually good and bad for me. A lot of people seem to think that when you are vegan you can’t eat out because restaurants don’t have food for vegans, which I have learned is definitely not the case. So that aspect of my life has not changed much if any. Lastly, I have learned to think for myself and not worry about what other people think.


    Have you noticed a difference in your health?

    Claire: I have absolutely felt a difference in my health. I have a lot more energy, and in general, I feel stronger.

    Maddi: I still get tired but I have way more energy. Also, I feel less bloated after I eat.


    How has becoming vegan affected your athletic life?

    Claire: Becoming vegan was the best thing as an athlete! I have found my recovery time is much faster now, and I just feel so much better in general.

    Maddi: I have noticed a huge improvement in my skating. I had way more energy and endurance. I also started sleeping better which helped me with training and mental health overall.


    What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?

    Claire: Eating out has been a slight difficulty. Also, facing judgement from my family members and sometimes strangers too.

    Maddi: The biggest struggle is dealing with family, friends, or even strangers that don’t understand or respect my lifestyle. Having to deal with this almost everyday has taught me that I can’t make everyone understand or agree with what I am doing, but I can still do what I think is best for my own health and the world around me.


    Explain how you have adapted your daily life.

    Claire: I always make sure to have vegan food stocked up and let new people that I know that I have dietary restrictions. I definitely cook all of my food now as well.

    Maddi: I started packing my own lunch every day for school and I always check the ingredients of items before I eat or buy them.


    How do you order from restaurants?

    Claire: Normally when I order from restaurants I’ll pick an already vegetarian item, or I’ll ask the waiter if I can get my item without dairy or other animal products. Most restaurants are very accommodating and don’t mind at all! After all, they are there to serve you.

    Maddi: Ordering from restaurants is really not that difficult. I will typically choose an item on the menu with the least amount of non-vegan items in it, and then I’ll ask them to remove whatever isn’t vegan. Other times I order a whole bunch of sides together as my entrée.


    What advice would you give people thinking about going vegan?

    Claire: Do your research! Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and vitamins. Don’t expect going vegan to turn you into a health guru. Also, don’t restrict yourself of any vegan foods. Lastly, keep everything in moderation.

    Maddi: I would definitely say do your research on what being vegan actually is. It is not just eating dairy, meat, etc., there is a whole other ethical side to it. Make sure you educate yourself on what actually happens within the meat and dairy industry. Secondly, do your research on the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Know that people won’t always understand or even agree with your lifestyle and beliefs, and that’s okay. Do what you think is right and don’t worry about what other people think you should do.


    What is your typical meal?

    Claire: A typical meal would be tofu or edamame and veggies.

    Maddi: My typical meal is either a baked potato with ketchup, broccoli, apple, and a soft serve dark chocolate popsicle or some sort of burrito with rice and beans.


    What is your favorite vegan recipe?

    Claire: My favorite recipe has got to be lentil spaghetti or a really great veggie burger.

    Maddi: My favorite recipe is a good veggie burger.

  • Articles, College, School, Sports, TRENDING

    Groundbreaking female football player Becca Longo’s advice to young girls: ‘Don’t listen to all the negativity’

    Becca Longo, 18, is believed to have become the first female in history to earn a football scholarship with a top-tier college team when she signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Adams State University.

    Longo, a high school senior from Arizona, said she would tell young girls who have big dreams like her to “do what you love” and ignore the negativity.

    “If they want to play football, go out and play football. If they want to play hockey, they can go out and play hockey,” Longo said today on “Good Morning America.” “Just don’t listen to all the negativity because you’re going to get a lot of it.”

    “Just go do what you love,” she said.

    Longo was introduced at a signing ceremony Wednesday at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, as the first woman to sign a letter of intent to play football at a Division II level college or higher, according to ESPN.

    Longo, who will also play basketball at Adams State, said she was as surprised as anyone.

    “I didn’t believe that it was true,” she said. “I just remember sitting there and Coach [Gerald] Todd saying that I was the first girl to ever do that. … I was so blown away.”

    Making Longo’s rise to the ranks of college football even more improbable is that she only played football for two seasons in high school.

    “I started playing my sophomore year and then I transferred schools so I had to sit out my junior year and I didn’t get to play until my senior year,” Longo said. “I didn’t really expect to play after high school until sort of the middle of my senior season, which is kind of late.”

    Longo also overcame injuries and defied doctors’ expectations in her rise to become a college athlete.

    “The doctors told me that I couldn’t play sports ever again and I just kind of like used that as motivation to prove them wrong,” she said. “I love both of my sports too much to just give up and I’ve spent so much time and money and effort just to just let it all go.”

  • Articles, School

    Emmy Kilgore: MVP

    We’re here today with Emmy Kilgore, who is here to talk about her impressive volleyball career! She just won a big award for her school!

    Hi Emmy, thanks for talking with us today! We’ll start with the basics, but then we want to hear all about your award!

    What grade are you in and what school do you go to?

    I’m in the 12th grade and I go to Mountain Brook High School.

    I heard that you have been named MVP for volleyball for the state, is that right?

    Yes, I was named Most Valuable Player for the 7A State Volleyball tournament.

    That’s awesome! What exactly does that title mean?

    Once we make it to the elite 8, we must play and win 3 games to make it. When we win those three games we get named State Champions for 7A division, then they pick a player who had been “the most valuable player” for the whole tournament. At the tournament, after we won, I was named MVP for the 7A division.

    Was this a goal of yours?

    It never came to mind about receiving this award and I never pictured myself winning it because it is a team sport. I didn’t think about it at first, but I knew that I would be up for it if my team won, which was my ultimate goal. The MVP award wasn’t my main goal. My main goal was winning as a team, and the MVP award just happened to be a part of that.

    Did you have to work hard to get to this point?

    Yes, I’ve played volleyball since I was in 6th grade and I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work and time. I don’t think people realize how much time we put in, we have to practice every day, except Saturdays, from 2:45 pm to 5:45 pm. We also have traveling games and tournaments that take up a lot of our time.

    When you started playing in 6th grade, had you done other sports and end up falling in love with volleyball?

    I started playing sports in kindergarten, all kinds of sports, and volleyball is a sport that you start playing later. Once I started playing volleyball, I dropped basketball and softball and I focused on volleyball.

    How do you balance your sports schedule with your academic workload?

    It has been tough. In practice, we always talk about how we are going to use volleyball as an outlet for school because maybe we had a bad day, but we must be at practice, so we should use it as something to focus on other than school, something to take our minds off what happened that day. It helps me because I don’t have to just go home and sit there with all this free time, I know that I only have two hours before my next practice to get my homework done, and I’m much more diligent when I have stuff to do.

    How have team sports benefitted you?

    It has benefitted me in so many ways. Our team is not just an ordinary team; we are all best friends and it’s created relationships for a lifetime and I would have never met some of these girls without volleyball. Even though we may not have been a friend group outside of volleyball, volleyball has brought us together. Volleyball has also made me become a team player, learn how to face adversity, and learn how to be calm. We’ve had to deal with situations like teams wanting to beat us, bad refs, and everyone wanting us to lose, but we’ve learned how to handle them. Obviously, there will be teams that you’re just not going to mesh with and there will be different personalities that you should learn to get along with on the court and you must learn how to make a team work because it’s all about chemistry.

    What advice do you have for girls who don’t know what sport to sign up for, or that aren’t naturally drawn to sports?

    I would say that it is awesome to be involved in a sport and it gives you friendship for a lifetime, you learn how to deal with different people, it keeps you in shape, and it teaches you to work for a goal. I think that everyone should sign up for a sport and they shouldn’t be worried about making it because if I hadn’t decided on playing volleyball, my life would be way different than it is today.

    What is next for you?

    I considered playing college volleyball, but I’ve gotten hurt in the past seasons, so my body hasn’t been able to take it anymore since I’ve been going so competitively. I have decided that I want to go to the University of Alabama and focus on school and my career.

    Thanks Emmy! It sounds like your sports career has led to a lot of success in your life. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve inspired some young girls already. We wish you the best of luck in college!