Chef Gina Sample
I’ve been a vegan for four years – a process that evolved over time. I was a vegetarian all through college and years beyond until I “fell off the wagon.” Back in 2010 my partner and I were having some GI issues, and as triathletes, this didn’t go well with training and racing – especially long distances.
We stumbled upon a 21-day cleanse and detox program called the Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger. In the program you eliminate foods that are hard to digest or cause allergic reactions and eat mainly organic veggies, brown rice, beans, lean protein, fruits and nuts.
Once we eliminated those foods we felt a HUGE difference in how we felt (and this was before the actual cleanse started!). We went through the pantry, fridge and freezer and got rid of everything that was packaged and processed. After the program we decided NOT to reintroduce dairy, wheat and most packaged foods. Then I took it a step further and eliminated all animals and animal products.
Becoming plant-powered has changed my life. Not only do I feel great and have more energy, my training and race times have improved and my recovery times are shorter.
I graduated from culinary school at San Diego Continuing Education. Although not a plant-based curriculum, I did learned all the principals of cooking and baking and applied them to whole, plant-powered foods. Deconstructing traditional recipes and turning them into plant-based recipes is a creative process that I truly enjoy.
I started The Vegan Lab to help athletes and non-athletes introduce more plant-based foods into their diets and to teach them how to cook delicious plant-powered meals. I believe that burning “clean” fuel for exercise results in better performance and digestion. To sustain healthy eating habits for life, you need to learn how to cook healthy. Your palette will eventually change and the tastes of fresh, whole foods will override salt, sugar and saturated fat.