Friday, October 22, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Healthy Vegan? #11

Mary Luciano

I have been inspired by the field of natural health and fitness for as long as I can remember. My path has led me to study natural health, nutrition, fitness and more recently raw and living foods.

In my early 20’s I started to experiment with the vegetarian diet but as I continued with my athletic endeavors I bought into the belief that you really needed meat to help grow your muscles. So although I still had my fruits and vegetables I started to reintroduce lean meats and fish back into my diet. However, I never really enjoyed them, the taste to me was not that appealing, especially as an athlete trying to maintain my weight and eating meat ever couple of hours as suggested by some of my nutritionists.

As an athlete I suffered from chronic injuries, mostly strains and sprains to the point where I needed to stop all physical activity and just focus on rehab exercises. Shortly after, I found out that I was susceptible to strains and sprains because I had a slight autoimmune disorder that caused my connective tissues to easily strain. Well that threw me for a loop as I thought I was always eating healthy and taking care of my body and I could not understand why this was happening to me.

In 2002, after listening to a speaker at a health show in Toronto, I learned about the raw food lifestyle. I heard more and more about eating raw and began to research the healing wonders of raw food. I couldn’t soak enough in and attended food demonstrations, workshops, and lectures from experts in the field who spoke in Toronto.

I was so intrigued about raw food and the vegan lifestyle that I decided to visit the visited the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2004 and for the past 6 years have learned extensively about Raw and Living foods through various raw food programs and current health research on the healing benefits of Raw and Living foods. By changing my diet to one that concentrated in raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, I was able overcome my chronic sports injuries and autoimmune disorder and get back to training competitively.

Eager to getting back to training I decided to experiment with raw and living foods against my trainer’s recommendations. My eating regimen was a running joke between my trainer and I — while I persuaded him to drink my wheatgrass he tried to convince me to add a little bit of meat back into my diet. But I was committed to proving that I could do this.

In June 2008, I entered my first fitness bikini competition and placed 3rd in the Masters division. In 2009, I decided to give it one more try and enter the figure category. This required that I put on more muscle. Now, I am always up for a challenge when someone tells me that I can’t build muscle on a vegan, let alone a raw diet, or, as my friend and trainer Andre calls it a “hippie” diet. So I set out to beat that challenge once again. I am proud to say that not only did I gain more muscle, but in November 2009 I placed second at the IDFA’s (International Drug Free Association) show in Toronto, Ontario, in the Novice Figure, short division, one up from my last year’s finish, and as a raw vegan athlete to boot!

This year I entered my third competition with the Ontario Physique Association (OPA) and placed 4th in the Women’s Open Division and 3rd in the Women’s Master Division allowing me to compete at the Provincial level. At the Provincials I placed 5th in the Women’s Master Division which qualified me to compete at the CBBF (Canadian Body Building Federation) National Championships.

My diet is anywhere from 80 to 100% raw with the exception of some steamed vegetables and whole grains. Wheatgrass, E3Live, Sunwarrior and Hemp Protein are my proteins of choice to help with muscle building along with lots of leafy greens and tons of sprouts.

I am promoter of natural health and a Raw and Living Food enthusiast; I enjoy sharing my knowledge and am committed to helping individuals make healthier lifestyle choices. I hold a Master of Science in Education and am both a teacher and Head of the Family Studies department for the York Region District School Board. I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Spinning Instructor, hold a Fitness and Lifestyle Management Certification. I worked at the Sports Clubs of Canada as a Fitness Director and am a Living on Live Food Level 1 Chef. In the past my fitness accomplishments have been: the Toronto Marathon in 1998, the Niagara and Barrie Dualthalon in 2000 and the Subaru Adventure Race in 2001.

My website is currently under construction and coming real soon…
You can read more about me on my blog at…
You can also connect with me on Facebook:
My Space:

You go, girl!!!!!!!!


Gloria Vegana said...

Your gorgeous. What a beautiful story you have shared. A great testimony to the benefits of plant-based nutrition.

Gloria Vegana said...

A gorgeous and healthy vegan indeed! God bless you in all of your pursuits.


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