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Meet our Herbie of the Week, Aubrey C.! Aubrey is a busy high school student athlete who was nominated by her mother (and fellow Herbie!). Although she had been vegetarian since 8th grade, she has experienced awesome benefits since going plant-based. She keeps breaking her track and cross country personal records and "love love loves" being a Herbie!
"Me, right after the half marathon this year"
HH: Hi Aubrey! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Aubrey, I’m a junior in high school. I run cross country, track, and participate in Mock Trial and winter running. I also have a part-time job at a local supermarket. So, I’m pretty busy! I’ve been a Herbie since May of 2012, in the middle of my track season. The week I made the change, I PRed (Got a new personal record) in both of the events I run, the mile and the half-mile. I’ve been a Herbie ever since! The first weekend in June, I ran my first half marathon with some of my friends! I did pretty well with a time of 1:52:04.
Since this was new for me, I was curious what my times would be like in cross country the season of my sophomore year. Freshman year, my PR for a 5k was 23:31. My first time trial, in August (pre-season) I ran faster than I ever had before with a 22:40. My final PR for sophomore year was a 21:41. I continued to improve in track season with new PRs in all of my events. I ran another half marathon right after track season, getting (coincidentally) the exact same time as the year before. That brings us to this season of cross country, and after training hard and properly fueling my body, I just PRed this Saturday with a 21:36. Fueling my body is key, especially when I’m preparing for a hard workout or a race, these are the times I pay special attention to what I’m eating (protein and carbs, etc.). I love being a Herbie, and I have no plans of changing this in the future!
HH: That's amazing! So how did you find out about the plant-based diet?
I became a vegetarian in 8th grade with influence from peta2, the issue then being animal rights. That was my first introduction to veganism. Freshman year I watched Forks Over Knives, and that is when my mom and I dove into the plant-based diet.
"Buttons I have on my backpack now I got at a food show in Chicago"
HH: What's it like being a Herbie in high school? How do other students and your friends react to your choice?
Being a Herbie in high school is sort of difficult sometimes, but still totally worth it. It’s hard sometimes not eating pizza at parties with my friends, or passing up on cake and ice cream. But my passion for the plant-based diet makes it a lot easier to say “no” and go straight to the carrot sticks! (I LOVE carrot sticks). My friends are mostly supportive, and two of my friends are vegan as well! This makes it a LOT easier, not being the only one. Sometimes people do ask me why, and I usually say, “It’s just a choice I make to keep my body as healthy as possible!” I usually don’t get any arguments.
HH: As an athlete, do you notice any difference in how you feel training and recovering?
I’ve never eaten meat while running in high school, when serious training started. But I did eat milk and eggs for part of my freshman year. Directly after I made the change to a plant based diet, I did PR in both of my track events! As training and recovery goes, I have moved to the 3rd best varsity runner on my cross country team, so my season is going pretty great!!
"From this year's half marathon" [Editorial Note: Aubrey described this one as "5 sweaty people" LOL!]
HH: Do you pack a lunch for school? What kinds of foods do you like to take for lunch and snacks?
I’ve always packed my lunch for school, but since I’ve been vegan I usually pack leftovers from the night before. (That’s my favorite anyway!) When there are no leftovers, I pack a lot of fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, clementines, etc.) and veggies (baby carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, peppers, etc.). I’m a big fan of Clif Bars too, if there’s no leftovers for the main course.
HH: Is your family supportive of your choice? (I'm guessing so since your mom nominated you!)
Yes! When I stay at my dad’s house, it is a little more difficult since I am the only vegan over there, but when I am at my mom’s house, it is super easy, since she is vegan as well. My aunt and uncle introduced Forks Over Knives to the family, so they are vegan as well. This simplifies Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and having almost everyone be plant-based makes it extra easy! For the family members that I have that are not Herbies, they are still very supportive of my choice.
"My mom and I at a race my friend and I organized to benefit a local organization for people with special needs"
HH: What are your favorite Herbie meals at home? Have you tried your hand at cooking?
My favorite Herbie meals are probably from Happy Herbivore Abroad. I LOVE all of the curries in there especially. I’ve done one of the Herbie cleanses as well (mostly for fun and because my mom was doing it) and I really liked the barley meal that was in there as well as the chili! Yum! I made the barley meal from that cleanse myself and I love to help out in the kitchen whenever I have time! My mom is a trained chef, so I love to help her cook.
HH: You said you "love love loved" being a happy herbivore :) What do you think is so great about it? And do you have any advice for others your age that are curious about making a change?
Being a Herbie is just so great. It doesn’t get any better than helping the animals, the planet, and my body all at the same time! Plus it is DELICIOUS! For others thinking about making the change, do it! It’s awesome. It’s pretty easy and so healthy for your body. I just feel better being a Herbie. There are a lot of cookbooks out there to help and you can get your own ideas for meals from vegan restaurants or blogs or stuff like that. I would read a couple books about the plant-based diet, so that you become educated and passionate about being an Herbie. It’s a blast!!!
"Super easy Mexican dish"
HH: Anything else you'd like to share?
My favorite plant based restaurants are Native Foods (in Chicago), Chicago Diner (in Chicago), Karyn’s on the Green (in Chicago), and Marie Catrib’s (in Grand Rapids). Marie Catrib’s is not entirely plant-based, but has quite a few DELICIOUS options. I would recommend all of these for plant-based eaters and not plant-based eaters alike. They are so good. Also, when we travel, we order “Go Picnics” off of the internet if we are going somewhere with slim pickings in vegan cuisine. There are quite a few vegan options that they make and they are super handy in a pinch.
Thanks so much for sharing, Aubrey! You're awesome!
UPDATE (November 2013)
A week or so after I sent you the information I got a new PR on my 5k! 20:50! That was pretty exciting!