It's time for another #healthspotalk! I hope that you enjoy reading these inspirational interviews as much as I enjoy bringing them to you. This time I had the pleasure of interviewing my very dear friend Victoria Sardain from Sailing Through Fitness, a friend that I met through Instagram and discovered she actually goes to the same uni as me! Since then, we've been training together, going for hikes together, and we even ran our very first 20km together.
If you think I'm a dedicated health freak, think again. This girl is on another level. Having been raised by a vegan mom and vegetarian weight lifting dad, taking care of her body through food and exercise is practically second nature to her. She makes living a healthy lifestyle look so easy, hence her name "sailing" through fitness. For her, it's a breeze and a lifestyle she embraces to the fullest! Here goes #healthspotalk with Victoria Sardain.
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
My parents have always been very health conscious, so watching what I was eating and taking good care of my health is something that I’ve always been exposed to. Of course when I was younger I loved all that processed chocolate stuff as most kids do (I ate more Betty Crocker two-bite brownies than I’d like to admit), but when I was about 12 my best friend’s older sister started a clean eating diet, which had a big influence on me and I myself slowly started to cut down on the junk food.
Why do you eat the way you eat?
My interest in health and eating well grew over the years, where I transitioned from cutting out refined to sugar, to all processed foods and finally following a fully vegan diet; which I’ve been doing for about 6 months now. I eat the way I do because it is when I follow a clean, vegan diet that I feel my best and have the most energy. That being said, I would never preach a specific diet on anyone and think that everyone needs to try things out to find out what works best for them.
Describe your day on a plate.
I always start the day with oatmeal (except maybe for #pancakesunday). My morning snack is usually an apple, lunch is brown rice with veggies and dinner is quinoa with mixed steamed vegetables and tofu. I also always have a protein shake using a vegan protein powder after my workout. Since my transition to being fully vegan, I've had to make quite some changes. At my uni's cafeteria, there aren't really any vegan options, so I tend to bring my own food for lunch. Where there's a will, there's a way!
What are the 5 things we will always find in your fridge/pantry?
- Peanut Butter (MaraNatha all the way: They roast the peanuts in small batches and then grind them with our special process resulting in a selection of delicious peanut butters that are bursting with rich peanut flavor. No additives, no chemicals, no nonsense!)
- Spinach: I love to use in salads or smoothies
- Oats; aka my go to breakfast!
- Sweet potatoes
- Raw cacao
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
That carbs are the devil! I often hear girls saying that they are going to go on a diet and “cut out carbs” without realizing that there are two types of carbs. Of course cutting out donuts and croissants is always a good idea, but I say start by cutting back on refined sugar and processed foods before blaming bananas for weight gain. Once you cut out too many carbs, you'll notice that you are tired, have headache, can't concentrate as well and also won't be able to push yourself at hard at the gym. That doesn't sound too fun to me!
Tell us about your workout routine.
I am currently on week 24 of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (yay, almost done!). I did the first guide twice and now I’m almost done with the second. It’s really tough but I absolutely love it. It’s such a clear-cut, comprehensible guide to getting that true “bikini body” so many girls are after. It’s well explained, easy to follow and the circuits only take half an hour. No excuses! (Stef: Can we expect a before/after shot on your Instagram any time soon?)
What does living a wholesome lifestyle mean to you?
To me, the wholesome lifestyle is one of balance. It means to feel healthy and well both physically and mentally. People often focus too much of having a healthy looking body, when it really all begins with a healthy state of mind. It means not simply following health and fitness fads (extreme diets or unreasonable workout plans) but actually finding a good balance that fits you. Everyone is different, finding a good, sustainable routine that makes you happy and feel good is key.
A recipe from Victoria - Carob Coconut Chia Pudding
Victoria's Carob Coconut Chia Pudding
½ cup of coconut milk
¼ cup of water
½ tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. carob powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 generous tbsp. chia seeds
Handful of chopped almonds
Handful of chopped walnuts
½ cup of mixed berries (optional)
Put coconut milk, water, maple syrup, carob powder, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a small pot over low heat.
Stir until all the dry ingredients are well combined with the milk (does not need to be hot)
Put chia seeds and chopped nuts in a small bowl, glass or jar and pour liquid on top.
Mix well so that the seeds don’t stick to each other at the bottom.
Leave in the fridge for about half an hour (or over night) and top with berries.
Add extra granola or toasted nut on top for an extra crunch.