Nino Severino: Exploring the vegan way of life!
- Credit: Archant
In his latest column, Nino Severino discusses the huge role of nutrition in health and performance – and considers a move to veganism!
I had to rewind when I heard that £1.5m per hour was being spent on treating diabetes. I thought I could not have heard this correctly – that’s a mind blowing £25,000 every minute, £14 billion every year!
As I watched, it was quite upsetting to see the suffering this condition causes, and the health complications it inflicts on the patients.
Much of this ill health, misery and cost to the country is directly linked to lifestyle choices, and in particular the foods that are eaten.
It seems that my involvement, knowledge and experience of nutrition, across general health and sports performance, have all joined up at a very interesting junction in my life and it is taking more and more of my attention and focus.
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As an elite coach, it’s only natural I need to be aware of the incredible performance enhancing attributes all of the above can have on athletes, and I have worked with countless sports people to help them implement this area into their lives.
Most recently, I have been working very closely with Ipswich Town’s star striker, Martyn Waghorn, who is super interested in nutrition and its benefits in sport.
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I recently covered Martyn’s intelligence in terms of sports science in one of my columns, but nutrition is also a component he excels in – this devotion to nutrition is made all the easier because of the support from the training ground chef, and the range of food options for the players.
Martyn is fully in tune with the fact that good nutrition improves performance and to a big extent can prevent injuries – and of course the by-products are the massive health benefits.
I am very committed to educating youngsters on these messages and this week my national health and fitness tour took in two schools in Ilford, London.
I know only too well that the main driver of good nutrition and healthy living for children will come from the home, and parents are vital in driving that – but I know how difficult it is to apply healthy nutrition for the family on a day-to-day basis.
I’m proud to say that I have a shining example of good practice in this area in my own family – my niece Leanne Geaves and her husband Luke.
I have watched them gradually change their lifestyle, in particular their food choices and the meals they prepare for themselves and their three children.
Leanne is a vegan, and it’s a pretty disciplined way of life in terms of really developing knowledge and preparing healthy meals that taste great. Well, I can say Leanne has truly mastered this craft!
The more I speak to her, the more I become interested in this lifestyle and, as I started to study it more myself, I realised that many elite athletes are actually vegans and abstain from eating any animal products in their diet.
There’s Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Jermain Defoe, David Haye, Carl Lewis and Martina Navratilova, to name but a few.
Celebrities too – Brad Pitt, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, the list goes on.
So I asked Leanne, ‘why veganism?” and thus started a very interesting conversation.
Veganism is more than just a lifestyle choice, it extends into areas such as the devastating effects that agriculture is having on our planet.
She asked me to watch a programme with her – some of you may have already seen it – called “Cowspiracy”, and I have to admit, it really did affect my thinking about my food choices, and how this is inextricably linked to our very precious planet.
We carried on talking, and I challenged Leanne on the variation of vegan meals. She said: “Uncle Nino, once you start on this journey, it really does open up an exciting way of life and gives you a different focus on food and the meals you can cook.”
She then began to show me lots of images of the vegan meals she had cooked, and while they looked great, I inquired, “How do they taste?”
Her response? “I’ll cook lunch for us right now!” And the meal she created was absolutely delicious!
For sure, veganism will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are at that point in your life where you want to make a healthy lifestyle choice, I would give it a little look.
Leanne’s passion for it is certainly making me think twice!