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A day in the life of plant-based pioneer Tammy Fry

16.09.19 Eat, Learn Blog SumoSalad
Tammy Fry

Today on the blog, we chat with businesswoman and athlete, Tammy Fry. Tammy is an integral part of the plant-based biz, Fry Family Food Co. Fry’s make delicious meat-free products, including the plant-based schnitzel on SumoSalad’s new spring/summer menu. She’s also a karate champion, keen CrossFitter and mum of two boys.

Tammy Fry is living proof that you can thrive on a plant-based diet and she’s passionate about making it easier for people to reduce their meat intake. She shares her tips, recipes and more on her blog. You can also follow Tammy on Instagram. We spoke to Tammy about a day in her life, her handy meal prep hacks and the one myth about vegans that needs to be dispelled – stat!

What do mornings look like for you?

I’ve got children and anyone with children will know you need flexibility in the mornings. If you strive for too much structure it can often come apart at the seams. I do have things I try to get done in the morning – a training session, meditation or a morning surf. My children are very active, so I need to balance their activities with my own. My eldest son is a keen surfer, so whilst he surfs, I will walk on the beach or meditate.

After training, we start our day with a healthy breakfast. We’ll have overnight oats, smoothie bowls, homemade granola (which I batch cook on the weekends) or scrambled tofu on sourdough. That’s our standard start to the day. I have jumped on the celery juicing trend and have celery juice twice a week and follow an intermittent fasting protocol maybe two days a week.

I really try, and it’s been difficult, to not pick up my phone when I wake up. I want to train my brain that I’m in charge of my day and my social media platforms are not. Everyone is time poor, so having that discipline to put your phone away and focus on what needs to be done early on really sets you up for success for the rest of the day.

What’s a typical workday?

My work day starts at 9am. I structure my day differently to most people because I work with different countries and time zones. My morning is spent clearing my inbox. Australia and USA meetings are done at midday. My South African and European work often happens in the evening. I finish work at 3pm and then I start up again at about 6pm. This gives me time with my children in the afternoon, so it works really well for me.

How do you maintain a healthy diet when you have such a busy lifestyle?

I always make sure I have an idea of what meals I want to cook for the week. On Sunday, I might plan an Indian-themed dinner, a Mexican dinner, roasted veggies or Buddha bowls. Just having ideas and being inspired makes it easier. I think it’s more difficult coming up with what you’re going to cook than actually cooking it.

Working in the evening does mean that meals have to be organised, so I love batch cooking. It’s one of the things that I’ve really taken to and that has really helped me with time management in the week. I cook big batches of food on a Sunday, mostly wholefood plant-based meals. Then everything is ready for the week. That way, it doesn’t feel like such a big task.

I usually make a dahl, a bean chilli, maybe a Bolognese or a really big curry filled with a variety of organic vegetables. Breakfasts like Vegan-ola, overnight oats, chia pots and juices can also be made in advance.

I also pre-prep vegetables. I might pre-peel butternut and cut it into cubes, pre-prepare sweet potato chips or cut cauliflower into florets. Sometimes, just washing and cutting veggies makes it much easier if you’re going to roast vegetables.

Lunch is always leftovers or part of the batch cook. If you’ve done big batch cooks, you can take a scoop of brown rice and a scoop of chilli or dahl in a wrap. It really is so simple. Fry’s products make those last minute meals and post school munchies much easier too.

You’re also a karate champion, how has karate impacted your life?

Tammy Fry with sonsI started karate when I was four years old, so it’s a major part of my life. I grew up training every afternoon with my family. At age 12, I passed to my black belt, was selected for the National Karate Team, and competed at the highest level for almost 20 years representing my country at many World Championships. I realised that through sport I could also be an advocate for plant-based living, a subject I was always very passionate about.

I also ran a karate school in South Africa and taught self-defence to women. I’m very passionate about empowering women and I think self-defence is a critical skill every single woman should learn. 1 in 3 women in Australia experience some kind of violence in their lifetime. The statistics are disappointing and scary.

There’s still that myth out there that eating meat is key to athletic performance. What is the best way to dispel this?

For one, there are so many successful vegan athletes. It’s becoming more prevalent now. There’s a documentary coming out this month called The Game Changers, which showcases some incredible vegan athletes, including champion strongman Patrik Baboumian. There’s also Venus Williams, surfers Kelly Slater and Tia Blanco and Aussie sprinter Morgan Mitchell. Recovery (on a vegan diet) is a lot quicker as the alkaline diet reduces inflammation in the body. And they’re lighter. They’re not expending energy on digestion, they’re spending it on training, so it’s easy to understand why it works for so many people.

It’s also an absolute myth that someone who doesn’t eat meat can’t get protein to sustain high level training. Protein is available in so many plant foods, including complete proteins with all the amino acids. Soy is an excellent replacement for meat because it has all the essential amino acids making it a complete protein.

If you look at the Blue Zones, which are the areas in the world where people live longer, some of the longest living people in the world consume soy and legumes and eat largely plant-based diets.

What lessons have you learned from karate that you’ve taken into your daily life?

Discipline, respect for others and humility. Teaching karate has taught me how to communicate, specifically how to communicate respectfully with authority, and to understand how to help others to reach their true potential. There’s so much I’ve taken from martial arts – how to go through hardship, how to face physical adversity and rise above it, how to believe in myself, and how to be courageous in the face of fear.

POSTED BY: Anthea England
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