Meagan Duhamel: Figure Skater
by Nicole Rivard
Earlier this year, Olympic medal-ist Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won Canada’s first world pairs figure skating title in 14 years, capping a perfect season. But if you ask the world champion what accomplishment she is most proud of, she says it’s being vegan.
“It changed my whole life. It changed what I want to do with my life,” Duhamel said, explaining that she originally switched to a plant-based lifestyle to eat healthier, but now it’s more about not wanting to contrib-ute to animal cruelty and exploitation.
While she has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympic Games—she won a team silver in Sochi in 2014— off the ice she would like to open an animal shelter with her husband, as well as a vegan café and perhaps even write a book for vegan athletes.
Duhamel, who was wearing vegan skates before she went vegan, says her a-ha moment to adopt a plant-based diet actually happened because a best-selling book that touts a vegan diet caught her eye at an airport back in 2008. She devoured it in one sitting, and rid her refrigerator of animal products the next day. She never looked back.
That’s why she sometimes gets frustrated by people who tell her it’s too difficult to be vegan. Everybody can make different choices, she says, like instead of driving to McDonald’s for a burger and a milkshake, stay home and make a salad with fresh vegetables and a fruit smoothie.
“We are lucky to live in North America, a part of the world where we have the freedom to choose anything we want to eat,” Duhamel said.
Duhamel believes her choice to be vegan has boosted her athleticism and skating.
“I can focus and concentrate for longer periods of time since I started
Duhamel taught herself as much as she could about plant-based diets to make sure she was getting adequate amount of nutrients. She even became a certified holistic nutritionist.
She admits one of her coaches was concerned that she would be malnourished, but now he talks to other athletes about the benefits of a plant-based diet. She and her other coach, who she married in June, are enjoying creating a cruelty-free home.
When they decided to adopt their beagle Theo last year, they discovered the Beagle Freedom Project, which finds homes for beagles used in research for pharmaceuticals, house-hold products and cosmetics, reinforcing their commitment to buying cruelty-free products.
“Every time we discover a new brand that we didn’t know was cruelty free, we are so excited. My husband says we are saving all of Theo’s friends,” Duhamel said.
MEAGAN’S MEAL TO START THE DAY
A smoothie with spinach or kale, banana, mango or raspberries, chia seeds, almond milk, cinnamon and nut butter. Or a breakfast kale bowl— kale chopped really small with grapefruit juice (it draws out the Vitamin C in the greens), blueberries, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, and banana mixed with granola or cereal and almond milk.