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Face to Face: Plant-based better, says nutritionist

Nutritionist and athlete Andrew Raines lives on a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet, something he says gives him increased energy.  - Robert Mangelsdorf photo
Nutritionist and athlete Andrew Raines lives on a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet, something he says gives him increased energy.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf photo

Andrew Raines doesn’t look like what many might think of when they think of a typical vegan. He’s not pale and sickly, and he’s certainly not skin and bones.

In fact, Raines is a former mixed martial artist and kickboxer, and an avid soccer player. He’s one of an increasing number of athletes who are turning to a plant-based diet, not just for ethical reasons, but because it’s healthier and helps them perform.

“A plant-based diet is a nutrient rich diet,” says Raines. “Your body doesn’t hunger for calories, it hungers for nutrients.”

Raines grew up in Tsawwassen and founded the South Delta FC men’s soccer club, for whom he still plays and coaches. When he’s not on the pitch, Raines is a holistic nutritionist and national educator for the vegan nutritional supplement company Vega, and will be in Ladner on Saturday, Nov. 30, to give a presentation at Open Space Yoga about “eating for energy.”

Eating for energy means reducing caloric intake while increasing intake of nutrient-dense foods, such as fresh vegetables. When and how you eat is also important.

“When you eat on the go, you’re in a state of stress, and that’s not good for your digestive system,” he says.

However, you don’t have to be vegan to reap the benefits of eating a plant-based, nutrient rich diet. Even by cutting down on meat and increasing your intake of fresh vegetables, most people will feel

“Your taste buds will change too,” he says. “You will start to crave fresh vegetables.”

There’s also a number of common foods which upset many people’s digestive systems.

“Dairy, soy and gluten can cause a lot of difficulties for people,” he says. “They are the three most common food allergies people suffer from.”

• Andrew Raines will be speaking at Open Space Yoga from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Call 778-858-9642 to RSVP. Open Space Yoga is located at 4880 Delta St.

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