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Name: Karen Rose
Birthplace: Regina
Current Residence: Toronto
Sports: Professional Contemporary Dancer/Choreographer;
Yoga Teacher; Pilates Instructor.
Website: karenrose.ca
Facebook: Be Yoga/Ahimsa

Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have
I work as a professional contemporary dancer and choreographer. I also teach Yoga and Pilates. I love cycling, swimming and weight training.

Why did you become vegan?
For the love and respect for animals. It is a diet and lifestyle based on peace, love and compassion. And the physical benefits are AMAZING!

When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I have always been interested in fitness and health. I competed in track, cross country running and cross country skiing, winning many awards. I also swam, and worked as a lifeguard. When I was 18, my first big paycheck went to purchasing weights and a weight bench. The athletic and artistic pursuit of dance is and always has been a huge part of who I am.

How would you describe your nutrition program?
A Vegan diet consisting of nutrient dense real food like fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, grains, nuts, seeds and other whole foods. It is easy, not complicated, quite natural. I have however, been known to dip Vegan chocolate into a jar of peanut butter.

How would you describe your training program?
I train everyday as a dancer, … which means a dance class every morning in ballet or contemporary, and then a rehearsal for 3 to 5 hours. I also practice yoga, swim, and lift weight once or twice a week. I cycle everywhere I go. Training is so much part of who I am.

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I love Vega! Vega tastes good and it is so convenient. I also add it to my smoothies, with bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, flaxseed and almond, soy or rice milk. I also use Amazing Greens, Sun Warrior Protein, Maca Powder, Chia Seeds, Udo’s Choice Oil, Spirulina, and Chlorella.

How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
I think people become defensive. They know deep inside themselves, there is a place of compassion, and they have disconnected from that place. Mostly everyone wants to believe they are kind to animals, that they would never hurt an animal, but a kind of compartmentalization occurs, where they no longer think about the animal they are consuming. Talking with me, and seeing how vibrant I am, how much energy I have…gives them a reason to think more deeply about the choices they are making.

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Probably the ‘lack of protein’ myth, which is so ridiculous at his time!!! It does not take any time at all to research this!!! There is no excuse any more! All plants have an abundance of protein in the most simple and easily digested form. Kale rocks!

Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
I set an example in how I live my life. In my yoga classes I always extend, and offer my students the philosophy of Ahimsa – non-violence and non-harming. I give them the space and peace of mind to think for themselves, and to realize how their choices can affect the rest of the world. I teach people how they can become more aware, more at peace with themselves, which leads to empathy and kindness.

What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
The love for it, and that leads to discipline, which will in time, give you freedom in your body.

What do you like best about being vegan?
I know I am living to my full potential – physically as well as spiritually. I have a clear conscience and I know my choices are making a difference.

What do you like best about being fit?
Everything! I could not imagine living without having strength, flexibility and endurance. I will be the same when I am 95!

What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Find what you love to do! And then it will all become easy, fun and joyful! There are so many rewards to committing yourself towards the joy of moving!

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Do it! There are so many books to help you if you are unsure. Be patient with yourself. It comes from love – for others and for your self. It will give you more energy, vitality, and an inner peace that radiates from the inside out.

What motivates you in life?
Knowing that I doing my best in everything that I do. And ultimately, this is reflects from me towards others, creating a positive vibration, so to speak. We have to want to make the world a more peaceful place.

What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
It is great to see so many wonderful people who believe in living to their full potential. And without harming others in the process! It is fantastically contagious and delicious!

Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
In every day life, kindness and respect is so important.

Ignorance is not bliss, educate yourself about the world, and how you can contribute to it in a positive way. Smile, love, laugh, be kind to each other, and spread joy!