Vegan Olympian Recruits Fellow Athletes to Promote the #PlantMilkChallenge

Vegan Olympian

Just over one week into the new year, how are those resolutions holding up? Vegan Olympian, Dotsie Bausch, is offering an easy way to fulfill those healthy eating resolutions via her ten-day #PlantMilkChallenge. The challenge is the latest campaign of her non-profit, Compassion Champs, which she founded after earning an Olympic silver medal in women’s cycling. She secured this victory on an entirely plant-based diet, dodging the “Milk Life” sponsorships and upending the misconception that dairy fuels winners. Her current mission is to create a more plant-based world and convince others to ditch dairy. To promote the #PlantMilkChallenge to the masses, she enlisted her fellow plant-based athletes to spread the word. Her impressive crew includes Olympians to professional ultra-endurance competitors, and they are all capitalizing on their influence to advance the plant-based lifestyle. We interviewed Bausch and her athlete supporters to gain inspiration from their plant-based journeys, and learn why they decided to use their platform to promote the dairy-free movement.

Dotsie Bausch
Olympic Silver Medalist in women’s cycling and Founder of Compassion Champs

Dotsie Bausch

OA: Why did you decide to launch the #PlantMilkChallenge?

DB: We wanted to create something fun, interactive, and informative for people to get amped up on for the New Year. Bringing in all of the incredible plant-based world class and Olympic level athletes provides an extraordinary opportunity for our pledges to be encouraged by some of the most well known vegan athletes who thrive on a plant-based diet.

OA: What do you hope this challenge will achieve?

DB: This interaction between top athletes and pledges makes this a very unique challenge. My goal is for every single person to complete the challenge with a newfound appreciation and passion for plant-based products, and for them to stick to a plant-based diet for their lifetime! Think of the #PlantMilkChallenge as a kick-starter to a lifetime of cruelty free eating.

OA: Spill! What is your favorite plant-milk beverage or treat?

DB: I am a mad Coconut milk fan! I also bow to the table of Jule’s cashew brie cheese! My husband and I almost started crying from joy the first time we tasted it! It is divine!

Rich Roll
Ultra-endurance athlete, nutrition advocate, bestselling author, and podcast host

OA: Why did you decide to ditch dairy? How has it affected your athletic performance?

RR: I first ditched dairy as an experiment to see if it would have any impact on how I felt. I didn’t think that it would. However, within about three days I felt drastically better — my energy levels improved, my sleep intensified and even my mental acuity was enhanced. I lost a tremendous amount of weight and achieved a level of fitness I previously didn’t think possible for someone in their forties. So when I made the decision to train for Ultraman, I knew that eating plant-based would be my secret weapon.

OA: Why support the #PlantMilkChallenge?

RR: There is so much conflicting information about health and nutrition. But one thing is clear — milk does not do a body a good. It pains me to see so many athletes buying into this myth (concocted by the dairy industry and promoted through deep pocket marketing interests) that chocolate milk is a recovery drink every athlete should include into their routine. Not only is it not true, it’s cruel and environmentally damaging. As stewards of this planet its incumbent upon us to find a better way and to lead that charge. This challenge serves that goal, and my hope is that it will leave people thinking more deeply about their daily food choices and the implications of those choices on others and the world at large.

OA: Spill! What is your favorite plant-milk beverage or treat?

RR: Vanilla Cashew Milk Yogurt!

Rebecca Soni
Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist in women’s swimming

Rebecca Soni

OA: What are your thoughts on the influence of the dairy industry in athletics?

RS: Being an athlete, we were basically force-fed the idea that we need dairy. [However] about five years ago I learned more about the negative effects of dairy.  I realized that a lot of the popular claims about milk were simply not real, they were just marketing campaigns. Giving [dairy] up got rid of my stomach aches, which I experienced all throughout my competitive swimming career. It makes my body cleaner, it makes me healthier all around, and as an athlete, it allows me to recover faster and feel better.

OA: Why support the #PlantMilkChallenge?

RS: My hope for the challenge is to inspire the type of eye-opening learning that I experienced 5 years ago. Once you look at the research, it really makes you question what you’ve been told in the past. 

OA: Spill! What is your favorite plant-milk beverage or treat?

RS: I love all Kite-Hill’s products, especially their almond milk cream cheese. Being a coffee fan, I love latte’s made with cashew milk. Totally changed the way I think about my coffee! 

Sasha Kozorez
Hockey player, athlete, vegan advocate

Sasha Kozorez

OA: How did you transition to a plant-based diet?

SK: I went vegan a little over two years ago after about seven months of lots of baby steps. Since then, I have never eaten or drunk anything from the animal world, and I have never looked back.

OA: How has your plant-based diet affected your athletic performance?

SK: In the first week or two I noticed that my recovery [time] decreased tremendously. I would give one hundred percent on the ice and want to skate right after the game. I felt like I had fuel for it. My muscles were almost never sore, and that gave me a chance to simply practice more and advance faster. In about a month, as I deepened my knowledge of what to eat from the whole foods, plant-based world, I was thriving. I had the same body weight, but I had more muscle mass and less fat. My muscles were leaner and more defined. I also noticed the difference in the way my brain was working. It felt like I was seventeen again. The benefits of treating your body right with plants are undeniable!

OA: What misconceptions do you want to dispel about dairy through the #PlantMilkChallenge?

SK: I want more people to realize that it is not necessary to consume dairy to be healthy and strong. In fact, consuming dairy is going to make you sick. Unfortunately, most people are born into the culture and society where it is believed otherwise. I want them to try out all the plant-based alternatives and see if they like anything. It’s not dairy as they know it, but they are great products, if not better [than dairy]. I love our planet, I love animals, and I love people. And I want the best for all of them.

OA: Spill! What is your favorite plant-milk beverage or treat?

SK: Ripple milk in a shake with bananas and strawberries, and Miyoko’s cheese!

#PlantMilkChallenge

For a resolution you can stick to, join the #PlantMilkChallenge and encourage your friends and family to do the same – especially if they are not yet vegan. The challenge runs from January 10 – 20, and includes fun daily challenges, inspiring videos and recipes, educational information on the dairy industry, and an awesome community of support. Plus, there will be giveaways featuring coupons and products from various plant milk and cheese brands. To sign up, join the #PlantMilkChallenge Facebook group

Find Tanya on Instagram and The Vegan Potluck Podcast. 

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