Big on Green- Big on muscle!

SAFE recently spoke with animal supporter and vegan strong-man Brayden Green who, as a teenager did not make the cut for the rugby team because he lacked size.

Brayden is anything but small now and he recently took out third place in the Christchurch Grand Prix juniors body-building competition. Brayden’s future goals include gaining his personal training and plant-based nutrition qualifications whilst demonstrating to others how athletes can thrive on a 'harm-free lifestyle' yet compete at an elite level, via his own bodybuilding and fitness journey.

Why did you become Veg and when?

I became vegan for ethical reasons. I got a job at the meat works first thing out of school and wow, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I worked on the slaughter floor as a floor boy, cleaning up mess. This environment just didn’t sit right with me, with my ethics and morals, seeing and hearing the pain coming from these poor cows. I felt such a compulsion to make a change in my life and that was getting out of there and going vegan and I did just that!

What’s the greatest thing about being Veg?

I have to say the amazing energy and vitality from such amazing food full of positive energy and nutrition. Also the satisfying feeling of knowing I am not contributing to animal cruelty and in being one of many rain drops to make the ocean of movement away from animal cruelty promotion.

How did you make the changes?

Fortunately I had met a vegan family and they helped me with making the transition, giving me the knowledge of what I needed to make sure I had a healthy, all-round nutritious diet and helping me with my first grocery shop for my first week on the vegan diet and I also did all my own research and learnt by trial and error.

Was it hard to make the changes?

I did not find it hard as it just felt right for me to live this lifestyle with my morals and beliefs. In my first week of the diet I never strayed and never looked back.

Are your family and friends Veg too?

No, in my family I am the only vegan.

What’s your favourite food?

Right now I am a sucker for a good smoothie bowl!

What’s your favourite restaurant?

In my small home town it is the café/restaurant Ritual. It is a very alternative, funky and homely wee place that makes fantastic vegan options.

What is a typical day’s menu for you?

I always start off my day with a smoothie! Don’t know how I would get through the day without it! Packed full of fruits and some leafy greens.

Mid-morning will usually consist of oats or what I like to call “proats”, ha ha, as I like to mix in some protein powder and some other goodies like pumpkin seeds, dates, chia seeds or whatever I have currently in the pantry.

The rest of my day will usually consist of meals with things like brown rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts, greens like kale, broccoli, or spinach, and tofu is usually somewhere in there too.

What do you do for fun?

Fitness is my fun time. I live and breathe health and fitness; it just feels like my calling on this planet. There is no other feeling like getting in and smashing out a good workout, pushing the body past its limits, seeing what you are capable of and feeling accomplished.

What do you do for fitness?

Recently I have trained a lot with a bodybuilding-style approach in order to build an aesthetically pleasing physique to represent vegan muscle and be an advocate for animals and show the world that you can build muscle on a harm-free lifestyle. I have now found my next challenge/calling and that is Crossfit: to really push my body’s limits and show what true vegan, functional strength looks like.

What is the funniest thing someone has ever said to you about being Veg?

“How do you have such big arms as a vegan?”

Are there any challenges in being Veg?

No way. Once you live the lifestyle and know all about it, it is nothing but amazing.

Do you have advice for others about to Go Veg?

Take it at your own pace with the transition and arm yourself with knowledge. When it does feel hard, just remember why you made this change in the first place.