Sena Acolatse is a professional hockey player and has played in the AHL and Deutsche Eishockey League. Sena is a devout vegan and operates his own food account on Instagram, @veganhoopla. In a recent sit down with Batchez, Sena provided some of his story and some simple advice for aspiring vegans & plant based dieters.
Tell us about your journey to a vegan lifestyle and what most inspired you?
“At first, the health aspect of eating plant based is what attracted me the most. Being a hockey player I’ve always had to be conscious of what I eat. The more I learnt about eating plant based the more obvious it became that this was something I at least needed to try. Once I settled into the lifestyle, everything else, i.e the environmental benefits and the reality of what we as humans do to animals all smacked me square in the face and I haven’t looked back since.”
What is the most important thing vegan athletes need to know about protein sources?
“I would say just google what plant based foods have protein and don’t believe in all the “protein hype”. I don’t “count” my protein and I believe I am doing better than fine. I’m not saying that I am not conscious of my protein intake I’m just saying that the thought doesn’t consume my head.”
In adopting a vegan diet, what is the biggest piece of advice you can give an athlete?
“A lot of people say that you should ease your way into it. Sure. If you want MY advice I would say shut up and dive right in. You should definitely be prepared but I would just take it on the chin and get into it. That’s what I did and it worked for me. I wasn’t prepared at all and that’s one piece of advice I wish I had. I committed to two weeks and I haven’t been back since. I recommend going at least a month and then assessing how you feel. That’s when you’ll truly start to feel a little bit of the effects. If you can go two months then fugg ya!”
Where do you find inspiration for vegan recipes?
“My recipes are super simple. Most of them I just come up with in my head. If you look at my food account (@veganhoopla) you can get a better sense. You’ll see that I stick to mostly whole foods. The less ingredients the better in my mind. You won’t see a lot of meat, dairy, or cheese substitutes being used by me. Every once in a while I dabble but I find I feel a lot better when I stick to veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds etc.”