Plant Based Profiles: Derek Tresize
As his name implies, he is pretty much Tree-Size! While it may sound like an oxymoron, Derek is a vegan body builder (yes, there’s such a thing) and a very impressive and inspiring one at that! I started reading his blog (Vegan Muscle and Fitness) almost two years ago while I was still living in California. I had no idea he was based in Richmond. It wasn’t until I had moved back and had been living here for a few months that, while reading his blog, I noticed in a picture he was working out at a local gym here in RVA, crazy small world. So of course, I tracked him down, connected with him and hired him as a trainer as soon as his schedule would allow. I was in luck as Derek was leaving the local, corporate gym and opening his own facility, Root Force. Stoked! Not only was I getting great work outs and adding muscle, but I was also able to ask him my endless array of plant based questions. Needless to say, it was worth every penny! Derek is the real deal! I highly recommend following his blog and, if you’re lucky, hiring him as a trainer.
Derek was kind enough to answer a few questions for us here at Zen Fans.
How long have you been vegan?
-I first went vegan in 2007 for Lent and afterwards I felt so much better that I had to continue.
Was there a defining moment when you decided to go vegan?
-Yes. I met my wife, Marcella Torres, and she presented me with the information about animal products and chronic disease. I am a health nut and this was the first time I’d ever encountered that info. Once I had done the research on my own, I was fully convinced and never looked back.
What’s your favorite meal to prepare and eat?
-Just about every day for lunch we both have a curried lentil soup, an asian sweet potato and a big green salad with blackened tofu on top. It’s super simple and wholesome… I could eat this everyday of my life!
What is your go to snack?
-If I’m ever starving and it’s not meal time I eat fruit. I have a crazy sweet tooth and fruit satisfies that while still being incredibly healthy…I’ve been known to pound half a watermelon or 4-5 mangoes as a “snack.”
Where’s your favorite place to eat out?
-The Nile Ethopian restaurant here in Richmond VA is our go to spot. We are creatures of habit and we both love exotic food. The Nile has some of the healthiest and most satisfying food I’ve come across and if you avoid the meat entrees, it’s all centered around beans, vegetables and their delicious fermented flat bread.
When caught unprepared, perhaps while traveling, what foods do you seek out?
-We try to always pack a cooler with lots of fruit and smoothies or even Tupperware’s with meals. But in the odd situation when we’re stuck, I’ll look for any place with fruit (even 7/11 has fruit), as well as Cliff Bars or there are even fast food options like a Chipotle veggie burrito bowl or a veggie sub from Subway, etc.
While I can predict your answer, please share the most asked question of vegan athletes…where do you get your protein?
-Ha, by far the most asked. My first answer is food. Too many vegans rely on protein supplements at the expense of their general nutrition. Eat plenty of calories from beans, green vegetables, whole grains and fruit and you’ll get everything your body needs including ample protein. If you’re a strength athlete like I am and you’re worried about getting enough protein, be sure to increase your intake of beans, tofu, tempeh and whole grains. And you can add a high quality plant based protein supplement like Plant Fusion or Sunwarrior. Just make sure 80+% of your protein is coming from food.
What bit of advice would you give a non-vegan who is interested in going more plant based?
-Every little bits helps, but I think the contrast of going cold turkey for a short period of time is really enlightening. Try a vegan for 30 days challenge, base your diet on mostly whole foods and be amazed how much better your feel. If you’re like me, all you’ll need is 30 days, you’ll be convinced!
Thanks Derek, I am grateful for your input!
I’ve learned a ton of useful information from Derek and you can too by following his blog. You can also find him on Facebook here, twitter here and youtube here. I hope his profile inspires you to make some plant strong decisions. Now…go hit the gym!