Looking to dominate at the Dutch championships through vegan gains.
Leonore Verheijen, age 23, is a Dutch vegan bodybuilder who will compete at the NK bodybuilding Dutch championships in Apeldoorn next Sunday.
Her diet has been completely vegan for two years. She does not eat any meat, fish, eggs, dairy or honey, and she also took the step of abstaining from buying any leather products. She told RTLNieuws that:
“I want to show the fitness world what you can do with your body as a vegan. Vegans are not all tree huggers.”
Around three years ago, certain experiences began to change the way Leonore thought about food, and her role in the world.
“I saw documentaries about veganism and the effects of meat on the environment, but I did not know much about the meat industry, but I was already worried about the environment, call me naïve, but I really believe that every little bit helps and that all change must come from you.”
Leonore said her family was surprised at the relatively strict new diet, especially since she had always been a voracious and indiscriminate eater.
Leonore also noticed some anti-vegan attitude in the local bodybuilding community. The common belief is that meat is required to optimize muscle growth.
“They said I would never be able to participate in a bodybuilding competition, I wanted to inspire these people and show that you can be an athlete as a vegan.”
She says the focus on her diet has actually improved many aspects of her physique:
“Instead of chicken and egg, I eat broccoli, spinach, beans, peanut butter and lots of fruit.”
She hopes for a top 5 placing in the Dutch Championships this weekend:
“The fact that I was in the hall last year and is on the podium now gives me a lot of satisfaction, and I hope that I can qualify for the European Championships.”