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Punching Above My Weight: An Interview With Laura Ip

Laura Ip is the founder, president, and head coach of Underdogs Boxing Club, which is the Niagara region’s first and only women-led boxing club. They have classes and programs for everyone, including cis and trans women, cis and trans men, youth, and non-binary individuals.

Laura Ip is hosting a session at this year’s VegFest about empowering women and youth, and her boxing club Underdogs.

A lot of people think that vegan/plant-based diets or lifestyles don’t supply your body with the sufficient calories needed for high energy expenditure. How do you combat that?

I eat more – at least in volume of food. I do plan most of my eating around my workouts and coaching to ensure I have an appropriate level of energy. I do my best to make sure that I’m getting adequate amounts of protein and fat with each meal, and — in a pinch — I have energy bars and protein shakes on hand.

What lessons have you learned that would help aspiring vegans/athletes?

I have been vegan since 2011. VegFest will be just one month shy of my 7th anniversary of being vegan. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s easier than people think. Honestly, I eat tastier food since having made the decision to go vegan. I likely eat a broader range of food. Although I rarely do, eating out isn’t nearly as difficult as people think it is, especially with so many vegan restaurant/menu options in the Niagara region now.

Do you try and suggest to others that they should try to adopt a vegan/plant-based lifestyle through your club?

Have you seen others take it on and seen the effects? In the nearly seven years that I’ve been vegan, I don’t think I have ever suggested to someone that they adopt a plant-based diet. I believe it’s common knowledge that I am vegan, and when members of Underdogs ask me for nutrition advice, I do suggest vegan options and give suggestions about vegan cookbooks and other resources. In the club, we also have our heavy bags and boxing gloves all made from synthetic materials, rather than leather.

What’s a typical menu for your day?

Oh, gosh, I don’t think I have a typical menu. Today, on an *extremely* jam-packed day, my breakfast was: textured vegetable protein (sounds yummy, right?), black beans, corn, salsa, and spinach. Lunch ended up being a Clif bar. Dinner will be a roasted veggie burrito bowl from Quesada, because I have an evening out planned with my son, and he requested we go there.

Read more about Underdogs Boxing Club here.

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