Probably the leading reason Great Vegan Athletes was formed was to showcase the achievements of amazing vegans and to redress misconceptions. Inevitably, the athletes inspire people to consider the benefits of veganism, and this is where our partnership with Challenge 22 is helping people make the transition.
As well as a 22- day ‘Go Vegan’ programme, Challenge 22’s website offers resources, recipes and a supportive community on Facebook with mentors. They also have a conversion rate of interest to sign-ups to the programme that many similar groups would be grateful for.
“Most of us weren’t born vegan, and many of us faced the same dilemmas, questions and obstacles in the first steps of our veg journey” says Challenge 22’s Neta Rosenthal.
“At Challenge 22 we target exactly those basic challenges and worries, may they be practical, motivational or social, and mix in a wealth of mouthwatering recipes and easy tips for cooking, shopping and ordering out.
“Challenge 22 combines group dynamics with personal mentorship, to create an active community for the entire course of the challenge – participants not only receive quick answers for their questions, but they also interact with each other and learn from each other’s experience. Challenge graduates can keep taking the challenge for how many times they like, or even join our designated and ongoing Graduates Group, and keep using our resources, including nutritional guidance by Registered Dietitians – for free. We make sure we’re there for everyone in need, at all times.”
Featured athletes are always asked about their motivation to go and stay vegan, and the leading themes are generally athletic achievement and animal rights – with the latter being highlighted more than anything else. Neta says this is reflected in the views of people starting the challenge too.
“Two of the key elements I see arising again and again are compassion for animals (especially in context of massive factory farms), and personal health benefits of a balanced plant based diet. But from what I learned in Challenge 22, the process is just as important as the initial motivation, if not more so. Making the daily challenges we all face when making changes in our lives to be less intimidating, helping others to build personal resilience and confidence in their own process, to celebrate their successes, even the tiniest of them – that’s the best thing you can do to help someone.”
Neta started her own journey into vegan campaigning with pescetarianism and vegetarianism after discovering about factory farms. She adopted a dog and noticed similarities with baby calves, which helped her make the connection.
As a campaigner, she also sees the sports connection
“Sportspeople are the perfect role models, and by choosing to go vegan, they not only help to normalize veganism and integrate it into our common culture, they also help shape the public opinion towards it. Showing great achievements and accomplishments without consuming animal protein, exemplifying peak human endurance while eating plant based – it shows it’s possible for everyone to maintain their health, physical shape or mental perseverance.”
Neta runs 10k events, and has admiration for the amazing achievements of ultramarathon runners, and the depth of the Vegan Runners section on the site has not been lost on her.
“As of myth busting, vegan sportspeople in fields that are usually associated with high protein intake, or even dominated by men, do a fantastic job – all can be done (and even excelled!) while eating no animal products whatsoever.” She’s also a fan of The Game Changers and recommends checking out their website for resources too.
The availability of resources made possible by Challenge 22 and others makes the transition far more practical than when Neta went vegan, and the group’s commitment to helping more people make the change is evident.
“What makes me keep going is knowing there’s no justification for these acts to continue, as we can survive and thrive eating plant based. The variety of high quality alternatives is evergrowing, and support programs like Challenge 22 make this journey as easy and enjoyable as ever….We connect you with mentors and dietitians to hold your hand and guide you, and with many other participants – taking their first steps alongside you, sharing the highs and the lows of this exciting journey.”