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Vegan For Vanity: Miss New York USA Discovers New Health

Vegan For Vanity: Miss New York USA Discovers New Health

After suffering from health issues, skin flair ups and overall lethargy Miss New York USA 2010, Davina Reeves needed a change and thought her diet was key.

In the beginning, she found that eliminating some animal products was an easy way to maintain her weight and be pageant ready, but eventually she discovered that her overall health could benefit as well.   Overhauling her diet was not an overnight process for the 26 year old. She understood that change would come gradually and adopted a vegetarian regime the summer before becoming completely vegan.

Vegan Goddess, Davina Reeves
Vegan Goddess, Davina Reeves

Early on, though, the beauty queen and actress encountered many of the same hurdles that first time vegans commonly find with such a change.   She found it was difficult to maintain her new lifestyle on a limited budget and few food choices, “I didn’t know how to make yummy and interesting meals that were good for you.” explains Reeves.

Enter fellow vegan and executive chef Ayinde Howell.   Asking for help with food options and meal planning proved to be the turning point for Reeves.   Consulting with a professional who understood her challenges made it easier to understand and manage the transition.   “I first suggested that she meet with a certified nutritionist Nisha Moodly to develop   a plan for her body and from there we came up with an eating/wellness plan,” explains Howell, “I used food paring, mindful eating, and a eating schedule. Basically helping her body help itself by eating the most when the body has the most digestive fire.”   They worked on combining vegetables and complex carbohydrates for energy as well as proteins and calcium. Adding legumes and oils high in omega 3 and omega 9 also helped to aid the digestive process and give maximum nutrients an essential calories.

Now comfortable with the change, Miss New York USA enjoys the variety and finds herself curious about new foods, “Playing around with new restaurants or cooking new recipes.   It’s kinda fun to think food of a beautiful gift.   I think, “What can I find?”

Beyond the benefits of added energy, great skin and overall improved health, the Miss USA contender does not have to worry about balancing diet and exercise, “I don’t have to really watch what I eat.   I have freedom.   Pretty much any mixture of what you put in is good for you.”

In preparation for the 2010 Miss USA Pageant, Miss New York is doing a great deal of planning to ensure that she can continue to eat well during the competition.   Beyond designating friends and family to bring food that she can prepare on her own, she has requested a refrigerator for her room and plans to talk to the chef “People like it when they take your health into your own hands,” says Reeves.

Becoming vegan has done more than just improve her health, but has added to her relationship as well , “My boyfriend is amazing.   We support each other’s lifestyles. He’s not vegan, but I still make his tuna fish everyday for lunch. I miss licking the spoon,” she adds laughing, “That’s when you know you’re a real vegan – not licking the spoon when no one’s watching.   It’s a process…you’re learning stuff every day.   It’s an education.”

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What began as a yearlong trial blossomed into a lifetime commitment to kinder living, “I   just   can’t go for it and not have the new knowledge affect me. The effects are far beyond my body-it’s the environment, my carbon foot print and treatment of animals.”

Check out Ayinde and Davina making some yummy vegan food below;

* Watch Davina compete for the Miss USA title, live May 16, 2010, on NBC.

Today’s blog courtesy of Ayinde Howell at A lifelong vegan and health advocate, Ayinde is committed to his craft and his community.   As a green entrepreneur, he has served as executive chef, restaurateur and blogger, he tries to reach as many as he can with his message of greener, kinder living.   His latest venture is — a vegan lifestyle site. Go check it out.