Graduate Spotlight: Cameron Alksnis
Cameron is a native of Toronto, Canada and came to the USA on a soccer scholarship to Winthrop University in South Carolina. After serving as Captain and playing in two NCAA Division 1 National Championships, Cameron became a part of the coaching staff and received his Master’s in Business Administration. After his soccer career, Cameron discovered the power of a plant-based diet. This lifestyle change empowered him to begin training and competing in long distance triathlons. Fueled by plant-based foods, Cameron completed in over seven half-ironman distance triathlons and also qualified for two Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
Cameron has always been entrepreneurial and is a huge advocate for plant-based living. He is a graduate of the CNS & eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program. His most recent project is Vegan Athletic, a high performance athletic apparel brand that focuses on empowering plant-based athletes all over the world. The goal is to educate athletes and be the proof that athletes can thrive on a plant-based diet.
My Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) Story
It all started for me about 8-9 years ago when I was really looking for clarity about my health and nutrition. I have always been health conscious and tried to eat well, but I knew deep down that something about my diet and lifestyle didn’t seem right. I went out in search for more information. I walked into the book store and read the front and back of many books in the nutrition section, and for whatever reason I landed on Dr. Campbell’s book The China Study. I think something greater than myself had drawn me to finding that book.
I read The China Study, and it made so much sense to me. It was the answer and clarity I’d been looking for. While changing to a plant-based diet seemed like a daunting task at the time, I knew it was the right decision for me. I wanted to take my health into my own hands and know I was doing everything I could to be as healthy as possible.
From that point on, I never looked back, and I have never felt better. I have never felt so much clarity and understanding about my health and diet. I am in control of my own health, and I love every minute of it.
My Advice for Beginners
Do your research and be patient.
There are so many people out there sharing this message and providing so much valuable insight and information. Eating a plant-based diet has so many benefits asides from just your health. If done right, you will feel so much better mentally and physically. You can enjoy so many delicious, plant-based foods without sacrificing your health, our environment, or the animals we share it with.
Be patient, and give it time. In the beginning, do not beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not living up to your own expectations. Just focus on your goal of becoming a healthier you. As you do more research and learning about a plant-based diet, you will be more drawn to working towards your ideals. When you start feeling better, you will just want more and more, and eventually you will develop great habits that you don’t need to think about anymore. It just becomes a way of living.
How I Achieved My Health Goals
The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate gave me the opportunity to learn and educate myself about a plant-based diet. It gave me deep insight into how a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet is better for my health and can help me avoid common diseases.
The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate helped answer the majority of my questions and concerns about my diet. It reassured me that I’d made the right decision to change.
How the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Impacted My Life
After I completed the program, I was so passionate about what I learned that I took it upon myself to reach out to the community and get involved. I knew I needed to connect with like-minded people in order to share our message and help people.
I have always wanted to help people who are uncertain about what constitutes a healthy diet and looking for guidance. I felt a strong urge to share the benefits of the WFPB lifestyle with others.
I currently run and operate a brand called Vegan Athletic. We are an online retailer that focuses on empowering plant-based athletes. We make high performance athletic apparel in a sustainable and ethically responsible way.
Athletes are fueled by the food we put into our bodies. The cleaner the fuel, the better the performance. The goal of Vegan Athletic is to help communicate this message. We want our community to feel like they are a part of something bigger. They are a part of a movement for global change. We will reshape and redefine what it means to be a high performance athlete though empowering plant-based athletes and educating athletes about how this diet enhances performance and recovery.
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