Sports Fitness Panel
Ben Brown, Billy Simmonds, Abdullah Zeinab, Tim Norton & John Salton. Moderated by Amanda Rose
Ben Brown is an Australian Rules Footballer heading into his 7th season with the North Melbourne Football Club. He has been North Melbourne’s leading goalkicker for four consecutive seasons, as well as being named in the league’s ‘All Australian’ squad for the last three seasons. Ben is passionate about the community, equality and animal rights and is an ambassador for a number of organisations including Our Watch - the national violence against women agency - and Lend a Hand to Hugo - A Tasmanian charity committed to improving the lives of children on the autism spectrum.
Ben transitioned to veganism slowly, starting out by taking on a pescatarian diet for over a year, before transitioning to a vegan diet in March, 2018. Ben is a proud husband to Hester and dad to Aila, and loves spending time with his beautiful little vegan family and furry family member, Luna.
My name is Billy Simmonds and I’m an Australian, lover of the ocean, animals and changing the world by helping others and leading by example.
I am an Australian Professional Natural Bodybuilder, Powerlifter, Martial Artist and Vegan. Currently working as a Stunt Performer and Nutrition Consultant. I was the winner of the 2009 Mr. Universe title, hold multiple Black-belts in Martial Arts and have set world titles performing feats of strength. I am passionate advocate of a vegan lifestyle for its health, environmental and ethical benefits.
Abdullah is 25 years of age, and has been vegan for the last 4 years. He is an unsupported ultra cyclist, meaning during the rides he undertakes he is not supported by a team along the way, and he rides alone, but carries everything he needs with him. Most of his rides cover extremely long distances, riding non-stop on his bike and usually in a race. Whoever makes it to the other side first, wins.
In 2018 he rode unsupported on his push bike from Perth to Sydney where he covered a distance of 5,500km in 14 days. This year he set the record for the trans America bike race which is an unsupported bike race from the west coast of America to the east covering 6,800km in 16 days and 10 hours.
I have been a runner for almost 20 years and have been vegan for 4 years, after one night stumbling upon animal cruelty and farming videos online. I went from meat eater to vegan overnight and have never looked back. Best decision of my life!
I have had great success as a vegan athlete, lowering many of my Personal Best times. Earlier this year I won 4 Australian titles in one weekend in the 30+ age group at the Australian Masters Track and Field Championships, over 1500m, 5,000m, 10,000m and cross country. My aim is to win a few gold medals at the World Masters Games next year in Canada.
As a vegan I have also set numerous Park Run course records and have never lost a Park Run race. I have also won 5 of the past 6 Mother's Day Classic Fun Runs over 8km, including the past 2 years. As well as competing Nationally in road races and mixing it with Australia's best athletes 15 years younger than me, and winning many other fun runs, including the City to Sea in Melbourne twice.
My main motivation these days is to show everyone what vegan athletes can do and to help break that stigma that vegans are weak and frail.
My favorite food is Mexican but I love chocolate and chocolate soy milk too! I pretty much add beans, lentils or chickpeas to everything I cook!
John Salton was born 6 August 1960. At 59 years of age he is undertaking a personal challenge to run 51 km for 40 consecutive days, traversing Mt Buffalo, Victoria. For the first 20 days John has run via the trail called the Big Walk, going up and down twice daily. Currently he is running via the road to allow his body a respite from the very beautiful but rugged terrain of the trail paths. The total distance via the road has a less steep gradient than the trails, but the long winding roads mean he runs up and down just once a day.
John is doing this run as a form of high intensity training to prepare for his primary goal of running across Australia in 2020 at a pace of 101 km per day for 40 consecutive days.
John is 100% plant powered, ie 100% vegan/plant-based/plant rich, depending on which ever term resonates with you. In the current context of climate change, global warming and mass species extinction, he has a sense of urgency to share his passion to preserve our current earth so as to be able to preserve the incredible biodiversity residing here. Science seems to be pointing to a kind of tipping point in which humans can come together now to create a change for the better, instead of tipping past a point of no return. If we proceed at the current rate of species loss then we are surely headed to mass extinction of life on earth as we know it today. John eats plant based so as to reduce his carbon footprint, and to hopefully contribute to a reversal of the current decline in our environmental landscape. What we eat everyday is the one of the quickest most effective ways to create change. It is something within easy reach of every single person and community, regardless of status or socioeconomics. Science shows us we can easily live without the need to farm animals as a source of nutrition for the general population. With a reduction in animal agriculture, biomass in the form of plant life can return to the grass planes, and and this will both allow for biodiversity to return and to sequester carbon. The absolute intelligence in allowing our ecosystems to stay in tact, and to thrive, needs to be honoured now. This includes the ecosystems outside of us, but also within our own bodies. John is motivated to express this love for our natural environments by spending time doing what he loves, which is running in nature, and by being powered by natural plant foods, so that others might feel inspired to awaken now to our capacity for change. When John isn't running he is working in his vegetarian/vegan cafe called Wild Thyme Cafe, Bright. John wants to ask others to join him in undertaking their own personal 40 day challenge, to change something in their daily life to create greater health and wellbeing for both themselves and the planet.
Moderator Amanda Rose:
Amanda Rose is a vegan lifestyle blogger, content creator, bikini fitness model and first time mum to Morrison.
Amanda has been vegan for over ten years, and worked as a vegan health coach from 2012.
After having her son Morrison earlier this year, Amanda decided to retire from heath coaching to help her husband Matt with their vegan ready meal business, HerbiDoor as it was growing rapidly.
But being an avid writer, Amanda wanted to share her experience as a first time mum, especially navigating being a vegan parent, on her blog www.plantbasedparenting.com. You will find easy vegan recipes, musings about navigating parenting, resources that Amanda has found handy and more.
Amanda has competed as a vegan bodybuilder, spoken at vegan events, and has contributed to popular vegan publications such as Plant Based News, The Australian Vegan Magazine, Raise Vegan & Livekindly.