Our Story

 

Hey there, we are  ZUZANA and NIKKI

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We are here because we want to empower you to lead a healthy, sustainable plant based lifestyle. Do you find yourself feeling sluggish, unmotivated, gaining weight and overall just lacking the “zest” for life? If this sounds familiar and you are ready to take control of your life you have come to the right place 🙂

We know what it’s like when days become so hectic and there is no time to prepare healthy meals, fit in your workout or even get a good night sleep. We also know what it’s like to strive for perfection only to find yourself exhausted, depressed and ready to give uphowever you wouldn’t, would you? Isn’t that why you are here?

For both of us it has been quite a challenge and today we are here as living proof that you can overcome the craziness of today’s modern society and thrive.

That’s what we want you to realize about yourself.

There is hope to gain control again.

Each post is designed to give you practical ways to start implementing change in yourself. We will provide this through simple and nutritious plant based recipes, quick effective workouts that can be done anywhere, fun, energetic and informative podcasts you can listen to on a go and articles that will encourage you to start thinking more positively about yourself and life.

Thank you for the opportunity of allowing us to help you discover happiness and live a sustainable plant based life you deserve!

If you’re interested in hearing more about our personal journey and what lead us to start this blog, read below.

 

IMG_1334That’s me to the left – My name is Zuzana.
 
I’m guessing you’d like to know a little about me, so let me give you my short life story.
 
My journey to health and fitness started in 1996, my second year of high school. My life was a bit of a chaos at that time, my parents going through a divorce and me trying to find my place in the world as a teenager.
 
Controlling what I ate and working out seemed like the one area I could take charge of. It didn’t take long to start seeing results, and my body changing. I felt better about myself on the outside and I enjoyed the attention and recognition from others.Unfortunately I didn’t have a clue what a proper plant based diet was all about. I was on a constant search, experimenting with vegan, fruitarian, macrobiotic, raw…you name it diet.I believe deep down I knew that what I was doing wasn’t working. So I kept on searching…
 
In early 2001 I moved from Eastern Europe to Canada and by then I thought I had it all figured out. I felt good about my nutrition, full of energy, working out every day and enjoying a busy “North American” lifestyle. Couple years later I found myself in a serious relationship and together we were running a successful business.My wake up call came in 2011 when I received the unexpected news that my husband was leaving me. Without a lie it was a shock. I honestly believed that I had it all, health, “success”, relationship…….This news was the catalyst for me to rethink my life. Learn to understand what is truly important. It was a start to a process of inner-work to change myself into the person I wanted to be. I came to understand that it takes much more than proper nutrition and time at the gym to truly live a fulfilling and healthy life.These days I am happy to report that life is great. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I continually struggle with … but what I have which I once didn’t are inner peace, happiness and purpose.I am part of the Active Vegetarian Blog not because I feel that I have all the answers, but to share what I have learned on my journey in hopes that it would help others. The short version of this story is that I know what it feels like to be unhappy and drifting through life without purpose, with poor health and unfulfilment.

Nikki and myself are here to inspire, support, and challenge all of you to be your best selves and achieve the thriving plant based life you deserve. We want to share the joy we have found in getting healthy inside and out, and we want you all to be able to experience it too!

 
I’m Nikki and here is my story.IMG_1540
 
So upon actually releasing this, I will admit my fingertip hit the delete button quite regularly.
 
Why?
 
Well I was struggling with exposing the truth of how plant based eating changed my life or if I should just scrape the surface and let you in a bit. Truth” is not only honest and exposing oneself but very personal. It illuminates us and makes us vulnerable. And vulnerability, while undeniably, beautiful, often seems risky. Once someone has seen that side of you, there is no going back.After some thought though… here I am open and willing to lay it all out there, in hopes of connecting with you in someway, even if it means you simply relate to one part of my journey.Let’s go back shall we….As a teen I was always striving for perfection. I lived in what I see now as a bubble, I had little to no self esteem, and found myself always seeking more – I was never satisfied with anything I had done. However I did grow up with a loving family & huge surrounding of amazing friends. I was considered to be, what we label as “popular”. I never saw that label, I looked at everyone as being the same- there were no differences. I didn’t care if I was wearing Tommy Hilfiger or Guess Jeans (lol you know the old school red triangle label?) or Levi’s. Same as I didn’t care what you were wearing, I was looking for more depth than what appeared on the surface.I was always willing to give and help others, yet I was not fulfilled myself. Deep down I was struggling and that was a part of me I didn’t want to expose to others. It lead me to developing an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts and ultimately not recognizing the slow death I was creating within. In my mind people saw me differently the thinner I felt the more self esteem I felt… can you see where this becomes a problem?

After about a year of battling poor eating habits, I found myself struggling with my first ever “heart break” and worst of all … not menstruating anymore! Okay – Scary for a young girl!!

Things needed to change… After a heart break, numerous tests, doctors appointments and specialists. I found myself fulfilling that “more” I was seeking with the gym. (At least this was a “healthier” habit opposed to the last). Right?

So yes, I became a “gym junkie” but it intrigued me to read and educate myself on how to progress. I soon came to understand that as important as exercise is, nutrition also plays a major role in a healthy lifestyle. I started to really watch what I ate. In the beginning I was not always plant based (although I didn’t eat red meat regularly). Over time I started to only eat chicken and fish and eventually I was strictly vegan.

I was consistent with this lifestyle for quite a while but started sliding off track due to the peer pressure and comments I had to deal with. I was tired of being criticized for only ordering a salad at a restaurant rather than what everyone else was – I was being different and well people did not like it or did not know how to deal with change or maybe it was jealousy of not taking the control and having the initiative to be different themselves. I don’t know.

I came to realize that I make my own choices and shouldn’t always worry what others think. It helped a lot when I exposed and surrounded myself with like-minded people.  They understood what it felt like to want to go to the gym and not the bar or want to have a protein shake and not a beer. I felt normal for once!

I was getting in great shape, had lots of energy but it really didn’t matter how much weight I could lift or how many salads I ate, I didn’t see the changes on the inside. I still thought the same about myself as I did before – negatively.

It wasn’t until my early twenties, and having to deal with my parents separation that really changed me completely.

Again my first reaction was to distract myself with fitness, so I started martial arts.

I cannot begin to tell you how much of an impact this had on my life… I noticed myself thinking positively, handling situations differently, and most of all gaining confidence and self esteem. It became my outlet for my anger, hurt, confusion and every other emotion I was dealing with and subsiding.  This was also when Zuzana and I were introduced… making my journey much easier and more interesting.  It was a pretty natural bond we initially had, with similar interests, outlooks on things and simply being able to rely on someone. This helped me tremendously realize I was not alone and that it is okay to just be myself.

After many years of martial arts, exercising, eating plant based, and gaining my self-esteem back, I felt great and what do you know… I was menstruating again, regularly – after 8 years of not I truly believe a consistent plant based lifestyle changed that.

I believe things happen for a reason and I look at every turning point of my life as a learning experience. With that said, I have learned in order to truly have a healthy enriched life you need balance. 

Until this day, even with a hectic lifestyle I always find time to exercise, eat healthy and continue to work on myself – physically and mentally.  

If I had not went through the personal experiences I would have never found the person I am or gained the confidence I did, which lead me to teaching fitness/kickboxing classes and training. That is where I find fulfillment – by educating others on how to live a healthy (plant based) lifestyle.  

So through Active Vegetarian I want to share what I have learned along the way, and help you become the best “you” you can be.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” -Buddha

Thanks for checking out our site.
 
Until next time “live healthy, live active, and enjoy life”
 
Zuzana & Nikki

3 Comments

  • I came across this site Pinterest. I’m so glad I did. I was a vegetarian for 2+yrs, and I am gradually getting back into it, and I want to know if you have any tips that’ll make the transistion easier? I started eating junk food and eating meat and it snowballed out of control. I want to feel energetic, be healthy, and more in control of my life again. Thanks.

  • I have been eating a plant based diet for over 2 years. I do struggle with weight loss because I don’t have a thyroid. I was wondering if you have any advise to help. My doctors just tell me to eat a balance diet and exercise. I know it’s not enough and I struggle. Thank you.

    • Thanks for the comment Sara – A few suggestions to start would be to reduce the amount of complex carbohydrates in your diet (if you are not already) and move more. If you want FB message a sample day of what you eat + your activity throughout the week and we can hopefully help you out! 🙂

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