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NBSV 122


Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 122

The unexpected relationship between climate action and fitness with PT Emily Kennedy

Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No Bullshit Vegan podcast, episode 122. Emily Kennedy joins me to discuss the link between fitness and climate action, rebuilding our connection to nature, and inclusive fitness.

Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to, no BS, vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Thank you so much for tuning in today. I wanna highlight a resource on our website that lately has been getting a lot of traction and that is our vegan portion guide. It's an alternative to calorie and macro counting that doesn't require logging all your food in an app, and it still helps you ensure that your nutrition is in line with your fitness and your physique goals. It breaks foods into four groups: proteins, veggies, carbohydrates, and fats, and it uses your hand as a measuring tool because it's proportionate to your body, it doesn't involve math, the size is consistent, and it's always with you. So you can download your free vegan portion guide at

Today I'm excited to speak with Emily Kennedy. She's a systems thinker from Nova Scotia with a passion for food security, climate change action, and getting people outside in nature. She's worked in parts of Eastern and Western Africa on food and environmental justice projects and is a former municipal climate specialist. She's now using her love of food and fitness to demonstrate the impact we have on climate change through daily choices, while connecting people with nature, and feeling their best selves. When it comes to her favourite vegan meal, Emily says, “I love a good veggie soup, but also veggie burgers." Here's our discussion.

Hey, Emily, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for speaking with me today.

Emily Kennedy: Thanks for having me.

Karina Inkster: I'm excited to get to know a little bit about what you do, and we have a very cool topic that has not been discussed on the podcast yet, so I'm excited about that. So just backing up a little bit before we get into your background, we met through Zoe, is that right? My coach colleague.

Emily Kennedy: We did. Yes.

Karina Inkster: So cool. So how did that work? So you and her were in the same cohort of doing the personal trainer certification, is that right?

Emily Kennedy: That is right. Yes.

Karina Inkster: Right.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah, it was really cool.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of funny how that works out, hey? So we kind of just met on Instagram I think, through Zoe.

Emily Kennedy: That yeah, also true. I mean, it's amazing how these days we can make these really awesome connections through our phones, like who would've thought?

Karina Inkster: Yeah, yeah. Right, I know. Who would've thought back when we were like 14 calling our friends in school, on the phone, which nobody ever seems to do anymore, haha.

Emily Kennedy: Do they exist outside of cell phones? Who knows?

Karina Inkster: Who knows? We'll never know, Emily. We'll never know.

Emily Kennedy: It’s true! Haha!

Karina Inkster: So thanks to Zoe for connecting us - much appreciated. Emily, you also contributed to an article that I wrote for Alive Magazine a while back, which I also actually turned into a podcast episode, the interviews that I did for it. So thank you for that - much appreciated.

Emily Kennedy: No problem. Thanks for asking me to be a part of that.

Karina Inkster: Of course. So let's get into a little bit about your background. So you're in Nova Scotia, which is, I think four hours ahead of where I'm at.

Emily Kennedy: Yes.

Karina Inkster: Atlantic Canada. I'm on the West Coast. So we're kind of on opposite coasts.

Emily Kennedy: That's right.

Karina Inkster: Very cool. But what do you do? So what’s your background and like, what are you doing for work right now?

Emily Kennedy: Sure. Yeah. So I have like a really weird work history. I started off in sales and I was working for a moving company actually, and just saw how much waste we have. And that kind of inspired me to go to university. I was 26 years old. I studied environmental studies, but from a community-building perspective. So my focus was in environmental justice, environmental education, and climate change adaptation. And I did that for many years. I still kind of do, on the side. But my other passion is fitness and I was looking for a way to kind of marry those two. And last year I started my own little tiny personal training business called resiliFIT Coaching.

Karina Inkster: Very cool. Yeah. So is that happening at the same time as other work as well?

Emily Kennedy: It is, yes.

Karina Inkster: Ah, full schedule for you then.

Emily Kennedy: Yes. Haha.

Karina Inkster: So you describe yourself as a systems thinker and some of the things that you are considering or working on include food security and climate change action, which are some things that we're gonna talk about today, as well as getting folks out into nature.

Emily Kennedy: That's right. Yes.

Karina Inkster: And how all of those things connect and where, you know, food choices might fit in and that kind of stuff, and fitness as well. So these are some new topics for me as well, including like the link between fitness and climate action. I'm like, hmm… I need to know more about this! So why don't we start with a little bit of background on the climate change action and the food security piece? So these are areas that you've worked in before, is that right?

Emily Kennedy: It is, yes. Yeah. I was mostly working in East Africa. So I spent several years in Uganda working on food security and environmental justice projects and just food security has been an interest of mine. I grew up food insecure. So it's a personal issue for me. And then just seeing how prevalent it is still in the world, in Canada in particular, where we produce a lot of agriculture here. It's incredible to me that we have such a high rate of food insecurity. Nova Scotia has the highest of all Canadian provinces. That's not including the territories. I think the most recent stat was 15.7% food insecurity. One of our main economies is agriculture. So it's really scary to think that it's so prevalent here.

Karina Inkster: Yeah, absolutely. So how does that link with, or does it link with, climate change action?

Emily Kennedy: Yeah, so as climate change becomes more challenging, down the road it will impact our rain and soil quality as well, which we've already started to see this globally and as well as in Canada. So it's becoming more difficult for farmers to be able to produce, particularly in those traditional ways. Not so much the big factory farm style, but there's a lot of smallholder farms in Nova Scotia and across the country, of course, but they’re really struggling. We’ve seen drought continuously year after year, and that's only getting worse. Temperatures are rising, so we're having weird heat waves. The last couple of years, we've had like a snowstorm in mid-May and then three weeks later we've had our first heatwaves. So that's really unusual for us.

Karina Inkster: Oh, wow. Yeah.

Emily Kennedy: So those are some of the ways in which it links. So it becomes more challenging to access our local food, importing becomes more expensive. Lots of challenges.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. And they're all connected also to our individual food choices presumably, and you know, actions that we can take as individual humans presumably.

Emily Kennedy: That's right. Yes.

Karina Inkster: Mm-hmm. Well, we'll get into that for sure. But can you tell me a little bit about what you do, whether it's with clients or whether it's on social media, the kind of approach that you have linking fitness and climate action?

Emily Kennedy: Sure. Yeah. So one of my ways of getting people active is through hiking. So I'm really fortunate that I've teamed up with a couple of local municipalities and I lead hikes all around the community which is really great. We've got a few starting in a couple of weeks that will be for the whole duration between spring and fall and trying to focus this time as well on women who may not be comfortable in outdoor spaces or in the woods. So doing some cool environmental education activities to get them a bit comfortable as well with that, but also just teaching about our impact. 

So even if it's just active transportation and instead of driving five minutes down the road, why not go for a walk? Especially if it's a nice day, go for a walk or bike, skateboard, whatever, just to get a little bit of movement in and it gets you to where you wanna go and back better for the environment. And it's great for us as well.

Karina Inkster: Mm well, that's cool. So it's really about getting folks outside, connecting with their natural environment, and then like an educational piece along with that, I guess, on the climate change issue and what folks can do about it?

Emily Kennedy: Yes. And my dream down the road is to have some sort of cool outdoor gym space. So I actually have just purchased a significant chunk of land not too far from where I live currently and want to start carving in some trails and then maybe having some cool gym spots throughout. So maybe some pull-up bars or various things, but all made out of the natural environment.

Karina Inkster: Okay. You have to tell me more about this plan. This is freaking genius. Okay. So you just bought a giant piece of land.

Emily Kennedy: Yes.

Karina Inkster: Congrats by the way.

Emily Kennedy: Thanks.

Karina Inkster: That’s super exciting. And so you're gonna have some trails, there'll be some calisthenics-esque, presumably kind of like outdoor gym equipment. I need to know more about this plan cuz I would love to have something like this!

Emily Kennedy: Haha, yeah. So it's 97 acres of land.

Karina Inkster: Whoa! No way!

Emily Kennedy: Yeah, super cool. It's mostly forest. It was a former wood lot. So there's about five to 10 acres that were cleared several years ago and are now starting to grow back, hopefully building a small off-grid home on the site as well with some garden space. And then I'm kind of considering also maybe having a community garden just somewhere that people can come and access food, or just to learn about the process of creating their own food. And then have a space where people can enjoy nature, head on out on a trail and then if they wanna do some other cool fitnessy things, that's cool too. Or if they just wanted to enjoy nature and then building in some of the more environmental education about what is actually there, the biodiversity piece. Because those are the things that I really like to do. And if others wanted to experience that as well, then I think that would be awesome.

Karina Inkster: Yeah, that would be awesome - sign me up!

Emily Kennedy: Sure!

Karina Inkster: And then I suppose you could also integrate your own coaching with that. I assume you work one-on-one with clients on their own fitness goals and that could be something that you offer, I suppose.

Emily Kennedy: Yes, yes. For sure.

Karina Inkster: Ah, how cool is that? Yeah, this is probably a pretty long-term plan though, hey?

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. It's definitely not happening next week. I wish it was! But yeah, I think it will be neat to see how it progresses and just, I don't know. I thought it was a pretty big milestone just to be able to acquire this land. And now there's so many possibilities. I have a lot of artistic friends as well, who are like, man, you could have a cool spot for people who wanna write or do writer's workshops or painting workshops or things. Those are not things I would lead necessarily, but just to have a space available for folks to come and be inspired by nature.

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. How cool is that? The possibilities are endless.

Emily Kennedy: It's true.

Karina Inkster: You have so many options.

Emily Kennedy: I know!

Karina Inkster: That's cool. So what's your work like with clients at this point? So is it kind of a long-term plan to make that your main thing?

Emily Kennedy: No. So during COVID, I really started to assess what I was doing and the things that I really enjoy doing. And essentially I had a full-time job doing climate change things and then had seven or eight volunteer things, which was the equivalent of another job and a half.

Karina Inkster: Right. Of course.

Emily Kennedy: So I just really love everything. I'm naturally very curious. I thankfully inherited that from my mom, but it also is kind of a double-edged sword in that I wanna do everything, but realizing that I can’t, surprise!

Karina Inkster: Mmm-hmm, unfortunately.

Emily Kennedy: I know, haha. So now my goal is to kind of find a series of part-time jobs that each play into a different thing that I'm really excited about. So fitness is part of that, climate change is part of that. And then some of the volunteer things that I do, that fits in nicely as well. So not necessarily to get paid for everything, but just to be able to do things that are engaging and impactful and fun.

Karina Inkster: That’s amazing. So what sort of volunteer work are you currently doing?

Emily Kennedy: I volunteer with a board of directors for a local employment centre that focuses on inclusion in particular. So working with clients who may identify differently, who may have disabilities, it's really offered to everyone, but they really want to make the space very inclusive. That is not typically how a lot of spaces are in job seeking. So providing great career development skills. That's one of them. I'm also a coach for a Lego robotics team, which is super fun.

Karina Inkster: No way!

Emily Kennedy: They had me hooked on Lego cuz who doesn't love Lego from childhood? And it's just really incredible. It's a group of five, 13 to 14-year-old boys right now. I've learned so much. I'm not an engineer at all. But I've learned a lot about robotics and whatnot throughout that process. And then I'm also part of the Kings County Community Food Council, which is a newer organization looking at food security in my home county.

Karina Inkster: Mm, I see what you mean about being very curious and interested in a lot of things. I see that, yeah.

Emily Kennedy: It keeps life interesting.

Karina Inkster: It does. And you know, I feel you on that, you know, because I have various interests as well and it's hard to - I mean, I realize not all of them are ever gonna be a “career” and I’m using air quotes here because I mean, what is a “career”? That's a whole other discussion really. But anyway, it's managing time, it's prioritizing and figuring out how all these parts are gonna fit into each day, really. It's kind of challenging sometimes.

Emily Kennedy: It is. Yeah, definitely.

Karina Inkster: But you're seeming to make it work!

Emily Kennedy: Well, I’m getting there, haha.

Karina Inkster: Yeah, it's a constant iterative process, right? You're always tweaking things and experimenting.

Emily Kennedy: Absolutely, yeah. For sure.

Karina Inkster: So you mentioned inclusion just now, being on the board there and that's something that I know that you wanna include in your fitness coaching.

Emily Kennedy: That’s right.

Karina Inkster: So how does that kind of factor into your work with clients or the type of material you put out on Instagram? How does that work for you?

Emily Kennedy: Yeah, so actually I really wanted to join the fitness industry for a long, long time. It took me probably about 12 years to work up the courage. I have been a larger-bodied person, pretty much my whole life. My weight has fluctuated quite a bit and I just never felt like I could do fitness coaching if I was larger-bodied.

And then during COVID, I was actually like leading workouts with friends and family during lockdown not just to have a bit of social time, but to keep us moving. And my brother said one day, like, why are you not doing this as a job? And I was like, I'm too fat. And he was like, that's stupid. Do it. And that's when I signed up for the personal training certification. So my brother is really good at peer pressuring me to do things that I want to do in a really good way, like a good form of peer pressure. So he peer-pressured me to go to university too. So I have a lot to credit to him. He's been really supportive and always seems to know what's in my brain before I realize that it's what I really want. So it's cool. We have a good relationship. Yeah, it's good that it worked out that way, I guess.

Karina Inkster: That's amazing.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. So my focus, when I started this process, was to work with other larger-bodied women and show them that you can move your body in different ways and still be fit. I had a moment where I was quite fit, visually quite fit. I was toned and had lost a significant amount of weight during university, but I was not fit at all. Like I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs. I was out of breath. I was very unhealthy and now I'm much larger and I can do things that that version of me could never have dreamed of doing. So I live it. I know that it's possible for us to do that. And I've also been really interested in adaptive training. 

So I completed the adaptive and inclusive specialist I think it’s - I should know this, this is horrible - I just finished this through the Adaptive Training Academy, which was a really, really interesting certification. All members of the inclusion and adaptive community are leading it. So it's not somebody who has no experience talking to you about these things. It was incredibly insightful, but it also taught me how I even use my own body as an able-bodied person. I thought about movement in a completely different way. So I'm really thinking about that more, about how in general we use our bodies, just like how much of our barriers are really mental barriers and not actually physical, but we tend to tell ourselves that that that's what it is. So of my focus, I think.

Karina Inkster: Wow. Yeah. Well, as we all know, inclusion and diversity, it's multifaceted.

Emily Kennedy: Absolutely.

Karina Inkster: So, I mean, there's lots of different ways that this could appear in someone's business or someone's values or their content on social media or what have you. But it sounds like the focus for you is mostly like body size does not dictate fitness level, even though bullshit messaging from the fitness industry tells us it does.

Emily Kennedy: Right. Absolutely. Ugh! If I had all of those years back that I told myself I couldn't do something cuz of my size like, man, I get angry sometimes just thinking about how many times, just even growing up, how many times people made fun of me cuz I was bigger. Like I haven't grown height-wise since grade six, so I was always kind of a giant. So I wasn't fat. I was just tall, but that was perceived differently. 

So I convinced myself in grades five and six that I was fat and undesirable. And when I look at pictures now I’m like holy crap, I was skinny! This is, it's ridiculous. And why did I allow myself to believe that? So I just never want anyone to feel that their worth is tied to something that for the most part, we don't really have a lot of control over. There's so many factors into why our bodies are shaped the way they are or as tall as they are or whatever.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. It's so true. Yep. I think a lot of folks who maybe are still on board with some of the bullshit messaging that we just talked about, I think a lot of those folks do think that we as individuals have control over a lot of these things, but it's really not how it works. I think we have sure, like, yeah, we can make decisions about the foods we're eating and the movements we're doing on a daily basis. Yes. But the end results, the outcome, if you will, which isn't really an outcome, but a lot of people in the fitness industry think your physique is an outcome of those things, it's kind of different from what most people think. There's not a ton that changes unless you're at the extreme end of diet and exercise. I mean, there are things that happen there for sure. But for most of us, a lot of it has to do with genetics and how our brains work and hormones and all sorts of things that we can't just control, or flip a switch on, or change for that matter.

Emily Kennedy: That's right. Yeah. Even sleep - just like the amount of sleep you can get a night plays such a, for lack of a better word, weight on our bodies and how we process things and nutrients and whatnot. So yeah, so much of it is out of our control, but that's not what we're told and we for some reason believe it.

Karina Inkster: It's really unfortunate because you're not the only one in this position, right? I mean clearly.

Emily Kennedy: No, absolutely.

Karina Inkster: Which is why you're doing what you're doing, of course. But there's so many folks, especially women, who have actually just decided not to do things that they are interested in or that they wanna start learning about because of these messages and that's just horrendous and I'm so glad that there's fitness professionals like you who are chipping away at this. You know, I feel like there's still a lot of work to do within the industry.

Emily Kennedy: Oh yes.

Karina Inkster:  But what do you think? Like where do you think we are as an industry right now in diversity inclusion, discussions thereof, movement forward?

Emily Kennedy: I'm hopeful that we're at the beginning of something better, but my climate change brain is like, no, this is the lip service that we see in so many other things throughout life. But I think, I don't know. The pandemic, as horrible as it's been for a lot of things, has actually done a lot of good for folks who have been held back. I mean, we've seen global change taking place and activism taking place collectively, which is really inspiring. And I don't think that's going away anytime soon, but these things have been around and ingrained into our brains for decades, centuries, even. So, yeah, it's not gonna be an easy path, but sometimes the things that are most worth it aren't easy. Not that they should be difficult, but it just makes it all the more sweeter when we reach the end goal.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. I'm with you on that. I feel like there has been more discussion in general about some of these topics in the last couple of years, but it's kinda too late almost. It seems like we should have been talking about this decades ago.

Emily Kennedy: Yes.

Karina Inkster: Actually the article that you contributed to, Chrissy King, who's very well known, and I mean, she writes a lot about diversity and inclusion - that's kind of what she does. She made a great point when I spoke with her saying, so I've been writing about this shit for like 10 years, and only now is it really, it's not even so-called mainstream, at this point, right, but only now is it just kind of, you know, percolating among the fitness industry in general.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah.

Emily Kennedy: So, I mean, that's a sign that there have been voices that just haven't been heard this entire time.

Emily Kennedy: That's right. Yeah.

Karina Inkster: Which is really disappointing.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. But that's the same in so many aspects of our life, I think that we are really good at ignoring a different opinion.

Karina Inkster: Oh yeah!

Emily Kennedy: Humans! Haha.

Karina Inkster: Right!

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. But I don't know, like I do feel in a part that this new wave of interest in all bodies being capable or diversity in a broader sense is kind of like, well, that's trendy, it'll get us a few more likes, but I do know that there is a genuine foundation behind it. And I'm hoping that that's the voice that will win out in the end.

Karina Inkster: Well, that's actually an interesting point. I've seen so much more marketing now - Facebook ads, YouTube ads with diversity in not just body types, but different, you know, ethnicities, gender representation, all of these kinds of aspects of diversity. And sometimes, I mean, I'm pretty cynical as it is. I'm just like -

Emily Kennedy: Me too!

Karina Inkster: So are they just doing this cause they know they have to, or is this like a legit effort, you know?

Emily Kennedy: Right.

Karina Inkster: But in one sense, I think it doesn't really matter. I mean, I know it does, but as a consumer who is just seeing this ad for 20 seconds, I think it's great that it's out there and it's just perpetuating this notion of diversity and inclusion regardless of the reasoning, if that makes sense.

Emily Kennedy: Yep.

Karina Inkster: Like why that specific company chose to make that ad that way.

Emily Kennedy: For sure. Yeah. I think that is valuable. It's still representation. And then maybe we use that to keep pushing the agenda forward.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. Well, you said before we started recording and also in some notes for our conversation that inclusive fitness can include nature, like nature as a form of inclusive fitness. So how, how does that work?

Emily Kennedy: Nature doesn't really care if it's your first step or your millionth. I mean, it benefits all of us, unless you have allergies or those sorts of things. Then it's not so fun.

Karina Inkster: That's me right now. I'm like living in a little hermetically sealed bubble.

Emily Kennedy: Oh yeah! You and most people I think it's spring and Canada in particular. It's not fun. It's pretty fun.

Karina Inkster: It’s pretty horrible, haha.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. But even the way we're designing trails and other outdoor spaces, we're starting to think about, okay, is this wheelchair accessible? How would somebody with reduced vision be able to interact with this, with any sort of intellectual disability? I don't know, is it friendly for most people? We have a very popular tourist site called Peggy's Cove. It's usually what people think about when they hear Nova Scotia and over the last couple of years, they've put in a new boardwalk which was partly to make it more accessible to folks, but also it was really dangerous cuz the way it works is you basically there was a driveway you have to cross in order to access it.

So there's a lot of risk to hitting pedestrians and tourists are overcome by the beauty of the spot. So they actually built this really cool platform where it's safe, it's accessible. People can use their wheelchairs. Parents can use their strollers safely. It's wonderful, it's this great thing.

But so many people were angry about it, and not realizing just how much more accessible and welcoming it actually is. And it didn't take away from how beautiful the view is, which is the argument they used. But I think there's some underlying opinions that they're just using the view. But those sorts of spaces are starting to become more popular and you don't have to be super fit to engage with nature. It can be a way to become more fit. We benefit from just breathing fresh air, even gardening, just like getting our hands dirty.

There are loads of scientific studies that show just like the smells that come from the soil improve our mood. And it's incredible. I don't know, nature is the natural healer. That sounds kind of cheesy and super hippie, but there's a lot of truth to it too. I mean, it's really hard to engage with nature and come back feeling worse than when you started off. So it challenges us. It teaches us a lot of things. It shows us what resilience is really about; about facing challenge and becoming a stronger version of ourselves as a result of those challenges.

Karina Inkster: Wow! Well, that's a great way of putting it. There is a lot of research out there on various things. I mean, gardening specifically, I haven't looked into the gardening pieces, but just being out in forests too, particularly. Greenery you know, levels of cortisol that you can measure, like legitimate peer-reviewed research that shows you should probably get out into nature more often.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. And it's endless! It's incredible how many studies have been done and even like the spaces. Well, right now we have an endless amount of spaces to engage with and when we connect with nature, there's just such an important relationship that becomes established within ourselves I think even. And I think we're losing that to an extent, which is I think part of why we're in the environmental crisis that we are in.

Karina Inkster: That makes sense. Okay. So one last question slash topic here for you.

Emily Kennedy: Great.

Karina Inkster: Which is more on the individual action piece. You know, so maybe some of the things that you talk about when you're in education mode with folks, outside connecting to nature and discussing climate change action. Where do our diet choices factor in here? How much difference do they make? Is it important specifically when it comes to climate change?

Emily Kennedy: It is important. I don't know if it's funny, but it’s the word I'm gonna use. At the beginning of 2020, I was delivering a workshop with a former professor of mine to a former workplace of mine and the staff there about how climate change was going to impact our community. And we were talking about various things, but one of the first things we got everybody to do was talk about one thing or two things that they were not willing to give up at this stage. And mine were travel and bacon.

Karina Inkster: Oh, interesting. Okay.

Emily Kennedy: And over the last two years, just seeing how COVID has kind of distracted us from climate change, which to me, I think they're very interlinked, I now am like very, I think a lot more quickly than I would actually admit, well, maybe not admit that's not the right word, but I never would've thought veganism was in my future. And now I'm like, I think I could do this. Like just even the plant-based products and how much they have changed in the last year even, like it's incredible to see, and it's becoming more accessible from a price point even, comparable to meat, if not cheaper, in some cases. So that I think the thing that a lot of folks fear about giving up meat is taste and that's kind of going away. 

So I'm now in like an ovo-pescatarian stage. And even that, now I'm starting to reduce the amount of fish that I'm eating. Cause I just think that's, I don't know, it's an important way that I can reduce my own impact. It does. It does absolutely have an impact, even the amazing small farmers in my community that know every one of their livestock and have a relationship with them. I don't know. I still struggle with the impact of that.

Karina Inkster: Well, and the impact of that compared to another option, like growing crops or non-animal products. Production of some kind.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. I mean, beans are a staple and yet, I don't know, they're easy to grow. They're packed full of loads of different nutrients, including protein. And so yeah, like I don't know why I've resisted this for so long. I'm not ready to make the full leap to veganism, but I'm slowly getting there. Two years ago I never would've even considered that as an option, so.

Karina Inkster: Hmm. Interesting. You know, I was just talking like just an hour ago with one of my best friends. If anyone's listening, it's Heidi from Vegan Yarn. it's actually a pretty popular brand in the vegan world. Anyways, they've been my best friend since I was nine. So we basically grew up together and I was just having a conversation and cuz they're visiting here for a week - today was actually their last day. Anyways, we were talking about this person that we both know and compassion came up when describing this person, caring about the environment, all of these different points. And my next question was okay, is this person vegan? And Heidi said, no, but I'm pretty sure he's vegan at heart. This sounds like someone who needs to be vegan because it aligns with his values. And so I kind of feel that about you.

Like, you know, you've done your research, you get it. You know what actions on an individual level anyway, can make a big impact, but it is tough. I mean, it's kind of like getting into a new strength training routine or something if you've never done it before in your life. It’s a process. And I think we need to, "we" meaning the long-term vegan crowd, right?

Emily Kennedy: Right.

Karina Inkster: We need to remember what it was like, if we can, making the transition and also realize it's not the same for any two people out there.

Emily Kennedy: That's right.

Karina Inkster: You know, it can be a process and we need to be supportive of that process and not be like, hey Emily why aren't you vegan already?

Emily Kennedy: Cause there's only one product! Haha. Which is the argument I think a lot of us have used in the past, that there's not enough variety. I know I've used that. Like I still, I use that, haha.

Karina Inkster: Well is Nova Scotia actually like, is it harder to get some of the vegan options that we would have? For example, like I live in a tiny little town, but I'm close to Vancouver.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah. I think Vancouver is definitely the sweet spot for that. But I mean we have access through mail options. We can order online, which is incredible.

Karina Inkster: That’s true, mm-hmm.

Emily Kennedy: There's definitely a climate impact of that, but I mean, we have a local farm that produces tofu products. So I mean there is an appetite for it., haha. But I think we're starting to see the growth of this industry of plant-based and meat alternatives and showing just how easy it is. Cause I think also like years ago when I had looked at veganism, so it has been a long process for me, but just like the recipes always were just too overwhelming and I am not somebody who follows a recipe. I just like to go to my kitchen, I pull out 10 ingredients and hope for the best and it usually works out. But it always really intimidated me to do even vegetarian things cuz it just wasn't something I grew up with.

Karina Inkster: Mm-hmm, yep. It's definitely a process.

Emily Kennedy: Yeah.

Karina Inkster: I mean, you know where to go if you need any ideas and coach Zoe and I are always around.

Emily Kennedy: Yes. Yeah. Zoe's been working her magic slowly.

Karina Inkster: Oh, good.

Emily Kennedy: Slowly getting me there.

Karina Inkster: That’s good.

Emily Kennedy: So she's been a great resource to just kind of talk about things. And nonjudgmental, which, I'm not saying that vegans are judgemental, but like in anything when we're transitioning to a different thing, I think there are folks who are, if you're not doing this, then there's no, like, I don't wanna talk about it with you. You're wrong. But that's not helpful.

Karina Inkster: I know some folks like that. It's not helpful.

Emily Kennedy: It's not at all. And so yeah, it's been really great to have some great resources and folks to reach out to, to be like, okay, I've got these ingredients this week. What do I do? And it's awesome. Yeah. It's just good to have that collaborative welcoming community, and in all aspects of life.

Karina Inkster: Yes, absolutely. That's really cool. Well Emily, it was great speaking with you. I'm glad we could connect. Thank you so much for coming on the show. We're gonna have notes, show notes for our listeners to connect with you. Was there anything last minute that we missed or something you wanna leave our listeners with?

Emily Kennedy: I don't think so. I really enjoyed this conversation and really appreciate your time today.

Karina Inkster: Of course. Well, it was great speaking with you. Thanks so much.

Emily Kennedy: Thank you.

Karina Inkster: Emily, thank you again for joining me, and thank you to Coach Zoe who connected us. Check out our show notes at to connect with Emily, and don't forget to download your free vegan portion guide at Thank you so much for tuning in.

Download your free vegan strength training ebook by Coach K!

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