Emily Jans, vegan boxer
Emily Jans is a professional kickboxer who won the 2012 Australian Amateur Boxing title in the Elite Women’s 64kg division.
“I think I’m proof that being vegan is great for training. I not only have physically demanding employment and hobbies, but most of the time I ride my push bike as transport and still manage to train very hard. I hardly ever get sick and generally feel very healthy and vibrant and I put this all down to what I put into my body."
Emily turned vegan at age 15 after being vegetarian for two years, mainly over the treatment of factory farmed animals. As time went on and she found out more about related environmental and social reasons, and now feels there are many reasons to adopt what she describes as "a fairer way to live for ourselves, other people, animals and the environment."
"Boxing is a physically strenuous sport, requiring both strength and stamina which puts a lot of pressure on the body to deliver. A lot of people stuck in the old ‘meat and three veg’ way of thinking (which is quite common in boxing circles) believe that meat and dairy are essential for fuelling the body for that kind of activity. I’ve been vegan for 13 years now and boxing and kickboxing for over 3 years, getting everything I need from a diet of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
"I get plenty of protein, iron, zinc, and calcium etc by eating my lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, grains and veggies without the need for regular dietary supplements. My recent success just strengthens the point that the vegan diet can provide adequate nutrition for the highest level of fitness.”
A global necessity
“Coming back to the issue of veganism, that’s a massive part of how I demonstrate my politics in everyday life. The average, meat and dairy based diet of rich, Western countries is literally eating up the world. Agribusiness wastes exorbitant amounts of water, human grade food and arable land to raise livestock, creates massive amounts of pollution, often oppresses workers (employing illegal immigrants to do unsafe work such as on the kill floors of major US slaughterhouses) and treats animals as if they were nothing more than pieces of shit on a conveyer belt, without the capacity to feel pain or joy and taking their lives in the most disgustingly inhumane ways.
"And this is all done to give first world consumers as Mc Donalds puts it “more moo for less moolah”. So if I believe in a fairer world and to see the logical extension of my politics, it would be a total contradiction to eat meat and dairy.”
When we caught up with Emily in December 2012 her record in kickboxing was 3 wins, 2 losses and a draw. In boxing she had 4 wins and 1 loss. Soon afterwards she competed in the 2013 Australian Championships where she reached the final and lost 13:12 so had to settle for Silver (read more here).
She is also a drummer in two bands.