Interviews With Vegan Athletes – Enis AKAY
1. Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m Enis Akay, I’m 33 years old. I am a biologist, doing my PhD in Hydrobiology. I’ve been interested in sports since my childhood. I played football during my childhood. I’ve played basketball at every opportunity since high school. In the summer of 2018, I switched from basketball to walking and then running due to an injury in my foot. Now I have a running and cycling sports life.
2. When did you start the sport you are interested in?
I’m very new to running, I started in August 2019. I have been using my bike for transportation since my university period. I can say that I started performance rides in August 2019.
3. What is your most important success?
I have not attended more organizations. But I came first in the age group on 08.03.2020 Deer Run 4k.
4. When and why did you choose this lifestyle?
I stepped into veganism in 2016, but I could last for about 5 months. I have been following a vegetarian diet for about 3 years. I decided it again in 2019 and I have been continuing for about 1 year without any problems. It was a process that started first for health reasons due to my liver problem. The fact that one of my close friends was vegan gave me strength. I made my decision after taking a look at the sources he suggested. Secondly, in my current journey; when ecological and ethical values were added as well as my health, the stones settled properly.
5. Were there other athletes inspired by your transition to veganism?
Nevşin Mengü from Turkey, from abroad Scott Jurek.
6. Does veganism affect your performance? If so, how?
Before I have stepped into veganism, I wasn’t doing such active sports, so my comparison might not be correct. But I feel strong and healthy. My performance is also fine and getting better.
7. Are you using supplements?
I use sublingual B12 regularly. I had taken the Iron pill for a while.
8. Your favourite food/drink?
My favourite food is green beans with olive oil 😊 vegan pizza as fast food. Soda as a drink.
9. As an athlete, what are the easy or difficult aspects of veganism, if any?
The only hard part is the difficulty of finding food outside. I cannot see any other difficult side. The easy part is that our Turkish cuisine culture is actually suited. For this reason, I guess the easy part is to make and consume our traditional meals.
10. What is the most frequently asked question about veganism? And what’s your answer?
The first question is don’t you miss meat? Another favourite question is where do you get the protein? I do not miss the meat because I think I am facing the truth more than what I have watched and read. I have never heard of a protein deficiency, but I usually get my protein from legumes, especially green lentils and chickpeas (I also consume them as nuts).
11. Can you recommend a resource you read or watched about?
“Why would a person be vegan?” (Anna Charlton, Gary L. Francione) and “What the health” documentary were the first sources I read and followed. Starting with these, they can browse many sources written and shot on this subject.
12. Did anyone in your environment, friends or family lead it? Did you get a lot of reaction from your environment?
Except for a friend of mine, Burcu Yılmaz and her husband Ozan, no one around me lived a lifestyle like that. My university professors, my close environment and my family reacted (I didn’t tell them until my second vegan adventure). But they were supportive when they saw my improving blood values and healthy appearance. Nowadays, nobody interferes, on the contrary, they respect it.
13. What is your sporting goal?
I don’t have a specific goal but I want to be an ironman in the future. I want to run an ultra marathon and even complete a 100k and above race. I am happy if the chairs come too.
14. Finally, is there anything you want to say/recommend to those who are considering this lifestyle?
I know that the biggest challenge for those who are considering going vegan is milk and milk products. Just don’t forget that; The only mammal is human that drinks someone else’s milk. I want them to think about it.