May 30

One Vegan, Two Vegan, Three Vegan, Four

aka #TeamShorkey

Four ladies, known for being entrepreneurial, good looking and making sound lifestyle choices, plan to set off on a 2500 km road trip into, and hopefully back out of, Northern British Columbia.

These ladies are Bridget Burns, Jen Boyle, Jessica Grajczyk and Samantha Shorkey.

Their goal?

They hope to show people that vegans are not the emaciated, malnourished misfits often depicted in mainstream media.


Well, they’ll drive around with amusing bumper stickers, make stops to see vegan chums on their travels and probably wave their fingers at the many despicable non-vegan acts they’ll witness en route.

Oh … and, yes, one of them might also make time to compete in the Northern Classic Bodybuilding and Fitness Show. Yes, bodybuilding. Yeah, I don’t know how either.

Upon hearing this, I needed help connecting the meat-laden dots in my mind and wanted to understand how somebody on a vegan diet could possibly compete in a body building competition.

Shorkey has been training for this competition since last fall, has the tremendous support of her closest friends and is being sponsored by Vega Sport (a complete, all natural, plant-based sport performance system, who knew?!?).

I recently had the good fortune to meet Shorkey and ask her about the training, the food and the friends.

Salsa Sam

Shorkey’s road trip buddies have a site called The Vegan Project, “It was started a few years ago by my good pals Bridget, Jen and Jessica. The VP girls showed me all kinds of amazing recipes, and I became Salsa Sam, as one of my favourite specialties is fresh salsa.” Says Shorkey, who’s glad to have had their help making the transition from vegetarian to vegan, and credits them for the change.

Accompanying the four ladies on this journey will be a selection of sports supplements from their sponsor, Vega. Here, she talks about the prep so far:

The Cat that Nobody Wants

Wearing a Relove Plan.et tank (purchased at Karmavore, New Westminster) adorned with a cute picture of a puppy and a piggy, and the caption, Why Love One and Eat the Other, Shorkey spoke of her mangosteeny mindset to being vegan. “I’ve always been a huge animal lover.  I’ve always had pets and I’ve always thought of them as family.” She cites cats as being among the many animal mates she’s bonded closely with, and when she moved to Vancouver and went to the SPCA, she asked for the cat that nobody wanted …

Training for Competition

The transition hasn’t come easy for Shorkey,  it’s been hard and continues to challenge her, “It’s hard to say just *how* strict my diet will be in the few days and hours before the event. It really depends on how I’m looking and if I haven’t stuck to the diet 100% leading up to the competition.”

Shorkey has been in training for over six months

Shorkey has been in training for over six months

Photograph courtesy of Dave Collins

If you ask Shorkey about what’s needed to get a leaner, toned physique, she doesn’t pull any parsnips and says, “I wish I could tell people to eat well, exercise and get lots of sleep, but sadly it’s not that easy … I’m not going out for dinner and drinks …  In my free time, I’m at the gym.  And if I’m not at the gym, I’m preparing food or getting groceries.  Training to compete is a HUGE commitment.”

Here’s a few words about what she does and doesn’t like do while working out:

My Favourite Green Drink, Not

Shorkey doesn’t like green smoothies, and instead of protein shakes, she likes to make protein puddings out of her protein powder. But what will she have after the training’s done? “My favourite [smoothie] would be almond milk, with chocolate Vega protein powder, and a bit of almond butter — or peanut butter,” but what if the training doesn’t stop?

So, once this competition is done, Shorkey just might, and hopefully will, continue training and go for the gold at the BC Provincial Championship in June.

Show your love, send her asparagus.

Wael Elazab

Follow #TeamShorkey at Samantha Shorkey’s Jacked on the Beanstalk. You can also see her salsa, dessert and *workout food* recipes at TheVeganProject.ca. Shorkey sets off for Fort St. John in less than a week and will be competing on June 8.