Client Spotlight – Couples Who Go Vegan – Norm & Michelle

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at a Bodybuilding competition in Vancouver, BC, Canada a few years ago. It was her first show and she was SO nervous…just a sweetheart. We bonded that day and have been long distance friends ever since. I was super honoured to have Michelle and her husband Norm join my Vegan in 60 program and I’m super delighted with their results in both body and mind.

If you’re curious about what going vegan looks like, these two have some sage words here for newbies…..any time is the right time to go whole food plant based.

Love you both & thanks again….P.S. – I love this snap of you two…you might hate me for it but your fur baby is there and you’re tubbin’ in the snow which is one of my favourite pastimes (before moving to Pittsburgh).

You both rose to the challenge of trying out converting to veganism over 10 weeks, what made you dive into this challenge as carni’s?

We dove into this vegan challenge because it was exactly that a challenge. To be honest it was not something either of us would have considered trying ….until You said challenge….who doesn’t like a Little challenge.

What have you learned about veganism that has struck you as the most impactful? Ie: it’s health benefits, cost, animal rights issues etc…

 What has stuck with us so far are the health benefits. We both had wondered how going vegan would impact our health. So far it’s been great i really notice a difference when I removed dairy products from my diet. Michelle says now she is very aware of where our food comes from now and eating this way is pretty cheap.

Do you find that your working together on this initiative has brought you closer or created more stress at home?

Well it definitely has not added any stress ….has had is working together in searching and planning out our meals …snacks and as team Thiessen we hold each other accountable.

How do you tackle the questions asked of you by family, friends & others who may want to know a bit more about your new nutritional goals?

Family and friends have been supportive.  They ask questions and we fill them in on what we have found out. Most are interested in trying to be more plant based …not going vegan but being more responsible. It would seem our friends will make healthier choices after hearing our choices when we are out for dinner or such . Also creates interesting conversations.

What is the hardest part of being a new vegan?

Stress of finding new things to eat ….find recipes…choosing the options…shopping for the food…preparing the meals ….being new to veganism we don’t have easy go to dishes …yet.  Of course its stressful Try ing to fill our protein macro and keeping down our carb macros.

What is the easiest part of being a new vegan?

Making a vegan dish usually has lots of left overs. You get to grab healthy foods .

Are there any changes (physically) that  you have experienced that are super amazing that you want to share?

Ok some changes I’ve noticed is the bowel movements…2 to 3 times a day . Waking up alert and ready not needing a coffee to clear the morning cobwebs. No bloating( once I’ve adjusted to the beans).

What is your favourite vegan food so far?

For taste Mexican is our favorite . Seitan for the protein. I like to slice up my seitan and fry it in hot sauce.  Mmm mmm.

 Do you think you will go back to eating animal products, if so, why?

Yes I believe we will be going back to eating animal products . Our meal will no longer revolve around the meat. Things like cheese and honey are greatly missed . BUT we will be very mindful where we are purchasing our animal products from …the farm to table idea. With all the new ideas and recipes we have learned it will be way easier to keep our plant based diet most of the time. As Michelle has mentioned some cooked meat has effected her negatively as she has cooked it . I’m pretty sure that meat will be removed lol. By doing this challenge our eyes have been opened to a lot of different aspects of veganism….some we agree with and support others not so much but that’s ok we have a great base of knowledge now and will be more aware moving forward .

Michelle may want to add more as our time goes on.
Norm and Michelle Thiessen

Client Spotlight for IBS/Low Fodmap – Andi N



I love this girl. She’s a mom, a wife, a teacher and a very dear LONG time friend of mine…talking over 35 years now – I blush…..thank you Andi Pandi for being a sweetheart of a client AND friend AND participating in this Q&A with how little time you have.

xx ~ S

You note your main challenge around nutrition is being LOW fodmap. How long did this take you to discover?

A long time! I have had a weird stomach for most of my adult life. I just thought that this was how my body was and it was normal. It all came to a head about 3 years ago when I had a very challenging year at work and my symptoms became worse ( I was missing work days at a time).

With SO many sensitivities under that umbrella, how did you find what foods negatively impact you personally?

When I was diagnosed with IBS (which you do by ruling everything else out), my doctor told me to research and follow a low FODMAP diet. This involves not eating anything with high FODMAP for a couple of weeks and then slowly introduce a type of high FODMAP food (Oligos, Fructose, Polyols, Lactose) back into your diet and then see how you do.

Do you notice that you make concessions with your eating habits to make meal times easier with your husband & kids?

On occasion, I will make concessions but it is when the food my husband is making is so delicious I need to try some not to make meal times easier. When I do indulge it is in small amounts so the payback won’t be so bad. Lately though I have stopped being so lazy and have started cooking more myself rather than relying on Daniel for meals (partly because me becoming Vegan is too hard for him- cry me a river)

How long have you been suffering with the symptoms of IBS etc…?

Pretty much my whole adult life.

Do you take any supplements that work for you?

Probiotics are key. I have also seen a Dr. of Chinese Traditional Medicine who whips up a mix of herbs that settle my digestion down a bit if I do overindulge.