Meet a Vegan: Nick Squires
In this month’s ‘Meet a Vegan’ feature we talk to the big man, Nick Squires. When he’s not smashing new personal bests for weightlifting he’s most likely smashing vegan burgers.
After last month’s successful launch of the Meet the Vegan feature with animal advocate John Oberg, this month we continue with a guy that I have been following on Twitter for the last 12 months and who has inspired me a lot on my own vegan journey.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, Nick?
I’m a father, a husband, and a competitive powerlifter. I started powerlifting after my daughter was born as a way to get healthier, and it quickly became a passion of mine. I have been competing now for three years, most recently taking first place in 220lb open raw class at the 2019 USPA California Drug Tested State Championships.
When did you go vegan and why?
I went vegan in May 2014. My wife and I had been doing a pit bull rescue and fostering and began to wear on me that I was spending time helping some animals while eating others. My wife had been vegan for 10 years at that point and I began to realize that from a nutritional standpoint there was no need for me to be consuming animal products. One day I watched Earthlings on my lunch break and the decision was final.
What were the challenges you faced?
Going vegan was much easier than I anticipated. The only challenges were situations like going out to dinner with family or work lunches, etc. I quickly learned to work around these situations, but in the past couple of years with chain restaurants embracing vegan options, its rarely an issue.
What was the reaction from family and friends?
My family took it in stride, my friends were shocked. People know me for how much I can eat, and before going vegan this was an incredibly heavy red meat diet. It took people a while to adjust to me going from Ron Swanson jokes and meat lovers pizzas to veganism.
“One of the things I’ve found important is to be able to accept that people are going to make jokes about veganism and to be able to let them roll off your back without shutting down, getting upset.”
How do you deal with stick from friends?
I knew this was going to be a shock from people who knew me and knew what I typically ate. One of the things I’ve found important is to be able to accept that people are going to make jokes about veganism and to be able to let them roll off your back without shutting down, getting upset. You’re going to hear the same half dozen jokes for the rest of your life, might as well learn how to direct them into a conversation while keeping the conversation lighthearted, it’s much more productive.
How would you say going vegan has benefited your life?
One of the reasons that I know that I made light of veganism before going vegan myself was that I always felt a sort of guilt about eating animals that I avoided confronting by making fun of vegans or veganism. I don’t have to do that anymore, I feel so much better living a life where I am able to reduce my impact on the lives of animals so significantly with such simple changes to my life – what my “meat” is made of, what brand soap I use, etc.
“Ultimately I decided that being empathetic towards things less powerful than me was more important than living my life to fit societal roles.”
Do you feel you have changed much as a person?
I feel that going vegan helped me face a lot of things that are considered traditionally masculine that I was practising because I felt I had to. Lots of these things were toxic and I feel as if shedding those practices has helped me grow as a better person, father, and partner to Krista
What advice do you have for men thinking of going vegan?
I know there’s sort of a stigma about men going vegan, especially if you participate in sports. Ultimately I decided that being empathetic towards things less powerful than me was more important than living my life to fit societal roles.
What is your go-to vegan meal?
Come on, do you really have to ask?
Fair point! Anything else you would like to share?
I’m currently training for the 2019 USPA/IPL Drug Tested World Powerlifting Championships in Ireland in October. I hope with every competition to help change the narrative about veganism and athletic performance, and this meet will be one of the biggest opportunities for me so far.
Follow Nick on Twitter – @meatymcsorley
p.s I’d love to meet you on Twitter: here
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