How Aly Raisman Leads a Healthy Diet and Active Lifestyle
We spoke with the former gymnast to learn about her (mostly) plant-based diet, why listening to your body is important and more.
Aly Raisman is a legendary gymnast. As a former member of the "Fierce Five" and "Final Five", she has six Olympic medals on her shelf along with countless other accolades. Although she's moved on from gymnastics, Raisman knows what it takes to stay healthy and active.
We were curious to learn about Raisman's mostly plant-based diet, her exercise routine and how she's managing to stay busy during quarantine, so we chatted on the phone to get all the details.
Why Aly Raisman Went Plant-Based
A few years ago, Raisman was inspired to transition to a plant-based lifestyle after watching documentaries about the way animals are treated. Alongside those ethical reasons, Raisman credits the documentary Kiss the Ground for educating her about the ways eating less meat is good for the environment.
For others looking to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, Raisman has one key piece of advice: Figure out what works for you. For Raisman that means a mostly plant-based diet (she occasionally eats fish, but no other meat), but she's also dairy-free and is working to reduce her sugar intake. Raisman says, "It's not one size fits all", and we wholeheartedly agree.
What Aly Raisman Eats in a Day
Raisman enjoys a dairy-free yogurt with fresh blueberries to start her morning off right. She also loves to add the fresh fruit to her smoothies, which she drinks after working out. Her go-to smoothie formula is a combination of blueberries and unsweetened Silk ULTRA, which is Silk's line of higher-protein plant-based milk available in stores starting January 12. Raisman partnered with Silk earlier in the year and says she loves the plant-based beverage because it contains 20 grams of protein per serving, which she struggled getting enough of when she first started her plant-based diet.
Related: The 10 Best Vegan Protein Sources
Occasionally, Raisman will also add some lettuce, spinach or herbs to her smoothie, which she grows in her own garden. In addition to leafy greens, Raisman is currently growing little mini grapefruit, lemon and lime trees inside (although she's not too confident they'll survive a winter in Boston). While the citrus trees might not thrive, Raisman says she loves having them and it brings her a lot of joy.
Related: 9 Health Benefits of Gardening
Raisman's love for fresh produce carries over to the meals she eats. Right now, she says, "I'm trying to have my plate be covered with vegetables", which is a great way to meet the recommended daily amount of 2.5 to 3 cups. In addition to the vegetables on her plate, Raisman will occasionally add fish or hemp hearts to her lunch or dinner.
To make sure Raisman is getting enough fiber, protein and healthy fats at lunch and dinner, we'd suggest including a healthy whole grain, like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, a serving of plant-protein, like beans, tofu or edamame and a healthy fat, like avocado, olive oil and nuts and seeds.
How Aly Raisman Stays Active
Exercise is another key element to Raisman's healthy lifestyle. She engages in a mix of activities from long walks with her dog to Pilates videos in her living room. While staying active is important, Raisman says, "It just depends on how I'm feeling. I think it's super important to listen to my body and I've found that it's been really helpful to do that." Listening to her body is crucial for Raisman, which is one reason why she also loves to practice guided meditation.
After she's done working out (or sometimes in place of it), Raisman tries to do a 10-minute guided meditation. Whether that involves listening to videos in her living room, closing her eyes and doing a body scan or using the Sanvello health app, which Raisman also partners with. She says the practice helps her, "pay attention to how my body's feeling", and is a form of self-care. Raisman has also recorded her own guided meditation, which you can listen to here.
The Bottom Line
Whether it's eating or exercising, a healthy lifestyle encompasses three key elements for Raisman: listening to your body, being kind to yourself and being patient with yourself. These aspects are important for her self-care, and she says, "It makes a really big difference when we're kind to ourselves versus not...and it's important for me to create a habit where I'm not being tough on myself and just trying to take things one day at a time." Whatever your lifestyle looks like, Raisman's advice is definitely something we can all take to heart.