I challenge you to find anyone that is more of a dynamo than Celia Dubey. There are so many amazing facets that make up Celia that I asked her if we could do a two-part story. The first, today’s story, is about Celia’s history with food/nutrition from childhood to current day. It’s a great story spanning overall health to fueling a body to be a world champion. It’s astounding the accomplishments Celia has stacked up in her career athletically and we will share those in part 2 focused on how Celia began in multi-sport on her way to the top of the world championship podium.
When I was preparing to meet Celia for the first time in 2015 I wasn’t looking forward to it so much. I just began triathlon in 2014 with RunVie Racing and at about a year into it I loved the training and coaches…then they announced they were moving to Chicago. I was deflated as I was so bought into everything we were doing and I was getting better and better. Celia came to a transition meeting and I was introduced to the dynamo. She was full of energy & enthusiasm and had a plan! I wanted to be a part of it…at least that’s what I was telling myself on that day.
I gave her a shot and what a journey we have been on since. That energy to live life to its fullest is Celia every single day…she’s amazing! Six years later I’m still with her. In 2018 she provided an opportunity for me to coach on her team and I am so grateful for that. I now coach and compete for Team Total Fitness and this beautiful crazy of a person – Celia Dubey! She is a bit crazy and it’s awesome! She tells me the same thing…
Here is Celia’s journey regarding her relationship with food from childhood to today. She fuels herself to be a world champion person.
Describe your diet growing up through adult hood
My mother believes food is love. My parents are Cuban immigrants. Both are great cooks and love to entertain. All our family gatherings and holidays have always been centered around big elaborate Spanish meals featuring animal protein like masitas de puerco (pork), lechon (yes a whole roasted pig), paella (a variety of seafood and rice), arroz con pollo (chicken & rice), & red meat dishes like picadillo and ropa vieja. I do not think any meal has ever been served in my parents’ home without white rice and fried plantains. For breakfast every morning we would dunk our buttered toast in café con leche made with four table spoons of sugar. Yup, as kids we would drink Cuban expresso before school. No joke. As for my education on nutrition, the more I ate the happier my mom was :0) The positive reinforcement we received for eating well was over the moon so as I like to please my parents I did my part and ate very well.
What sparked a change?
I know the exact moment. I was 20 years old attending Florida State University (FSU) living in my sorority house. I loved our house Mom, Mama Evelyn. One day I was visiting with Mama Evelyn as she was making meat loaf. As we chatted, I noticed her taking the blood from the tray where the raw meat was sitting and pouring the blood over the meat as she mixed the raw ground meat, raw eggs, spices, and blood with her hands. I thought to myself, “wow juice from meat is blood” and that’s all it took. Right there I decided I would never eat red meat ever again and I have not. Then a few months later I was watching a program where they were showing chickens and I noticed the chickens were living in filth and eating their own feces. At that point I decided I would never eat chicken again and I have not eaten chicken since. For another year or so I would only eat seafood. As a recreational scuba diver I realized how harmful commercial fishing was to our oceans so in 1995 I decided no more seafood for me as it was not worth the damage to our oceans.
When and why did you explore plant-based?
Initially, my decision to go plant based was due to hygiene as the blood in red meat grossed me out. Soon after I quit red meat, I became more conscience and thought more about the source of what I was eating and the circumstance in which I came to eat it. This awareness caused me to swear off anything with a nervous system.
What were some of your challenges when making the switch?
Some of the challenges I faced back in 1994 when I made the switch was the lack of good information. Most the material I was reading was emphasizing the importance of proteins. Although we now know there is plenty of protein in vegetables, nuts, beans and fruits, back then the only claimed source of plant protein was soy. So I found myself eating processed meat substitutes and soy-based protein bars which as we know are highly processed and not nutritious.
My other challenge was that back in 1993, there was a huge lack of vegetarian options when eating out. And lastly when I started eating plant based, I did not eat a lot of nuts so I did struggle in feeling satisfied after a meal.
What were the positives you noticed early on?
The positives I noticed early on were weight loss, I immediately had more energy and I did not feel so lethargic and sick to my stomach after a meal. Since I have been eating plant-based after a meal I feel good and energized, ready to go.
What are some of the positives you notice now?
Some of the positives I notice now is that although I’m 49 years old I heal much faster than others my age. With even a minor cut, I heal faster than others. I do a good job with recovery because of my high raw food diet that is so rich in water content, antioxidants, and enzymes which help me hydrate and repair my cells so I can recover well. Another benefit to my diet being so very high in fruits and vegetables (which have a high water content) is it makes it easier for me to stay well hydrated.
What are some of the most significant things you have learned?
Some of the most significant things I’ve ever learned is the importance of eating raw food. The only source of enzymes, antioxidants, & vitamins (which are essential to repairing our damaged cells), are in raw food. When you heat any food above 118 degrees you cook all the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants out of the food. When you eat a meal which consists of more than half of the food cooked your body goes into a state of leukocytosis. When your body is in leukocytosis your white blood cells are working hard to fight the threat of a virus. This constant state of leukocytosis taxes our immune system. In an effort to avoid leukocytosis, we must make sure 51% of the volume of the food we eat at each meal is raw. This was a game changer for me and I immediately noticed how much more energy I had and how much better I felt all around.
What resources were most influential in your switch?
I have always been curious about optimal nutrition and read anything I can on nutrition regularly. The book, Fit For Life, was the most impactful. Its primary message was the importance of raw fresh food in an effort to gain the optimum amount enzymes to fuel our bodies Another book I read that was very influential was The China Study. There are some excellent documentaries I have come across as well like, Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, What The Health, & Seaspiracy.
Any other things not covered you would like to share
I love Coach Alan Graff like a brother and am honored he entered my sphere as Coach Alan inspires me to remain committed to eating plant based.
I am also honored Celia Dubey entered my circle as she inspires me to be the best Alan I can be….coach, athlete, and person. I love my circle and Celia is part of that circle…surround yourself with amazing people and you can be amazing. Thank you Celia for all you do to inspire people to think about their health and demonstrate how to live a healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned for Part 2…
– Add Health to Your Life