Author: Sharon Fichman & Dylan Moscovitch
We began our plant parenthood journey during the spring of 2020. We were a handful of weeks into the start of the Covid 19 pandemic and were craving some life in our sterile but pinterest-friendly apartment.
After a friend inspired us to get our first plant, we noticed almost immediately that, though we were stuck inside our 650 square foot apartment, having plants around made a big difference. From then, 1 plant turned into 38 (and counting) and we’ve never looked back.
Sharon Fichman - Pro-Tennis Athlete:
I began my plant based journey in the summer of 2017. I had been away from professional tennis for just over a year at that point and begun working with a fantastic trainer, Marc Madilson. Marc is one of those people that inspires you to want to be the best version of yourself and the more time I spent working with him, the more motivated I became.
He not only worked with me in the gym to achieve my fitness goals, but also to find an optimal and sustainable nutritional lifestyle that worked best for me. I began eliminating certain foods/food groups from my diet while introducing others to see how my body responded. As I experimented with my nutrition, I organically discovered that this journey for self improvement and sustainable health led me to a plant based diet. This transformed my life.
In late 2013, I developed an achilles problem that was later diagnosed as achilles tendinopathy (also known as tendinitis). This injury never went away and until the summer of 2017, managing it was all that could be done. However, after only a few months on a predominantly plant based diet, I was able to go for a completely pain free, long distance run for the first time since injuring it in 2013. But it didn’t stop there. My blood work improved, the inflammation around my muscles and joints visibly reduced, my energy increased and in a number of ways, my fitness level was the best it had been.
As the changes to my body became more prevalent, I got more and more curious as to why it was happening. I learned that meat consumption and high cholesterol levels exacerbate inflammation, which can result in pain and impair athletic performance and recovery. I also read studies which show that a plant-based diet can have an anti-inflammatory effect. I began to notice that my muscle fatigue decreased, my athletic performance improved and my recovery accelerated. I discovered that this was largely due to free radicals being neutralized from the surplus of antioxidants my body was getting from my plant-based lifestyle. As well, my VO2 max had increased —the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense exercise— which led to better endurance.
After a series of life events, I returned to professional tennis at the end of 2018. This time, as a plant-based athlete. In July of 2019, about 10 months back on tour, I broke back into the top 100 in the world in doubles for the first time in over 3 years. In March 2020, just over 1.5 years after returning to the game, I reached my career high ranking of #48 in the world in doubles on the WTA Tour.
Dylan Moscovitch - Ex-Olympian (Team Canada):
My story is a little different. I am the oldest of four in a family where all of us were vegetarian except for my dad. This was in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a time when it was much more difficult to be vegetarian. As a full time athlete (figure skating), it was difficult to get the right information and help necessary to properly fuel myself so after ongoing pressure from my coaches at the time to change my nutritional lifestyle, I began eating meat. I was told that I needed to bulk up and that eating animal products was the only way it could be done .
I spent the next 13 years of my athletic career eating meat and dairy and consuming as much food as I possibly could. But it wasn’t until Sharon and I began dating in August 2017 that I very gradually began to consider the thought of returning to a plant based diet. I gradually started to cut back on my animal protein consumption and really noticed a difference. But it was after watching the movie Game Changers on Netflix that I really decided to make a significant switch towards a plant based diet.
For about the next few months, my diet was predominantly plant based but in early 2020, I began doing more research into the animal agriculture industry and was exposed to the unspeakable cruelty as well as the significant negative impact on climate change. That was the motivation I needed to completely cut animal products out of my life. Since then, it has been a continuous journey of self education about the exploitation of animals and how I could be unknowingly supporting these practices in ways outside of the food I consume. This entire evolution that happened over the course of those 3 years created an even deeper bond with my growing sense of responsibility for helping others to also wake up to the devastating effects of our society’s choices and our disconnect from nature.
So when the pandemic changed the entire world as we knew it and the way we lived on it, we were open and ready for mother nature to have a greater impact in our lives we now have almost 40 plants that are pampered with grow lights, humidifiers and a DIY Ikea greenhouse for our tropical plant babies . Plants have brought us even closer to nature and to understanding how beautiful and special life is. It has been rewarding to support their life and growth while filling us with so much joy. We have completely transformed our home and the way that we live in it.
As Sharon moves forward in her professional tennis career during Covid, our plants are one way that we stay connected while we are apart. From texts reminding me which plants to water and which ones to check, to Facetime calls showing her new growth, our plants have enriched our lives and we are so grateful to them and to the joy they bring into our home.