Meet Our Sports Dietitian – Leah Higl
June 30, 2021
Leah Higl is our resident vegan sports dietitian at Plant Nutrition and Wellness. She’s been working with us for two years and we’ve loved every minute of it! When Leah first started working at PNW, she was one of the hosts of our yearly Living and Thriving on a Vegan Diet event, now she is a regular contributor to our blog and sees clients from anywhere in the world in through virtual consults and at at our Hamilton clinic in Brisbane.
Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from
My name is Leah and I grew up and still live in Brisbane, Queensland. I am a sports dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition. I have been vegan for around 7 years and it is something that is near and dear to my heart. I understand that being plant-based can sometimes get in the way of our athletic endeavors so I love to help my clients optimize their vegan/vegetarian diets to keep smashing goals and performing at a high level.
What drew you to a career in nutrition
Unlike a lot of sports dietitians I come across, I didn’t grow up playing a lot of sport. In fact, I hated sport and did everything I could to avoid it. But around the age of 14, I found strength training as at the time, my mum was a bodybuilder. As someone who hated exercise and much preferred being a book work, I did not expect to fall in love with strength training. But alas I haven’t looked back since and I am 25 now. Managing my nutrition and trying to alter and optimize my body composition became a little side hobby for me at the time and I became really engrossed in the science of it all. I was only 16 when I was asked to choose a university degree in grade 12 and since nutrition had been my hobby for the past couple of years, dietetics made the most sense.
What does healthy eating mean to you?
Healthy eating has three different pillars for me and those are
1. Eating foods that nourish my body
2. Eating food that fuels my performance and recovery and
3. Eating for enjoyment whether it’s a comfort piece of Biscoff cake or a relaxed meal with friends
I am not restrictive with my food outside of having to occasionally make weight for powerlifting. I love food and I eat what I want, I just also aim to get in all the foods that make me feel my best and perform at the highest level I can.
What is your favourite meal to make
I hate cooking so I can’t say that I have a favorite meal to make. I’d much rather eat something that has been made for me. But when I have to cook and meal prep, I cook very simple dishes. The easier to cook, the more tolerable I find it. Also, something that creates as few dishes as possible .
What are three staple ingredients you cannot live without in your kitchen
This is easy. Soy milk, textured vegetable protein & Monster energy drink… I mean vegetables.
What are your interests outside of the PNW clinic?
Powerlifting would definitely be my main interest outside of work. I love training to be stronger and I have big goals for myself to achieve in the sport over the next 5 years. Although, I find powerlifting tends to be wrapped up with my work as a dietitian so I will give a second answer as well.