Lisa Gawthorne: vegan business owner, author, athlete and more!
Who is Lisa Gawthorne?
Lisa runs a vegan business, is a vegan author, she contributes to the vegan press regularly and competes for her age group on Team GB. Although you'd think it would be exhausting, it isn't so for Lisa Gawthorne!
In this interview style article, we'll discover more about Lisa's various roles and how she makes them work.
Lisa, what are your greatest achievements to date and why?
It’s too hard to pick one so will give you my top three:
Starting Bravura Foods
We started Bravura Foods back in 2011. Mixing business with something I was really passionate about was one of my key objectives. It aligned with my moral code. I remember my tutor at University explaining the importance of this, so starting a vegan and vegetarian distribution, sales and marketing business felt less like a job and more like a passion, a hobby and a cause.
It’s been truly amazing working in this industry, meeting with some of the most inspirational leaders and entrepreneurs that care about the planet, the animals and the future in totality.
It is great for me because I look at market gaps, I think about products that don’t exist for vegans but know would do well and then we set about to do everything possible to either find them and distribute them or make them ourselves. We own and represent a great mixture of veggie brands from Panda Liquorice, Freedom Mallows, Free From Fellows, Captain Kombucha, Little Miracles, Peanut Hottie and Vegan Bakery.
We are very much in the business of putting smiles on vegan faces all over the world, and in my books, that is a business worth being involved in.
Recently, I had an exciting opportunity to work with some very influential business experts and growth mentors on a Goldman Sachs four-month intensive course at Oxford University that Bravura Foods were specifically selected for. This is going to help propel Bravura on to an accelerated growth path over the coming years.
Writing a Vegan Fitness Book
The main motivation for writing the book “Gone in 60 minutes” was to help people who were perhaps overwhelmed by all the different methods and tactics of how to get fit, active and healthy. No matter which gym I have worked out in, I have always been surrounded by people who like to ask questions about my training methods, supplements, what my diet consists of etc. For me, it serves as a perfect reference tool and useful bite-sized health and fitness saviour that cuts out the cr*p and just delivers the essential info that can be read within just one hour (hence the name) whilst also dispelling myths in the four key areas i.e. diet, supplements, workouts and motivation.
I get such lovely supportive messages on social media from people who have bought the book, some of which have struggled to know what to do in the gym, others have been afraid of what a vegan diet entails and needed more guidance, but the most common feedback I get is that my book is simple to read and understand and it's made a really positive difference in the way they live their life.
It’s also pro lifting weights. This is an area that I personally love and it's also what I think is key to achieving good results. However, many people are l fearful of embarking on any form of weight lifting due to the old school images of bodybuilders, and it’s been really good to help encourage people to do more in this area. For me that is priceless.
The book has also opened up many a door for me to contribute to some of the leading veggie magazines in the UK, having worked with Viva!, Plant Based Magazine, Vegan Living, Peta, Veganuary and Vegan Health and Fitness to name just a few. I really enjoy contributing to such awesome titles that are out there spreading the word and making vegan life so much easier I have also met some really good friends through Peta, The Vegan society and Veganuary – all of which are amazing organisations that I have huge respect for. In addition to this, the likes of Huffington Post, Metro, Women’s Running, Runners World and Health & Fitness have reached out, asking me to contribute vegan articles, which has been great.
Competing as a GB age group athlete
Going back to University days, I have been pretty sporty and into fitness, and I have been fortunate enough to join a great local running Club: Liverpool Pembroke Sefton and a tri club called Mersey Tri. I have represented both clubs and also ran for the county of Merseyside and won various races that have built some really happy memories, but the most potent achievement for me was qualifying to represent my age group last year in the World Duathlon Sprint Championships in British Columbia, Canada.
Historically I have been a fairly decent runner but a small knee operation just over two and a half years ago pushed me heavily into rehabbing on a watt bike. I built up some good bike strength and I'd been interested in trying a duathlon for some time, but I needed the timing to be right in terms of recovery, and for it to be aligned with work commitments, as well as, making sure that both my running and biking were improving. That time came in early 2017 when I managed to qualify at Bedford Autodrome by finishing 3rd in my age group and gaining a place on the world sprint team for GB. In August last year, we headed out there and I can honestly say it was the best racing experience of my life. The weather, the environment, the surroundings, the people, the place, the sights; they were all out of this world and pretty perfect! Our race was in Penticton, which is a stunning area with Canadian mountains, lakes, deer, eagles and a few snakes. Luckily we didn’t encounter any snakes during the race! I managed to finish 3rd Brit home and 10th in the world for my age group which gave me the automatic qualification for this year’s world championships that will be held in Denmark in July.
In addition to that, I have qualified for the European championships again. This time they are due to be in Ibiza, in October, so I have a lot to both train for and look forward.
What’s next for you Lisa?
Business wise, we are in the middle of some really exciting new launches which will be hitting the market over the next 3-6 months and these span confectionery, functional drinks and vegan meal components. I will keep you posted on all this! I am really excited to be able to finally say that the market has finally caught up with us, with the latest growth rates that show a 700% increase in vegans over the past 24 months, it’s a fantastic time for Bravura to excel even further in the areas that we have specialised in for a long time. I continue to live and breathe this market daily and I am really excited for whats coming next.
I will continue to contribute to as many vegan press articles as I can and I have recently started focusing on doing more on the podcast front, which I will continue to explore further.
On the athletics front, I am already having a good strong start to the season and I will be heavily focusing on doing my best at both the World and European Champs as well as trying to improve my running performances at various races that are local to me in the North West of England.
Do you think being vegan has helped you with any of these achievements?
Absolutely and without a doubt! It’s provided me with a clear vision for the business whilst allowing me to be a passionate advocate of veganism, which our brand owners and principles are very much on board with.
It has given me the motivation to write a book to inspire and help others, see and experience, this journey of being active and healthy as less daunting. Everyone knows that a vegan diet is good for the skin, for the immune system, for the mood but above all, I find its great for energy that really helps from an athletic point of view. It’s given me a much healthier digestive system, it keeps me energised throughout the day and perhaps it really is the key to why I am able to juggle so much in life. I also manage to fit in hobbies like playing the piano, manga animation and going to local farm activity centres with my friends and their babies!
Above all, I feel it gives a soul cleansing, spiritually uplifting attitude to life. Knowing that I am actively stepping aside from any activity that relies on animals in any way definitely has a positive effect on me.
What is your advice to anyone considering going vegan?
Two words: do it! No seriously, it is the best thing you can do for yourself as it will improve your health, it’s the best thing for the animals to reduce senseless suffering, and it’s the best option for protecting the future of our planet as livestock is having a terribly negative impact on that. If you have kids just take a look at them and let them be your motivation. If you want to build a better world for them to live in, then adopting a vegan diet is the most effective way of achieving this.
Is it possible for vegan athletes to raise their game when they go vegan?
Meet a vegan fire-fighter, runner & Marathon winner
Being vegan for fertility, fitness, the love of animals and sourcing a natural high
Cody talks about how shifting to a vegan diet has NOT affected his performance as an athlete
Successful endurance cycling on a vegan diet!
Luke Jones discusses the benefits of going vegan
Going vegan for health, a faster recovery and sport
Find out if Lisa Gawthorne performed better as an athlete after shifting to a vegan diet
Meet Tobias, the Vegan CrossFit Trainer
Find out how going vegan changed this boxer's performance
Proof that you can be a vegan AND an athlete
Tiffany Damle talks about veganism as a solution for multiple issues