I’ve never been a big meat eater. I was always more excited about the side of potatoes and vegetables than the big steak on my plate. But I did enjoy a good chicken or salmon dish and once in a while I would devour a big plate of ribs. At the time, I didn’t realize that the meat that I was eating was once a living and breathing living being.
I then read the book Eat and Run from Scott Jurek as well as Finding Ultra from Rich Roll and without even realizing it, a seed was planted. Scott Jurek talks, in his book, about how he went from being an untalented athlete to a successful trail runner and how his plant based diet helped him achieved his goals. I could really relate to his story since when I was in elementary school I was a nerdy and chubby kid would could not even qualify for his school cross country team. Rich Roll’s story is somewhat different, since he was an unhealthy and overweight man at age 40 and then became a vegan ultra Ironman athlete. I read both books multiple times and I also listen to Rich Roll’s podcast.
However, these books didn’t make me stop eating meat and remove dairy from my refrigerator. It’s a short video on animal cruelty that I saw on my twitter feed that made me realize that I was killing animals to eat them. So I quit cold turkey! Well, not just turkey, ha ha! , I quit red meat, pork and chicken. It took me a while to stop eating fish and dairy until I saw the movie Cowspiracy. This movie- you gotta see it if you haven’t seen it- exhibits the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
I always considered myself as someone who cares about the environment; I would recycle, take short showers etc., but I didn’t know that what I ate had a big impact on the planet also! For instance, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 % of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation (click for more stats).
Even though I knew it was possible to thrive as a vegan athlete I still had some questions when I first became vegan. Am I going to be able to get enough protein? What about omega-3? What about Iron? I had lots of questions that needed to be answered. I will try to answer most of those questions in my new website and if you have any questions just let me know.
After a few weeks, I realized that I felt even better and that I could recover even better from my workouts and races. This is a big advantage when you are training up to 3-4 times per day and every day of the week. I consider that my plant based diet gives me a huge advantage since it allows me to train more and do more quality workouts because I’m more feel more rested for each workout. Plants are anti-inflammatory foods so it helps reduce the inflammation caused by strenuous training. On the contrary, animal foods create additional inflammation, which compromises recovery. When you compete at a high level, finding an edge on your competitor is HUGE and the fact that it also saves the planet and animal lives makes it even better!!