Winning Thanksgiving Recipes from Our No Meat Athlete Reader Contest

thanksgiving menu
For new vegetarians and vegans, Thanksgiving can be terrifying.

One of the most common questions you’ll hear — right up there with one about the big P — is “But what do you do for Thanksgiving?” I asked it, and I bet you did too.

It’s not nearly as maddening as “Where do you get your protein?”, but having eaten this way for a few years now, the Thanksgiving question misses the point, for me.

Warning: “We used to walk to school 5 miles in the snow barefoot, uphill both ways” old-man rant ahead.

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Leo Babauta on Habits, Simplicity, Running & Diet (Plus the New Zen Habits Book!)

leo

Today I’ve got new interview with author Leo Babauta, so the appropriate thing to do is to start by telling you all about his blog, Zen Habits.

But that would be dumb, because you already know about Zen Habits.

I’d like to think that’s because I’ve linked to it more often than to any other blog, and that I somehow manage to mention Leo in just about every podcast episode we make. But that’d be giving myself too much credit.

In truth, the real reason is that so many No Meat Athlete readers have come from Zen Habits — a massively popular blog that’s twice been named by Time Magazine as one of the best in the world. It was Leo who gave me my first big guest post opportunity, A Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running back in 2010, and whose support of NMA since then has been helpful beyond measure.

But Leo’s impact on me goes far beyond this.

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Can’t Keep Up? 7 Small Steps for Simplifying Your Life

water drop

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about personal development, but our most recent podcast episode about daily rituals reminded me that I left out a critical part.

That part? Simplicity. While the rest of the post was really about growing and becoming more, simplicity for me is about making room for this growth, by being happy with less.

You don’t need to be a minimalist to enjoy simplicity. All you need to do, really, is do it. Like everything else, start small and try to take daily action … then one day, you’ll look up and realize you’ve changed.

I’d love to call myself a minimalist. But if I’m honest, I can’t — one look at my office, with books, journals, NMA shirts, product samples, and to-do lists scattered about confirms this.

But even without going to the extreme, I’ve eliminated some gigantic distractions from my life over the past three or four years, and gained an appreciation for the simple over the complex. And it’s been transformative.

Not quite minimalist

Just a few of the things I purposely live without now: a smartphone, a microwave, cable TV, paper towels, a running watch, a coffee machine, and clothes in excess of 33 items per season. Oh yeah, and you might be aware that I don’t eat animal products, another minimalist choice, even though simplicity was never the aim of that one.

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A Photo-Update on our Amazing NMA Running Groups

It’s been two months since our running groups started, and still this project brings me more joy than anything else we’ve done at No Meat Athlete.

Though I had planned on starting small with the running groups — say, 5 or 6 of them across the U.S., in big, vegetarian-friendly cities — I realized pretty soon that a plan like that required actual patience. And since I clearly don’t have that, we went ahead and started 75 of them, any place where we had three or more people interested and someone who would lead. Not just across the U.S., but around the world.

Since then we’ve added a few more, even in places like Tokyo and Moscow: anyone who wants can start one.

Not all the 80+ groups are actually meeting and running yet, but I’d estimate that about half of them are. Some get double-digit turnouts, some get just two or three dedicated runners each week. But the NMA groups are happening, and as long as they keep happening, I believe that they’ll grow.

I’m writing this post to share some pictures from a few of our incredible groups who have posted them to their Facebook pages, so that you can share in the joy I get every time I see a bunch of people in carrot shirts, connecting over what makes us all alike. We’re pretty darn weird, and I’m so glad that people are having so much fun celebrating that.

Here goes nothin':

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The Moment When the Fear Dissolves

A few months ago I started a personal blog, inspired by the week I spent with author (and one of my heroes) Seth Godin. I was hoping to publish a new post for each of 30 straight days, but I failed at that, quite miserably.

But one post there was about fear, something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. It’s something I’ve let control me at times in the past, but recently — really, right after the events that inspired this post — things have been different: I’m beginning to understand what people like Seth and Steven Pressfield mean when they talk about “dancing” with fear.

So today I want to share that post, from early August.

The most valuable part of my five days with Seth Godin last week wasn’t the chance to ask him specific questions and get his input on what I should do next.

It also wasn’t the vegan lunches he made each day or the magic tricks he performed or the stories he told (all of which were marvelous).

Instead, for me, it was his admonition that I and the other 14 people there stop living in fear.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Development

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m kind of a nerd for personal development, but I realized the other day that I’ve really never taken the time to explain it.

The name doesn’t exactly sell it well; I much prefer self-improvement. (Both are better than self-help, though.) I say “nerd” because there’s nothing cool about it … “trying” isn’t looked upon so favorably by the masses who determine what’s cool. But I’d argue that reading or listening to something motivational, inspiring, or educational every single day is without a doubt the most important daily practice in my life.

My nerddom is to the point that more than once (in the past year alone) I’ve bought out-of-print cassette tape programs from the 1980’s on ebay, and either listened to them on a boombox in my car (really) or converted them to MP3’s. Which, I’m told by some new friends, is lame because not only do people not listen to cassettes anymore, they also don’t use ebay anymore.

But although I like to think the themes I learn from these books and tapes underlie my posts — those of taking responsibility, dancing with fear, thinking big, persisting, engineering habits — I’ve never written explicitly about personal development here. So that’s what I’m doing today.

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Updates! The 2015 Holistic Holiday at Sea, NMA Running Groups, and More

Wow — long time, not a lot of posts. Fortunately, it’s because I’ve been cranking out a ton of other stuff, and that’s what this post is about.

To start, here are a few quick updates about what we’ve been working on for the past month, before getting to even more updates about some great events that are coming up. Lots of news to share today, so get cozy!

Podcast: Doug and I have recommitted to NMA Radio, and for the past month we’ve published 1-2 episodes every week! (Now if I could just get to that frequency with blog posts we’d be in good shape.) With so many new episodes, I decided to stop putting posts about each one in the blog feed. So, you can either subscribe in iTunes to get new episodes automatically, or visit our new podcast archive to check for new episodes if you prefer to listen on-site.

Recent guests have included Badwater winner Harvey Lewis, Micah Risk from the cover of the October Runner’s World, Christy Morgan (the Blissful and Fit Chef), and #vegrunchat founder Brandon Frye. NMA Radio is back; give it a listen!

Running groups: Here we go, the real reason for so few posts recently! (Also the reason my kids have mostly forgotten what I look like.) But all the time it’s taken is worth it, because seeing these groups get started makes me happier than anything else I’ve ever done with No Meat Athlete.

I plan on writing a blog post soon to highlight what these amazing, plant-based running groups are up to, but for now, know that there are 70 (!) of them across the U.S. and the world, and many have already held their first group runs (followed by some vegan eats and drinks, of course).

Here’s a shot of last night’s inaugural Austin, TX run, organized by fearless leader Jonathan Garner:

nma austin

If you live in or near a big city, chances are there’s an NMA group there — and if not, I put together a manual to help you start one. Check out our listing of groups and join yours here!

And now, some stuff that’s in the works …

Join Me on the 2015 Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be a special guest on the 2015 Holistic Holiday at Sea, better known as “the vegan cruise,” for 7 days from March 14th to 21st.

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‘Choosing Raw’ Review and an 80/10/10 Update

9780738216874 2scaledA few weeks ago, I published a podcast episode about my most recent diet experiment: 80/10/10, also known as fruitarian.

The diet is 100 percent raw and very low in fat (only 10 percent of calories), but I’ve made it slightly less extreme by eating cooked food for dinner most nights.

I’ve felt spectacular on modified 80/10/10, but after a month of giant salads, half-watermelon lunches, smoothies made from eight bananas, and more mangoes than I’ve ever eaten in my life, I’ve had to make further modifications, and the way I’m eating now only barely resembles true 80/10/10.

The problem? It has nothing to do with all the fruit — that’s actually been really fun. Instead, it’s my weight. Eating this way, I simply couldn’t keep it on, even with only moderate training (25-30 miles per week right now). I don’t keep close track of weight these days, but I know I lost a good eight pounds in the last month, maybe more. And considering I started around 140 lbs, that’s too much for me to lose.

The thing is, I’m not convinced the weight loss is unhealthy.

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