200 Episodes: Looking Back and at What’s to Come

black painted wood

Over 200 episodes! Can you believe it?

What started as an experiment back in October 2011 has grown into something I don’t think any of us could have predicted. The podcast is a way for us to share our ideas and connect listeners with experts in the plant-based world. We’re a Tribea communityand we have a pretty freak’n good time each week.

Today we look back at the most popular episodes of all time, and share a little insight about what’s to come in the next 100.

We laugh. We cry. We party like there’s no tomorrow (eh, I wouldn’t go that far…).

Enjoy.

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If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

 

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Fueling Your Run with Whole Foods: Does it Work?

Many plant-based athletes face a rather tough dilemma during endurance efforts:

Do we fuel our runs and races with the clean, whole plant-based foods, which we can rely on to go down easy and sound appealing?

Or should we utilize the processed, artificially flavored, lab crafted goos and gummies engineered specifically for performance?

And more importantly, are we placing ourselves at a disadvantage if we don’t rely on energy products?

As the world of endurance sports has exploded over the past few decades, so too has the market for sports fueling products. But the draw to fuel with natural, simple foods will always remain.

So how you do decide which path to take, and whether or not to treat racing any differently than training?

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Small Steps, Cold Showers, and Conscious Parenting with Sid Garza-Hillman

Young family running

Thumb through just about any parenting book, and you’ll find nearly every chapter focuses on the child.

But that’s the wrong approach, according to friend of NMA Radio Sid Garza-Hillman. Sid believes that building a thriving, healthy family starts with a thriving, healthy parent.

In today’s episode, we sit down with Sid to discuss his brand new book Raising Healthy Parents, and why a vegan nutritionist felt called to write a parenting book.

Oh, and because it’s Sid, we also talk about cold showers, small steps, and counting your breaths. Love that guy.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • What most parenting books are missing.
  • The health component of parenting.
  • Struggling in front of your children.
  • How to recenter before arriving home from work.
  • Why Sid sits in a cold river.

Click the button below to listen now:

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Join the Tribe and support No Meat Athlete Radio.

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

 

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How Will Clean Meat Impact the Vegan Movement?

Healthy vegan burgers with beets, carrots, spinach, arugula, cuc

Between the current advances in plant-based meat alternatives and the innovations taking place in the “clean meat” industry, the food landscape as we know it could change dramatically over the next several years.

How will these changes impact our understanding of what meat is, and will that affect the vegan movement?

We sit down with Jackson Long and Aaron Stuber of Thought For Food Lifestyle and the TFF podcast to discuss.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • What is “clean meat”?
  • Plant-based food technology and how it’s blowing up.
  • The problem with “fake meat.”
  • Why veganism may one day become irrelevant.
  • Science! It’s important.

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If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

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Protein and the Vegan Athlete: All You Really Need to Know

Homemade Quinoa Tofu Bowl

Can you be a plant-based athlete and still meet your protein needs?

Unless you’ve been living in some magical No Meat Athlete bubble we don’t know about, you’re probably no stranger to this question.

And luckily, neither is science.

For a long time, athletes, coaches, and trainers alike have worried that vegan and vegetarian diets may not be sufficient to support the nutritional requirements and performance goals of athletes. They wonder if animal products are necessary to perform at one’s highest level.

I’m happy to report, the research says otherwise. And that there’s an easier way to think about how (and where) you get your protein on a plant-based diet.

But before we get into the details, let’s take a step back:

What the Heck is Protein Anyway?

Your body contains thousands of different proteins that serve different functions, all made from amino acids. It’s the arrangement of these amino acids that determines the type and function of a protein.

There are 20 different amino acids that combine to form proteins, and although your body requires all of them, you only have the ability to make 11 of them. These are termed non-essential amino acids.

The other nine—those you can’t make—are termed essential amino acids, and must be obtained from the diet.

While it is true that all animal-source foods (meat, dairy, and eggs) contain all essential amino acids, they can also be obtained by eating a variety of plant foods.

Proteins containing all nine essential amino acids can be used immediately by the body. If a protein is low in one or more of the essential amino acids, the availability of the protein is limited until the body can complete it. Which brings us to… wait for it…

Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins (The Old Way of Thinking)

More often than not, when you hear someone talking about getting enough protein, they refer to something called “complete” protein.

The notion of complete vs. incomplete protein was popularized in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappé. Lappé said that plant foods are an incomplete protein because they’re deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Thus, being a healthy vegetarian would mean that you need to combine plant proteins at each meal to get a “complete” protein.

This led to the impression that plant proteins are completely devoid of at least one essential amino acid.

Nope. False.

All plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid. Did you get that? All of them.

While certain (quite delicious, I might add) foods—like quinoa, chia, buckwheat, and soy—contain all nine essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts, other plant proteins have a lower amount of at least one essential amino acid.

But that’s not a problem because your body does the work of making complete proteins for you.

All you have to do is rub your belly three times, wiggle your nose, and count to ten…

Only kidding. It’s actually way cooler than that.

Your body creates a “pool” of amino acids from the food you eat throughout the day. So, if you eat oats in the morning, a salad at lunch, and legumes for dinner, your body will pool together all the essential amino acids from these foods and use them as needed to make proteins.

This means you don’t have to worry about getting all the essential amino acids at any given meal. As long as you are eating an assortment of plant foods over the course of a day, your body will take care of the rest.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Lysine: The Limiting Amino Acid in Vegan Diets

Alright, so there is one thing in particular we vegans need to consider more than others.

Lysine (very different than Lysol… do not consume that).

Lysine is an essential amino acid that plays an important role in producing carnitine—a nutrient that helps convert fatty acids into energy and helps lower cholesterol, and it also helps produce collagen—a fibrous protein found in bone, cartilage, and skin. Lysine is considered a limiting amino acid because plant foods generally only contain a small amount of it.

The Recommended Daily Allowance of lysine is 38 mg per kg (1 kg = 2.2 lbs) of body weight. So, if you weigh 132 lbs (60 kg), you would need 2,280 mg of lysine. (Update: Calculation corrected)

Some vegan nutritionists argue that meeting your daily lysine need is more important than meeting your overall daily protein need.

By focusing only on the amount of protein in food, you might hit a huge number of one thing, but totally miss the mark on something else. If you aim instead for your daily lysine requirements, you’ll almost certainly meet your overall protein requirements as a result.

Foods richest in lysine are tempeh, seitan, lentils, and tofu. Amaranth, quinoa, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds are also good sources. Here’s a chart that breaks down the amounts of these high lysine foods:

FoodServingLysine (mg)
Tempeh1/2 cup754
Seitan3 oz656
Lentils1/2 cup624
Tofu1/2 cup582
Amaranth1 cup515
Quinoa 1 cup442
Pistachios1/4 cup367
Pumpkin seeds1/4 cup360

mixed dried beans

Okay, So How Much Protein Do I Actually Need?

Protein and amino acid needs are the same for women as for men, and the amount is based on body weight in kg. For the general adult population (ages 19-59 years), the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg/day. That means if you weigh 60 kg (132 lbs), you would need 48 g of protein per day.

Put into practice? One cup of cooked oatmeal contains about 6 g of protein, add a tablespoon of peanut butter (4 g of protein) and ½ cup of soy milk (4 g protein) and you are up to 14 grams of protein at breakfast, which would be almost 30% of your daily requirement.

For athletes, however, it is a little different:

In a 2009 joint position paper on nutrition and athletic performance, the American College of Sport Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada recommended a higher protein intake for athletes. They said that:

  • Endurance athletes require a protein intake of 1.2-1.4 g/kg/day.
  • Strength athletes require a protein intake of 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day.
  • Vegetarian athletes should increase their protein intake by 10% because plant proteins are less well-digested than animal proteins. Intake should be 1.3-1.8 g/kg/day.

Update: This study has since been updated and now suggests a slightly higher amount of protein for athletes. Find more information here.

In other words, if you’re a vegan endurance athlete who weighs 60 kg (132 lbs), you need roughly 78-108 g of protein per day. Or about 40% more than non-vegan, non-athletes.

That might sound hard to do on a vegan diet, but let’s look at a few examples to see just how easy it is.

At first glance, that may seem difficult to do on a vegan diet, but don’t despair! It’s not as hard as you might think.

A Day in the Life

So far, this has been a lot of science and numbers. And while we all love science, sometimes it’s easier to just see examples. So, let’s put this all into perspective and look at sample menus for two vegan athletes:

Troy

Troy is 5’10” and weighs 155 lbs (70.3 kg). He’s training to run the Boston Marathon.

His protein requirement is: 70.3 kg x 1.3 g PRO = 91 g/day

His lysine requirement is: 70.3 kg x 38 mg = 2,671 mg/day

Here is a sample menu showing how easy it is for Troy to meet his protein (including lysine) needs.

MealFoodProteinLysine
Breakfast2 slices whole grain bread7.3 g93 mg
2 Tbsp peanut butter8.0 g290 mg
8 oz soy milk9.2 g439 mg
Banana1.3 g59 mg
Snack1/2 cup hummus4.0 g291 mg
2 lavash crackers4.0 g 144 mg
1 cup veggie sticks1.3 g102 mg
Lunch1 cup vegetarian baked beans12.0 g488 mg
Medium baked potato4.3 g263 mg
1 cup broccoli3.6 g234 mg
SnackOrange1.2 g62 mg
1/3 cup pistachios8.2 g489 mg
Dinner5 oz firm tofu12.0 g651 mg
1 cup quinoa8.1 g442 mg
1/2 cup peas3.9 g463 mg
1/2 cup corn2.3 g272 mg
Snack1/4 cup dry roasted chickpeas3.6 g243 mg
1 cup strawberries1.0 g37 mg
TOTAL95.3 g5,062 mg

Boom. Troy nailed it.

Sarah

Sarah is 5’2” and weighs 125 lbs (56.8 kg). She’s a power lifter.

Her protein requirement is: 56.8 kg x 1.6 g PRO = 91 g/day

Her lysine requirement is: 56.8 kg x 38 mg = 2,158 mg/day

Here is a sample menu showing how easy it is for Sarah to meet her protein (including lysine) needs.

MealFoodProteinLysine
Breakfast3/4 cup steel cut oats7.5 g501 mg
1 Tbsp chia seeds2.0 g150 mg
1 Tbsp cocoa nibs1.0 g70 mg
Kiwi fruit1.1 g200 mg
Snack6 oz soy yogurt6.0 g439 mg
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds6.6 g270 mg
LunchMedium whole grain bagel10.0 g186 mg
2 Tbsp peanut butter8.0 g290 mg
8 oz soy milk9.2 g439 mg
Snack1/3 cup roasted soybeans22.6 g427 mg
Orange1.2 g62 mg
Dinner1 cup cooked amaranth9.3 g515 mg
1/2 cup black beans7.6 g523 mg
1/2 cup lentils8.9 g624 mg
1/2 cup cooked spinach3.0 g 115 mg
TOTAL104 g4,811 mg

As you can see, Sarah had no trouble hitting her lysine goals for the day.

Looking deeper at these two examples, you’ll notice they both include a well-rounded mix of:

  • Fruits,
  • Veggies,
  • Legumes, and
  • Nuts.

And they don’t include any:

  • Protein powders,
  • Fake meats, or
  • Crazy mega protein meals.

See, it’s really not hard to hit your dietary requirements as a plant-based athlete, even without resorting to processed foods and protein powders as so many athletes assume you need to.

Let’s Put the Protein Myth to Rest

The idea that plant sources are insufficient to meet protein requirements is an outdated myth. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports the notion that an appropriately planned vegan or vegetarian diet can meet the energy and macronutrient needs (including protein) of athletes.

But the key words here are appropriately planned. Meeting your protein needs as a vegan athlete isn’t rocket science, but it may take a little effort or at least forethought.

  • Eat a variety of foods throughout the day.
  • Include high-lysine foods when possible.
  • Know roughly how many grams you need and plan accordingly.

While the protein question may never go away completely, at least you know you can be healthy and reach your goals.

And now you know the science to prove it.

About the Author: Stephanie MacNeill, is an aspiring registered dietitian, currently completing her MHSc in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University in Toronto, and is interning with Pamela Fergusson, RD, PhD. Stephanie is a competitive runner, having competed in many local, provincial, and national championships races ranging in distance from the 3000m all the way up to the half marathon.

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Are Vegan Documentaries Good for the Movement?

Herd of cows grazing on a farmland in Devon, England

Over the past few years, our Netflix feeds have seen several high-profile documentaries designed to push the vegan movement. They promote the health, environmental, and animal rights benefits in a way books and articles simply can’t.

But many of these documentaries have also sparked blow-back both online and off. So it begs the question:

Are vegan documentaries good for the movement?

The answer is a bit more complicated than we thought…

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The What the Health controversy.
  • Is video the most powerful medium?
  • NFL players going vegan.
  • Vegan documentaries made just for vegans.
  • What Forks Over Knives did right.

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17 Things We Wish We Knew Before Running Our First Ultramarathons

Trailrunning through a forest at beautiful sunshine

Thinking about running your first ultramarathon? You won’t regret it, we promise. But…

There are a few things you should probably know first. Actually, there are 17 things.

In this week’s episode, Matt and I think back on what it was like training for our first ultramarathonsthe hangups and frustrations, and the advice that could have saved us many headaches.

And we’re sharing this with the hope that you don’t make some of the same mistakes we did.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Switching from roads to trails.
  • The long training run.
  • Does running an ultra make you a worse runner?
  • Focusing on the downhills (and learning how to walk).
  • The beautiful curse of finishing your first ultramarathon.

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