Believe me, that’s not easy, because with all the work that has gone into the book, it’s impossible not to be pretty amped up and emotional that it’s finally here.
The official release date is October 1st, just three weeks away. And a few days before that, I’ll be hopping in the car to start what has somehow turned into a nearly two-month long tour of the U.S. to support it. It seems things are about to get interesting.
Although I’ve mentioned the book here several times, I haven’t yet taken the time to explain who it’s for, what’s inside, and why I’m so proud of it. So that’s what I’m going to do today.
Oh yeah, and I’ve also got some amazing bonuses that I’ll send you when you pre-order before the official release on October 1st. And that’s not just marketing-speak — I really do think these bonuses are pretty darn special, and I think you’ll agree.
So here goes. If I get too deep into the self-gratification bit, punch me in the forehead.
The Big Risk I Took that Might Totally Backfire
Early on in the writing process, I made a decision that I knew could blow up in my face. But it’s a decision I stand by, and I want to share it with you.
In almost five years of blogging and writing, everything I’ve learned tells me you should write to a specific, small group of people — so that they can take one look and say, “This is for me.”
What you aren’t supposed to do is try to please different groups of people: as the maxim goes, if you’re writing to everybody, you’re writing to nobody.
So the safe, easy thing would have been to write this book only for the No Meat Athlete audience, people who are already on board. Assume everyone is already vegetarian or vegan, and help them to take their nutrition to the next level. Assume everyone is already active and fit and has no trouble getting themselves out the door to train, and help them maximize their performance.
I could have done that, and I think the book would have done pretty well. But at the end of the day, if I’d have narrowed the aim that way, I would have had to live every day knowing that I took the easy way out. Instead of the one that really mattered.
So I had to ask myself what I want this book to do. And the answer was simple: I want it to change the world. (I should aim higher, I know.)
The only way I’d be happy with the months upon months of work that went into this would be if I knew that it was advancing our plant-based movement in a big way, and reaching people whose health depends on it.
I wrote this book with three goals:
1. I want to show athletes who aren’t yet vegetarian — but who are just curious enough that the title of the book intrigues them to pick it up — that this diet can absolutely work for sports. And that there’s a very good chance they’ll find it helps them to perform better, like it did for me.
2. I want to help people who are already vegetarian/vegan/raw, but not active, to get in shape and discover the tremendous power in doing something they used to think impossible — whether that’s losing weight, running a half marathon, or something way bigger. And in the process, to help obliterate the stereotype that vegetarians are weak and preachy.
3. I want to give people who are already plant-based, already athletes, more tools to take both pursuits to the next level. I don’t pretend to have all the answers — certainly there are people in the audience who are stricter and more serious about nutrition than I am, just like I write to faster runners and more accomplished athletes in the No Meat Athlete audience. But — and this is absolutely key — writing “for” so many people involves making a big bet. And that’s a bet that those people in the third group (you, very likely) will help the book reach those in the first two groups, those who need it.
In short: If you’re a reader of my blog, then yes, of course it’s for you. Chances are you’ve found something in my approach that you like — maybe the simplicity, maybe my honesty, maybe the non-preachiness and down-to-earth-itude — and I can promise you that the book has all of those elements.
But you’ll probably also find some parts that aren’t quite for you. If you’re already vegan, you won’t need the “Transition to a Plant-Based Diet” page, but you’ll probably learn a lot from the sports nutrition chapter and enjoy the 50 simple vegan recipes. If you’re already a half marathoner, you won’t need the “Run Your First 5K” plan, but the half marathon plan might help you improve on your PR (or see below, for how you can get a marathon plan too).
The bet I’m making, though, is that you won’t let that stop you from supporting this project — because you understand that this is also about introducing new to people to this incredible, healthy, compassionate, sustainable way of life.
Rest assured, I’m not asking you to “buy this book for the cause,” I promise. There’s a ton of good content inside (you can see what some people you’ve probably heard of have said about it here), and I want to add even more, for you. Which brings me to the fun part of this post — how I’m going to make sure that even if you’re advanced in both your diet and your fitness, this still feels like it’s “for you.”
Special Bonuses for Pre-Orders …
So here’s the deal. Pre-orders are very important for getting bookstores to stock the book. But they’re also likely to come from the diehard fans, which means this is an opportunity for me to say “thanks” in a big way. So I want to make it an absolute no-brainer.
If you order the book before the official release date of October 1st (from any store you want), just forward me a copy of your receipt ([email protected]) and I’ll set you up with what I think is a pretty sweet bonus package.
Here’s what you’ll get:
- Private access to a series of 3 live webinars with me, where we’ll go deeper into the key areas of the book. The first one will be about habit change and setting big goals, the second one about plant-based nutrition, and the third about fitness and running. And I’ll leave plenty of time for your questions, so that you can ask me anything you want and get an answer right away.
- New, unreleased “Formulas” recipe ebook — a brand new ebook with 10 formula recipes, in the style of the Perfect Smoothie Formula, the Ultimate Energy Bar Formula, and the Veggie Burger Formula.
- Ebook of the best cut material that couldn’t fit into the No Meat Athlete book — including 25 recipes and an entire chapter on making the plant-based diet fit your lifestyle that had to be cut at the last minute, to fit this thing into 256 pages.
- Nutrition call with co-author Matt Ruscigno, MPH RD — a brand new, unreleased MP3 audio call between me and co-author Matt Ruscigno, where we really drive home the most important aspects about plant-based nutrition for sports, in more detail than we could in the book.
- The 26.2-mile training plan from my Marathon Roadmap system — the plans in the No Meat Athlete book are for a 5K, 10K, and half marathon. But because I expect that many of you who read my blog are beyond that (or plan to be!), I want to also give you a marathon plan too.
- A signed, full-color book plate*, personalized with your name (or someone else’s, if you’re into that).
*What’s a book plate, you ask? Yeah, I just learned too. It’s a sticker, made just for this purpose, that I sign and personalize with your name, then mail out to you to stick in the front of the book. You know, if you want my dumb signature messing up a perfectly good book.
Again, all you’ve got to do to get all this for free is pre-order the book, before October 1, and email me a copy of your receipt. Then, as soon as everything is ready, I’ll get it out to you. I’m still pulling it all together, but I should have most of it ready by October 1st, when the book comes out.
And of course, if you’ve already pre-ordered (thanks!) this stuff is for you too. Just send along your receipt and I’ll get it all out to you as soon as it’s ready.
So that’s what I’ve got for you. I sincerely hope you’ll find all of this more than worth the 14 or 15 bucks the book costs — it’s a very special offer, and it’s a way to say thanks for all of your support.
(Yes, I know the cover is displaying weirdly on some of these sites right now. We’re waiting for that to be corrected in the next few days, but don’t worry, your book cover will look like the image in this post.)
Lots of people have had questions about the book, so this FAQ is my attempt to answer them. Not all of these Q’s are actually FA, but many are. And I thought the others would be helpful for you.
Q. How is this different from your Roadmap ebooks?
A. Back in the days before e-readers, people used to write sentences down on paper and bind them together in a beautiful, portable format, brilliant not just for its ability to capture a message that was long enough for the author to fully develop an idea, but for its shareability: You could hand it to a friend and say “check this out,” or sit it on a coffee table to lubricate awkward conversations when guests come over (or create them, depending on the guests!).
That’s what this is. It’s a book.
I kid, I kid — and yes, it’ll be available as an ebook — but personally, I think it’s best as a real, physical book. Why? First, because training plans and recipes aren’t always so easy to read and use when they’re in electronic format. And second, the inside covers are decorated with full-color photos of tons of people doing awesome things in No Meat Athlete shirts! Which I like because it makes it more obvious that this whole thing isn’t about me, it’s about us.
And the other obvious difference: my Roadmap ebooks are designed to get you to achieve a specific goal, like running a half marathon or marathon on a plant-based diet. While training plans are a part of the book, I think of it as more of a lifestyle manual. The breadth is much greater than in the goal-focused Roadmap ebooks.
Q. Where can I read reviews of the book?
Most online stores won’t allow any user reviews until the book is actually out. But I set up a book page on this site, where I included the endorsements that are inside the actual book, from some pretty incredible people in the plant-based fitness and vegan cooking worlds. Read what they had to say here.
Q. Why does the cover look funky on some of these online stores?
Yeah … no idea. Something got screwed up when they uploaded the most recent version of the cover, and it’ll be fixed soon. Rest assured, the cover on your book will look like the image in this post.
Q. Who else contributed to the book?
A. I asked Matt Ruscigno to co-write the book with me. He’s a registered dietitian whose clients are primarily vegan athletes, and Matt R. is an accomplished ultra-endurance athlete himself. He has three times finished the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile bike race across Death Valley (once in the top 10!), as well as multiple iron-distance triathlons, ultramarathons, 24-hour and 100-mile mountain bike races … the list goes on.
More than all that though, the reason I asked Matt R. to help me with the book was for his nutrition chops. Besides holding a Masters degree in public health nutrition, he has been the Chair of the vegetarian arm of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and worked with Isa Chandra Moskowitz on her bestseller (and one of my family’s favorite cookbooks), Appetite for Reduction.
As much as I believe in my own understanding of nutrition, I wanted to work with a credentialed professional like Matt R., so that you could have confidence in the nutrition advice.
Plus his name is Matt, so you can pretend we’re the same guy who is way too into this stuff.
And a lot more people pitched in, too:
- Brendan Brazier wrote the foreword
- Leo Babauta from Zen Habits contributed a few sections about making habit changes stick and barefoot running
- USATF-certified coach Jason Fitzgerald from Strength Running helped with the 5K and 10K training plans
- Jason Sellers, the chef from my favorite gourmet vegan restaurant (Plant) shared recipes for several dishes on Plant’s menu
- Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw wrote a section about raw food nutrition
- Other pro and well-known plant-based athletes wrote short sections: Robert Cheeke, Hillary Biscay, Mike Zigomanis, Susan Lacke, Adam Chase, Ed Bauer, Erika Mitchener, Sara Beth Russert, and Meredith Murphy
- Several amazing NMA readers contributed their inspiring stories of change
I am, of course, humbled and grateful for all the help and to be able to mention these names.
Q. What’s the book about?
A. The book is divided into two sections, the first devoted to plant-based nutrition for athletes, and the second devoted to running and fitness. Throughout both sections, my mission was the same: present my approach to this entire lifestyle, grounding in simplicity, non-judginess, and — really — fun. All with the foundation of habit change principles to make sure that these changes are easy to make and that they last.
The nutrition section includes chapters about why I think a plant-based diet is the best one for your health, the planet, and the animals we share it with; a quick-start guide to this lifestyle, an in-depth guide to sports nutrition with a plant-based diet, cooking advice, and 50 delicious, healthy, substantial and simple recipes.
The fitness section is presented in the context of running, since that’s what I know, but my hope in writing it was that you could apply the principles — goal-setting, habit formation, what to eat around workouts, and the general approach to the training — to other sports. But when it gets into specifics — form and precise workouts — those specifics are about running. This includes a training plan for 5K and 10K distance, plus two half marathon training plans for different goals and levels of experience.
Q. Is this a cookbook?
A. Only partly. There are over 50 recipes in the book, all vegan, most of which have not been published anywhere else. They’re the recipes that I actually eat, day in and day out, plus a few recipes that some pro plant-based chefs contributed.
I chose the recipes I did because they are simple, healthy, and substantial. I wanted food that people would actually make and enjoy, and be comfortable cooking for friends who aren’t vegetarian or vegan, without them seeming weird. I went for healthy, but not so “health-foody” that your family won’t eat it.
In a past life I was a total food nerd, so I do my best to make my food delicious, but that actually isn’t my main point. My goal in choosing recipes was to select the ones that are most useful for busy, active people, who want to eat well without making a tremendous ordeal of it.
Q. What’s this I hear about a book tour?
A. It’s true! I am doing a book tour during October and November, across the entire contiguous United States. It’s totally DIY and self-financed, and I hope that demonstrates to you just how much this book means to me. Plus I think it’ll be pretty fun to run with and talk to lots of NMA readers.
I’d love to meet you in person if you live anywhere near where I’m coming. I’ll publish the full schedule in just a day or two.
Q. Will there be an ebook? And if I pre-order that, will I still get the bonuses?
A. Yes, and yes. The ebook is not yet available for pre-order, but once it is, the bonus offer is good for that version too. You need to order before October 1 though!
Q. If I pre-order the physical book, when will I get it?
A. The official release date is October 1st, so you should have it within a few days of then, at the latest. I’ll have most of the bonuses ready by then, too, but some, like the webinars, will take place in the subsequent months. I’ll email you with the webinar schedule as soon as I know it.
Q. Will the bonus webinars be recorded?
A. Yes. If not by me, then certainly by the NSA. (Okay, seriously, by me.)
Q. How do I get all that pre-order stuff again? (Okay, you got me. Nobody has actually asked this, since I just announced the pre-order deal.)
A. Just forward me a copy of your receipt, at [email protected] I’m putting together everything right now, and I expect to send most of the bonuses by the release date of the book, October 1st.
Q. Where can I pre-order?
A. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Indiebound, Qbookshop or your local independent store. Most should be able to do it. And if you’re in a country besides the U.S., these places, including local stores, should be able to help you get a copy.
Thanks. Again. For your support and your attention over all this time, which means the world to me.