The Step-by-Step Guide to Finally Making a Plant-Based Diet Last

This is a guest post by Luke Jones, a plant-based blogger at Health Room.

I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for a few years now, and that change was the catalyst for a whole load of other positive changes in my life which have made me a healthier, happier human being.

Eating this way is now second nature, but it didn’t come easy at first. More than once, I nearly gave in to temptations and went back to my old habits.

I’m not alone in this regard: adopting a plant-based diet and making it last is easier said than done.

If you don’t currently eat a plant-based diet, it’s likely you’ve tried in the past, only to fall short and end up back where you started, feeling like you’ll never have the willpower to bring about lasting changes.

In that case, I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret. Here it is:

Changing your diet and maintaining it isn’t about willpower. Instead, it’s about taking the right approach.

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Check in from the Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise!

Sadly, today is our last full day on the weeklong Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise.

And while that’s a shame, I’ll be leaving with a distinctly different feeling than I’ve ever had at the end of other cruises I’ve been on — namely, a renewed sense of enthusiasm for this diet and lifestyle.

Oh, I’ve been motivated to eat and live better by cruises in the past — but that motivation is always of the rock-bottom, “I can’t believe I ate and drank that much” variety. This time, it’s an inspired, enlightened motivation, owing to dozens of talks and classes from amazing lineup of speakers, and a menu much lower in oil than what we usually eat at home. Not to mention being surrounded by 1800 other people as passionate about all of this as I am.

Don’t get me wrong; we’ve done plenty of “normal” cruise stuff this week too. The massages (hot stones!), the beaches, the pina coladas, the gambling, the devouring of all five courses at dinner when three would have done just fine.

But all that has been balanced by the packed schedule of health content on the ship: my wife and I have attended talks by T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Michael Greger, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Robert Cheeke, and Chef AJ, to name just a very few. We’ve gone to yoga, pilates, meditation, and Qi Gong classes most every day, and still found time to relax and just be.

And none of this is to speak of what we’ve done off the boat — finding an off-the-beaten-path vegan Rastafarian restaurant in Jamaica that served just one dish, relaxing at a beach in the Cayman Islands with water so clear you could see your feet at any depth, and renting scooters in Cozumel to go to another secluded beach. Today, we’re in the Bahamas, and tomorrow we’ll round out the trip with the NMA Miami running group for a few meals and a run before heading back to Asheville.

And when I get back, I’ll have some changes to make. New books to read. Blog posts to write. Podcasts to record. And lots of thinking to do. This cruise has been exactly the refresher I needed, and I hope I succeed in capturing some of that here over the next few weeks.

Longer recap coming when I get back!

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The Frictionless Kitchen: 19 Ways to Lessen Your Resistance to Healthy Eating this Year

As I wrote in my last post, good eating habits aren’t about willpower. Willpower runs out.

Instead, if you want your healthy lifestyle to last, the secret is to remove the friction. Friction?

The time required to plan, shop for, and prepare your meals. The cost. Or simply that you just don’t like the way the food you should eat tastes — at least, compared to what you’re used to eating.

Earlier this week I examined a shopping trip and explained how each purchase helps my family eat healthily, without having to rely on willpower. It seems like a lot of people found that helpful, so today I’m taking it a step further — 19 tricks, rules, and tips we rely on to minimize the friction in the kitchen. Here goes.

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How to Put Healthy Eating on Autopilot this Year

This post is the introduction to a series of six posts (one per week) that I’m doing in partnership with Whole Foods and Garmin to start the year. As compensation, I received Whole Foods gift cards and a Garmin vívofit, both of which I’m using to create the content for this series.

(I’ve also got a $100 Whole Foods gift card and another Garmin vívofit to giveaway to a few lucky readers. I’ll include the details for entering in a later post.)

Over the past year or two, I’ve thought a lot about how we’re eating when we’re doing it “right,” versus the odd week — or sometimes, month — now and then when we get off track. Mainly, I mean those times when life with two young kids gets busy and we fall out of the smoothie routine, skip the big salad each day, and order takeout way more than we should.

And what I’ve determined is that it’s never a matter of willpower. Instead, it’s entirely about preparation.

To kick off the year, I thought it would make for a fun post if I did a big Whole Foods trip with the express purpose of buying those staples that make such a big difference in which version of our diet shows up — the foods that essentially put healthy eating on autopilot for us.

So that’s what I did last night, and below I’ll explain how we use each food to grease the wheels in our kitchen.

First, here’s the haul:

groceries

I bought two or three of a lot of the things shown here — the point, after all, was to stock up — but couldn’t fit them all in the photo.

And here’s how each food makes healthy vegan eating (at least, the Frazier household version of it) easy. Unless otherwise noted, almost all of these foods are Whole Foods brand. And they’re mostly organic, but not always.

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The No Meat Athlete Holiday Gift Guide to Stuff You Actually Need (and None of the Crap You Don’t)

Oh, it’s that special time of year. I know it’s not exactly fashionable to embrace the fact that Christmas comes earlier every year, but I’ll happily admit that I love it.

I’m a nut for this season. I like getting and giving, drinking a few extra Christmas ales, listening to crappy holiday albums (Taylor Swift’s Christmas is E.P. is downright sick) and, of course, watching made-for-ABC-Family holiday movies — my favorite is Holiday in Handcuffs, with Desperately Seeking a Santa a recently discovered close runner-up. (Pro tip: you can identify a holiday movie buff when they refer to Home Alone as “Home Alone 1,” which tells you that the sequels haven’t dropped off their radar.)

In the spirit of the holidays and rampant consumerism (come on, it’s fun!), Doug and I put together a special podcast-and-blog-post version of the NMA Holiday Gift Guide.

For the full experience, where we go into all the “whys” of our gift guide, listen to this 47-minute Black Friday edition of the NMA podcast at the end of this post. But if you’re in a hurry and don’t like listening to two idiots blabber on about why all this stuff is great, well, we’ve got you covered there, too — just check out the categorized list below to see our picks for the 2014 holiday season.

And for yourself …

bundle-page-imageGift guides are great when it comes to shopping for others, but let’s be honest — they’re really for you, right?

So if you’re looking for something to reward yourself (in a way that’s a pretty darn good investment for your health and happiness), don’t miss the incredible No Meat Athlete Plant-Based Fitness Bundle. It’s one-time-only collection of 23 plant-based fitness, cooking, meal planning, and productivity guides, including:

  • All the NMA Roadmaps (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, and Triathlon) and Wake Up, my 31-day goal-setting and personal development program
  • Rich Roll’s Jai Lifestyle meditation guide and Jai Seed cookbook
  • 3 months of meal plans from Yum Universe author Heather Crosby
  • The all-new Run Your BQ Essentials program
  • NMA Radio co-host Doug Hay’s guide to your first ultramarathon
  • More guides from vegan superstars Christy Morgan, Nicole Antoinette, Jeff Sanders, and many more!

All of these guides together would normally cost you $539.35, but now through Wednesday morning, you can save over 82% on this bundle of plant-based goodness — so check out all the details here. (Oh and PS — 5 percent of every bundle sale goes directly to Farm Sanctuary, our favorite animal-friendly charity.)

Listen to the audio version of NMA Gift Guide

Click the button below to start listening right now:

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Or:

If you’re a fan of NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Running

Altra Running Shoes

Gear

Kitchen/Food Essentials

Health & Wellness

Mental

Trips (for you and that someone you really like)

A little something for you

Check out the No Meat Athlete Plant-Based Fitness Bundle (available only until 10am Eastern time on Wednesday, December 3rd)!

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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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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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7 Days of Camping, Running, and Raw Food at the Woodstock Fruit Festival

WFF 2013-9017It was a few years ago when I first heard about the Woodstock Fruit Festival, a week-long event (back then) put on by ultrarunner and Fruitarian Michael Arnstein.

Camping, swimming, running, hiking, games, bonfires, demos and talks — the most notable of which, for me, have been Mike’s ultrarunning talks that I watched on YouTube. Part 1 and part 2 were instrumental in my preparation for my 100-miler last summer.

And of course, for seven full days, all the raw fruits and vegetables you could possibly want … but no cooked food.

That’s where I got stuck. I worried I wouldn’t fit in — that because I eat a lot of cooked food, I’d be the odd man out, and spend all week defending my choices, even as a vegan.

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