My Rules for Navigating Vegan Life in a Non-Vegan World

shutterstock 123875626 300x287A few months ago, fitness writer Craig Ballantyne wrote a post for Zen Habits called 12 Rules to Live By that I really liked.

I was inspired: just as Craig intended, his list made me examine about my own life rules, borrowing from his where I found them useful. The point was not to say, You should follow these rules too, but rather:

These are my rules. Have you thought about yours?

As an exercise, I put together my own, narrower list, just around the topic of veganism (distinct from healthy eating, for which I have another list). I’ve gotten here gradually over the course of about six years, beginning with the day I decided I was going to cut just the red meat out of my diet — and that was a big deal! So it’s interesting for me to look at the rules I now eat (and live) by, many of which didn’t form consciously but instead resulted from habit, grooves that just kept wearing deeper over time.

Like Craig with his list, I have no intention of this being a “here’s what you should do” post. Nor is it final or comprehensive — I’m still progressing, still figuring out how I want to eat and what I want to be my “policies” as they relate to food.

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Google Reader Users: Find an Alternative Way to Get NMA Posts (Before July 1!)

Kind of a weird post, since usually I prefer to handle housekeeping issues with social media or email. But this one’s important if you read No Meat Athlete and other blogs via Google Reader.

Google Reader officially goes away on July 1. That’s this coming Monday, just a few days from now.

Which means if you want to keep having No Meat Athlete posts delivered to you, without having to remember to come visit the blog, you’ll need to choose a new way to do it.

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15 Fabulous No Meat Athlete Shirt Photos

Well, spring race season is in full swing, and that means bombard-the-NMA-Facebook-page-with-your-shirt-photos season is too!

It’s been a while since I put up a collection of my favorites, so … here goes! The best ones we’ve gotten since the beginning of the year (as judged by me, based mainly on factors like coolness, absurdity, and general running-carrotness).


NMA All-Stars

Gregg and Kellie, proud finishers of their first ultramarathon, the 50K Trail Mix Ultra in Minnesota. Yep, that’s snow.

gregg and kelly

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A 30-Day Juicing Challenge (+ 3 Favorite Juice Recipes)

Note: This post was written by Doug Hay, who blogs at Rock Creek Runner (and co-hosts the NMA podcast!).

juicer imageIt all started with a documentary.

We were flipping through Netflix looking for a post-dinner movie when my fiancée Katie landed on Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

As tends to happen after a good documentary, I was immediately convinced. I knew everything about juicing and had to do it immediately or I might very well die. Before the credits rolled, we were looking up juicer options and trying to fit the purchase into our budget.

As if the Juicing Gods were smiling down on our household, the No Meat Athlete inbox received an email from the good people at Lifestyle Products Group asking if we wanted to test out their new product, the NutriPro Juicer.

Just like that, a challenge was born.

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The 17 Weirdest Things I Do Now That I’m Vegan

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

-Dr. Seuss


The cover of We Are All Weird, by Seth Godin. Good book.

Let’s face it. Being vegan (or even vegetarian) is pretty weird.

But that’s okay — weird is the new cool. It’s also the new normal, according to Seth Godin (whose post I borrowed the Dr. Seuss quote from).

It seems weird begets weird, though, because in the two years my family has been vegan, bit by bit we’ve gone a little nuts-o in our other habits — many of which have nothing to do with veganism.

And yet, in a way, they’re all tied back to that fundamental choice to be different from 98 percent of the rest of the world in our food choices. Being weird, I’ve found, is not just fun; it’s addictive.

And so — since my brain is fried from book writing and moving and NYC-Vegetarian-FoodFest-ing — I figured I’d write a fun post today about the kinky things we do since going vegan.

1. Live microwave-free. I thought I could never give up my microwave, but it turns out it was a lot like going vegan — I used it less and less over time as it became less appealing, and eventually it was just a matter of making the decision to go all the way. It’s great — lots of counter space, one less big, ugly box in the kitchen, and food that feels better for us (whether it actually is or not, I’m not sure). It’s slightly more work to steam or bake or simmer our leftovers, but it’s work that is somehow joyful.

2. Hand-grind our coffee. More oddly joyful work. After reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef late last year, I got a hand-crank burr grinder and an Aeropress, and it’s the only way I’ve made coffee since. The combination not only makes the best coffee I’ve ever had; it’s also convenient enough to bring on a plane. I did have a bit of disaster when I spilled the grounds all over my lap on a flight home from San Diego, though. [FYI, links to Amazon here are affiliate links.]

3. Have a freezer full of broccoli stems and strawberry tops. Why? To feed to our Blendtec, of course. Might as well waste one less thing and get some more green in our smoothies. Speaking of which …

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Everyone Welcome (Even “Hipster Vegetarians”)

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Leslie, Cathy and Jon at the No Meat Athlete tent after Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona

“So … are you guys, like, real vegetarians? Or just the hipster kind?”

It was 5 AM on a Sunday morning and I hadn’t found a cup of coffee yet. It was far too early for this shit. I looked the stocky dude at the next-door tent up and down.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Well, you know how vegetarians are. You guys probably say you don’t eat meat, and then you go home and eat a whole steak but don’t tell anyone.”

“Well, I don’t know about that, but …”

“Yeah, you just can’t resist bacon, right?” he interrupted.

I smiled politely and walked away in search of coffee.

I shared this story several times on Sunday, January 20, as I congregated with No Meat Athletes at our VIP tent at Rock & Roll Arizona. The response was always the same: an eye-roll and a chuckle of “oh, yeah, I’ve heard that before!”

To outside observers, our tent may have looked like any other team tent. There was a cooler full of water and juice, fruits and breakfast burritos on the table, and a lot of happy people in matching shirts. But for the 47 marathoners, half-marathoners, and mini-marathon finishers in No Meat Athlete shirts, it was something much more.

It was a community.

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Finally — NMA Women’s Tanktops, Cycling Jerseys, & More!

Hello from 24-hour lockdown! I’m in the thick of finishing up the No Meat Athlete book — the manuscript is due Friday, and it looks like the book is still on track to be released this fall. I’m excited; it has turned out really well and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Lots more details to come.

But as you can imagine, this final push to get it done has made it one of those weeks where I have no plans to change out of my pajamas except to run, and even then, certainly no time for a shower. And I’ve left the dogs in charge of babysitting our toddler. (I figured with two dogs for only one kid, that counts as acceptable parenting.)

Anyway, I wanted to quickly post three big pieces of news about the store before I get back to writing.

1. We Finally Have Women’s Tanktops!

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Tank you for waiting!

For the past three years, people have asked about women’s tanks just about every time we’ve mentioned No Meat Athlete shirts on Facebook. Well, we finally have them …

Right now, we’ve got extremely limited quantities of two different styles of tanktops. One is a really nifty-looking, racerback-style tank in charcoal color, and the other is a more traditional tank in the same colors (green with white sides) as the men’s version you may have seen.

We only have 5-15 of each size, so I don’t expect them to last past today. But we’re going to try out something new once they’re gone — a pre-order to make sure everyone gets what they want, as long as they order ahead of time. If your size is gone already, you can sign up here to be notified when we’re ready to take pre-orders for the tanks.

Oh yeah, and we’ve also added a black version of the men’s tank. I’m a fan, myself, but perhaps I’m just a tad biased.

2. Cycling Jersey Pre-Order!

nma jersey 300x148Another thing people ask about all the time is cycling jerseys. I’m actually nationally recognized as the country’s 4th or 5th worst cyclist, depending on who you ask, so I didn’t exactly have the fire under my arse that was necessary to get this done.

Thankfully, our lovable Susan Lacke did, and she helped design the shirts and make arrangements with Primal Cycling Apparel to have them print and handle the orders. (Okay, actually Susan did all of that. I didn’t help at all.)

The shirts look amazing, even to this non-cyclist. Without us making a cent on them, they cost 70 dollars from Primal (but people tell me that’s what cycling jerseys go for). If you’d like to get one, visit the Primal page, create your account, and then order before the deadline.

Mega-important note: This is a PRE-ORDER. That means there’s a firm deadline (Saturday, Jan. 26th, at 11:59 PM Eastern), and then it will take 10-12 weeks for the shirts to be printed and shipped. (That puts us in April.)

If it goes well, we’ll bring them back and do this again, but this your only chance to grab a No Meat Athlete cycling jersey for at least a few months. So if you want one, get it here, and before the end of the day on Saturday!

3. A Sale on Everything Else!

And last but not least, we finally got in the big shipment of stuff we’ve been waiting for ever since we ran out of just about everything during our Black Friday sale back in November.

So now through Monday, Jan. 28th, everything in the store, including ebooks like the Marathon Roadmap and the new Marathon Starter Kit (but excluding the new tanks), is marked at 15% off.

Why a sale? Because shirts went so fast in the Black Friday sale that a lot of people didn’t get a chance to take advantage of it before we ran out of everything, and I felt bad about that. So think of this as a make-up sale. And hey, sales are fun, plus it’s nice to get everyone all decked out in NMA stuff before spring race season starts!

Visit the store to take advantage of the sale before it ends on Monday!

Alright, that’s all from me. It’s back to writing, to get this book finished and out the door. 

See you soon! 



My Answers to 3 Questions about Protein, Avoiding Injury, and Vegan Cheese

A few months ago, I posted an interview with my friend Leo from Zen Habits, where we talked about creating healthy habits and his new fitness program, Simple Fitness Habit, which is unique in that it uses the principles of habit change to keep you on track.

As part of the program, each month one of the contributors (of which I’m one) does a live webinar, and another does a Q&A to answer questions submitted by members. This month was my turn for Q&A, and I figured it’d be useful to share some of those questions and my answers here. (Don’t worry, I got the okey-doke from Leo, so I won’t likely get kicked out for this.)

Hope you find my answers helpful!

Q: How much protein is REALLY necessary and what are the best vegan sources? I do find I work out better having eaten some type of meat than when I eat more vegetarian/vegan, but is that because my vegetarian meal is lacking something? Thanks!

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