Who’s that in the ‘Vegan’ Socks on the Cover of Runner’s World?

RW1014 COV 792x1024When Runner’s World redesigned their magazine starting with this month’s issue, their stated goal was to have the magazine fit better into every runner’s world.

I’ll go ahead and speak for our crowd on this one, and say they’ve already hit a home run — in the form of two knee-high socks boasting “VEGAN” right on the cover (not to mention another instance of “vegan” in reference to the recipes).

But it gets better. On page 23, there’s a full-page feature on Micah Risk, the cover model — a 29-year-old mom, November Project devotee, 3:18 marathoner (a BQ in her first 26.2!), and nutritionist at Lighter, a company she co-founded in Boston to help women take control of their diets, with a focus on real, plant-based food. Plus she’s got a PMA tattoo … not quite NMA, but just as good!

It seems to me that you couldn’t pick a better person than Micah to spread our message on a mainstream platform, and today I’m thrilled to present an interview with this intriguing, street-stylish woman on NMA Radio.

PS — Speaking of Runner’s World, I’ll be at next month’s Runner’s World Half and Festival in Bethlehem, PA, along with Doug Hay, author of Rock Creek Runner and co-host of our podcast. The last RW event (in Boston) was a blast, so you’d like to join us, the discount codes below will save you 15% on any (or all) of the races. Hope to meet you there!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Micah became a Runner’s World cover model
  • The power and community of the November Project
  • How Micah trained to run her Boston-qualifying first marathon
  • What to eat before, during, and after a long run
  • Micah’s goals as a plant-based nutritionist
  • Where she got those socks!

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My New Food Experiment: The 80/10/10 Fruitarian Diet

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Last week in the NMA newsletter, I promised to start publishing more frequent podcast episodes — and for the first time ever (I think), here’s our second episode within a week!

We’re shooting for 1-2 episodes per week now, and I may decide not to post all of them to the blog like this. So if you want to make sure you’re notified whenever there’s a new episode of NMA Radio, subscribe in iTunes. (And if you’d like to leave a nice review while you’re there, I’d really appreciate it.)

In this new episode, we talk a lot about fruit.

First, the Woodstock Fruit Festival, where last month my family spent a week camping and eating nothing but raw fruit and vegetables, and having a blast doing all the typical summer camp stuff surrounded by such amazing food. It’s put on each year by elite ultrarunner and fruitarian Michael Arnstein, and being able to hang out with him in person left me really inspired.

So much so that we took the diet home with us. Not quite 100 percent, but close — we’re eating fruitarian (also called 80/10/10, as in 80 percent carbs, 10 percent protein, 10 percent fat) until dinnertime each day, then a cooked meal for dinner most nights. (Our kids are still eating their normal diets all day, with just a little more fruit.)

We’re treating it as an experiment, and we’re not quite sure which way we’ll go: toward eating this way all day long (even dinner), or gradually back to our more typical (cooked) plant-based diet with slightly more focus on raw than before.

Whichever way it ends up, we’re having a lot of fun right now. Once we got over the “it’s weird to eat 3 mangoes for lunch, or make a smoothie out of 7 bananas and some water” thing, my wife and I started really looking forward to these simple “mono meals” (eating just one food until you’re full). And after three weeks of eating this way, we really feel great.

It’s way too early to say whether this diet works for us or not, but you’ll get a sense for my excitement in this new episode of the podcast.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The Woodstock Fruit Festival
  • Transitioning from cooked to raw fruitarian
  • Typical meals on the 80/10/10 diet
  • “Mono” meals — why eating just one food at a time might make sense
  • Why you often feel great a few weeks after changing your diet (no matter which type of diet)
  • Concerns about eating this way
  • Fruitarian before 4: the struggles and the rewards

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How to Do the Impossible, with Joel Runyon

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After graduating from college, Joel Runyon couldn’t get a job. Not at Starbucks, not at Caribou Coffee, not at Target. He also wasn’t an athlete, and had never run a 5K.

Just five years later, he’s actually spoken at the headquarters of Target, one of the very companies that wouldn’t hire him. He’s spoken at TEDx, done a half Ironman, run an ultramarathon, raised $25,000 to build a school in Guatemala, and traveled the world. Joel now doesn’t need a job, because he makes a living documenting his perpetual quest to do the impossible and helping tens of thousands of readers to the same.

And it all started with a list. Not a bucket list, but an Impossible List.

Next on the list: run 7 ultras on 7 different continents (ending with the Leadville 100) to raise money to build 7 schools. All in the next year.

Joel has been a friend of mine for about as long as I’ve written No Meat Athlete, and it was a pleasure to have him share his knowledge and inspiration for doing the impossible on this episode of NMA Radio.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Joel went from unemployed and living in his parents’ basement to doing the impossible
  • How an “Impossible” list differs from a “Bucket” list
  • The 777 Project: 7 ultramarathons on 7 continents to build 7 schools
  • Breaking through self-imposed limits to do the impossible
  • How running helps build the “do the impossible” muscle
  • Joel’s tips for going from non-runner to multiple ultramarathons in just 5 years

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Ray Cronise and the New ‘Food Triangle’

Podcast Radio2Ray Cronise, whom you’ll know from a previous podcast episode and from Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body (where Ray is the cold-stress fat-loss guy), is back — our first repeat guest on NMA Radio.

Why have Ray on again? Because in continuing his history of disruption — first in the aerospace industry and now in the field of nutrition — Ray has just published an academic paper that he and his co-authors believe lays the foundation for a revolution in nutrition science.

The paper is titled The Metabolic Winter Hypothesis, and you should download it here before you listen to the podcast.

It’s six pages long, and not difficult reading … but even if you don’t have time to read it all right now, at least take a look at the Food Triangle — a simple visual representation of Ray and his co-authors’ new approach to nutrition.

Among lots of implications for addressing the obesity epidemic, the food triangle explains how two diets so seemingly opposite as plant-based and Paleo have achieved such success at the same time.

If you’re ready to think differently about the way you eat, download the paper and give this episode a focused listen.

Here’s what we talk about:

  • The primary cause of obesity and chronic illness in our society
  • The impact of over-nourishment and the danger of nutrition in excess
  • Restricting calories to create longevity
  • Rethinking how we organize food
  • Why the plant-based diet isn’t the only way to lose weight … but can be one of the best
  • Why protein is not included in Ray’s new food triangle

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Running, Eating, Thinking: A Vegan Anthology

I’m proud to have contributed to a new book called Running, Eating, Thinking: A Vegan Anthology.

The backstory: Martin Rowe, president of Lantern Books (and a runner and vegan), noticed the ubiquity of vegan runners these days, and asked, why? Suspecting there was something to the phenomenon beyond simply the idea that a plant-based diet is beneficial for performance, he sought to pinpoint that something.

So he asked 15 of us to answer the question, “What does being a vegan runner mean to you?”, and Running, Eating, Thinking is the result. I’m not big on the word delightful, but to me, that’s what this compilation is. A perfect bridge between the ideological and the easier-to-approach health and environmental sides of this lifestyle — presented in a series of digestible, single-sitting essays.

Today I’m sharing an only-slightly edited version of the first draft of my original submission — which, it turns out, was not what they were looking for; they used my What It Means to Be a Runner post instead. This first attempt is a little all-over-the-place, but it was an interesting stretch for me, and I’m glad to have found an opportunity to show it the light of day.

Following the essay is a link to the latest episode of NMA Radio, where editor Martin Rowe was my guest. We had a great conversation about the new anthology and what exactly it is at the intersection of running and veganism that has helped so many people find joy.

Hope you like it. And I hope more than anything that this post, the podcast, and the book inspire you to think about what’s at the core of your own identity — and that somewhere, you’ll write or speak or sing your own version of what it means to be a vegan runner.

What Being a Vegan Runner Means to Me

It takes only one word, really: this lifestyle, to me, is a practice.

I use the word in the way it’s commonly employed in the context of meditation, yoga, philosophy, or even religion — where “practice” means an activity done for its own sake, something that is not at first pleasurable (and in fact is often quite difficult) but that is unquestionably worthwhile for the foundation of character that it builds. Worthwhile, ultimately, because it purifies the soul.

Many runners run for the joy of running. Many vegans, since coming to this diet, have discovered a love for food and cooking they didn’t know existed. But neither of these describes me.

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Dominating Your Day with Jeff Sanders of the 5 AM Miracle

Podcast Radio2I’ve written a lot about accountability and how it can help you achieve big goals.

From signing up for a race before you’re even close to ready, to paying someone 25 bucks every day you don’t write (done them both), I’m a huge believer that accountability is the difference between goals that get achieved and goals that get forgotten.

Jeff Sanders, host of the popular 5 AM Miracle podcast, is my personal accountability partner. Every Friday morning, we get on Skype for half an hour to talk about our plans for the coming week — and whether we made good on our commitments the previous week.

Jeff is into waking up early, productivity, and everything else you’d expect given his podcast name, but he also eats a high-raw vegan diet and is a many-time marathoner. A big part of Jeff’s approach to staying productive and creative is having the energy to do so — which, of course, comes from the diet and lifestyle. And that’s why I’m excited to introduce you to Jeff in this week’s episode of NMA Radio.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The drastic physical and mental changes Jeff noticed after going plant-based
  • What to do when your partner eats differently than you do
  • Why early morning hours can be your most productive
  • How to set productivity habits that stick
  • Motivation and the power of accountability

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PS — Good luck to co-host Doug in his first 100-miler, this weekend!

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What Do You Listen to While You Run?

Podcast Radio2Well, it’s that time. The No Meat Athlete Academy has been live for a full week now, and that means that today, the last day of April, is your final chance to lock in the special NMA reader/listener price for as long as you remain a member, before it goes up to the normal rate tomorrow.

Inside you’ll find four hours of seminar content and almost three hours of Q&A content already available with more being added every month, perfect for listening to during runs …

… which segues nicely/awkwardly into the topic of the newest NMA Radio episode: what we listen to while we run.

Both Doug and I big fans of wearing headphones during runs. But unlike a lot of runners, we listen to more than just music. Especially if you’re putting in the long, slow miles that ultrarunning tends to encourage, that time out on the road can be an amazing to opportunity to feed your mind or to “read” those books you just can’t find time for otherwise.

Having heard from many listeners who like to listen to our podcast while they run, we figured a “meta” episode — something to listen to on your run about what to listen to on your run — would be fun.

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Engine 2’s Rip Esselstyn on No Meat Athlete Radio

Podcast Radio2You can’t get far into the plant-based world without hearing Rip Esselstyn’s name, and seeing the ubiquitous Engine 2 brand he’s created to help people eat Plant-Strong.

Walk through any Whole Foods, and you’ll see Engine 2 foods everywhere.

In those same Whole Foods stores and any Barnes and Noble, you’ll find Rip’s books, The Engine 2 Diet, which started it all, and his newest, My Beef With Meat.

And if you’ve watched Forks Over Knives, you’ve seen Rip there too, using his arms to pull himself up a firepole. (You know — “Real men eat plants, real men eat plants …”)

The Engine 2 story is well-known by now. The son of whole-food, plant-based diet advocate Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip challenged his fellow firefighters in Austin, Texas, to try a 28-day challenge on a plant-based diet. The results were spectacular, and the Engine 2 engine was set in motion.

What’s less known, though, is that Rip was a “no meat athlete” long before it was cool (it is actually cool, right?). Before Scott Jurek starting winning ultras, before Brendan Brazier wrote Thrive, before Rich Roll burst on the scene — and long before some chump started selling running carrot t-shirts — Rip was a professional triathlete, fueling his career with what would become the Plant-Strong diet.

I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with Rip for a day when my book tour brought me through Austin, where co-author Matt Ruscigno and I gave a lunch presentation at Whole Foods headquarters before eating E2 bowls from the store with Mr. E2 himself.

For a giant in the movement, Rip is laid back and a ton of fun, making this lifestyle seem not just appealing and energizing, but approachable. It comes through in this latest episode of NMA Radio, where he’s our guest.

Enjoy!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Rip convinced a group of firefighters to go plant-based
  • The best way to adopt a plant-based diet
  • How the Engine 2 Diet resonates so well with men
  • Rip’s career as a professional triathlete
  • The Engine 2 food philosophy
  • How Rip is spreading the plant-based word with recipes and food products

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