The (Third) Big Q&A Episode

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You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers … or attempt to have answers, anyway.

After last week’s massive podcast extravaganza with Sid Garza-Hillman, Matt and I decide cool things down a bit with our third installment of the Big Q&A Episode. If you’re a new listener, you may also want to check out with the first and second.

This time we tackle running injuries, the ketogenic diet, a vegan pregnancy, ultramarathon nutrition, and several other great topics.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Running and plant-based eating while pregnant
  • Should knee pain keep you from ever running again?
  • Matt’s take on the CRON-O-Meter (BTW, Doug has no take)
  • Fueling an ultramarathon on sugars
  • The health benefits of sprouted grains

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If Your ‘Healthy’ Diet Stresses You Out, Can You Still Call It Healthy?

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“No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.”

That’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my friend, author, and (vegan) certified nutritionist, Sid Garza-Hillman. And it’s one that has changed the way I eat.

So how much stress does your diet cause you? See if any of these sound familiar:

“I struggle to get enough variety and I’m bored with my diet.”

“When I get home late from work, I usually just end up microwaving something from the freezer or getting takeout.”

“I have trouble finding time to plan ahead, and end up wasting a lot of food and eating junk.”

“A lot of times I just end up eating snacks as meals, even though I know this isn’t good.”

“I’m worried I don’t get the nutrition I need as a plant-based athlete.”

If I had a piece of tofu for every time I’ve heard one of these concerns from a No Meat Athlete reader or listener … well, I’d have a lot of tofu.

And you know what they all are, right?

Stress.

What’s funny is that with all the progress plant-based diets have made in the past decade, these are the exact same issues I used to get emails about when I first started this blog seven years ago (and back then, I was dealing with the same issues myself!).

There’s a disconnect here: we’re all eating better, or at least we’re trying to. And despite some confusion around controversial foods, we know more than ever about what’s good and what’s bad, with the trend clearly moving in the direction of whole foods.

So why are so many people still having these same issues? Why is there still so much stress around eating a healthy, whole-food plant-based diet?

There’s not just one answer, but I can give you three big ones:

  1. Misconceptions about what’s actually healthy (or necessary).
  2. Overly complicated approaches to nutrition — yep, I’m calling out calorie-counting and even macronutrient ratios here.
  3. My favorite topic of all … habits. In this case, bad ones.

On that third point: rather than having a plan in place — a plan where the default is healthy food, built into the very structure your day — most people’s food choices vary wildly. And they vary according to factors that are more or less random … factors like what time they got out of work, whether they happen to have leftovers in the fridge, and let’s face it, what they happen to be craving.

It’s time to bust out of the rut, clear up the misconceptions, and simplify the way we eat.

So who did I call in? You guessed it: Sid Garza-Hillman, the guy who got me thinking this way in the first place. For an epic, 90-minute conversation around this very topic, where we break down the big three problems above to help you remove the stress from your diet … so it can be as healthy as it ought to be.

But I know 90 minutes is a lot, so to help you fit it in to your day, I’ve broken the recording into three, bite-size chunks (see what I did there?), starting with Part 1 today.

Click the play button below to listen now:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Or:

  • Click the links below to download the MP3 file (you may need to right-click and “save link as”):
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How to Maintain Your Healthy Habits When You’re Traveling

Fruit stall in the Italian city market

We’ve all be there … traveling in a new city, thrown off from our regular routines, and struggling to maintain a healthy habit.

How on Earth can I keep a daily meditation practice in a crowded hotel room?

Should I even bother running when I’m off my training?

Isn’t it impossible to eat healthy food on the road?

While on a recent vacation to Florida, Matt’s family found themselves asking questions just like these. Hopping from place to place, their healthy eating habits were put to the test.

In today’s episode, Matt shares a few of the lessons he put in place during that recent trip, and we discuss when it’s acceptable to let your habits adapt.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • A Grapple? Seriously?
  • The effects of routine change on your habits
  • Planning for the challenges
  • Why something is better than nothing
  • How to embrace the new experiences

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3 Health and Fitness Goals to Avoid?

Woman lifting  weights and working on her chest at the  gym

Is there a right way and a wrong way to set health and fitness goals?

That’s the question Matt and I were asking ourselves after reading a recent article on the site Precision Fitness. The author, John Berardi, challenges the reader to structure your goal setting with his formula.

But after reading through, there were a few major points where we all disagreed.

In today’s episode, Matt and I discuss John’s model, and lay out or own strategies on how best to set health or fitness goals that prime you for success.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Should you set a big outcome goal?
  • Success through small habits and changes
  • Matt’s lead and lag measure theory
  • Does your brain understand negatives?
  • The pros and cons of dabbling

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Things We Wish Vegans Did Even More

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A few weeks ago we published an episode called “Things We Wish Vegans Didn’t Do.” It was Matt and I’s attempt at pointing out the trends, or aspects of our community that we’re not crazy about. I’m not going to lie, it got a little negative.

So we couldn’t leave it there.

This community awesome. It’s inspiring, welcoming, and is constantly up to outrageously cool things that Matt and I wish happened more often.

In today’s episode, we flip the conversation and focus our attention on those — the wonderful trends, accomplishments, and approaches we want to see even more.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Big, tough, strong, and vegan
  • Plant-based restaurants and dishes going mainstream
  • Inspiring others in less obvious ways
  • How Gene Baur does it right
  • The sneaky approach to spreading your message

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More on How to Start Your Movement

Microfono tenuto in mano conferenza

A few months ago we published episode on how to start your movement. In it, Doug and I shared the lessons we’ve learned from spreading our messages through a blog and podcast. It’s a blueprint if you ever decide to take a similar leap.

While that episode wasn’t the most downloaded, it garnered such a big response that I dedicated an entire month to the subject in the No Meat Athlete Academy.

I’ve selected portions from two of those Academy seminar interviews to share with you today. These guests take a completely different approach, spreading their messages through physical products.

The first is with Leanne Hilgart, founder of the vegan clothing line Vaute Couture.

In the second interview, I speak with Andy Levitt of the vegan food delivery service The Purple Carrot.

My hope in sharing these is to ignite a spark, or give you the small push you need to start your own movement. Whatever that may be.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Using a business to make an impact
  • The psychological hurdle of going from from idea to business
  • Finding your first customer
  • Playing an infinite game
  • Promoting the activism side of your movement

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Why Making That Change May Be Easier Than You Think

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There was a time when I thought running a marathon, going vegan, and cooking without oil would each be impossible feats.

But if you listen to this podcast or read this blog, then you know that all three of those — and a ton of other big changes I’ve made — were not nearly as hard as I thought. And you’ve probably noticed the same with any big changes you’ve made in your own life.

… Your body “learns” to run, and what it feels like to run a mile changes, becomes far more pleasant.

… Your taste buds change, so that what used to seem bland becomes delicious, and overly flavored processed foods taste like junk.

… The cravings you feared only last for a few weeks or months, and then they vanish completely.

Sometimes, before you attempt it, a change will feel so radical you’re afraid to commit. But once you do — and more importantly, once you get over the initial hump and your body and mind adapt — you realize those fears were unfounded.

In today’s episode, Doug and I discuss this phenomenon, and why your next big change might not seem so big once you just start.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How your brain and body adapt to changes you make
  • Why Doug’s first-ever 13-mile run was a letdown
  • The 30-day challenge (and why it works)
  • When are you ready for a big change, and how do you know when you’re not?

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Things We Wish Vegans Didn’t Do

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We’re vegan. We love vegans. We promote veganism.

So it might seem strange for us to take a few digs at our fellow plant-based animal lovers … but that’s exactly what we’re about to do.

Just because you’re part of a community, doesn’t mean you have to love everything about that community. And in today’s episode, Doug and I decided to put all that out there.

We strap on our boxing gloves and get a little punchy.

I’m sure this isn’t going to please everyone, but that’s not the point. The hope is that our beloved vegan community is open to dialogs like this … even if when we don’t always all agree.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Can vegans compromise?
  • The problem with unscientific claims
  • Fake meats vs. real foods
  • Shaming vegetarians
  • “Vegans don’t get sick.” Or do they?
  • Doug’s chicken coop dilemma

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