The Social Challenges of Eating Plant-Based (and How to Deal with Them)

NMA Radio co-host Doug recently attended a bachelor party, where while discussing meals for the weekend, it became clear that one of the guys wasn’t comfortable with Doug’s being a vegan.

We’re all having meat. What are you going to eat, Doug? Carrots?

We’ve all been in this situations like this. It’s that moment at a restaurant, party, or dinner when all of a sudden people realize you’re vegan or vegetarian, and don’t know how to react. Before you can even say a word, someone gets defensive or pokes fun of your diet.

So what do you do? Usually, we react in one of two ways. Either:

  1. You use it as an opportunity to make a point, defend your diet choice, and maybe even convince a few people, or
  2. You brush it off and keep the mood light, in an attempt to make veganism appear as normal as possible.

I’m not saying either of these better than the other; I respect both choices. But I know the one that I choose, almost every single time.

In today’s episode, we discuss these two approaches, and how Doug and I handle the uncomfortable situations at parties, with family, and while out to dinner. We also share the rest of Doug’s story, and how by the end of the weekend, he got that same guy to take interest in the vegan diet.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why your diet makes others uncomfortable
  • Matching a joke with a joke to defuse an uncomfortable situation
  • Is eating cheese worse than wasting cheese?
  • Why Doug ate a non-vegan dish at a family breakfast … and why he thinks this was the right choice

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Which Type of Runner are You?

The Old-Timer. The Selfie Runner. The Kicker.

We’ve all seen these runners and thought to ourselves, “I’ll never be that guy.” I hate to break it to you, but you might be that guy. Or girl. Or one of the nearly 20 other runner types we discuss in today’s podcast.

The inspiration for this episode comes from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book, and his “14 Types of Runners” list. The funny, lighthearted list takes a good-natured jab at just about every single one of us (so if you can’t laugh at yourself, then this episode isn’t for you). Doug and I decided to share that list, plus a few of our own, in an attempt to laugh at ourselves and have a little fun with a sport we usually take so seriously.

Doug admits that he’s the “Ultra Guy,” and as much as I wish it weren’t true, I admit that I’ve been at least 5 types of runner over the past few years.

So … which type are you?

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Chef AJ and Calorie Density: The Secret to Losing Weight?

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A few weeks ago I published an interview with my wife, Erin, about her recent success losing 18 pounds in just a few months, with the help of Chef AJ’s weight loss program. That episode was the most downloaded release in No Meat Athlete Radio history, and the feedback and questions about the program have come in ever since.

So to help answer those questions, and dive deeper into the philosophies behind AJ’s approach to healthy weight loss, I asked Chef AJ herself to join me for an interview.

During this episode you hear Chef AJ’s fiery, funny, former-standup-comic personality as we discuss what it means to eat “left of the red line,” why eliminating oil isn’t the extreme step most people think, and the powerful concept of calorie density.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • What calorie density is, and why it’s so important for weight loss (or gain)
  • AJ’s healthy trick for helping Hollywood actors lose 10 pounds in a single month
  • How to eat more but weigh less
  • What AJ means when she says to “eat to the left of the red line”
  • Adapting your taste buds to enjoy less oil, salt, and sugar

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How to Pick Yourself and Start Making Change in the World

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Hanging on the wall in my office, so that I see it every time I start a workday, is a one-page essay by Seth Godin, titled “Pick Yourself.”

This simple phrase, to me, represents the enormous opportunity offered to each of us by our hyper-connected world. There are almost no “gatekeepers” anymore: if you want to be a leader, an artist, a change-maker, you don’t need to wait around and hope you get picked.

Instead, pick yourself. Start doing the thing you want to do and use the incredible tools — blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, social media — now at your disposal to amplify and deliver your message to the people who need to hear it.

This is exactly what Alex and Jeanette Ruiz have done as leaders of the successful NMA Miami group. At a time in their life when they were considering a move to another city for lack of plant-based culture in Miami, the opportunity to step up and lead their local movement came along.

Their success in connecting with like minds made them hungry for more change, and they’ve taken their role as leaders in this movement a step further with a new podcast, called Planted in Miami, which was featured in iTunes’ “New and Notable” section last week.

In this episode of No Meat Athlete Radio, I talk with Alex and Jeanette about the success of NMA Miami and the steps they’ve taken to achieve early success with their podcast. This in hopes, of course, that it inspires you to find your voice in this movement, and to pick yourself.

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Feel Better, Do More

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“How have you been?”

“Good! Super busy.”

That’s the common answer to what is probably the most common question … and that makes me sad.

We love being busy. If we’re busy, we must matter, right?

I’ve never been good at being busy, which is probably why I didn’t last long in the corporate world. I like to have time to do the things I like doing, not the stuff I feel like I have to do.

So that’s my focus in today’s episode of No Meat Athlete Radio: not a time management system in the traditional sense (those have never worked for me) but an approach to making choices that maximize the time available to you. So that you can find the time to eat well, exercise, and be happy … all without being “super busy.”

Here’s what I talk about in this episode:

  • Why time management systems don’t work for me
  • Our modern love affair with “busy”
  • How to ruthlessly cut the activities that drain your time and energy
  • Creating time by adding new activities
  • Does eating healthy save me time and make me more efficient?
  • Why Steve Jobs wore the same shirt every day

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Our Favorite Running Hacks

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At the beginning of the year I wrote a post called The Frictionless Kitchen, about the little tricks — hacks, if you will — we employ at my house to stay on track with healthy eating, without having to think about it.

Well, today’s episode of No Meat Athlete Radio might as well be called The Frictionless Runner.

As a dad, I’ve learned just how precious my time is. There’s plenty I’d like to do, and so little time to do it — so when it comes to the really important habits, running included, I do everything I can to grease the wheels a little bit. That doesn’t mean I cheat my way out of the difficult days (that’d be missing the point of running), but it does mean I take advantage of easy tricks that make a difference.

It turns out Doug’s the same way. In today’s episode Doug and I pulled together our favorite running hacks to help you remove a few obstacles from your running routine.

Because if you were given the opportunity to make something inherently difficult a just little simpler — and more likely to happen — why wouldn’t you?

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The difference between a hack and a cheat
  • Running shoes — how to buy all you need without going broke
  • Simple nutrition tricks to get the job done, without extra stress
  • How to turn “not enough time” into your best workout of the week
  • And a dozen more genius (if we don’t say so ourselves) running hacks

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If you’re a fan of NMA Radio (and you like all these new episodes we’re making!), we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

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The Key to Losing Weight the Healthy Way

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From the very beginning, fitness has been at the heart of my relationship with my wife, Erin.

Before I was brave enough to ask her out on a real date, I made it a point to go buy shoes at the running store in Baltimore she managed, just to talk to her while she fit me in shoes. And after dating for just a few months, I flew out to Chicago to watch her run a marathon there — her first of three marathons, two of which we would run together.

But then we had kids, and as tends to happen, we got busy. Erin made it her priority to be the best mom she could be, and this came at the expense of exercise time. Even with our mostly whole-food vegan diet, Erin never quite lost the weight from her second pregnancy … until now.

Erin recently lost 18 pounds in six weeks, and she’s now smaller than even before we had our first child. More importantly, she’s rediscovered her passion for health and fitness, and is making plans to run a half marathon (her first in over 5 years).

So what inspired the change? What did she have to change from our already-healthy diet to actually lose the weight? That’s the topic of today’s episode of NMA Radio — hope you enjoy it!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Erin finally got inspired to make a massive change
  • The single, simple concept at the heart of her diet plan
  • A typical day on Erin’s plan
  • The personality trait that helps her stick with it

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If you’re a fan of NMA Radio (and you like all these new episodes we’re making!), we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

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The No Meat Athlete “Diet”?

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If you want to make your changes last, flexibility is key. A firm commitment might help at first, but without a little wiggle room, it’s nearly impossible to turn healthy eating into a lasting lifestyle, as opposed to just a “diet” (we all know how those turn out).

But if there were an official “No Meat Athlete Diet,” these 10 guidelines would be it. Guidelines for how to eat healthy on a daily basis, with enough room for spontaneity to make it sustainable for the long term.

In today’s episode, Doug and I discuss those healthy eating guidelines, and exactly why building in that flexibility is important.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The pros and cons of “dieting”
  • Are smoothies healthy?
  • Why you have to be cooking your own food
  • Variety in diet — is it as important as everyone says?
  • How to get by without a $400 blender

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If you’re a fan of NMA Radio (and you like all these new episodes we’re making!), we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Phone number to ask listener questions:

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