Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie from BlendHappy

When I met Nick Reese in Austin at SXSW a few weeks ago, I was pretty pumped about that.  Nick is a guy I’ve learned a lot from and look up to for the way he ignores the supposed “limits” and is committed to standing out from the crowd.

So when he told me that his girlfriend, Heather, was starting a new video site about blending and juicing and wanted to make a custom smoothie for No Meat Athlete, I was even more excited.

But I had a lot of requests…

Perhaps I got a bit carried away with the instructions — when Heather asked what type of smoothie would work best, I mentioned that it should be vegan.  Oh, and that it should have 4-to-1 carb-to-protien ratio, so we could drink it post workout.  And, oh yeah, if you wouldn’t mind, could you use hemp protein too, since I’m not a big fan of soy or rice protein?

Someone with less patience might have told me to f-off, you psycho granola-crunchie.  But Heather didn’t complain a bit.  Instead, she did me one better and threw in some coconut manna and greens powder, two other favorite smoothie ingredients of mine.

Here’s the video Heather put together for us, and the pre/post-workout smoothie she came up with!

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Here are those ingredients again:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 handfuls of strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons chocolate hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut manna
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 scoop greens powder
  • agave nectar, to taste

If you can’t find chocolate hemp powder, you can just throw in some cacao nibs or carob chips.  I do that all the time.  And notice Heather’s smoothie perfectly fits my smoothie formula, so you can create lots of variations on it.

Check out Blend Happy for lots more smoothie and juice recipes.  Heather wants to make it the most entertaining resource on the web for juice and smoothies.  She does reviews too, so if you’re having trouble deciding between, say, a Blendtec (what I use) and a Vitamix (what Heather uses in the video), BlendHappy can help you with that.  (See her Vitamix review, for example.)

Big thanks to Nick and Heather for doing this.

Alrighty, I’m out.  I’ve got a 10-miler planned for this weekend, before Boston in 10 days!  How about you?



The Super Vegan Protein Source You’re Probably Missing Out On

If I’d have put the name of this food in the title of the post, you probably wouldn’t have kept reading.

But I wanted to first be able to tell you that just a quarter cup of the mystery ingredient has 11 grams of protein in it.  (And that a single serving of soup made from it has 22 grams!)

And that it’s totally soy free, and it’s a whole, unprocessed food.  And that it’s used in a lot of vegan protein powders because it’s such a good source.  Alright, ready?

Read more »



When Failure Isn’t (and the Best Stuff I Read Last Week)

Two weeks and one day from now, I’ll be running the Boston Marathon.  I love how that sounds, so let me say it once more: In two weeks, I will be running the Boston Marathon.

If you’re new here, you might not know the story, so I’ll repeat it.  Because I’m proud of it.

Qualifying for Boston is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Harder than running 50 miles, harder than college, harder than having a real job (more fun, though).

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not like qualifying for Boston is some superhuman feat.  There are naturally gifted runners out there who qualify in their first or second marathons.  But I am not one of them.  Not even close.

For me to qualify, I had to run a 3:10:59 marathon (now it’s a little harder).  But do you know what my first marathon time was?

4:52.  Or maybe 4:53.  Yep, that’s an hour and 40 minutes — about four minutes per mile — too slow.

And yet something about the thought that I was too slow to be allowed to run Boston brought me back for more.  In fact, I can honestly say that the only reason I ran a second marathon after that is because I was dead set on qualifying for Boston.

In my second marathon, four years later, I took a whole hour off my time and ran a 3:50.

Great.  But utter failure at getting into Boston.

Next time, I would surely do it.

So a year later, I ran a 3:36. Failure.

Then I intentionally made myself so completely certain that I would do it next time.  Every time I ran, I played out in my head the scene of crossing the finish line in with the clock saying 3-0-anything.  Sometimes I got so into it that my eyes would well up while I was running and picturing it.  A little embarrassing, but true.  This time, I would surely do it.

3:25.  Failure.

But next time, I’ll surely do it.

3:20.  Failure.

Next time, though, I’ll surely do it.  Nevermind this knee injury.

And then, nine months later, I did it.

Going vegetarian was the big spark that got me across the line in 3:09:59, but that’s not what’s really responsible for it.

The real reason I did it is that none of those failures were really failures.  In my mind, I was going to qualify no matter what, so it didn’t really matter whether it happened on a given race or not. Sure, at the end of every single one of those marathons I was a little ashamed at “failing” by so much when I had been so sure that I’d do it.  But the next week, when I started training again, it didn’t feel like failure.  It just felt like I had a huge head start over last time.  And this time, I would surely do it.

Anyway, I didn’t get to run Boston the first year after I qualified.  My son was born two days before the race, and of course I didn’t consider missing the birth (though I did write an April Fool’s post about it that way too many people didn’t get).

But this year, I will be running Boston.  The weekend will be one gigantic reward for all that work, and all that failure-that-wasn’t.

I can’t wait.  My training recently has been abysmal, but that won’t hamper my enjoyment of the marathon.  I will enjoy every minute of it, and the more minutes there are of it, the better.  And if a college kid offers me a beer during it, you’d better believe I’ll drink it.

If you haven’t done so, you can read a lot more about my Boston qualifying journey in a series of posts I wrote in the midst of it.  My favorite is the letter I wrote where I said I would do it, only a little while after running the 3:50.

The Best Stuff I Read Last Week

Alright, well that was supposed to be my little bit of “flavor” before I posted weekend links.  Since it was long, I’ll be brief here.  But read these; they’ll make you want to do something.

What Man Understands That He Is Dying Daily? (This is Your Life) — The Art of Manliness

Sounds heavy, and it kind of is.  But it’s really, really good and will kick your ass into gear.  Parts of it completely echo the thoughts I’ve had recently when I’ve been hanging out with my son and I realize that once my dad was hanging out with me exactly like this.

Why You’re Disabled, and What to Do About It — Johnny B. Truant

Also really good.  I’m in it, because Johnny mentions how he hurt is foot during the run we did in Austin.  But the post is really about much more.

Where’s the Beef? — via Get Fit Slowly

Interesting video about what happens to gorillas when they get off of the junk the zoo is feeding them and start eating actual plants. Surprisingly, there’s no mention here of the fact that gorillas eat so little protein to support their massive frames.

How to Start — Zen Habits

Recently, I’ve been big on the idea of starting rather than sitting around waiting for things to change.  This post just sums it all up, and encourages you to just get started, no matter how small.

And last but not least, I read an advance copy of Courtney Carver‘s new ebook, Simple Ways to Be More With Less, last night.  I loved it.  The ebook isn’t out yet, but I’ll let you know when it is.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to join us for #nmachat on Monday, April 4 at 8 PM Eastern!



How @Twitter Can Make You a Better #Runner

I’ll admit it: I only got a Twitter account to shut Matt up.

Since I began writing for No Meat Athlete, he’d been trying to get me to join Twitter, emphatically stating the networking opportunities were endless.

Talking with strangers? Noooooo, thank you. I remembered seeing an after-school special about that when I was a kid.

There was no reason for me to be sharing my random thoughts with people I didn’t know. Besides, they really didn’t care, right? Twitter was for self-absorbed a-holes. If anyone wanted to know what I was having for dinner that night, or the news that my niece was finally potty-trained, they could friend me on Facebook.

And really, I thought, who needs another “thing to check”?

Matt was relentless, though, suggesting that Twitter would do a lot for me as a writer, a runner, and a triathlete. Besides, everyone (and their uncles, their dogs, and their uncle’s dogs) had a Twitter account. Tired of being called a technological neophyte, I caved.

My first tweet:

I was on Twitter. I was a twit. I tweeted. I had tweeps. It made me feel all twingly inside. What a twip.

Originally, I thought it would take a long time to get the hang of using Twitter, but it really wasn’t complicated.  (You get used to the @ and # stuff right away.)

And after poking around for a little while, it wasn’t long before something amazing happened: I met a lot of really cool people.

Through Twitter, I was able to connect with fellow runners, triathletes, and writers from around the world. I could stay up-to-date on my favorite friends, athletes, and columnists without having to do time-consuming searches; receive news headlines as the news was actually happening; and have real-time conversations with people from around the world about any topic my heart desired… all in 140 characters or less.

Why we want you to tweet, too

It’s been said that your Facebook friends are the people you went to high school with, while your Twitter friends are the people you wish you went to high school with. It’s true, in some respects.

While I love Facebook for the ability to stay in touch with people I know, Twitter gives me the opportunity to connect with people I probably would never have met otherwise.  Even people that are otherwise inaccessible can often find the time to respond with a quick tweet.

Just a few examples of cool stuff you might do once you take the Twitter-plunge:

  • Next time you’re struggling to find the motivation to train, post it on Twitter — almost instantly, someone will tell you to quit whining and get your workout done.
  • When planning your training for a race, send a tweet to people who have done that race to pick their brain.  Often people “tag” their tweets about popular topics by using the pound sign so you can easily find them — for example, doing a search for “#IMAZ” will show you what people are tweeting about Ironman Arizona.
  • Give a shout-out to your favorite writers (ahem, @NoMeatAthlete and @SusanLacke, ahem) to let them know you liked an article or want to see coverage on a particular topic.

Okay, here’s why we really want you to use Twitter

One of the coolest aspects of Twitter is the ability to participate in structured chats, so you can make friends with others who are passionate about a particular topic.  In my short time on Twitter, I’ve been known to partake in chats about running, health and wellness, and triathlon. Through these chats, I’ve gained excellent insight on training, nutrition, and gear that I likely would never have stumbled upon on my own.

No Meat Athletes can sometimes be hard to come by in the “real world.” Not everyone advertises their status as a vegetarian athlete, and sometimes it can be challenging to connect and have a conversation with others about the runs-on-plants lifestyle.  We’d like to give you that opportunity.

On Monday, April 4 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, Matt and I will be hosting the first-ever NMA Twitter Chat.  In Twitter-speak, it’ll be called #nmachat.

If you haven’t participated in a Twitter chat before and are a bit apprehensive, check out Heidi Cohen’s link on How to Be a Twitter Chat Champion.

To participate in #nmachat, you do need a Twitter account.  You can get that here.

How to join us for #nmachat

Once you have an account, all you have to do to participate in #nmachat is follow Matt (@NoMeatAthlete) and me (@SusanLacke) for the prompts on the first question. To follow all responses in the conversation, just search for “#nmachat” (no quotes).  Between 8 and 9 PM Eastern Time, we’ll post a total of 5 questions (all having something to do with running on plants), in which you can answer with your own feedback. You can also see what others have to say, and we can all hang out for an hour and get to know each other.

If you have questions you’d like to suggest for this first-ever #nmachat, use the Contact form to send them to us ahead of time.

Matt and I are excited to have this opportunity to talk with you and connect with you all in real time! If it goes well, we’ll make this a regular thing.

So put on your twitty pants and sign up now. Follow a few people you know, start feeling your way around, and send a few tweets — we’ll see you on the 4th!


Susan Lacke, NMA’s Resident Triathlete, also writes for Competitor Magazine and  Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke