A Thanksgiving Transformation: Katie’s Story

Meet Katie!

Last year, Katie Adzima’s Thanksgiving was filled with what so many of us love about the day: friends, family, football, and food.

Lots of food.

That day, before dinner, Katie noshed on chips, dips, and appetizers. When her aunt announced dinner was served, Katie giggled with glee as she ran through three full rooms of food – each room more delicious than the last. She loaded up with two full plates of dinner and then prepared to call it a day.

And then came the pies.

With a weakness for desserts, Katie dug in to eight pieces of pie. That one’s worth repeating: eight pieces of pie. In spite of her stomach ache, when her family rolled out a full Italian meal at 11 p.m., Katie loaded up again.

“I think I blacked out,” says Katie, “or that’s what I tell myself, because the next thing I know, I’m eating pasta.”

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3 Hot Tips for Surviving Cold-Weather Runs

From an email I recently received (subject, “O’dark thirty”) :

Hi Matt,

It’s a tragic time when days are dark by the time I leave work and am ready for a run (living in Northern Ontario, this is the case for at least 5 months of the year).  And living downtown it’s not just the weather and lack of sunlight that’s demotivating, it’s also safety reasons.  I’m getting a group of ladies together who live in the area, but any recommendations on how to keep running during -40*C or or when it’s pitch black at 5:30pm would be fabulous.  I know that this isn’t a vegetarian-specific topic, but 80% of the ladies I’ll be running with are vegetarian so does that count???

The way to run in cold weather is simple. Develop a “mental thermostat” to trick your mind into believing you are warm so that you can withstand ice baths. Outside. In sub-zero temperatures. Naked. Like this guy.

Once you’ve got that down, hitting the trail for a quick five miles in a pair of sweatpants when it’s -40 degrees out is no sweat. (Wow, there haven’t been nearly enough terrible puns around here recently!)

Honestly, there’s really not all that much to running in the cold; no secret is going to make it just as comfortable as running in the spring or fall. But there are a few basic things you can do to make it bearable — more so, certainly, than having to do your entire 15-miler on the dreadmill.

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The Lazy Runner’s Guide to Preventing Injuries

Note: This is a guest post from my friend Jason Fitzgerald from StrengthRunning.com.

As a runner, you are 20 percent more likely to be injured next year than an NFL football player.

That’s right. Some estimates put the injury rate for distance runners at 75% per year. That’s 3 out of every 4 runners who get hurt every single year!

It’s amazing that runners continue to lace up and head out the door when their chances of getting hurt are so high. But they do. Visit any running message board and you’ll see the cries from injured runners:

  • Arch pain like a rock in my shoe!
  • From knee pain to shin splints?
  • Frustrated!
  • A year with this!

Sports like football or lacrosse typically cause more acute injuries from getting hit by other players. As runners, we’re lucky that we don’t have to deal with that. The occasional cut from a cross country spike is the worst impact injury I’ve encountered.

Our main problem is more insidious: self-inflicted overuse injuries. There’s nobody else to blame except ourselves because we so often run too far, too fast, too soon. Then we’re struck down by plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, achilles tendonitis, or something worse like a stress fracture.

There are entire books devoted to preventing running injuries. For you lazy runners who want the maximum bang for the least amount of work, here’s your 3-step plan.

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The Crucial Keys to a Successful First Half Marathon

They say you never get a second chance to run your first half marathon.

Alright, maybe they don’t, but they should.

Your first big race — whether it’s a half, a full, or something else — can be a downright unforgettable experience, one in which you learn on a deep level when you cross that finish line that you’re capable of something that you may very well have thought impossible before.

Or it can be unforgettable for other reasons — like endless Porta-Pot stops due to nerves, a bad bonk when your adrenaline gets the best of you in the excitement of the start, or worst of all, the humiliation of failing to finish the race you trained so hard for.

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From Chicken-Fried Steak to 26.2 Miles on Plants: Wendy’s Story

It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of this year, Wendy Fry was a gluttonous, lazy slob. (Her words, not mine.)

From just the email interactions we had as she trained for her first marathon, I knew there was much more to the enthusiastic, motivated woman I was talking to than those words conveyed.

And there was: Wendy, back in 2006, had made some drastic changes to her diet and fitness level to get ready for a 48-hour dance marathon to benefit pediatric cancer research (The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, aka THON).

To get in shape, she ate a pescetarian diet (that’s vegetarian + fish) and exercised regularly by walking 4-5 miles every day and doing some cardio and light weightlifting. She even cut caffeine out of her diet.

It worked — Wendy successfully completed what she had trained so hard for. “It’s the healthiest I had ever felt in my adult life up to that point,” she says, “and raising so much money for pediatric cancer research was the best part of it all… I felt really accomplished and maybe even a little invincible.”

Back down to Earth

If you’ve experienced the feeling of accomplishing something like this before, you probably know that this sort of thing has the power to — no exaggeration — change the course of your life.

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Could You Be at Risk for Protein Deficiency? 6 Simple Rules for Protecting Yourself

Post written by Susan Lacke.

The doctor with the disheveled hair leaned in, inches away from my face:

“To be honest, Susan, I’m not really sure what to make of this.”

In her hand, she held the results of my lab tests. A lot of things were out of whack.

I had been feeling like absolute crap lately, but chalked it up to a heavy load of work, school, and Ironman training. All of a sudden, it looked more serious than that.

In the past, I had some major health problems, which contributed to my decision to become vegetarian, quit my unhealthy habits, and start running. As I sat in the doctor’s office that day, I began to question that – had all of my healthy activities been pointless? I considered picking up a pack of Marlboro Lights and a giant jug of wine on my way home to tell my partner, Neil, I was dying.

The doctor ordered more tests and told me to stop being a drama queen – it wasn’t time to jump to conclusions just yet.

The two words every vegetarian dreads

When I went back to the doctor the following week, I got the verdict: I wasn’t dying. But my diagnosis still didn’t give me much cause for celebration.

I had extreme protein deficiency.

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Get Inspired with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke on NMA Radio

When Ben and I sat down to talk about possible guests for the No Meat Athlete podcast, there was absolutely no question as to who should be the first.

To call either of us bodybuilders would be an insult to the entire sport. And yet both of us are ardent fans of Robert Cheeke.

So why a vegan bodybuilder for our first guest, when for so long this website has focused largely on running?

Consider it a testament to Robert’s captivating personality and infectious enthusiasm for veganism and fitness.

Simply put: Hearing Robert Cheeke speak makes us proud to be vegan athletes and inspires us to do it better. We think you’ll agree, and that’s why we’re thrilled to have had Robert as No Meat Athlete Radio’s first guest.  

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New Eco-friendly NMA Shirts Made from Recycled Bottles

Well, we survived the snow in Boston last weekend and had a fantastic time exhibiting at the two-day Boston Vegetarian Food Festival.

Just like at DC Vegfest, my wife and I met a ton of readers of the site. And as tends to happen after these things, I came back with a big jolt of inspiration. That’s probably the a result of hanging out with so many readers, as well as people like Robert Cheeke and new friends from Vegan Proteins our neighbors on the show floor.

Or maybe I just ate too much sugar, which also tends to happen at these things. Again, I proved myself too weak to turn down the rare chance to eat sticky buns, whoopie pies, and lots of other vegan versions of food I can’t get anywhere else, from places like Vegan Treats and Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe.

As I was walking by Cosmo’s on Saturday, I heard a guy working there say, “Hey, I have a tattoo of that shirt!” Turns out it was Skott, who had sent me a photo of his NMA-carrot tattoo a few months back, but neither of us knew the other would be at the festival.

Skott was nice enough to let me take a picture with him and his carrot tattoo, so that even if I achieve nothing else in my life, at least I can show my grandkids that someone got a tattoo of a brand I came up with. Seriously, it was really cool, and Skott was awesome, like so many other people I met this weekend.

New sustainable t-shirts!

We debuted some brand new No Meat Athlete shirts at the show, namely our new Anvil Sustainable t-shirts. They were hugely popular, outselling all our other products combined! Here’s why:

1. They’re made with 50% recycled polyester from plastic bottles, 50% transitional organic cotton (“transitional” means it’s from smaller farms that are going organic but are not yet certified). We like to think of them as our version of the Green Silence. Except they’re not shoes.
2. They’re softer than any other NMA shirt, and have a very retro, “heathered” look and feel to them.
3. They come in fun colors. For men: light green, grey, and natural. For women: light green, natural and — by far our most popular at the show — purple!

And hoodies!

We’re also testing out hoodies for the winter.  We didn’t have them in time for Boston, but that means more for the internet crowd!

We’ve got a small number of men’s (blue) and women’s (celery) available. They’re made by econscious, which means 80% certified organic cotton, 20% recycled polyester. (See what they did there? eco + conscious = econscious. The cleverness never ends.)

Both men’s and women’s hoodies are full-zip and have “Runs on Plants” written on the left sleeve.

And yeah, we’re pretty pumped about them. In fact I’m wearing mine right this minute. With no plans to remove it.

You can see more info about the hoodies and sustainable tees in the No Meat Athlete store.

Huge, used-car dealership style blowout sale!

It’s crazy, crazy, crazy! While Matt was in Boston, Crazy Susan took control of the site, and now she’s marked things down waaay below what we can afford to sell them for! Our accounting department thinks she’s gone totally nuts and they’re freaking out, but until someone gets control of Crazy Susan, you get a super-duper deal on No Meat Athlete stuff!

(That didn’t really happen. It’s not crazy, crazy, crazy at all, and Susan only has author access, not admin, so she doesn’t have control of the site. But I’ve wanted to play used car dealer for about as long as we’ve been selling shirts, and it sure was worth it.)

Here’s the real story: To make room for all the new shirts, we’ve got to clear out our inventory of several other styles. No joke; we still run this operation out of our house, so when I say “make room,” I mean exactly that. We had no idea when we finished our basement that what we were really finishing was a shirt warehouse.

So a couple shirts are cheap right now, until they’re gone:

Cotton shirts for $10: Instead of the usual $17, our white and yellow cotton shirts are now available for just $10, with free shipping anywhere in the U.S.

Women’s singlets for $10: We’ve been trying for the longest time to find women’s tanktops that we’re happy with, and we’re still searching. So the women’s singlets that we have in stock are also available for $10, while they last. They’re made by A4, like the men’s, but they’re a looser fit than what we’re looking for, more like a singlet than a form-fitting tanktop.

So while we didn’t spring for a huge inflatable gorilla, these are some pretty good deals and if you’d like to sport some NMA stuff for cheap, now’s the time.

P.S. Last night Ben and I recorded our second-ever episode of No Meat Athlete Radio. We’re on iTunes now, so you can check us out there and subscribe that way. We had a special guest for this one, and we should have it available for download before the weekend so you can take it along on your long run, ride, or workout. Or Zumba class, if you really wanted to ruin it with our podcast.