Book Review: Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra

Rich Roll may not yet have the name recognition of Brendan Brazier or Scott Jurek in the plant-based endurance world, but his story sure deserves to be heard.

What makes Rich’s story so inspiring, as he tells it in his new book, Finding Ultra, is that in reading it you come to realize that this man who now excels at the Ultraman — a triathlon about double the Ironman distance, spread over three days, ending with a 52-mile ultramarathon — is actually a whole lot like you and me.

Looking at Rich’s resume now, it’s hard to believe that just five years ago, he didn’t do much of anything physical: didn’t run, didn’t cycle, and hadn’t done much swimming in his 20 years since college. And he most certainly didn’t do Ultramans or anything resembling EPIC5, an event consisting of five Iron-distance triathlons, one on each of Hawaii’s islands, in the span of a week, that he and his buddy cooked up for fun.

On top of all that, as a busy lawyer he didn’t give a second thought to what he was eating after a hard day of work. And as it turns out, the shift to eating plants is what started it all for Rich, when at nearly age 40 he got a wake up call and decided he needed to change, starting with his diet. In his words:

I can say with full confidence that my rapid transformation from middle-aged couch potato to Ultraman—to, in fact, everything I’ve accomplished as an endurance athlete—begins and ends with my PlantPower Diet.

That alone would make for an interesting story. Who just decides to go vegan, gets off the couch and starts running, and a year and a half later turns in a respectable finish at one of the toughest endurance events on the planet, only to be named one of the fittest men alive shortly after that?

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How I’ve Begun Changing My Life, One Habit at a Time

Green tea in cast-iron teapotI’m not a big movie guy, but I liked Limitless.

In it, Bradley Cooper’s character discovers a drug called NZT which allows him to access 100% of his brain, giving him incredible powers of focus, perception, and creativity.

Under its influence, he plays life at a higher level, excelling in everything from cleaning his apartment to his career as a writer, to forecasting stock patterns, to fighting, to conversation, to languages.

When I watched it, I couldn’t help but fantasize about what it would be like to have such immense control of the latent powers in one’s brain and body. But of course, it’s just make-believe, right?

Not so fast …

Friends, I have found the way to become limitless.

And, good news, it’s pretty simple.

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Thrive Foods Direct Review

Eggplant Chana Masala from Thrive Foods Direct (the official photo, not my own)

On the heels of last week’s post about eating vegetarian while traveling, it seems an opportune time to publish a review of a service that makes it easy to do that very thing.

During Brendan Brazier’s podcast appearance earlier this year, we talked briefly about Thrive Foods Direct, his new service that delivers healthy vegan meals (like those in Brendan’s book Thrive Foods) to your door, fully prepared and ready to heat and serve.

I had the chance to try Thrive Foods Direct several weeks ago. My four sample meals could not have arrived at a better time — just a few hours prior, Erin and our son had left on an overnight trip, and I was foodless. The arrival of TFD at my door at that time meant:

(a) I wouldn’t have to cook for myself; and

(b) I wouldn’t have to share any of it with the little table monster that steals food from people’s plates in our house. Or with my son, either.

Win win win. Here’s how it went down.

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25+ Tips for Eating Vegetarian While Traveling (from the People Who Know Best)

How do you eat vegetarian or vegan while you’re traveling?

And how do you do it healthily, especially if you’re an athlete?

These are almost as common as the protein question, only they’re usually asked by newish vegetarians and vegans, rather than the veg-curious.

And so I set out to write a post to answer the questions. But in the process, I started to understand that any one person’s approach to eating while traveling is unique to them, and might not work for everyone.

What’s more, I haven’t traveled all that much. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Portland, Austin, San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston, but you’ll notice that these are among the most vegan-friendly cities in the country. So I didn’t exactly have to rack my brain — it was easier to eat in these places than it was at home (before I moved to Asheville)!

That’s when it dawned on me to reach out to some friends — vegetarian and vegan athletes, authors, and bloggers, all of whom travel quite a bit — to assemble a massive collection of healthy, plant-based travel tips from the people who know how to do it better than anyone else in the world.

Here’s what they submitted. I hope you enjoy the advice and, if you’re in the veg-curious camp, find reason to cross yet another common objection off the list.

Plant-based travel tips from athletes, authors, and bloggers

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Stuck Running on a Treadmill? Make the Most of It with These 3 Workouts

The dreadmill.

The hamster’s hell.

The death belt.

Geez. The way people talk about the treadmill, you’d think it was a medieval torture device. Mention a treadmill to a group of runners, and you’ll be met with a symphony of groans, accompanied by a list of why the treadmill sucks.

Because, really – the treadmill effin’ sucks. You don’t go anywhere cool, commune with flora and fauna, or feel the sun on your face. Nope. You get on the belt, turn it on, and run (and run, and run…for what feels like forEVER). The treadmill, essentially, has no benefit to anyone who wants to enjoy running.

Or does it?

If the treadmill sucks so much, why do so many exist?

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