A Fresh Look at Habits and Goals

Young woman jogging running outdoors

Have we been approaching healthy habits all wrong?

You’ve likely heard some of our previous episodes on creating habits that last — but over time, our approach to making healthy changes has shifted.

In today’s episode, Matt and I share where we are now, and why we might have been doing it wrong this whole time.

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Doug and Matt’s Time Tips

Runner woman with heart rate monitor running on beach

Time… we could all use more of it.

Search the web and you’ll find endless hacks on how to save a few minutes here, or increase productivity there.

But we all know those hacks never stick, and more importantly they don’t solve your no-time problem.

So in today’s episode we do something a little different. This is our no-hacks guide to creating more time for your healthy habits and lifestyle.

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How We Feed Our Kids

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As adult vegans, we face certain challenges when traveling, dining at restaurants, or whenever we’re outside our normal routines. But we figure it out — packing our own meals or snacking on nuts and fruit if we need to.

But what does it look like when kids are involved?

They’re pickier and not as adaptable, and the last thing we want to do is feed them junk just to get by.

In today’s episode we explore the ins and outs of how we feed our kids, both during our normal at-home routines, and while on summer vacation or traveling.

Here’s what we talk about in today’s episode:

  • Matt’s beach trip food tips.
  • The allure of junk food when in a pinch.
  • How to handle long car trips.
  • 19-month-old Eliza’s favorite salad.
  • Healthy snacks for kids.
  • The go-to easy treat Matt loves.

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The Picky Eater Solution: How to Turn Your Child into a Plant-Based Food Adventurer

Father and son preparing food in kitchen

It seems every family has at least one kid who just won’t try new foods.

And there’s nothing more frustrating than cooking a beautiful meal, only to have your kids call it yucky or spit it out. But that’s kids… wearing every emotion and opinion right on their sleeve.

Because of this, some parents spend hours in the kitchen preparing individual meals catering to individual tastes, just to get their children to eat. Or they cave, and let their child eat whatever processed food makes them happy.

No one said parenting would be easy…

My husband Dave and I are parents to four great kids — all plant-based. Sounds like we’ve got it made, right?

Let me tell you, over the years, we’ve had our fair share of food battles. And when it comes to food battles, there’s one important lesson I’ve found to always be true:

Food battles are all about control and identity.

And although it may not feel like it in the moment — when your kids are throwing a tantrum over broccoli — them asserting their opinions about what goes into their bodies is actually a good sign. They’re developing a sense of autonomy.

They may just need a little help directing that energy toward making good choices like kale and mushrooms and quinoa instead of just white rice, bread, or veggie sausages.

My philosophy around picky eaters is to respect, educate, and involve your kids in eating.

And if you can do that, you can create little foodies who love variety, color, flavor, and have a positive identity around being adventurous eaters.

After having our own child and adopting three beautiful Cree children, we felt compelled to transition from vegetarian to a fully plant-based diet. For Dave and me, the transition was pretty smooth — not so much for our kids. But with a lot of patience and encouragement from us, all four kids are excellent food adventurers today and love kale and vegan brownies!

As a mother and plant-based Registered Dietitian, I’ve learned a lot through my own experiences and the experiences of my clients on how best to open picky eaters up to new, fresh foods.

picky eaters

Here are my seven tips to help you turn your picky eaters into food adventurers:

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Our Advice for People Ready to Go Vegan

Organic harvest Vegetables from garden and  forest mushrooms. Ve

Think you’re ready to go vegan?

In today’s episode, we thought back to those days and weeks before officially going vegan, and to the questions and concerns we had…

Would we be able to make it stick?

Will we get all the nutrients we need?

What do vegans actually put on their plates?

Here’s the advice we wish someone had shared with us before going plant-based.

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What We Eat on a Typical Day

Vegan Fusilli vegetable paste with pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, pa

I’m often asked by non-vegans, “So… what do you actually eat?”

And if you’re just starting out with the diet, or simply trying to wrap your head around what it’s like to be a plant-based athlete, understanding the reality of the diet can be difficult.

So in today’s episode, Matt and I try to answer that question by breaking down our typical day. Not necessarily our go-to recipes (although there is some of that), but how we structure our meals to make sure we get everything we need to fuel our workouts, families, and adventures.

And spoiler: our typical days are pretty simple.

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Resource Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Building Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

Slim well built woman holding a horizontal bar

Look, we’ve all heard the jokes. Here’s my recent favorite:

“Vegans wouldn’t hurt a fly only because they aren’t strong enough to swat one.”

Or there’s this dig, from one of the greatest shows of all time:

parks-a-vegan

The worst part about the weak vegan jokes isn’t that they’re poking fun at us — we’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves — it’s that over time, they slowly begin to create doubt.

… Doubt about whether you really can build muscle and get strong on a whole-food plant-based diet.

… Doubt that you’ll ever have the muscles or physique you want eating only plants.

So today, in celebration of the beginning of summer, when bathing suits and shirtless running flourish, we’re telling the world otherwise.

We’re telling the world you can have your muscle, and eat broccoli too! (Or something like that…)

The team and I have gone through all the best strength fitness and nutrition articles and podcasts on No Meat Athlete and compiled them into a single guide. A guide you can arm yourself with for the next time a doubt creeps in, or share with your friend when they say you need to eat meat to hit your goals.

(Note: Want even more? Get started with the new Summer Vegan Strength Bundle, available through Sunday.)

How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

One ironic twist to the whole weak vegan story line is that more and more, professional bodybuilders are going plant-based. That’s right, they’re reaching for plant-based fuel — not meat — to build muscle.

The first place to start with a guide like this is with the professionals, whose main focus is building and sustaining muscle and strength.

Read:

How to Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet: Staple Foods, Meal Plans, and Philosophy

The 15-Minute, Strength-Building Bodyweight Routine for Plant-Based Athletes

The Skinny Vegan’s Guide to Gaining Muscle

Listen:

Plant-Based Muscle with Robert Cheeke and Vanessa Espinoza

Building Muscle and Losing Fat on a Vegan Diet with Marcella Torres and Derek Tresize

Strength Exercises for Runners

While most people don’t think of endurance athletes as having big muscles, full-body strength can help you run faster and longer, and prevent many of the common injuries most runners encounter.

And it all starts with simple bodyweight exercises. Here are two guides to get you going:

Read:

The 23-Minute Post-Run Routine that Builds Strength, Recovery, and Mental Toughness

16 Easy Strength Exercises & Stretches to Help You Run Faster & Injury-Free

The Truth about Protein: What You Need to Know

Now, as much as I believe protein is an overblown, over-hyped nutrient, it would be tough to call this guide complete without bringing it up.

Protein is, after all, the genesis of most of the doubts I talked about earlier (and jokes, for that matter).

So, where do we get our protein? And how do we make sure we’re getting enough?

Read:

How to Answer the Question: Where do You Get Your Protein?

Protein – A Primer for Vegetarians

Protein for Vegans: A Fresh Approach to Getting Enough

Vegetarian Protein Foods

Listen:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Protein, with Garth Davis, M.D.

Feeling confident yet?

Make this summer the year you finally build the strong, lean body you’ve wanted. And show the world that we vegans are more than just the butt of some silly joke.

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Training for Your First 13.1 Miles: The Half Marathon Advice I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Semi Marathon Marseille Cassis 2017

If the mere thought of jumping from something like a 5K all the way up to 13.1 miles for the first time just seems a little, well, intimidating — trust me, I’ve been there too.

When I was a new-ish runner, I was fascinated by the idea that otherwise “normal” people could train themselves to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles without stopping. I had only just recently gotten comfortable running three miles at a time, and when I’d hear about people finishing these longer races, I’d ask myself questions like:

What must it feel like to be able to just drop everything and run 10 or 15 miles? What kind of fitness level must you have once you can run that far? And how great do you feel when you accomplish something like that?

Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve found yourself asking similar questions. And I want to help you discover those answers for yourself.

How a Lack of Knowledge Can Really Screw You Up for Years

Back when I was a wild college kid, a few friends and I decided we were going to run a marathon. We weren’t runners.

We wanted to do it for the reasons above, like incredible fitness and achievement of something so great. (And we figured it’d give us abs, and girls liked abs, so why not?)

We had no idea what we were getting into. But we downloaded a free training plan from the internet and just jumped right in.

It was not pretty. We made some hideous training and nutrition mistakes, so bad that all three of us got hurt in the process. We all did run the race, although I wouldn’t call what we did for the last 8 miles “running.”

When we finally limped across the finish line, we were a sorry, sorry sight. I’m not sure we even lifted our arms for the finish photo, as it took everything we had to pretend like we were running at the end.

For years after that, I badly wanted to redeem myself. Having crashed in the race, I somehow felt worse about it than I did before I had run it!

So I started over, and decided this time I’d do it right, focusing on running a strong half marathon before I even dreamed of running another full one.

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