A few weeks ago, I posted a (long) article called “Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need from Your Plant-Based Diet?“, written with my friend and book co-author, Matt Ruscigno, R.D.
It was a fun post to put together (especially the infographic, which I think is pretty handy), and I learned a lot in the process, as I always do when I work with Matt.
But a few of the comments in response to that post, along with T. Colin Campbell’s new book, Whole, left me with a nagging question:
Should we even bother worrying about individual nutrients, or is it enough to say “eat whole plant foods” and be done with it?
It’s a tough one — Campbell’s book makes a compelling argument that the only reason individual nutrients like iron, omega 3’s, all the letter vitamins, and even protein are in common parlance is the green stuff … and I mean money, not kale. “Eat whole foods” doesn’t sell magazines, pills, doctor visits, or surgeries; reductionist approaches to health do.
And yet on the other hand, those of us who eat plant-based are choosing a diet that’s very different from the norm in our society. Do we have a responsibility (to ourselves, our kids, the people to whom we recommend this diet) to know that we are, in fact, getting everything we’re “supposed” to?
In addition to being a vegan nutritionist, Matt’s an accomplished endurance athlete with a top-10 finish at the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile solo bike race through Death Valley and the cycling equivalent of the notorious Badwater Ultramarathon. Following our discussion of whole foods versus reductionism, we talk about that event and discuss some new details about the progress of the No Meat Athlete book and tour (lots more info coming very soon), in this laid-back episode of the podcast.
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Here’s what we talk about in this episode:
- Focusing on whole plant-based foods or supplements for vegans and vegan athletes (4:00)
- The B12 discussion (7:00)
- Do mega-doses of vitamins hurt more than they help? (22:00)
- Matt Ruscigno’s experience as an endurance cyclist (28:00)
- Occasional junk food isn’t going to kill you (33:00)
- Progress with the No Meat Athlete book (42:30)
Links from the show:
- Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need from you Plant-Based Diet?
- Supplements for Vegans
- True Love Health
- Marathon Roadmap (where Matt’s interview on nutrition for plant-based athletes is consistently one of the most popular)
- Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes Series
- Furnace Creek 508
- Doug’s 102-Mile Fastpacking Adventure
- The Art of Non-Conformity
Books we discussed:
Thanks for listening!
I believe that plant-based is the healthiest way you can eat -- both for how you feel and perform in the short term, and for long-term health. But there are a few nutrients that are hard to get from plants, and I didn't want to take a whole multivitamin with so much extra that I'm already getting from my food. That's why I created Complement Plus, the perfect nutrient formula for plant-based athletes.
Complement Plus brings together, in one place, the essential nutrients that are missing from a reasonably diverse, whole food plant-based diet:
- DHA/EPA Omega-3s
- Minerals like zinc, iodine, and selenium
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