Today, Go Read Something Else

One of the things I fear most when I hit “Publish” on a new No Meat Athlete post is that what I’m writing will come off as preaching.

I don’t think this is a bad thing to fear. Some will argue that I could have a much bigger impact and convince a lot more people to try being vegetarian or vegan if I weren’t so afraid to tout the benefits of a plant-based diet, but I don’t believe that’s true.

Instead, I think the choice not to write that stuff — to resist the temptation to write about animal cruelty or even the health benefits of a plant-based diet over a traditional one — and instead provide readers with tools (and hopefully some inspiration) to make the transition, is what has made No Meat Athlete popular with a pretty decent-sized and growing audience. And more important, it’s what has helped No Meat Athlete help a lot of people go vegetarian or vegan.

It works well. People who already on board get something they like reading and sharing (thank you, btw!), and people who aren’t yet convinced often stick around and continue to pay attention over time until they’re ready to give it a try. Without being turned off by preaching, or equating going vegan with joining a cult.

But …

It turns out there is a way to argue for a plant-based diet in a manner that’s tasteful, non-preachy and appealing to a wide audience, not just the proverbial choir.

Here it is. It’s a post from my friend Leo at Zen Habits, called A Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet.

Leo’s post is long, which is why this one short. I hope you’ll check out Leo’s post, and more than that, I hope you’ll share it, so that the message travels far and wide.

If it’s not a post I could have written, the next best thing is to help it spread, right?

PS — Leo’s post has tons of links to studies and supporting evidence, which is a testament to the amount of time he spends researching what he writes. I’ve learned a lot from following links on Zen Habits. His post on soy is another great example, and one of my favorites.



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  1. Matt, I’ve been reading your blog regularly for the past half year and as a non-vegetarian (but someone that is trying to eat better), I’ve never found it preachy or overbearing. My wife and I love your posts and regularly try the various training methods and recipes here. Keep up the great work!

  2. Jon Weisblatt says:

    Hey Matt,
    Your opinion and blogs are always appreciated. The recipes on this site have made it easier for me to be vegan/vegetarian as there is such a wide variety of fantastic dishes. I also dig that you have guest posts and don’t mind sharing the spotlight. You rock!

  3. Thanks. I will head over to Leo’s. To get info to help support my arguments for my diet as they come up.

  4. I’m a believer of Arnold Ehret and the Mucusless Diet. (If you’re not familiar with him, he cured thousands of people through fasting and diet back in the early 1900’s). He has in his book a set of tables that shows which foods are more mucous causing than others. Soy beans are on the mucousless side. I think natto (even though most Japanese can’t stand it) and tempeh are fantastic ways for vegans to get their B12. Fermented foods are good for us. Ehret even says the only time dairy should be consumed is if it is soured. He says milk makes a good glue for painting.
    Oh, by the way, also many spiritual enlightened Buddhists ate soy products. I would think if it was bad their intuitition would have told them so?
    Great post!

  5. Great stuff as usual. I read Leo’s article and it was full of fun facts that I actually shared with some scoffers of vegetarian diets (one who actually at 100% meat diet for 30 days to to “cleanse.”- which makes my stomach lurch just thinking about), and they actually listened to the facts.

    Love the blog!

  6. I’ve tried and tried to go vegan, etc. But I have to be honest – I hate making salads. I’ll be the first one to admit that I am LAZY. I don’t mind making a smoothie in the morning, but I hate bringing & making lunch. I mostly juice at dinner. Any advice for the ridiculously lazy person who truly wants to eat better?

  7. Anita, I would look at the reasons why you want to eat better. If we really want to do something, we will do it..over time, and with some effort, but I think if we truly hold those values, we will act accordingly. So I would go back to your reasonings and remind yourself of those every time you feel laziness creep up.
    Jacque, that meat cleanse sounds remarkable. What a rationale! I fast once a month for 24 hours and I’m actually energized by the end of the day and the beginning of the next one!

  8. Thanks for the links, Matt! I read both and found them very informative. I agree, sometimes the less aggressive approach is less offensive to people. You can turn MORE people off by being preachy rather than leading by example (eating right and living a healthy lifestyle). I had the chance to hear Bruce Friedrich talk about this exact topic at Farm Sanctuary- he had some great advice and he even has a book The Animal Activist’s Handbook.

    As for the soy, I have gone back the forth and now eat it in moderation as a part of my vegan diet. I am a CrossFitter and constantly hear the bad soy rap- but after doing some research I basically came to the same conclusion at the article you posted.

    On week 4 of 1/2 Marathon Training plan! My husband is doing the Full and on week 17. Our race is in Rehoboth DE in Dec, we are looking forward to it- thank you so much for all of your efforts to inform veg athletes! It has been so helpful.

  9. As a lifelong vegetarian (well, I started at age 6), I’ve always believed it’s my own business and never wanted to come off as trying to convert anyone else to vegetarianism.

    When I became a personal trainer, I mostly hid my vegetarianism (most fitness people are hardcore meat eaters and tended to look down on my way of eating), and even on my website I don’t ever tout it as the only way to eat—though I do believe it’s a better way to live.

    I love that Leo (one of my favorite bloggers) brings to light the benefits of a plant-based diet in that post. He never comes of as preaching (neither do you, Matt), but he’s always able to communicate his true feelings in a non-obtrusive way.

  10. Justin Rutherford says:

    Hello everyone;

    I’m new to this plant based diet and looking to start bodyweight, kettlebell and dumbell training. I’ve been told by a few trainers that I need to do long walks instead of running to burn fat and that I would be in a losing battle going plant based. You should see the looks I get when I mention I’ve switched. Especially to the trainers at Goodlife , too funny. I am confused to where I need to start and what to do. I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs but noticed no weight training advice. Great site by the way, great recipes! Any direction would be greatly appreciated.


  11. Aaron Jones says:

    The health benefits are fine to talk about, but any info that I read about being a vegan starts talking about animal treatment! I compete in endurace sports and I went completly vegan once and never felt better. The thing that turned me away was the constant talk of animal treatment! I am begining a total vegan diet again this week. I don’t promote any mistreatment of animals, but I do come from a family of hunters and farmers who are truly good people. I’m don’t mean to offend anyone, I just believe you would help to convert more people to vegans if you talked about the health benifits and not the politics of it. Thanks for you time!

  12. Matt, I really enjoy your posts and don’t find them preachy, but I totally understand your comment. I too worry that I sound like I’m preaching. It is hard to be so compassionate about healthy living and not scream it out to all your friends, relatives and readers! I love your recipes and have made many of them, yum. I also enjoyed Leo’s post and subscribed to his blog, thanks!

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