Unfortunately we have been brainwashed by the meat and dairy industries and so many people need to be hit over the head with a life threatening disease before they will admit that diet just might matter when it comes to health. Our family gave up dairy and processed wheat years ago and have never looked back. Some members of the family still choose to consume a limited amount of organic free range chicken and wild caught fish and that is their choice. I on the other hand prefer none. And that is ok. All of us move at a different pace when it comes to making changes and we all have to respect each others differences.
I am just so inspired when I read story after story of athletes improving their strength and endurance once they go vegan! For numerous stories, information and resources check out this vegan site http://veganathlete.com/
Here are a few of those stories:
How a Plant-Based Diet Helped Make Me an Ultra-Runner
I have been athletic all my life and was good at all the sports I played growing up. I maintained great fitness throughout adulthood. In 2004 I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I started running in high school and have always maintained a steady base of 3-6 miles. I figured I would read up on training for a marathon and do it right, nutrition and all.
My diet at the time consisted mainly of meat, dairy, potatoes, bread, with a little bit of fruit and vegetables. I had no problems at all with my marathon training program until I reached my higher mileage of 12+ miles. At one point I had run a few 18 milers and my body said no way. My joints were achy and it took me a week to recover just from one long run. On top of that, my immune system was crashing. I was getting sick frequently and my digestive problems seemed to get worse. I was 33 at the time and thought this should not be happening. So I backed off the running but kept my goal of running a marathon for a later date.
In the meantime, I had three young children I was raising. The colds and flus were never-ending and the diagnosis of my oldest daughter with juvenile arthritis was all I could take. I knew diet and disease were related so I decided to do some research. I learned that dairy can have horrible health effects on children. So I immediately eliminated all milk products from their diets. Once we eliminated it, my children’s health turned around. For myself, I put dairy aside too. I was stronger, less achy and soon able to run my first marathon.
Given the good results we were having sans dairy, I decided to do some research on eliminating meat. After a year, I decided that going on a plant-based diet would be a great thing to do. Shortly after all the animal-based food was gone, my health and athletic performance improved again. And in 2009 I finished my first Ironman race. I loved it so much I did it again in 2010 and finished an hour faster. On top of that I have finished numerous marathons and ultra-marathons. My recovery is faster than ever, and frequent colds are a thing of the past.
All the vitamins and minerals I get from plants aid in my recovery and keep me going strong. I have not supplemented with any protein powders of any sort and I have never felt stronger and healthier in my life. I am hoping this year will be the year I finish my first 100-mile ultra-marathon. I wish I could let my college professor know he was right.
My Experience Going Vegetarian, Then Vegan
I love to talk about it, shop for it, make it, and I really love to eat it. This did not always make for a very healthy lifestyle, but I’ve made significant changes over the years. I became active, lost weight, and moved to a vegan diet.
Since becoming a vegetarian in 2009, I’ve had many discussions about the love of food, nutrition, and diet. Some endurance athletes I know say they could never be vegetarians because they “need the protein.” Others say they are mostly vegetarian but could never give up their beloved dairy.
In 2011, I went on a vegan diet. In just a few months after eliminating dairy from my diet, I could already see and feel the positive impact. I sleep great, have more energy, and no longer feel sluggish or bloated. I have never felt better in my life.
After taking this additional step, I noticed my discussions about my diet shifted in tone. Most people I talked to “get” vegetarianism. We could all benefit from giving up meat, they say, but why would anyone give up all animal products? No eggs? No milk? No cheese? No way!
Although I personally felt much better eliminating all animal products from my diet, watching Forks Over Knives in November 2011 provided me with the means to better articulate the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
I see now with clarity why eating a plant-based diet is the best option for my overall health and wellness. I understand now how eliminating meat and dairy doesn’t just make me feel better, it can prevent and even reverse afflictions like heart disease and diabetes. I don’t know about you, but my idea of good health does not involve pills, stents, or bypasses.
I am a marathon runner and a triathlete. I work out 6-8 times per week and get all the nutrients I need (including protein) from a plant-based diet. Some world-class vegan athletes like ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, Ironman Brendan Brazier, and Ultraman Rich Roll agree. These guys are at the top of their games and they’re doing it without eating animal-based foods.
My passion for food remains firmly intact, but now I get to create nutritious, great-tasting meals every day without worrying about the unhealthy consequences.
Here is an Ophthalmologist who teaches his patients about the importance of the proper diet. Hear his story, book suggestions and recommendations here:
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful to have learned years ago, just how important the proper foods are to my health.