(I stole the title of this post from No Meat Athlete).
Photo courtesy of Fun Memories Photography
As of May 2013 I’ve been a vegetarian (eating plants, dairy, & eggs) for 14 years. I try not to mention it much because I don’t like to evangelize about it. My diet works for me, though it may not work for you. I have many, many reasons for eating the way I do, but you may or may not agree with any particular one of them. Big whoop.
As of June 2013 I’ve been a vegan (eating solely plants) for 1 full year. I never really even mentioned the change to anyone (partially because I didn’t think it was a big deal, and partially because I wasn’t sure it would stick) unless they happened to be preparing food for me. I was vegan-curious for quite some tome, but I put off making that leap for two reasons:
1. pizza 2. milk chocolate
I honestly didn’t think I could live without pizza (although I think Imo’s Pizza here in St. Louis is awful enough to turn anyone vegan). I gave it a shot and after about two weeks I didn’t even want pizza any more. That was easy. I’ve eaten vegan pizza a couple times in the past year and it’s so-so. Restaurants tend to use too much Daiya cheese substitute (a little Daiya goes a long way). Melissa makes the best vegan pizza. I used to eat pizza once a week and now I eat it once every three months.
Milk chocolate was another staple of my diet. I’ve since discovered what many people probably already knew: milk chocolate sucks. Semisweet and dark chocolate taste way better. Ditching milk chocolate also made it easy for me to cut out a lot of types of junk food from my diet. I used to eat crap like Nutty Bars for a snack, while now I eat apples and grapes. Real food trumps shit every time.
Becoming vegan was far easier than I ever expected, though a lot of that had to do with having an already-vegan spouse. I have fewer options at restaurants, but that just means eating more real food at home. I typically eat more food, I eat healthier food, and I feel better.
Anyone who follows my usual posts about endurance athletics my be wondering how this diet affects my performance. It turns out the past 12 months have been the most successful 12 months of my life for endurance racing: 21 races, 17 top ten finishes, 12 podium finishes, 4 wins. All with a plant-based diet.
There is certainly a strong correlation between my diet and athletic performance, but there’s far from enough proof to suggest my diet is responsible for my performance. So I’m not going to suggest everyone start eating the way I eat. On the other hand, it would be pretty difficult to argue that a plant-based diet is hindering my performance, wouldn’t it?
As for the question everyone is thinking, how do you get enough protein, the answer is simple: from all the food I eat. It’s a non-issue.