by ambassador Josh Meyers-Dean
So you’re thinking about trying a plant based diet? Maybe it’s for ethical or environmental reason, or you’re just trying to cut out some animal products in your life, whatever the case, I have some information for you!
I have been following a vegan diet for about 2 and a half years, and personally I believe I have been able to recover better from activities, save a lot of money, and feel better about the things that I put in my body. Doing this has also broadened the foods that I eat, and truthfully has made me a better cook!
Figure 1-Safety first when making that guac
You can’t get enough protein eating only plants:
- Quinoa has 8 grams of protein per every 1 cup cooked serving, combining this with beans and salsa and you have a protein packed, tasty meal!
- Seitan has 15 grams of protein per half cup and you can make a mean breakfast scramble with it! I like to add tomatoes, salsa, spinach, beans, and really any cheap flavor filled goodies
- Nuts have so much protein! And as dirtbags I’m sure you’ve housed a jar of peanut butter at least once on a road trip. This Summer, when I was living out of my truck, peanut butter was definitely a staple food in my everyday life, packing 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons!
Eating a Plant Based is expensive:
- Dirtbaginess and expensiveness are no cohesive to each other, so why would we choose an expensive diet?
- Unless you’re only buying processed, fake-meat products, a plant based diet is very cheap compared to buying meats, milk, cheese, etc.
- Beans and rice are always a staple and are very cost effective, as is pasta, veggies, tofu scrambles, and fruits!
- As mentioned before, peanut butter is awesome and also very cheap!
Plant based diets are boring and tasteless:
- Sure, diets can get boring if you’re only eat the same things over and over, or if you’re making them bland, but pretty much any recipe you can think of can be made vegan!
- Spices are your friends, and hot sauce covers up the taste of poverty
- Experiment with different foods you may normally not like or have even heard of, such as West African Peanut Stew!
- Mix it up! Don’t get stuck in the same food cycle every day or week.
Figure 2-The spread
Why I feel it is beneficial
I personally feel going plant based is beneficial to me as an athlete because I recover better. Back in high school when I was running marathons, my standard pre race meal was 2 cheese bagels from Safeway, which lead me to feel like garbage for the majority of the run. When I got back into running 2 years ago, 2 years after high school, I was already in the transition to a plant based diet, and had a pretty good year of racing! I attribute this due to better dietary choices that made me feel better in every aspect of racing (fueling, pre race meals, and recovery). One thing though that is crucial is taking proper supplements such as B12 every day as it is not found naturally in plants, and helps with brain functions.
I also feel it is beneficial as a trail runner specifically, that it is helping to reduce the emissions we put in the atmosphere and cut down on our contributions to global warming. I want to continue to run in these beautiful places we love for as long as I can, and I want 7 generations from now to do the same. For example, 1kg of beef produces 34kg of Co2 emissions into the atmosphere.
(http://www.defra.gov.uk/science/project_data/DocumentLibrary/EV02007/EV02007_4601_FRP.pdf) And while it is a tough reality, it is one we can recognize and try to improve upon.
Figure 3-The tool of every dirtbag, THE COOLER
- West African Peanut Stew Super tasty, protein, fat, and carb packed!
- Burritos! Rice, beans, whatever veggies, tofu, tempeh, salsa, greens, go wild! Really great on the road as well.
- Pasta with roasted veggies, I like roasting tomatoes and making them into a sauce in a skillet with oil, spices, and greens
- Googling my favorite recipes with vegan after!
- Lentil Stew
Figure 4-Spice is nice!
Figure 5-Most beer is very vegan