Will It Make Me A Better Runner? The 60-Day-Meat-Free-Challenge

When I was diagnosed with Cancer a few years back, I was advised to cut meat from my diet while on treatment and I noticed during that time my body responded very well to a meat-free diet.

After my illness I began running and I was worried that a vegetarian diet might affect me negatively in the long run. So I went back to eating meat.

I have been toying with the idea of cutting meat from my diet for a while now. As it stands I’m not a great meat eater but being a South African meat is a big part of our culture which to a degree has prevented me from going ahead with the lifestyle change.

A guy who’s opinion about being a vegetarian/vegan runner I value and who’s an expert (although he modestly denies this!)At making the change to a meat free diet is Matt – long and strong, take no prisoners – Frazier over at No Meat Athlete. I’ve been following his blog for a while now (well actually I lurk there – sorry Matt! :) )

Matt really knows his stuff and most importantly he walks the talk. His blog is a rich resource of information about; following a vegetarian/vegan diet as a runner, a list as long as my arm of delish recipes – by Christine Frazier – to try out. There’s also loads of information about improving your running in other ways – not just food. The coolest thing is that Matt’s not preachy, in his own words;

I’m here to help, not to try to convert.

It obviously works for Matt, I mean this guy’s doing 50-mile ultra marathons, running on plants!

He tried for 7 years to qualify for Boston and 7 months after becoming a vegetarian, he qualified for Boston in a time of 3:09:59.

Now I’m not sure if that was mind over matter or if it was really the change in diet, although for some reason I find myself wanting to believe it’s the diet!

Let me just say right now that my apprehension is NOT because I doubt the facts, clearly it works. It’s based more on my – perhaps narrow minded – idea that I need meat to nourish MY body properly.

Ok, so my curiosity has been sparked – that’s obvious and the little voice in my head won’t stop challenging me to give it a proper go and see what the results are.

I Love A Challenge…

So there’s only one thing to do – well actually two…

I subscribed to Matt’s free newsletter; The Vegetarian Endurance Advantage: The Essentials of Plant-Based Training. In it Matt promises to show how eating little or no meat will improve your running.

Secondly I’m setting myself a 60-day-meat-free-challenge, kind of like an experiment to see if it really will make ME a better runner.

Join The 60-Day-Meat-Free-Challenge

Are You Hungry For A Challenge ?

If you are, join me in the 60-day-meat-free-challenge and see if it will make YOU a better runner.

All you have to do is subscribe to The No Meat Athlete’s newsletter to get the scoop straight from Matt’s pen and leave a comment below saying when you are starting the challenge.

I will be posting about my experience during the 60 day challenge and I would love for you to post about your experience on your blogs and websites. That way we can all share our experiences as well as motivate and challenge each other to keep at it.

C’mon it’ll be fun!

21 Days Into The 60-Day-Meat-Free-Challenge And 2 Super-Delicious Vegan Recipes

Ilike celebrating milestones. It’s a way of measuring progress and no matter how big or small; each milestone should be celebrated, it keeps your eye on the prize, or mabey I’ll just use any reason to have a party…

Today’s milestone is a step forward in changing my lifestyle and specifically my diet. Three weeks ago I set myself a 60-day-meat-free-challenge which was inspired by Matt Frazier – the No Meat Athlete. So today is the 21 day mark in my 60-day challenge and this post is in celebration of that milestone. If you haven’t read about it yet check out here; Will It Make Me A Better Runner…

Starting out on this challenge wasn’t hard at all mostly because I’d dabbled with a meat free diet in the past. The only difference this time was instead of just Vegetarian I was excluding ALL animal products and aiming for a Vegan diet – which is totally new to me.

I’m happy to report that so far so good! I’ve had no side effects or any cravings for meat or animal products. I must admit that one of the very first things I did when I started this challenge was to visit my local health food store and try out Vegan chocolate – absolutely delicious in case you were wondering!

What About Protein?

As someone who runs and works-out six days a week my only concern when starting this challenge was finding enough sources of protein in my diet – apparently that’s the first thought most people have. Matt Frazier – from No Meat Athlete – in his e-course The Vegetarian Endurance Advantage explains that if you do a Vegetarian or Vegan diet properly there will be very little need to supplement with powders and pills.

That being said, I know I need protein to assist muscle recovery after a workout and I wanted to take any guess work out of it so I bought vegan protein powder from my local health shop. A scoop gives me around 25g of protein. It doesn’t taste all that bad and once it’s added to a fruit smoothie, BINGO! All the protein I need and it tastes delicious! I’ve always had a diet rich in legumes, beans and as many whole foods in their original state as possible so no worries there.

Divine Vegan Dining

Over the past three weeks J – my hubby – has collected and experimented with lots of Vegan recipes. Oh, did I mention he’s been a great sport and has joined me on this meat-free-challenge? Anyway here are my two favourites;

Vegan Sweet Potato Curry

Delicious Vegan Dining

This is an awesome Curry recipe and should feed 4 adults easily.

Stuff You’ll Need
1 onion
3 medium sized Sweet Potatoes
1 large bunch of Coriander (washed and chopped)
1 tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 tin of Chick Peas
3 cloves of Garlic
3 tsp. Of Curry Powder
800ml (1.75 pints) of Vegetable Stock

Putting It All TogetherChop the Sweet Potatoes into medium sized chunks; boil for 15 minutes then drainIn a pan fry Onions until translucent, add the crushed Garlic cloves Add the Curry Powder and fry mixture gently for another two minutes Now add the Tomatoes, Chick Peas and Vegetable Stock and bring mixture to the boil Add the chunks of Sweet Potato and the chopped CorianderAllow the curry to slowly simmer for 20 to 30 minutes

Serve with Brown or Wild Rice

Seriously Scrumptious Spicy Bean Burgers

Heavenly Vegan Burger Patties

I absolutely love eating burgers and being a Vegan/Vegetarian should not change that so when my hubby produced these I was in heaven! This recipe will feed 4 adults with 1 burger each.

Stuff You’ll Need
1 carrot, diced small
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped small
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Chilli Powder
400g Red Kidney Beans
400g Chick Peas
1 tbsp cooked Sweet Corn
1 level tbsp Flour

Putting It All TogetherBoil the carrot until al dente and drainUsing half of the Olive Oil fry the Onions until soft and goldenAdding the herbs, spices and flour; cook for 1 min, stirring well – don’t allow the flour to burn Mash up the beans and chick peas with a fork and then add the onion mixture, the carrots and sweet corn Mash up mixture some more and season to tasteHeat the remaining oil, shape the mixture into 4 burgers and fry for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until done

Serve on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, hummus, onion rings, cucumber slices and topped with sprouts.

Want to find out more about how to eat less meat? Are you curious about how “running on plants” will influence your running? Or mabey you are ready to make the change to a Vegetarian or Vegan diet. Why not check out Matt’s site No Meat Athlete where you can sign up for his free e-course and get the low down straight from Matt himself.