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Being a plant-based runner

We are plant-based runners, mostly vegetarian, occasionally eating dairy, fish and meat, only from sources we can trust. This is why…

Plant-based trail runners

As having a healthy, balanced diet and getting the right nutrition is such a key aspect of our lifestyle (or anyone’s, for that matter), I wanted to share our reasons for following a plant-based diet on this blog.

Our choice of food is a fundamental influencer of how we behave. In a fitness context it is also important to reflect this in how we structure our nutrition plans for running and fitness activities, to ensure we are getting the right balance of nutrients and portions to fuel our runs, races, workouts and adventures.

Three key reasons for going meat-free

  1. Environmentalism
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Personal health

Environmentalism

I’m uncomfortable with the way animals are mass-farmed, but never really gave it much thought until recently – it was a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I had also, until recently, only vaguely been aware of the environmental impact this farming – in particular cattle farming – has. However, having taken the time to do some research on the subject I’ve been shocked with my discoveries.

Regardless of the accuracy of facts (as with other environmental concerns, all data and statistics can be manipulated and challenged), many of the Earth’s most significant environmental problems can be attributed to too much water consumption by mass-farming (probably more than industry and clothing manufacture), polluted effluent run-off into our rivers and oceans, cow farts generating methane galore, and mass deforestation in the Amazon among other places, to make space for more and more farmland. Credible studies (including one by the UN) are showing that these activities cause more greenhouse gases than industry and transport put together.


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Even considering this, there is not enough meat being supplied to meet growing global demand. I’m not here to debate the facts (and this is a fitness blog, not a political blog!) but needless to say, I’m sufficiently convinced that I don’t want to risk contributing to this any more than I have to.

While I’m not going to preach, I want to encourage you to look up Cowspiracy, watch the film, do your own research and form your own opinion. We found the film a real eye-opener – and game changer.

Animal welfare

Speaks for itself, the more I see, the less I want to fuel demand for a product which is not only potentially bad for my health and contributes to significant environmental problems, but is also inherently cruel. I’ve not eaten certain meats (lamb, duck, veal) for quite some time, and have gradually reduced the extent to which I consume other meats.

Personal health and fitness performance

We believe that a predominantly plant-based diet is more sustainable than a meat-based diet. So even if you were to dismiss, or at least not be sufficiently influenced by, the environmental and animal welfare reasons – if a plant-based diet is a better lifestyle choice for healthier living, then it is a great reason to cut down on the meat you eat, even if you don’t go entirely meat-free.

Are you vegan? What sort of vegetarian are you?

We specifically say we follow a ‘plant-based’ diet. We don’t say we are vegetarian unless we are in a situation to guarantee we won’t be offered a meaty meal we wouldn’t eat (like on a plane 😉 ).

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We use the term ‘plant-based’ because we focus our eating habits on consuming plant-based foods, avoiding processed products and eating organic produce where possible – but also consider foods such as organic, free-range eggs, and organically, sustainably reared fish and meat to be good choices on occasion – typically once a week.

On a practical basis, depending on where you live and where you travel, it is very difficult to avoid dairy products (particularly cheese) every day, especially if eating out or provided with food made with cheese. We minimise our dairy intake, and aim to be flexible yet stick to our principles, making informed buying choices wherever possible, such as when in restaurants and food shopping.

Benefits we’ve seen from this dietary change over the past couple of months include:

  • No uncomfortable ‘over-full’ feeling after a meal – easier digestion
  • More energy on a daily basis
  • Feeling lighter and more agile when on the run
  • Clearer skin
  • Simpler food choices – in restaurants and the supermarket
  • Lower food shop bills, despite buying top quality produce

So, in summary

We are really excited about the benefits we are already experiencing, and those this change in eating choice promises to bring.

We’re inspired by the top endurance athletes who have already been living this way for years – the most famous including ultra endurance athletes and runners Scott Jurek, Rich Roll, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. If they can do it, so can we (and you!).

7 COMMENTS

  1. Keep up the plant based living, team – your body, the environment and our beautiful animal friends will thank you for it. Mr. Reeves (and Dr Noakes) are delusional.

  2. Hi from Switzerland!
    I stumbled upon your website searching for On Cloudventure reviews (thanks BTW, I might try them, On is my brand on choice for roadrunning since they came on the market)
    Vegan since 2011, vegetarian since 2006. 42 this year and I never felt stronger. I ran 9 ultratrails last year (ranging from 48K to 120K), and 30 races in total. I eat 100% plant based, for me fresh and dry fruit is the best fuel during races (especially raisins, yum!).
    My main motivation for being vegan is my love and compassion for the animals. I know I could never kill an animal with my own hands to eat it unless my survival literally depended on it… which never happens in normal day to day life 😉 And plenty of animals have to lead terrible lives and face horrible deaths because of the egg and dairy industry as well. And then there’s the whole environmental aspect, which you’re already aware of 😉

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for reading, and for the message! You are a great example of a strong plant-based athlete 🙂 30 races in a year is good-going! I will have to turn to raisins to fuel my long runs – I have been loving dried bananas and apricots but raisins would be great for small bite-size morsels.

      As you can probably tell, we are big fans of On Running. The Cloudventures are great for buff trails (like some of those gorgeous Swiss Alps trails) and are surprisingly good in the mud. I was out in the rain with mine yesterday 🙂

      Helen

  3. Hi – Thank you so much for your website and sharing your knowledge and journey(s)! I am a WFPB runner of many decades. Looking for advice on the dreaded runner’s diarrhea. It happens and I’m finally getting sick of it. Searching the internet has all the usual recommendations of eating less fiber. I don’t want to give up my daily green salads, but I am at a point in my life where I don’t want the annoyance of “holding it in” while “looking for the nearest bathroom” either. Do you have any advice? And thank you again! i look forward to your news letter. *If you wrote about this, I’m sorry I haven’t come across it yet – there’s so much great information on here! I love it. thanks again!

    • Hi Kay, that’s the worst! I am planning to write a post on this topic at some point. I’ve found that it depends what time of day you run, as it depends where your body is in its daily digestive cycle. So if I run in the morning, I have to make sure I’ve been to the bathroom before I run, because it’s inevitable that I’ll need to go, and if I run straight out then i’ll need to go when I’m on my run. So I suggest drinking water and, if you can, coffee, first thing, and waiting for your body to wake up and use the bathroom before a run. Then there should be less chance of needing to go while you’re out!

      I hope this ends up helping and that you enjoy reading some of the other blog posts 🙂

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Helen
Helenhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hi, I’m Helen. I write about all things trail running, outdoor adventures and mindful living. Aiming to be a positive influence and have a positive impact on the environment and those around me.

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