It went well and I had a great time, but in hindsight, I realize the topic I chose was a tough one.
I spoke about the “no-pressure approach” to vegetarianism that I take with No Meat Athlete. Instead of trying to persuade people that they should go vegetarian (and now, dammit!), I’d much rather just set an example that people can choose to follow or learn from if they’d like. I’ve just never been one for confrontation, and I hope my writing here reflects that.
But after I was done speaking, I thought to myself: Boy, that would have been so much easier if I had just talked about the same stuff I write on the site.
And so I got to thinking — what’s the gist of my message?
That’s when I got the idea for a series of posts that I should have written long ago. This is the first post in that series, the heart of the message I want to spread about vegetarianism (future installments will be about running and healthy eating, I think).
And as it turns out, it’s pretty much a demo of what I talked about in NYC. So that works out. 🙂
“Should” you go vegetarian?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want you to go vegetarian or vegan. Compassion for animals was big part of my reason for doing so, and so I’d love it if nobody ate them.
But I’m not going to tell you what’s best for you. That’s for you to decide.
Is a plant-based diet healthier than an omnivorous one?
I believe I’m a lot healthier now that I’m vegan. It forces me to avoid fast food and countless other convenient, but unhealthy, foods that I used to eat. So in my mind, there’s no question that a well-planned plant-based diet is healthier than the standard (terrible) American diet.
But how about compared to a whole-foods diet that happens to include a small amount (say, 10% of calories) of meat, maybe a little dairy? Honestly, I’m not convinced that one is clearly healthier than the other.
There’s a lot of science that says a plant-based diet is better. And there are plenty of people who claim that this science is bunk.
To me, it’s not clear that one diet is necessarily healthier than the other. I’m fine to call it a tie. I just know that passing up a McDonald’s is way easier for me now than it was before I was vegetarian, and as a result, I make so much more of my own food than I used to, and eat so many more fruits and vegetables than before. For that aspect, I like it.
Is a plant-based diet better for sports?
I got faster when I went vegetarian, so much so that I took over 10 minutes off my previous marathon and qualified for Boston on my first attempt after I changed my diet.
But I also changed the way I trained, so I can’t say for sure how big a role each change played. I can say that I lost 5-10 pounds when I went vegetarian, and I believe that was a huge factor in getting faster.
Brendan Brazier and Scott Jurek have both told me they believe they recover from workouts better on a plant-based diet than on
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