I'm beyond excited about recently stumbling upon No Meat Athlete. I gave up on meat about 6 years ago for a variety of reasons, but the deciding factor was my high cholesterol. I felt way too young to already be battling my heart, so I cut out
all most meat. Over time, it became rather difficult to live a nutritious meat-free lifestyle due to my limited budget, my refusal to spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen and the fact that I was living in the #1 Most Obese City in America (I'll always love you Memphis - just not your plethora of fast food chains and over abundance of delicious cheese fries).
So, my vegetarianism evolved into more of a flexitarianism (and yes - that's an actual word. I think). I'm a fish-eating-non-meat-eater-except-when-the-only-thing-offered-is-meat-as-long-as-it's-not-chicken-unless-it's-a-Chick-fil-A-chicken-biscuit-but-will-always-prefer-non-meat-dishes-and-would-never-order-meat-off-a-menu. Did you follow that? Try to keep up. Moral of the story: I always prefer not to eat meat, but I really REALLY hate inconveniencing folks that are making me a free meal, so I make exceptions every now and then.
Anyhoo... folks sometimes look at me like I have a 3rd eye when I tell them that I'm just not that into meat. And I don't necessarily blame them. Our food system is most certainly centered around meat, and most people operate under the misconception that meat provides essential nutrients that you can't find elsewhere (If only I had a carrot for every time I've heard, "But how do you get protein?"). Even so, while it is more than possible to live a well-balanced and nutritious lifestyle without meat, I don't always do that (hence the gallon of goldfish that disappears each week at my apartment).
So, I kind of felt like I found my soul mate when I recently discovered No Meat Athlete - a vegetarian runner's guide to training for a marathon, complete with tasty (and simple) recipes and all kind of pointers on how to squeeze in dietary supplements, battle running boredom, unwind from a long run and so on and so forth. I'm super stoked to test out "The Perfect Smoothie Formula" because I was just this morning jonesing for some fruity goodness but feeling far too cheap to fork over $8+ at Smoothie King (not to mention, I would no doubt be over my craving by the time I walked back to the office and my smoothie was frozen solid).
I just signed up for the The Vegetarian Endurance Advantage: The Essentials of Plant-Based Training, a free e-course that provides training tips and nutritional advice to endurance athletes (I enjoy pretending like I actually fit in that category right now). I haven't received my first installment yet, so until then, I'll be making my way through this oh-so-helpful list of "63 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine." It's probably not a good sign that I'm already needing these tips before I've actually begun our 10-miler training.
Curious about starting a more veggie-based lifestyle? I highly recommend this helpful starter kit from Vegetarian Times.