No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier
Discover how a plant-based diet can power up your runs.
No Meat Athlete
By Matt Frazier
Fair Winds Press, 2013, 248 pages
Whether it’s competing in ultramarathons or doing 10 km routes for fitness, all runners share one thing in common: the need for fuel in the form of proper nutrition.
Like all athletes, runners need the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat for optimal performance. Many people turn to foods such as chicken, fish, beef, and dairy to supply some of those vital nutrients. But what about those who follow a plant-based diet? Can they really get enough energy from foods that contain no animal products whatsoever?
You’d better believe it, according to Matt Frazier, author of No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self. Several years ago, the ultramarathoner turned to a plant-based diet himself, although he admits he was skeptical about cutting out meat when he was running as many as 60 miles (100 km) a week.
But as he cut out beloved items including turkey burgers and cheese, he started noticing that he was losing weight without losing strength and that he was able to recover from workouts faster than in the past, with fewer injuries.
Frazier has since gone on to complete several races, including two 50 mile (80 km) trail ultramarathons and even a 100 mile (160 km) race, which saw him running for more than 28 hours straight.
In his new book, he shares his enthusiasm for running, and it’s infectious. You get the sense that he has a real passion for both sport and nutrition, yet he’s never preachy about either. Rather, he provides guidance on how runners and other athletes can build and maintain strength, endurance, and overall health by following a plant-based diet—all in a reader-friendly, positive tone. He comes across as someone you could fall into an easy conversation with both on and off the running trail.
The Asheville, North Carolina-based vegan includes many other voices in No Meat Athlete, including that of Matthew Ruscigno, past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who contributes an in-depth guide to plant-based nutrition for sports. Then there are blurbs written by other vegans, runners, nutritionists, and elite athletes—entries that are inspirational and informative all.
Frazier provides easy-to-follow training plans and tips, but my favourite section has to be the hefty chapter of recipes “to fuel plan-based athletes (and their families too!).” Dishes include White Bean Coconut Curry, Grill-Smoked Eggplant Dip, and Cowboy Chili (with black-eyed peas, kidney beans, and plenty of hot sauce). Those sound like good sources of fuel indeed—good enough to run for.