I looked at the calendar the other day and realized that this week marks a half-a-year anniversary for Vegan Runner Eats blog! What started as a way for me to document the training for my first marathon since I went vegan has now turned into something bigger and better: the marathon turned out to be a success; my story was shared on Forks Over Knives site; people have been reaching out to thank me for the inspiration on their plant-strong journey.
Best of all, I’ve got lots of ideas of what I want to do next with the blog to make it useful to anyone who’s interested in plant-based diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned, and if you haven’t yet, please subscribe to the updates via email (the box on the right), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Since starting Vegan Runner Eats, I’ve learned so much about the plant-based (vegan) diet that today I’d like to share six of the most valuable points – one for each month of the blog’s existence!
6 Things I’ve Learned about the Plant-Strong Vegan Diet since Starting This Blog
1. It’s possible to successfully run a marathon on a vegan diet! Being fueled by plants has dramatically improved my endurance: not only was I able to run a marathon last November, but I’ve also been enjoying my stamina that now allows me to push hard in my workouts up to 6 days a week, and then have lots of energy for the day-to-day activities with no mid-afternoon energy slumps.
2. Healthy plant-based food doesn’t have to be complicated. I get inspired the most in the kitchen by playing around with the simplest ingredients. In fact, most of the things I eat at home are so simple, they don’t even have proper recipes! For example, I love putting leftover black bean-potato stew or some lentils on a bed of kale for lunch, or wrapping a bunch of chopped fresh vegetables in a tortilla with some hummus spread on it. It’s quick, effortless, and can easily be the healthiest food I’ll eat all day!
3. Vegan diet allows for more experimentation than omnivore (the common meat-eaters’) diet! I realized this shortly after I started creating my own recipes for this blog: while omnivore diet usually implies filling a plate with some variation of meat, starch and vegetables, we vegans go above and beyond in trying new ingredients and techniques to achieve more than one amazing result!
Take mac and cheese: while the omnivore version has no meat, it’s hard to do a lot of variations to this recipe that calls for pasta, cream and cheese. Plus, no one’s going to argue that it’s terribly unhealthy with all that fat and dairy. Vegan mac and cheese? Dozens of amazing recipes all over the internet, all of them using different base ingredients like cashews, almonds, tofu, butternut squash, etc. There are even fat-free mac and cheese recipes that taste great, like the one I made the other night using a recipe from my favorite Happy Herbivore Cookbook.
4. Cooking without oil is easy, healthier, and doesn’t affect the taste. Numerous doctors and researchers have talked about the benefits of ditching oil from our diet for heart health and other benefits, particularly Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. in his life-changing book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure. Most of the recipes I’ve created for Vegan Runner Eats contain very little to no oil and still taste amazing!
5. Vegan cooking is liberating! Before going plant-based and starting this blog, I often felt limited in my recipe choices and ended up cooking the same meals over and over. Fast forward six months, I’ve done more experimentation in the kitchen than ever before in my life:
– I’ve discovered ethnic dishes from Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Thai and other cuisines I’ve never tried before;
– I found new wholesome ingredients like nutritional yeast, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, kombu, blackstrap molasses – I can’t imagine my kitchen without them now!
– I’m not afraid of experimenting, even tweaking some baking recipes (that’s the only way I was able to come up with a few dessert recipes on Vegan Runner Eats!). I love it that I can now eat all of the raw cookie dough I want – no salmonella there!
6. You can still be successful on your plant-based journey if you are the only vegan you know in person. When I decided to make the switch, even my husband Rob was skeptical. Eventually he joined me after a couple months, but to this day we haven’t met anyone (!) in person in our current home of Southern Alabama who is also vegan. (Okay, we did meet a few vegans during our trip to Seattle, WA last fall, but that was it.) Veganism just hasn’t reached Alabama yet. There’s only one all-vegan restaurant in our area, and even that one is located in Florida, one hour away from us. If we are going out with a group of friends, we call the restaurant in advance so that they could stock up on vegetables 🙂
And yet, we never feel lonely on our plant-based journey – the support of the vegan community we get through the blog helps a lot, plus the knowledge we now have about the benefits of plant-based diet makes a huge difference.
If you’ve just stepped on this path yourself and feel like the lack of support from family and friends could derail you, please know: you’re not alone, and you are making a difference right now! It is estimated that by not eating meat one person can save lives of at least a hundred animals every year – that’s a lot of animals!
If more people decide to look into the benefits of a plant-based diet, then – who knows? – maybe veganism will eventually reach Southern Alabama 😉
Thank you everyone who’s been following Vegan Runner Eats blog in its first six months of life! Stay with us, and there will be more awesome stuff in the future!
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