Matt’s Dad on How Going Plant-Based at Age 63 Has Drastically Improved His Health

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Me and my dad with Dr. Greger at Remedy Food Live Toronto, 2016

Over the years, my dad has made several appearances on No Meat Athlete …

Well, he did. It took a few years and a heart-health scare, but he finally read that book — among many, many other books, talks, and interviews he’s consumed in these first few months of his plant-based journey.

And in just that short time, he has transformed his health.

Motivated by a laundry list of health issues, of which the heart scare was only the most recent, he hasn’t only gone plant-based … he’s been so thorough about eating healthy, micronutrient-rich food that he has motivated me to do better in my own diet. And his dietary changes have been led to the reversal of nearly all of his health issues, including the atrial fibrillation that first motivated the change.

More visibly than all of  that, he has regained the energy levels I remember him having when I was a kid … and now my own kids get to benefit.

All of this is wonderful, and I’m endlessly thankful that he found this lifestyle and that it has worked so well. But it’s hard not to ask:

My dad has watched me and my family do this for almost eight years, with the blog, the book, the podcast … so why did it take so long for him to give this a try?

In this episode of No Meat Athlete Radio, my dad, co-host Doug, and I sit down for an interview to talk about why and how he made the change, and just as importantly, how a typical NMA Radio listener might motivate his or her own parents to give a plant-based diet a try.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The interview he listened to that sparked the change
  • My dad’s daily routine: what he puts in his smoothie, and much more
  • Small steps, or massive action?
  • How an immersion event in Toronto helped him turn the corner
  • His cardiologist’s reaction to his improvements
  • How a trip to Italy actually brought back his old symptoms (and how they disappeared again when he resumed his healthy diet)
  • Why did it take so long to get here?
  • The books and movies he recommends to interested friends
  • His advice for plant-based adults who can’t seem to reach their parents with this message

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Dr. McDougall and the Healthiest Diet on the Planet

Brown rice and Grains crop

Dr. John McDougall is a giant in the plant-based nutrition community, but his approach is surprisingly different from that of many of his colleagues.

Instead of focusing on micronutrient-rich whole foods, he looks to the humble starch as the key to a healthy diet. As Dr. McDougall says in our interview,

“All large, successful populations of civilized people have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch.”

For that reason, according to McDougall, it’s not leafy greens or fruits that should make up most of our meal, but potatoes, rice, and other starches.

In today’s episode, we chat with Dr. McDougall about his approach to nutrition, his new book, The Healthiest Diet on the Planet, and how in his opinion, the Paleo Diet got it wrong.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • What percentage of our calories should come form starch?
  • Why Dr. McDougall says eating micronutrient-rich food is akin to taking supplements
  • … and why (aside from B12) he doesn’t like supplements
  • Is the Paleo Diet sexist?
  • How athletes should adapt his diet

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45 Tasty, Healthy Vegan Snacks

Roasted spicy chickpeas

Note from Doug: A lot has changed at No Meat Athlete since Susan Lacke wrote the original version of this post. Our content has shifted to be 100% vegan, and the team (along with our appetites) has more than doubled.

So we decided it was time to give our list of healthy vegan snacks an update. We’re tapping into the ideas from our growing team and nearly doubling the number of options.

If you’re already familiar with the original list, you can always skip down to the new section here:

But first, part 1, written by Susan Lacke:

When I was a kid, I always swore that when I grew up my days would be filled with snack time and recess.

Twenty years later, though I still won’t admit to being a grown-up, I will say I’ve managed to make my childhood dream come true: life as a triathlete provides me with plenty of time playing in the water, riding my bike, or running around.

And the best part? The active lifestyle is one which definitely favors lots of snacking.

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What to Do When You Can’t Stay Motivated

Female athlete suffering overtraining

We’ve talked a lot about motivation over the past 163 episodes … how to find it, how to keep it, and what to do when you have it.

But what happens when no matter what you do, you just can’t stay motivated?

When even after all the tricks — like accountability and establishing a routine —  you simply don’t have the motivation to run, eat healthy, or keep up whichever habit you’re trying to maintain?

That’s what we discuss in today’s episode.

SPOILER: We might not land on the solution you’re expecting.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why Doug “quit” racing (for now)
  • Embracing life’s seasons
  • Should you always have another goal race scheduled?
  • When it’s better to fight through a lack of motivation

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The Sauce System: 5 Staple Vegan Sauces for Endless Meal Options

Traditional thai spicy red curry

When I first started to care about what I ate, my cooking repertoire consisted of Kraft Mac & Cheese and pasta sauce à la jar.

If I added a vegetable into either dish, it was my attempt to impress a lady (smooth, I know).

So when I finally felt the need to learn how to cook, I did what most people do … I bought a cookbook.

I chose one writen by a famous TV chef, went to the kitchen, and made a shopping list. But it didn’t take long to realize that following detailed recipes is both time consuming and annoying, and I was quickly back to heating up jars of red sauce.

That’s the hangup for a lot of new vegans, vegetarians, or people who simply want to eat more whole foods. Planning for and cooking unfamiliar meals is just too darn hard to maintain.

Which is exactly why I love cooking formulas — like the Chipotle Method — that break cooking and planning into an adaptable process to save time, use what’s already in your fridge, and eliminate the hassle of following a recipe.

This summer, my wife Katie and I developed our own system for meal planning. Only instead of a traditional formula, we use sauces. And it has completely changed the way we cook.

The Sauce System for Simple Meal Planning

Matt is a big fan of single ingredient meal planning, where instead of starting with a cookbook, you plan your meal based on an ingredient you already have. That process narrows down your meal options, and eliminates much of the frustration that comes from trying to decide what to cook.

Katie and I have taken that same philosophy, only instead of a single ingredient, we start with the sauce.

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Robert Cheeke on Staying Motivated, Changing Course, and Embracing Imperfection

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In an effort to keep the show fresh, Matt and I rarely invite a former guest back on to No Meat Athlete Radio. To be asked back for a third episode puts vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke in rare company.

But with a new book, a move to a different state, and the transition away from speaking and traveling (as frequently, anyway), we knew this conversation with Robert would be different. And it was.

In this episode we talk to Robert about how his lifestyle and career have shifted as more plant-based bodybuilders hit the scene, and what that transition has done for his motivation levels. He also shares why he’s embracing imperfection when it comes to nutrition, and how he’s gained more muscle than ever before.

If you liked the first two episodes with Robert, you’ll love this new one.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Robert gained more muscle than ever before
  • Robert’s food confession
  • Why stepping away may provide more inspiration
  • Muscle mass and longevity … what’s the connection?

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