July 21, 2021

How a Plant-based Diet Fuels Some of the World's Top Athletic Performers with Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke

How a Plant-based Diet Fuels Some of the World's Top Athletic Performers with Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke

Our guests are, Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke. They are the authors of The Plant-based Athlete: A Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance


You don’t have to be a world-class athlete like Tom Brady, Venus Williams, or Chris Paul to experience the benefits of a plant-based diet. But the example they set sure makes a compelling case that it might be worth trying if you want to improve your physical performance and recovery. That’s the assertion made by our guests this week.

Matt Frazier is the founder of No Meat Athlete and author of The No Meat Athlete Cookbook. He is a marathoner and ultrarunner, whose life as an endurance athlete changed when he found that he could run longer and faster on a plant-based diet.

Robert Cheeke is the founder of Vegan Bodybuilding and is a two-time natural bodybuilding champion and has followed a plant-based diet for more than twenty-five years.

Together, they are the Authors of The Plant-Based Athlete: A Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance. They share with us tips and strategies that have helped some of the world’s most competitive athletes perform at the top of their game...and how those same strategies can improve your performance.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why a plant-based diet is suitable for building muscle
  • How to be a successful plant-based athlete
  • Why the fastest growing food trends in America are meat and dairy alternatives
  • How a plant-based diet can boost your energy, stamina, and overall performance.
  • Tips and tricks to starting and maintaining a plant-based diet

Resources

Guest Website

Fit Mess Toolkit

Transcript

Transcript was written by robots. Please forgive errors.

[00:00:00] Matt: This 

[00:00:01] Robert: is the fit mess conversations with world-class experts in the fields of mental, physical, and emotional health. And this episode. Like Chris, Paul was already great. He was an already great NBA player, but he said, what if I could do something better? Well, we've seen what happened. I mean, he got MVP votes this year after he was not even an all-star for three years in a row.

[00:00:22] And told his career was over. He came back with a resounding yes, I can. And so did Venus. And Novak yoga bitch and Lewis, Hamilton, and Tom Brady, who maybe he didn't go all the way. He's not a hundred percent plant-based, but he's experiencing the benefits of having a plant centered and plant forward. Now, here are your hosts, Zach 

[00:00:40] Jeremy: and Jeremy, you don't have to be a world-class athlete like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, or Chris Paul to experience the benefits of a plant-based diet.

[00:00:48] But the example they said short makes a compelling case that it might be worth trying. If you want to improve your physical performance and recovery. That's the assertion made by our guests this week, we're joined by Matt Frazier and Robert chic. They're the authors of the plant-based athlete, a game-changing approach to peak performance.

[00:01:05] So Zach, this isn't a topic that I'm surprised that we're talking about because anytime you talk about health or wellness, you know, veganism, vegetarianism diets in general are going to come. I am surprised about the way we're talking about it, because you are considering trying at least for awhile, a vegan diet.

[00:01:24] No ma'am Nope, Nope, yes, 

[00:01:27] Zach: you are just, yeah. Yeah. You're right. I am. 

[00:01:32] Jeremy: No, I'm not. You're really not started yet, but it's something you're teetering on the edge of beginning. 

[00:01:37] Zach: I am. I am just, I'm thinking about a specifically plant based. And going all the way vegan as opposed to just vegetarian. But I do want to say off the top, before we talk anymore about this, like this is, you know, there's a difference between diets and how you eat diets.

[00:01:57] In my opinion are for short term goals, you know, like eating a certain way for 30 days to reduce inflammation or do a detox or something like that. But, you know, diets in general are not sustainable for long-term. So I already know. Well aware of that, just making sure every, you know, all the people who are like diets are horrible.

[00:02:15] Right. I know I want to do something for, you know, 30 days, maybe 60 days, that's vegan based. To see if I can get a couple of things to go away specifically like inflammation in my muscles that it's been getting worse as I get. 

[00:02:29] Jeremy: Let's put another disclaimer up here too, that we're not necessarily saying this is the way you should eat, or this is the diet you should do.

[00:02:37] And we're not trying to dip our toe in the, the online war of what's the best way to eat your food. This is just an interesting perspective that we have with our guests this week on how some of the top performing athletes in the world. Rely on a plant-based diet too, and give credit to it for their success.

[00:02:55] And I just think that is a really interesting perspective. So, so save all of your hate mail and, and you know, why animals are the best protein and, and all the nonsense. We get it. Cool perspective, bro. That's not what we're here to do. Engage in. That's my perspective. Why is this the tool you're going to use to reduce inflammation?

[00:03:14] What is it about a plant forward? A plant-based a vegan diet that you think is going to help your inflammation issue? 

[00:03:22] Zach: Well, you know, just the studies that I have right around, you know, meat specifically is, uh, isn't inflammatory food, whereas plants are specifically. D inflammatory. So I, I really just want to stack it in my favor and see if it does make a difference.

[00:03:38] Right. Um, we talk about it all the time. I'm being curious. I love meat. I love hamburgers. I have one last, right. And as I was eating it, I was like, I won't be able to eat you for 30 days, but I will be back. I'll be back. 

[00:03:50] Jeremy: This is you're writing with a feathered pen, a love letter to your burger as you're eating.

[00:03:55] It was 

[00:03:55] Zach: like, it was, you know, My wife was, you know, giving me some evil looks because I was having a little bit of an affair, but 

[00:04:05] Jeremy: wait, you were just eating it. Right. You 

[00:04:08] Zach: know, there might've been some, some kisses and some hugs and, you know, longing looks at 

[00:04:14] Jeremy: it. Uh, is your wife joining you on this, a vegan experiment or are you on your own?

[00:04:21] No, she's going to join me. Oh, wow. Yes. So we'll see, we'll see how it goes. How are you going to do what's your plan? Because this is not something, you know, we talk all the time about changes in how, you know, you can't just overnight go, I'm going to wake up and be a different person tomorrow. It's gotta be small steps, but this is a huge change to make even for just 30 days.

[00:04:41] Zach: Yeah. I think the fact that it's fully vegan is what's going to make it really hard because he eggs, milk. Yep. On top of eating meat, like there's. Meat products and everything. So, um, I am going to just really try and eat as many vegetables and fruits as I can. Um, we've got a couple of recipes that we've looked up that look appetizing that we're going to try on the first week.

[00:05:04] And if they hit, then we will make those regulars for the next three weeks. If they don't. You know, look for some new ones and that's kind of what we're, we're going in as like we have one week planned out and then we're going to try and eat the exact same way for the next three weeks, unless something is horribly gross.

[00:05:20] Right. Then what will replace it. But the one interview we did where she's like, it's the exact same level of effort to open a cliff bars. It has a banana. Yup. Right. We're just going to make sure we have tons of fruits, tons of veggies and snacks in the house because the number of calories that I'm going to consume.

[00:05:37] I'm going to have to eat more if I'm just eating like plant-based stuff in order to get the same number of calories, I do want to stay away from bread. Well, I think you could probably get away with that as a, as a vegan option. I'm 

[00:05:49] Jeremy: going to try and stay, stay away. Well, and I will say going vegan is not as difficult as it was.

[00:05:56] I first tried it in the nineties and it was kind of pre-internet pre-information age. And figuring out how to do it was really hard. You couldn't walk into your local grocery store and go to the vegan section and know that everything I'm getting here is safe to eat on this plan. Now you can Google your way to a perfect plan and map out all of your recipes and all that.

[00:06:18] Or perhaps turn to a fantastic book like the plant-based athlete, which we'll get to in a minute. I think you are, you're in a fortunate position now because so much information is available. You've done crazy experiments before. This is far from a crazy experiment. This is cutting out a few things from your diet and adding a few other things.

[00:06:36] Zach: Yeah. This is by no means the craziest thing I've done biohacking wise. 

[00:06:40] Jeremy: Right? And apparently it's not the craziest thing. Some of the top performing athletes in the world have ever done. We're talking Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovich world-class athletes at the top of their game. Performing at that level while on a vegan diet and giving credit to that.

[00:06:57] For their success, I think is fascinating. That's why we talked to the authors of the plant-based athlete, Matt Frazier and Robert cheek, both high performing individuals themselves, and also giving credit to a plant-based diet. And we had a chance to talk to them about what put them on the path to living a plant-based lifestyle.

[00:07:18] Matt: Sure. So I grew up, uh, like a lot of people's standard American diet. I was not really that athletic until college when I just kind of got into fitness to get in shape and I jumped into marathon running without having any business. That really wasn't a runner. I just, just decided with some friends, we were going to do a marathon and we decided we were going to qualify for the Boston marathon.

[00:07:36] Uh, that didn't go so well, we missed it by 103 minutes. And, uh, that, that like set me off on a course too. I just made it my mission to qualify. So I'm like, man, that would be so cool to do that. So I didn't know, it would take me seven years. And at the end of six of those years, I'd kind of plateaued 10 minutes shy of that goal.

[00:07:52] And I had decided at that point that not, not for any kind of performance reasons, just personal ethical, Didn't want to eat animals anymore. So I started transitioning to a vegetarian diet, started my website, cause I couldn't find any information about it. So I started no meat, athlete.com and uh, to my shock and surprise.

[00:08:10] It worked really well for the running. Uh, so just six months after I made that shift, I finally got over that. And, uh, and qualified for Boston from there started to learn more about it and realized that there were all kinds of, uh, athletes doing the ultra running thing on a plant-based side, because they were finding that that was the very best diet they could choose.

[00:08:27] And so I wanted to get into ultra running. So I kept going when all the way vegan, uh, got into running 50 mile races and a hundred mile race, a hundred percent vegan, and the injuries just stopped happening. The injuries that had played me as a man. Just stopped happening despite me doing, you know, double the mileage I had been done before.

[00:08:43] So then, then I really started to become sold on the idea that this actually works, at least for endurance sports. I didn't know too much about the other side of it yet the strength side. Uh, but, but that's, what's really booming in the past five years is the plant-based diet for, uh, all kinds of sports, including these mainstream NFL, NBA, tennis, uh, Olympians.

[00:09:00] I mean, tons of people are doing it, but at the very highest levels and they're, they're saying it helps them perform better than any other. 

[00:09:06] Jeremy: And Robert, I want to hear your story too, but just to quickly touch on Matt, you were surprised by the results. You said you just did it kind of on a whim didn't want to meet anymore.

[00:09:14] Why were you surprised that, uh, your, your performance improved on a plant-based 

[00:09:19] Matt: diet? Uh, because like I said, I had come from this standard background where you had the meat, meat, meat was protein and protein is how you build muscle and be strong. And I just didn't know if it was even possible to run a marathon.

[00:09:32] As a vegetarian. And I didn't know that these people existed who were doing it, uh, and much less who were choosing it because it helped them. So I was extremely worried about protein. Uh, and in fact, like the first year of, of wanting to do that, I was afraid to, I kept eating chicken and Turkey. It just cut out like the four-legged animals.

[00:09:47] Um, but I just, I was so worried about protein. I thought it wouldn't work. And so, uh, you know, once I started training, Like doing these harder and faster workouts than ever and not getting injured. That was the big thing. Is that with running, like, if you're, if you're doing great and you're just hammering workouts, unfortunately it's always like an overuse injuries just around the corner when things are going really well.

[00:10:08] Uh, and that I had that feeling of, yeah. But once I was vegetarian, it just didn't happen. I was just, I just kept hitting those workouts all summer long. And then that led to me qualifying. So yeah, it was a big surprise for me. And then, and then, like I said, after that, I started to started to do more research and realize that there were people making this work and choosing this diet because it works so well.

[00:10:26] Okay. 

[00:10:26] Jeremy: Robert, let's hear your story. What, what put you on to plants? 

[00:10:29] Robert: Yeah, thanks Jeremy. You know what? I grew up on a farm out in Western, Oregon, and in the nineties, you know, before the internet was even around or at least for public access. Uh, I stumbled upon veganism through my older sister. I was a farm kid.

[00:10:43] I was in the four H program raising animals and selling them at the auction, essentially saying goodbye to my pets, to my friends that had first names and they would go off to be turned into someone's food. And so my older sister organized and animal rights week at my high school, and I was big on eating bacon and chicken sandwiches and going to fast food restaurants on a daily basis.

[00:11:05] And it was a five sport athlete, but I decided, you know, what, out of respect for my older sister, because she's passionate about this, I want to support her passion. I'm going to become vegan, whatever that means I'm going to do it for a week. And that week has turned into something like 1300 weeks now.

[00:11:20] And then as a senior in high school, I was organizing the animal rights week, which was essentially what our vegan festivals are today. There were speakers talking about the benefits. I have not eaten animals, videos of factory farming and animal testing, and coming from a farming background that resonated with me and, and of course, conversation and literature about the benefits of eating plants.

[00:11:41] And so I went about it, but like Matt, I had all kinds of reservations. I mean, I already mentioned this is . Pre documentaries pre you know, lots of books on this subject. And I weighed 120 pounds while watching He-Man and captain planet, and pro-wrestling on wanting to get bigger and stronger and that's the absolute truth.

[00:12:02] And so I was, I would drink, you know, milk does a body good. And I would see the guys get bigger and stronger and deeper voice. And so I would drink so much milk that I would basically vomit over the porch at our farm. Because I believe that was part of the system. And so for me to go without all animal protein, no meat, no dairy, no eggs.

[00:12:23] I really wasn't sure. You know, I wanted to be like this 220 pound pro wrestlers I saw on TV and you know what, Jeremy, you know what Zach, I did. I did it. I became vegan. I stuck with it. I was a five sport athlete in high school. I was especially good at it. During sports. I ran one year of collegiate cross-country at Oregon state university.

[00:12:44] And then I checked right in here with my heart. What do I really want to do? Like, what do I want to do? Not what am I good at, but what do I want to do? And that was get bigger and stronger. So I started lifting weights and it was laughable, like to use the same expression mat use. I had no business doing.

[00:13:00] I had no business being in the gym as 130 pounds. And you know, at this point, probably an endurance athlete, but I could visualize it. I really could. I could picture it. I could say, you know what, not today, you know, maybe not today, but five years from now, just wait. You know, I'm going to do something here and I'm going to do it because it means something to me.

[00:13:17] Because if I can show people that I can build muscle without eating animal protein, this will make a difference in the world around me. This will inspire other people to leave animals off their plates, too. That was my real vision. And I did it and I became a champion bodybuilder, and then I became a champion bodybuilder again, and I competed with the 2006 Inba natural bodybuilding world championships.

[00:13:40] I was in the best shape of my life. Put on 70 pounds quickly, even though they said I couldn't do it without animal protein, I did reach that goal of 220 pounds. In fact, with clothes on 223, I took screenshots of it. It was great. So I put on a hundred pounds and Jeremy and Zach, one of my goals was to put that protein question to rest.

[00:14:02] I really wanted to, to show that you don't need animal protein. And I feel like I've, I've sufficiently done that. At least for me and for my audience and my community, but it's still the number one question we get asked. And so we hammered it in our book, the plant-based athlete, we talk about protein. We talk about the history of protein marketing and why we think we need it.

[00:14:23] And throughout my life, I was able to get all the protein that I needed on a plant-based diet. And I'm now a quarter century into this and I just feel. So grateful that I can now talk about this as someone who hasn't just done it for a couple of months or for a year, but really the majority of my life has been dedicated to this.

[00:14:44] And I felt like I was in a place where I could team up with Matt and write a really, really mainstream book about this subject. And that's what we've done with the plant-based diet. 

[00:14:54] Zach: I really liked this topic. Uh, this'll be a surprise for Jeremy, but I, I actually. And this is timed really well because I've been thinking about cutting meat.

[00:15:02] Yeah. Out of my diet, what 

[00:15:04] Jeremy: person? Yeah. If his videos on YouTube, 

[00:15:06] Zach: Jada here, um, just due to, uh, you know, some various issues that I've got going on. And I, I think I need to change my diet and figure out what's going on, but I'm just an average guy, right. Below average in several areas. But you know, you're talking about these endurance sports and, and, and what going plant-based.

[00:15:27] Can benefit you on just as an average guy, like, you know, I feel like there's a couple of things that I could benefit from it, but I'd love to hear you guys talk about not just the athlete, but you know, just the average guy, what happens to us? What's the, what's the science of not eating meat or animal products that what happens in our body that makes these drastic changes.

[00:15:47] Matt: Sure first. I mean, we should point out like this book very much is for the average guy and the average girl. And I consider myself that as well. Uh, you know, I, I was not a gifted athlete by any means. Uh, and I think that's why I picked running because running is one of those things where you don't have to endure in sports in general, long, the longer the distance, the less it's about genetics, the more it's about, you know, how hard are you willing to just work for it.

[00:16:09] And then. Things, can you find that we'll optimize it and that that's why it ended up so many endurance athletes and why endorse was kind of the sports that pioneered the pancakes plant based diet, because these athletes were looking for an edge, uh, and you could get that edge, even if you didn't have the genetics that it's not quite the case in like strength and speed sports.

[00:16:28] That depends more on genetics. So it took longer for a plant-based diet to make its way into those. So anyway, um, you know, why does it work well for anyone even like, just recreation. Person who goes to the gym and runs a little bit. You don't have to be a serious athlete. Um, it's by and large, and this comes from talking to the top athletes, but everyone that Robert and I have talked to for this book and throughout our careers, really, uh, they cite recovery as the number one reason that this diet is good for performance, they say they can recover faster from their work.

[00:16:55] Get back out there to do another workout, maybe, maybe in the same day, uh, or maybe it's maybe it's the next day, but they'll come back a hundred percent recovered faster than the competition. Can't so for you and I, what that means mid, we don't care about getting in more workouts in a day, but we do care about coming back to the next workout, a hundred percent recovery so that you don't get injured.

[00:17:13] And that's what I was talking about with my running and the training. Like I was coming back a hundred percent recovered when I probably hadn't been before. And that was probably why I was getting injured. And so like, what's the mechanism. Why, why that. It's the plant-based foods are just so nutrient dense without being very calorie dense.

[00:17:29] So you get tons of nutrients per calorie, uh, makes it easy to digest. It makes it easy to quickly recover. And you have this, uh, the anti-inflammatory compounds that are present in so many plant-based foods. And this is a huge difference between plant-based and animal-based food. Also many plant-based foods are anti-inflammatory.

[00:17:47] Uh, animal-based foods tend to be pro-inflammatory. So what you end up with is just this ability for reduce muscle soreness, your body, to fight the inflammation, recover faster. And that seems to be what it is. And then if you're just talking about someone who's like not an athlete at all, it doesn't even care about that.

[00:18:03] What's cool, is that it's the exact same mechanism that, that makes the plant-based diets so good for long-term health and longevity. It's still that fighting of chronic inflammation, uh, which, which, you know, is, is one of the hugest biggest contributors of disease in our country. So it's, it's cool to me that like, to find out that the same reason it's good for sports in the short term is what makes it good.

[00:18:22] One of many reasons that makes it good for, for long-term health and health span in. Robert. Did 

[00:18:27] Robert: you want to jump in on that? Yeah, we'll just go the ad, like, I want to just commend you Zach for that, taking that, um, making that decision or taking that leap because. So many people, I just know this in my core.

[00:18:39] So many people could benefit from having more plants on their plate. They could benefit from a plant based diet from a health standpoint, from a recovery standpoint, from a fitness standpoint, uh, from so many different perspectives yet. So many are unwilling to give it up. For a number of reasons, afraid, afraid of losing muscle mass, uh, fear of not getting enough protein, fear of how they might be viewed or criticized for going kind of against the grain or doing something that's a little bit abnormal or different than, than the rest of society.

[00:19:07] So I just want to commend you for being open to that. I think that's where it begins. It begins with curiosity. It begins with what F or, or imagine if I do this and what could be, you know, what's the potential. And that's what I'm so excited about. Our particular book is because we feature so many athletes who in some cases are the best in the world who had the exact same curiosities.

[00:19:29] They were already great by Chris. Paul was already great. He was an already great NBA player, but he said, what if I could do something better? Like, what if I could not be sore after a game and come back the next day? Fully recovered as Matt was saying, well, we've seen what happened. I mean, he got MVP votes this year after he was not even an all-star for three years in a row and told his career was over.

[00:19:51] He came back with a resounding yes, I can. And so to Venus. And, and Novak Djokovic and Lewis, Hamilton, and Tom Brady, who maybe he didn't go all the way. He's not a hundred percent plant-based, but he's experiencing the benefits of having a plant centered and plant forward diet. And Matt and I are both not exclusively all or nothing.

[00:20:11] Um, I might come across that way sometimes, you know, because I've been so dedicated to this for most of my life. But we want to see more people eating plants for their own benefit, right. For the benefit to the environment, the animals, like it's always multipurpose, even if there's one aspect of that, or let's say it's a personal health, I think you kind of alluded to that could bring you into this thing.

[00:20:32] But by doing that just by default as a by-product yeah. You might be having a lesser footprint on the planet or you might be who knows? I mean, I've heard a lot of people, uh, it just impacts them, uh, and their, and their compassion toward other animals, you know? We're just looking at animals differently.

[00:20:50] So I just want to applaud you. I just wanted to add that. I just wanted to applaud you for being open-minded and being curious to give a plant-based diet a try. Yeah, I 

[00:20:59] Zach: appreciate that. And I, I very specifically didn't say why I wanted to do it because I was hoping to hear it in the answer, but it's definitely the inflammation.

[00:21:07] I, my whole body is. A lot. So I'm looking for another solution, another something to help me reduce that inflammation because I do get injured a lot when I do my workouts and I'm hoping that I can stop being injured. So I appreciate that 

[00:21:23] Robert: answer. Well, the benefits of plants that, and I'd love David, maybe follow up with you and hear how that goes.

[00:21:29] So feel free to keep it. Yeah, 

[00:21:31] Jeremy: definitely. So, so on that topic, I've, I've been a vegetarian for over half of my life and not a very good one often referred to as a cheese and bread Attarian because I'm just bad at this. Nutrition is not something I was ever good at. I was raised in a meat and potatoes, kind of a house.

[00:21:47] And so I think I know for me, I know for a lot of people I've talked to that consider making this. One of the biggest obstacles is just the education and breaking the cycle that we were brought up with. So what advice can we get from you guys, both from the book and now on, on sort of getting our head away from, I need some big hunk of animal next to some starchy vegetable next on my plate every day.

[00:22:11] How do I start thinking about food differently so that I can adopt this, this new life? 

[00:22:16] Matt: Yeah. I mean, I get that. It's really hard for sure. And everyone I talked to, I don't want to say it's hard to do it. It's hard to get your head around it. Uh, that's what I meant to go back to the book again. Like that's what I think is one of the great things about this book, uh, and about the book in general.

[00:22:32] What's cool about this, as you, even aside from, if you took no actual, like how to choose from this, you just, it just sort of seeps in that, like how could these athletes are, who are picking this diet? And even for me, like at this now for 12 years, there's always still like even having done it myself. I did it in the indoor inside, and I saw those benefits for my endurance, getting into the ultra running and all that.

[00:22:53] So I, I believe that. Like I said for insurance and I believe it was the best choice you could make for endurance sports, but there was still in my mind, this thing probably from being a kid and always hearing about, you know, milk does a body good. And the, and the beef stuff. A strength athlete certainly is going to need the protein and the meat and the know the masculine.

[00:23:11] Like, it just seemed like that goes with that kind of lifestyle. Um, but, but in the process of writing this book and I had heard this, of course, I had seen guys like Robert, I knew people who, who did this. And I knew about some of the Olympian powerlifters and the strong man strong women who were, who were vegan a hundred percent vegan.

[00:23:29] But somehow just the sheer number of those stories that you read enough of them and, and those, those fears and doubts start to melt away. That view really does begin to shift. Uh, if you just see enough examples of people who are, who are defying, what you think is true. So like that's, that's the big one for me.

[00:23:46] More practically speaking. Day-to-day what do you actually cut? How, what can you do to shift that? I mean, of course you can watch the documentaries, read the books and things like that, but I think it starts with just taking a step, just, just beginning, right? Like I'm I wouldn't ask anyone to just go vegan overnight.

[00:24:00] If you want to do that. That's cool. You should. It's fun to try, but I don't think that's the most effective way to change. It took me four years to go from omnivorous to vegan. It'd be I never intended to go vegan. I just, I was just. Going to the next step each time. And I thought that was it. Uh, it took me four years.

[00:24:15] It doesn't have to take anyone that long. Obviously you could do it over the course of a month or even a few weeks if you wanted. But to me, like, it starts with just little tiny shifts and like people have been asking us, like, what do you think of the, the impossible burgers and the beyond burgers and all these new vegan meats that are out there.

[00:24:30] And like, obviously they're not a health they're, they're not the food that if you look at our booklet, that's not what these athletes are choosing to fuel their bodies by and large. It, it starts to shift your thinking starts to shift your mindset. And like someone may no vegan foods, foods, but no one needs a vegan meal mate, or someone who doesn't eat any of, they start by having those burgers instead of the regular burgers.

[00:24:52] And that much more than shifting their body. In my opinion, starts to shift their mindset towards it. Like, wow, you can actually eat a vegan burger. Right. And it kind of tastes like a burger. In fact, this is this a lot, like a burger. And it, I feel just as full and I feel satisfied. And then maybe another day it becomes two meals like that.

[00:25:10] Or maybe they start eating breakfast at the smoothie and an oatmeal because they, they started eating a plant-based burger and it's like just these gradual shifts. So I just encourage people. Find some sort of little challenge for yourself and like, say, I'm going to just gonna do plant-based breakfast for a week before I even think about doing the next step or, uh, eventually get to a point where you're, where you're plant-based before dinner and your whole, your whole day's play.

[00:25:32] Basically if your dinner you're still doing your old way. And I just think you can kind of start to convince yourself and get to experience the benefits firsthand in your body, even without fully going plant-based. Uh, and I think that that starts to change your mind. So that's, that's what I would say.

[00:25:47] Easiest way to begin to shift is actually just to try it in small steps. Robert, you 

[00:25:52] Robert: wanna jump in there? Uh, yeah, I mean, I don't have too much to add aside from the fact that as I wrote in the book or as we really outlined, you've got to know what, what your favorite foods are too. Sometimes it can be a little bit daunting, you know, like all of a sudden I know what I don't want to eat.

[00:26:09] Right. Or I know what I am not going to add to my plate anymore. Dairy products, eggs, whatever the case is, but sometimes it's not knowing what you want to add. So what I like to do, and we outlined this early in the book is to identify the foods that you really actually enjoy, uh, and list them there. So you have those available to mix and match and make these meals that you, I mean, take a burrito bowl, for example, uh, I mean, most people probably like rice and beans.

[00:26:36] Avocado or guacamole, some version of avocado and things like salsa and all that. And you add lettuce and mushrooms and peppers, whatever you want to do it. But we don't may not think about that the a minute we might not think of like a burrito or a burrito bowl or tacos as something that's plant-based, but it certainly can be right.

[00:26:53] And same with a lot of international cuisine, whether that's Thai food or Indian food. Yeah. I've been doing this a long time. I don't have, I don't consider it to be a sacrifice whatsoever, man. I had Indian food last night. Right? I have Ethiopian food. I had Thai food recently, Mexican food, uh, vegan sushi, uh, is fantastic.

[00:27:13] Uh, all kinds of soups and cultural cuisines. It's just, it's just understanding. All of those, you can make a vegan version. There's that expression, you know, anything you can do, we can do vegan. And so, like Matt said, if you are going to transition over a period of time, then you can, you can absolutely enjoy burgers and pizza and lasagna.

[00:27:34] And the nice thing about that as you add more vegetables to it, and there's a great doctor, Dr. , he wrote the book fiber fuels, massive bestseller, and he talks about. You want to add more plants to your plate, add more plants to your dish, but you don't have to scoff it. Foods like pizza, just add a whole bunch of toppings to it that are vegetables.

[00:27:52] And so my wife and I do that, same thing. We add spinach and mushrooms and green bell peppers and black olives and artichoke cards. And I mean all these different foods. And now you're basically eating a salad on bread, you know? And so there's ways to incorporate high quality nutrition in ways that don't feel like.

[00:28:13] A sacrifice. And I think Matt's right, that statistically, you're more likely to stick with a, any kind of diet or nutrition plan or workout or anything. If you kind of ease into it. That's why new year's resolutions don't really work. They end on average by January 17th, you know, we're all gonna get big and ripped and super healthy and do green smoothies.

[00:28:33] And then we decide we're going to wait 11 and a half months and try it again, uh, because we failed. So, so there is something to that gradual approach. No doubt. Yeah. But there are some people like me who did it overnight. And, uh, I think just kind of follow your own intuition and your, because we all have different, I don't know, different habits, behaviors, disciplines, willpower, whatever.

[00:28:54] And as we just go with what matches our personality, we're more likely to stick with it that way. So, uh, so for, for, for both. Um, you know, I know you're the a, what did you say? That cheese and bread? Attarian I hadn't heard that 

[00:29:09] Jeremy: before. I want to make sure I send 

[00:29:11] Robert: you a hat. You can take it to Canada when you move there.

[00:29:14] Jeremy: No, I've got to write a book, man. I got to write a book, 

[00:29:18] Robert: but yeah. So there's, I think there's some for both of you, Zach and Jeremy, and I'm not saying, and I'm not coming from a place of like, oh, You know, we're coming from a place of superiority or our diets better than yours. I'm just saying nutritionally, there's amazing benefits to whole plant foods.

[00:29:33] And I would encourage both of you to find your favorite ones and add those into your daily nutritional plan. And that that's one way to get started. And we outlined that right at the beginning of the book, because you got to know where you're starting from to get where you're going, and you got to know what you like and what you don't like and what you will or won't do.

[00:29:50] Um, same with fitness. You think, put it on spandex and going to the gym and doing curls and grunting is the only way to work out that may not be for you, but going for a hike or taking your walk or your hand, your watch your dog for a walk, um, just might be. So I think 

[00:30:04] Jeremy: that's exactly how that goes to the gym.

[00:30:06] I'm pretty sure that's his usual routine, right? Pretty much 

[00:30:10] Zach: the spandex and granddad always spandex. 

[00:30:14] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:30:14] Robert: Mistaken for a pro wrestler, you know, like carry a big belt around with you. 

[00:30:21] Jeremy: Just the way to 

[00:30:21] Zach: go the gym. It's the time I have when I'm not preparing food. But, um, so plant based diet, you know, a lot of processed foods have, you know, meat products in it or, or animal products in it.

[00:30:34] I am. Not good at preparing my food. You know, if I walk into the kitchen, if I can't find something to put in my face and you know, 30 seconds, I just won't eat anything. So, you know, talk to me about a plant-based diet and food prep. Like, does it have to take a long time? Are there ways around it? Uh, you know, what are your, what are your thoughts about that?

[00:30:56] Matt: Yeah, so that's, that's a really great question. Uh, very, very common one. It's it's very strange. Like one of the things that has happened to me since I started eating plant-based is I have slowly talking about changing beliefs and what we assume has to be true. In my mind slowly has eroded the belief that a meal needs to be a square meal that has a protein in the middle of it.

[00:31:17] And it starts in the side and the, and the greens next to it. I'm not, I'm always hesitant to bring this example up because I don't, I want people to think that I eat, you know, fruits and nuts all day and like, that's it. But there are times when I'll grab four bananas and that'll be okay. My breakfast or if I'm driving in the car and I just know I'm not going to want to stop at taco bell and get some sort of vegan junk food, which of course they have, uh, I'll bring bananas or I'll bring a couple of fruits or I'll bring, uh, you know, a big handful of nuts, probably more nuts than I should eat in a day.

[00:31:45] But I guess like I've started to realize that. If any one of those given foods is, is if I believe it is, are super healthy too. And I do believe that about nuts. I believe that about just about any fruit. Uh, and there are a lot of other, like, you know, single source foods, basically any plant based food you want, uh, some hummus with cucumbers.

[00:32:01] Like if I believe that the inputs, those ingredients are as healthy as, as I do believe they are, um, full of micro nutrition. I don't really even think about how much protein, carbs and fat are in those things, because I don't need to, because I know. I'm going to, like, I eat such a variety that it's all gonna level out somewhere.

[00:32:19] This might not be the approach that, that world-class athlete who is really dialed in with the nutrition takes. But certainly there are some, like, that's the Bausch Olympic medalist in our book who said she just kind of eats according to hunger like that. She doesn't think about those numbers and anything like that.

[00:32:32] For me that took a whole lot of pressure off when I started realizing that my healthiest meals were the ones that I didn't actually take any time to prepare the ones that were kind of just there as they are, or like after a run, I'll cut open a watermelon and eat a half of a watermelon with a spoon.

[00:32:46] And I realized like if I think fruits are the, one of the healthiest things you can eat. And I absolutely do think that way more than the internet would have you believe taking that there, but they're awful. When, when the science like the global burden of disease study lists, not enough. Fruit is one of the top three causes of.

[00:33:01] Yes. Uh, diet related deaths in our country is not enough fruit. Okay. You know, so like, I I've come to believe that if I, if I'm having healthy inputs, it kind of doesn't matter what combination I'm having them or, or how long I took to prepare them. Uh, so getting away from that concept, that really helped me a lot.

[00:33:16] Cause then they had a smoothie for, for breakfast or a smoothie for dinner. If I, if I just, one of those days were about at soccer practice with the kids and whatever, and I'm just not didn't plan a meal, like I'll have that now and then, or I'll have the huge salad with beans. And I don't need to think about, well, am I really getting the right amount of fat in this meal or whatever.

[00:33:33] So I think just kind of like letting go of that structure, that's what being plant-based has kind of allowed me to do. And that has had, that has helped in extreme fashion. Um, I, like I said, that that's probably down the road for most people. I don't expect people to just like believe right away that that's nutritionally going to be adequate.

[00:33:48] Um, but it absolutely, it's just, it doesn't take more time. Any other form of healthy eating, right? Any diet you want, paleo, keto, whatever. Like if you're going to be eating the diet correctly, you're typically not going to be able to get those foods from fast food restaurants or any sort of convenient form of food.

[00:34:06] Now there's meal delivery services and there's there's that for plant-based too. But typically if you want to eat healthy, you have to cook your food. So plant-based diets no different, right? You have, you have to cook your food. If you want it to be healthy. Thankfully, there are, there are more and more other options out there now, and there are some prepared ways to do.

[00:34:20] Uh, but yeah, I just don't think of it as any different from any other diet in that way. And 

[00:34:25] Robert: is that I would just like to add one thing quickly, just a slightly different perspective. And we've covered this in the book too. I'm really big on dash cooking. Um, actually my wife gets the credit for that, but the idea is that you prepare a bunch of food in large resealable containers that may last for four or five days in the refrigerator.

[00:34:40] So I'm like use Zack. I, I. Kitchen. I'm like, man, I'm hungry. But luckily there was a bowl of brown rice it's already been made there. Maybe there's some leftover oats. There's, uh, there's lentils, there's, uh, cubed potatoes that have already been cooked. And then just, you know, they're just in the refrigerator.

[00:34:55] Just keep them up. There's a bunch of broccoli that's already been cooked and I just heat it up. And so I can mix and match right there. I can make my Brita ball. I can make tacos, I can make a sandwich. I can make whatever I want because I've done the batch cooking ahead of time or in my case, my wife has.

[00:35:08] And so. I find that to be really, really effective too, because our friend, uh, chef AJ, a friend of mine, friend of Matt's a great plant-based chef comedian and best-selling author says about this, about junk food. If it's in your house, it's in your mind. There there'll be a time when your willpower just won't be there.

[00:35:27] You're too tired. You're too hungry. You just came back from the gym. You're stressed. You've been doing interviews all day and you're just going to reach for something that's there. And if that junk food is there in your house, it's you you've already paid for it. You've made the financial investment, the emotional investment.

[00:35:41] You like the taste of it. It's salty, oily sugary. You want it, but what is that return on investment nutritionally may not be that good. So another one, like Matt was talking about eating a watermelon with a spoon, my wife and I, uh, and this is one where I do contribute, uh, slice up a bunch of fruits. So cut up pineapple and have it resealed they'll last for a week in the fridge, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon apples.

[00:36:06] And then just open up that glass resealable container and you can add almond butter, peanut butter for more protein and fat and whatever you want. So I'm a big fan of the batch preparation. And so you don't make those quick decisions or you don't walk into a store and drop like $200 on processed foods.

[00:36:23] Like I've done way too many times in my life because I'm hungry right now and I need those chips. Cause then I'm going to put them in re fried beans and then I'm going out of vegan cheese and then. Oh, now I'm $200 later leading with the jumbo size products that have never going to ask me for a long 

[00:36:37] Jeremy: time.

[00:36:39] I want to be respectful of your time. Can I get like a 32nd take on carbs because Zach and I have both benefited greatly from the keto diet and a modified diet. So hearing you guys talk about all these sugary fruits, bananas, grapes that can I'm panicking. Right? W I, I can't eat that. That's not, that's not in my list.

[00:36:57] So how do carbs plan. Panic, no more 

[00:37:00] Robert: panic for friends. Carbohydrates are the greatest foods out there. I'll tell you why they are the ones that are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and water. They are low calorie density, and they're the highest nutrient dense foods on the planet.

[00:37:17] There's something called the aggregate nutrient density index. The Andi score that rates foods based on their nutrient per calorie and leafy greens, kale, collards foods like that are the variable. They give you the greatest nutritional return on investment. They're also full of nitric oxide, which is going to be a vasodilator and help you get better blood flow and circulation during workouts or just in health.

[00:37:38] And then you talk about fruits and yes, there's sugar in fruit. Absolutely. But there's also fiber in there which 97% of Americans don't eat enough of and the fiber in their offsets, the natural occurring sugar. So you don't get the insulin spikes. So even for people with diabetes, uh, fruit is good. Whole foods are fantastic complex carbohydrates, all your friend.

[00:37:59] And I think so often we focus so much on protein that we overlook the wonderful benefits of complex carbohydrates, which are packed full of micronutrients. And I realized that was slightly more than 30 seconds, but I think the message that I gave it 72. 

[00:38:15] Jeremy: Perfect. Perfect. Just quickly. Where do we learn more about you guys and get the book book 

[00:38:18] Matt: is, uh, just about anywhere, any bookstore you want online.

[00:38:22] It's called the plant-based athlete. You can also go to book that no meat athlete.com to get a bunch of wins, though, about specifically about the book, or just go to no meat athlete.com. That's my site, a beacon bodybuilding.com is Roberts, and we've got lots of articles and things like that at all. About plant-based nutrition for fitness.

[00:38:41] Jeremy: It was our interview with Matt Frazier and Robert cheek. They are the others of the plant-based athlete for more about them and their book and their website and all of that. Go to the links on the show notes for thisPage@thefitness.com. We talked to that actually a few weeks ago. And so many of the, of the little tips and tricks that we gather in these interviews that we do make a huge difference in my life.

[00:39:02] And I hope that's the same for our listeners. And one of them is what they were talking about. There is, you know, the food that's in your house is the food that's going to go in your mouth. And, and my, my panic around carbs and overthinking, eating too much fruit because it's got too much sugar in. I've I've tried to just let that go.

[00:39:17] And, and so many times since we've spoken with them that when I'll feel hungry, I'll feel like I need a snack or something. I will I'll just grab a banana and go, it's fine. It's it grew from the ground. This is a normal thing. It's fine. I'll grab an apple instead of the, you know, the cliff bar or the protein bar that has 37 ingredients that have all been produced in a plant somewhere and smashed together into this bar.

[00:39:40] And it's been kind of liberating to go. Like, I really don't need to worry about. If I, if I have three bananas today, it's probably still better than all of the chemicals that are in that, that bar or two that I would have eaten instead thinking I was doing the right thing for my body. 

[00:39:55] Zach: Yeah, I hear ya. I know my, one of my snacks.

[00:39:58] That's that's upstairs that I will eat the whole thing. If, um, there's no regulation. It's just crackers and peanut butter on them. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Like anything peanut. I love peanut butter, but the crackers themselves are probably terrible for me. Yeah. Yeah. The peanut butter is not good either. So. But man, those are delicious, especially with an athlete.

[00:40:23] Yeah, I think that's, that's going to be my, my biggest challenge, which I've been practicing for the last three weeks because we had the interview. And then I was thinking about just going right away into this, right. For me, I could probably do. It would be painful and I would make myself go through it, but this time, because, you know, I, I wanna, I want to do a right.

[00:40:45] I want to get the full 30 days in without, you know, crashing my system because it will give me something it'll impact me in some way. Right. Switching over, 

[00:40:54] Jeremy: um, like any diet would, if you switched to any of that, there would be some change that your body would. 

[00:41:00] Zach: Yeah. So for the last three weeks, I've really just been making the little changes of like, instead of going for the, you know, the peanut butter crackers, going for an apple, going for a banana, going for some pineapple, that's cut up in the fridge right now.

[00:41:10] Right. And making some of those small choices so that when I do do the full cut over, it's not going to be as tough, but you know, this morning I had banana with some eggs. There you go. We'll stop. I can't do that in Oka, you 

[00:41:22] Jeremy: know? Right. I know. See, and I, so I've been vegetarian for more than half of my life.

[00:41:27] There's little things that even this morning, I was like, you know, I'm going to record this interview about plant-based diet. And I was thinking about how. The, the thing I was going to be consuming would still qualify as vegan. I was making my Bulletproof coffee and it was, I cut off a big slab of butter and put it in the blender.

[00:41:42] I was like, oh wait, no, I couldn't do that. That would be bad if I, if I made the full switch, you know? And, and I mentioned I'm, I'm a lazy vegetarian it's it's. Like we've said so often in the show that like, when you're hungry, you go into, if it's not ready in 30 seconds, I'm, I'm not going to eat it. And that's where a lot of things that I do eat, like, like eggs are really easy to throw together, putting more cream in my coffee, Bulletproof coffee, those kinds of things.

[00:42:05] I lean on them heavily. So I do know from my experience when I've gone vegan that like they talked about, the more your meals are prepared in advance. The more likely you are to stick with it because there is a lie. In my experience, there does seem to be a lot more food prep required to make a full meal on a vegan diet, rather than just like throwing a hot dog on a grill and some corn and having that in the summertime or whatever.

[00:42:31] Like, I feel like it's a little bit more involved and requires a little bit more forethought than just throwing together something that's in the fridge. Yeah. 

[00:42:40] Zach: But I, you know, but we've got some really, you know, one of the things that I just, you know, would Denver would never thought that we could eat. Um, you know, vegan diet is tacos, right.

[00:42:51] And still eat. You can still eat tacos, like totally. Most of the things in the right. Can still go in and taco and it's still delicious. So I'm looking forward to some of those things, 

[00:43:02] Jeremy: leaning on any of the, uh, the process, you know, impossible burgers, fake cheeses, anything like that, or you're just going to, if it's not a naturally occurring thing that's yeah.

[00:43:13] Zach: Steer away from processed foods as much 

[00:43:16] Jeremy: as possible. Yeah. Cause that is not going to help your inflammation issues at all. If you just switch to impossible burgers for dinner every night. Yeah. 

[00:43:23] Zach: Yeah, no, I mean, I know how to solve the inflammation issues. I just need to ice every day. That's it? Right. It's vegan.

[00:43:32] There's no carbohydrate, 

[00:43:33] Jeremy: right? Not cheap, not very filling, kind of satisfying, 

[00:43:38] Zach: kind of it takes all the boxes. Right? Cold 

[00:43:40] Jeremy: takes all the thought work out of your diet. Really. Exactly. In all 

[00:43:45] Zach: seriousness. I am. I am going to try and steer away from gluten products wherever I can, just because I I've noticed significant difference.

[00:43:55] If, if I just remove gluten from my, from my diet, it makes a difference in my body. So I want to take all of that out. And maybe the last week of the vegan diet, I'll add some gluten back, just. Let's see what happens. Sure. You know, the one thing that I really want to have, and I'm, we'll probably have during this whole thing is some athletic growing beers because they're vegan, but they've got gluten in them, but I'm going to 

[00:44:18] Jeremy: go for it anyway.

[00:44:19] Right. You can't go to the extreme, there are some exceptions that you have to make, and that is absolutely one more thing. Uh, I know it just got me through our big move. We've completed our move to Canada. Well completed. There's still boxes to be unpacked everywhere, but we got here and, uh, with a lot of help from athletic brewing beers, that's a, that was my little reward and my motivation to keep going.

[00:44:39] So I'm so thrilled to have them on board as a sponsor of the show and thrilled to have you there. If you'd like to learn more about anything that we've talked about here, the, the book, the authors, the athletic brewing beers, all of the links are on our website. dot com. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next Wednesday with a brand new episode@thefitness.com T everyone.

[00:44:59] Matt: We know 

[00:45:00] Robert: this podcast is amazing. It doesn't seem to lack anything, but we need a legal disclaimer. Prior to implementing anything discussed in this podcast is your responsibility to conduct your own research and consult your physician. You should assume that Jeremy and Zach don't know what they're talking about and they're not liable for any physical or emotional issues that occur directly or indirectly from listening to this podcast.

Matt Frazier

Endurance Athlete

Founder of No Meat Athlete and author of The No Meat Athlete Cookbook. He is a marathoner and ultrarunner, whose life as an endurance athlete changed when he found that he could run longer and faster on a plant-based diet.

Robert Cheeke

Bodybuilding Champion

Founder of Vegan Bodybuilding and is a two-time natural bodybuilding champion. He is the author of Shred It!, is a public speaker, and has followed a plant-based diet for more than twenty-five years.