Running Trails, Eating Plants, and Sharing What I Pick up Along the Way

Running Trails, Eating Plants, and Sharing What I Pick up Along the Way

Sunday, September 28, 2014

008 The P-Word and the 8 Worst Parts of Being a Vegan Runner

[More of a list person? Here you go:
1. People say/ask annoying things such as, "But where do you get your protein!!!?"
2. Fresh produce doesn't stay fresh very long. 
3. Fruits and veggies have lots of fiber. 
4. Injuries and bad weather are bad. 
5. Sweaty running clothes are smelly. 
6. Traveling light is tricky. 
7. Some people are mean. 
8. Eating out can be an adventure.]

I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to the meat and dairy industries' marketing teams who have convinced too many US-Americans that we need insane amounts of protein in our diet. It's safe to say that I'm posed with the protein question on a daily basis. It's an annoying part of life that I've gotten used to, and I'm not even one of those loud or preachy vegans who makes sure everybody knows how I eat. 

I could sum this portion up by saying that "people will say/ask silly things," but I don't want to mislead anybody. Here's a short list of things I hear regularly:
"Aren't carbs bad for you?"
"I couldn't live without eating (some animal product)!"
"What do you even eat!?"
"You know, Jesus ate meat." Or some other religious statement about meat. 
"Vegetarian just means 'poor hunter' in some ancient language." 
"My food poops on your food!"
"Don't plants have feelings too?"
"Is chicken considered meat?"
"Wait, is (insert animal product here) an animal priduct?"
"How far can you run?"
"How fast can you do a mile?"
"Don't you know that running is bad for your knees?"
"Why do you insist on wearing those little shorts?"
"That's why you're so skinny!"

Now, I know that many people saying these things mean no harm, and I still love and respect them, but that doesn't make them any less annoying. There, I said it. 

I understand that the lifestyle I choose is foreign or "extreme" to many people, and I'm the first real-life example of a vegan that many people encounter. This sparks curiosity. I get that. I choose to live differently, so I can't be upset when I'm treated differently. 

Now that that's off of my chest, there are a few other inconveniences that I've run into, or continually run into. At the forefront is the juggling act of keeping fresh produce on hand without it spoiling. 

Make no mistake about this, I'm a smoothie guy. 

I regularly consume two or three 30 ounce smoothies a day. I will go on record saying that the Nutribullet changed my life in the best way. 

Each of my smoothies are made entirely of whole foods: fruits, sometimes nuts or seeds, and occasionally some vegetables. I'm able to freeze fruits before they spoil and use them for smoothies later on, but I'm often out of the fresh fruit that I'm craving. I'm on a tight budget, so letting food spoil is not a thing I want happening. That being said, I do believe that long-term health is an investment and I'm okay with spending a big chunk of my paycheck at the grocery store or farm stand, but that's a topic for another time. 

Eating a large amount of fruits and veggies means that I get a lot of fiber in my diet, and its effects are obvious. I understand that this apart of good health, but it can still be an inconvenience. For this reason I've been called a "salad shooter" by more than one person, and I think we can leave this topic alone now. 

Injuries and other circumstances that keep me from running are the worst. Awful weather, having to work late, forgetting running shoes on a trip. These things all happen, and it never feels good to give up a run. 

I'm a sweater. I sweat a ton. I can break a sweat by tying my shoes. Because if this, I've had roommates complain about smelly running clothes, and then turn around and give me a hard time for washing them in the shower or sink. There's no winning here if you're living in a place without a washing machine. 

Packing light while traveling is tricky. Bringing running clothes is essential, as is Body Glide and my calf sleeves. These are the necessities, and my daily clothes and toiletries get whatever room is left after these items are packed. I've travelled and brought all of my running clothes and forgotten to bring spare underwear. It happens. 

Traveling by plane also means an extended period of time without my Nutribullet. I've consulted the Google machine, and I've found nothing that that leads me to believe that I can get it past the TSA agents in my carry on. 

I began by sharing the annoying things that people say to me. But there are people who are just intentionally mean. Honking at a runner isn't funny. Neither is a screaming at them as you drive by. And, believe it or not, calling somebody a "fag" or some other awful insult isn't cool either. The people who do these things are in the minority, but it's not all that uncommon for these things to happen in my short jaunts on the road while I'm on my way to a trailhead. Please don't be that guy. 

Also, I'm not sure what about it is about  eating plants that makes people question my masculinity or heterosexuality, but that's a thing. 

Eating out with friends can be an adventure-that is, if they still invite you out. Some will feel a weird sense of guilt and not invite you out in fear that you won't find something great to eat. Invite your vegan friends to hang out with you; they still like being social, even if they eat differently. If they're smart they'll eat before hand, or bring a bunch of bananas to the bar, or even find something in the menu to eat. 

This isn't a complete list, but these are the most bothersome things to me. I can't tell you how much time I've spent reading food labels, or how much it sucks to disappoint somebody by turning down their home made sweets because you know they used eggs to bake them. 

Please don't read this post as a complaint or a "poor me" type of post. It's just an insider's view of this lifestyle to those considering it, or for those curious. In fact, this is more of a testament as to how much I enjoy this lifestyle that I put up with all of the little inconveniences and I'm still happy. 

Did I forget anything? What surprised you about these little annoyances? Feel free to share below. 

1 comment:

  1. I won't lie. I feel a little bad about it. but I sort of like it when an overweight or obese family member or other person feels concerned about my vegan diet. In my head, I am just like..."you, you who has never made a decision for health reasons in your life...wants to offer advice on healthy eating to me (as I think of my degree in a health related field along with the various sources for my decision)"...
    call me arrogant but it is, honest to gosh, a great amusement to me...