The 247 Pound Vegan and What’s Your Workout?

Two articles caught my eye in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. One was about a 247 pound vegan football player for the Kansas City Chiefs. The other was about a fellow ultra-runner who considers a 50 mile run short. Why would I be interested? Well, those who know me know that I am a vegetarian (not a vegan) and an ultra-runner (though barely). Vegetarianism is a mystery to most people, especially those in the US. It is helpful to understand vegetarian definitions because most people are unaware of the different types. I originally chose to be vegetarian about 15 years ago for athletic performance reasons. Now, I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian for many reasons, including: health, athletic performance, taste, animal rights, environmentalism, reduced consumption, etc. We are all vegetarian in our household and we read a lot about the subject. We don’t lack protein and we aren’t weak or overtly liberal like most people would assume! We aren’t crazy or righteous. We are just focused on nutrition and living as healthy as we can.

The football player featured in the story is Tony Gonzalez, one of the best tight ends in the NFL. This past season, he experimented with being a vegan, and it is working for him. He read a book, The China Study, that we have not read, but is on our Wish List. The book is about how changing your diet can result in reduced risk for cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Gonzalez read the book and was inspired to make some major changes in his diet. Good for him, and good for others who make a concious effort to improve their health.

Another person who improved his health was ultra-runner, Brian McNeill, who was featured in the other WSJ story, a regular column about business people and their workouts. He began running long distances 10 years ago. He has had his fair share of injuries (he needs to cross train  more!), but overall, he is a healthier man than when he was on the road all of the time, not exercising, and eating lousy food. I always enjoy reading about ultra-runners. We are an energetic bunch of people who are often deeply philosophical. Long hours on the trail and roads are conducive to contemplative thinking. My longest ever run is 33 miles, but my wife, Debbie, has a full resume of races at the 50km, 50 mile, and greater distances. I don’t desire to run much longer than 50km because my body type cannot take it. Because of my genes and 20 years of cycling, my leg muscles have developed in ways that make running, especially downhill, torture for me. Still, I love it. The ultra-running community is wonderful and there are worse things you could do for your body (e.g. eat trans fats, drink soda, drink hard liquor, watch TV, inject heroin, etc.) than give up eating meat and running long distances.

1 Response to “The 247 Pound Vegan and What’s Your Workout?”

  1. 1 Football » The 247 Pound Vegan and What’s Your Workout? Trackback on 27 January 2008 at 1:22 am

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