For blogger Matt Frazier, running on plants isn’t just a diet; it’s a lifestyle. He credits his plant-based diet for many of his successes, including his marathon-running career and good health, and aims to empower others to obtain the same life-changing benefits he has enjoyed.
The vegetarian ultramarathoner, blogger and author started nomeatathlete.com in 2009 to introduce people to what he believes is an incredible, healthy, compassionate, sustainable way of life. And has since written a book, which he will be promoting Tuesday a Park + Vine.
However, Frazier says his reasons for going vegetarian had little to do with anything athletic.
“I had struggled with the idea of eating animals for ethical and personal reasons for a long time,” Frazier says. “But I always had this idea in my head that in order to be a better athlete or to be fast enough, I had to eat meat. It turns out I was wrong about that.”
After hitting a plateau in his running career, Frazier decided to take his focus away from marathons and turn it to something he had been curious to try for quite some time: vegetarianism.
“There came this point in my life where I wasn’t getting any faster or shaving off any time during my marathons, so I decided to give not eating meat a try,” Frazier says. “The results were the opposite of what I expected.”
After only a few months of cutting back on his meat intake, Frazier achieved his dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2010, an achievement he credits to a plant-based diet.
His discoveries led him to begin his blog, No Meat Athlete, which he uses as a means of chronicling his experiences as a vegetarian athlete. Frazier explains that the blog’s success was something he didn’t expect.
“It was just a way for me to keep track of my journey as a vegetarian and an athlete, and to share my experiences with others,” he says. “I always thought I’d have a very narrow audience with No Meat Athlete. I figured other vegetarian or vegan athletes would read it, or other runners. I never thought I’d reach such a wide audience.”
After sharing tips and stories about his decision to become vegetarian and its effects, Frazier says his readers became diverse in their food choices and athletic abilities.
“It wasn’t just about my experiences as a marathon runner or about tips for running an ultramarathon,” he says. “I started really focusing on building a community for my readers and using the blog to educate readers about becoming a vegetarian. When No Meat Athlete became an educational tool and this community of sorts, I started connecting with people who weren’t even vegetarians or who weren’t even athletes. And that was both surprising and very inspiring.”
For Frazier, the most important part of his blog — and now his book — is to give readers that sense of community, and to help people who are on all levels of vegetarianism or athleticism, he says.
Frazier explains another one of his biggest hopes for No Meat Athlete is to teach others that becoming vegetarian, vegan or simply decreasing your meat-intake are all attainable, realistic goals. He emphasizes that he never wants to make anyone feel pressured to become vegetarian or vegan, but he wants to give them the power and the tools to do so.
“I’ve had so many people get in touch with me who aren’t even vegetarian or who just want to live a little greener or a little healthier,” Frazier says. “I want to show athletes who aren’t yet vegetarian — but who are just curious enough that the title of the book intrigues them to pick it up — that this diet can absolutely work for sports,” he said. “I want to help people who are already vegetarian or vegan but not living active to get in shape and discover the tremendous power in doing something they used to think impossible. And I want to give people who are already plant-based, already athletes, more tools to take both pursuits to the next level.”
Matt Frazier visits Cincinnati’s Park + Vine at 5:30 p.m. this Tuesday to discuss his new book No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self, as well as talk about his active, vegan lifestyle. Copies of the book will be for sale, and the event includes a book signing.