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.
The iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, that extremely large hot dog on wheels, is coming to Cincinnati and the surrounding area for several stops this week. Get your photo taken at one of the stops, where the Wienermobile drivers will be handing out $1-off coupons for Oscar Mayer Selects and wiener whistles as well as playing family-friendly games.
This year, Oscar Mayer picked 12 recent college graduates with a thirst for adventure (out of 1,200 applicants) to drive Wienermobiles across America's six regions — for an entire year. That's one year in a giant hot dog. At the Cincinnati stops, you'll meet drivers Cold Cut Cokie and Sam & Cheese. Follow their adventures on hotdoggerblog.com.
Cincinnati-ish Wiener Stops
1-6 p.m. Kroger Englewood, 885 Union Blvd., Englewood
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Kroger Miamisburg, 10101 Landing Way, Miamisburg
3-6 p.m. Kroger Centerville, 1095 S. Main St., Centerville
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Kroger Greenville, 200 Lease Ave., Greenville
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Kroger Amelia, 262 W. Main St., Amelia
3-6 p.m. Kroger Anderson Township, 7580 Beechmont Ave., Anderson
Dan Katz left his culinary ventures in New York City to start something new. He wanted a restaurant in a fun, welcoming environment and Cincinnati was just the place. But before he opens his restaurant, Meatball Kitchen, Katz is hosting pop-up dinners to see what people think of the food offered at his forthcoming establishment. As Katz continues his search for the perfect spot to open Meatball Kitchen, area foodies can keep up with the latest news on Facebook.
CityBeat: Why did you move from New York?
Dan Katz: I co-owned a French Bistro and American wine bar in NYC. My wife, Laura, grew up in Cincinnati and after visiting, I realized what a great place it is to raise a family. I am looking forward to adding my New York experience and energy to all the exciting stuff that is going on in the Cincy culinary community. I think Meatball Kitchen will be a perfect addition to the scene here.
CB: What inspired you to do these pop-up dinners?
DK: I've been thinking about this idea for a long time. My goal was to create a cravable, delicious take on the classic meatball. I want to raise the standard of typical fast food and bring delicious, affordable food to everyone. The pop-ups are a great way to introduce and test my concept. I want to be the great $5 sandwich place and feed the neighborhood.
CB: When is your restaurant opening?
DK: Soon! We are looking at locations around town. I have a great team ready to go and we are hoping to open by the end of the summer.
CB: Are you doing any more pop up dinners?
DK: Yes. The next one is June 12 at The Kitchen Factory in Northside. At the last pop-up, we introduced the diners to our core menu. At the next pop-up, we will serve one of the exciting rotating specials as well. We believe that we can turn any recipe into a meatball! Diners can follow us on Facebook to keep updated about this and other events.
CB: What are you most looking forward to when opening your restaurant?
DK: I am looking forward to feeding happy people. What's not to love about a fast, delicious, exciting, cheap and filling meal?
This week, more than 15 local restaurants are participating in Eat Local Cincy’s Restaurant Week, showcasing special menus with local ingredients through Sunday, May 19. From Northern Kentucky to Lebanon, local restaurants are offering the Restaurant Week special of three courses for $33.13. Customers create their own combination of an appetizer, salad and one entrée from the provided lists of options. Dishes vary by restaurant based on the regular menu, but individual specials feature locally-sourced items from area farmers and producers.
Participating restaurants include Behle Street Café in Covington, Mac’s Pizza Pub in Clifton Heights, The Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Italian hotspot Primavista overlooking the city and many more. Individual menus boast the very best dishes from their establishments, ranging from seafood to steak to simple and intricate pasta dishes. The large number of participating restaurants provides customers with an opportunity to experience a range of flavors, portions and atmospheres, from casual and family-friendly to fine dining.
Eat Local Cincy works to promote local, independent restaurants both in the Cincinnati community and on the national scale. The group strives to raise awareness about the unique local flavor Cincinnati restaurants can provide, championing the talents of individual chefs, the passion of local owners, and the benefits of purchasing goods from local producers.
Comparing independent restaurants to bookstores, hardware stores and coffee shops, the Eat Local Cincy group considers local dining integral to maintaining a vibrant community, successful charities and increased culinary and cultural strength. Unlike large franchises, Eat Local Cincy and its independent restaurants celebrate passionate individuals and employees who take pride not only in their own establishment but in the Cincinnati community as a whole.
Along with its annual Restaurant Week, Eat Local Cincy also features a year-round rewards program that provides customers with points every time they dine at an Eat Local Cincy establishment. These points can then be redeemed during another visit at any of the participating restaurants. Visit Eat Local Cincy at www.eatlocalcincy.com for a list of businesses participating in Restaurant Week, upcoming events and individual menus.
There are plenty of restaurants downtown, but for the World Choir Games, the city has set up a Market Garden at the corner of Fifth and Race streets to provide additional options that are fast and affordable. It’s a great “Taste of Cincinnati” opportunity — without the crowds and long lines.