Athletic performance and plant-based nutrition…

a winning combination—as illustrated by a pole-vaulting medical student from Canada and a bike-racing grandmother from Arizona

Erika Reiser is a champion pole-vaulter and a medical student in Canada; she also is having to learn about plant-based nutrition on her own.

Together, these two new friends have inspired my new “Athletic Performance” category” that is long overdue on this website.

Along with never-ending questions about protein, people often ask me about the suitability of a whole foods, plant-based diet when it comes to athletic performance. We’re not just talking about professional athletes here, we’re talking about people like my son, Jason, his wife Lisa, and their many bike-racing friends—and my new pole-vaulting friend from Canada. Erika, a med student at the University of Toronto wrote to us a few days ago:

Jim and Jason,

Thank you both very much for such an informative  book,  Healthy Eating Healthy World. My name is Erika Reiser and I am just finishing up my first year of medical school at the University of Toronto. I have a huge interest in nutritional medicine and agree with much of the nutritional advice presented in your book.

If you have any other suggestions that would help me continue to expand my nutritional knowledge base, (as most nutritional knowledge must be self taught in medical school!) please let me know! It is a career goal of mine to be as knowledgeable as I can in nutrition so I can help to council my future patients on not only how to help manage symptoms, but better yet, how to be become truly healthy.

Thanks again for helping to bring awareness on such important subjects into the public eye!

Sincerely, Erika Reiser

Check her out in the news. We’re also talking about high school and college basketball players, football players, variety swimmers, cross-country skiers, marathoners, etc. We’re talking about anyone who enjoys a very active lifestyle; like the bike-racing grandmother from Arizona pictured next along with her note. Here is her story…in her own words:

My new 4Leaf poster girl…a very active grandmother of eight.

Hi Jim,

Here is a picture of me in the Tour de Mesa (70 miles), held in April 2012.  It was a cold and windy day.  The previous two years, my time for this race was 4:30.  But this year, my time was 4:03 – nearly 30 minutes faster and that was with a stiff wind!

I’m just an average cyclist but I’m so excited about my progress these past few months!  I also rode in the Tour de Tucson in November (111 miles) and took 45 minutes off my time there (I started eating this way in Sept).

My friends that I cycle with are amazed that I’m so much faster going up hills.  I used to complain all the time how I was always one of the last to reach the top of the hills.  Now I’m passing all my friends.  Yes, part of the reason could be that I am now 19 lbs. lighter, but the other reason I know is because I’m fueled by the healthiest foods available!  No meat, dairy, processed foods, or oil to slow me down anymore!

Last summer, during the month of August, I rode 800 miles and my weight stayed about the same.  When I started eating a whole foods, plant based diet in September, I started to lose weight – 19 lbs. total – and then it stopped at 125 lbs. which is what I weighed when I got married 31 years ago at age 19 (I’m 5’7”).

I was actually surprised at the weight loss because I thought my weight was fine and I wasn’t even trying to lose weight.  It just naturally happened.  It happened effortlessly!  I want to shout it from the rooftops that I have found the answer everyone is looking for!  Interesting how my weight stabilized when I got to the weight my body was meant to be.

Another benefit; food tastes so much better now.  I love food!  The other night I made a quinoa and sweet potato recipe.  After I finished eating I was saying mmm – mmm!  That was so good!  I think the problem that people have when they hear about this way of eating, they assume that it won’t taste good.  I just wish they’d give it a chance.  Of course, they would have to give up all the fat and sugar so their taste buds could adjust, but how surprised they would be to find that this food is so much more delicious!  That’s what I want to tell people.

Thank you so much for all you are doing!  Your website is excellent! Karen Barnes

Here’s Jason and Lisa heading out for a 50-mile bike ride.

And thank you Erika and Karen for sharing your stories with my readers. While you may not consider yourselves extreme athletes, you have the very same nutritional needs that they do and, like them, you’re proving that the whole foods, plant-based, 4Leaf kind of diet is all you need.

Athletic Performance “category.” Near the top of the right column on this blog is a drop-down list of about fifty different categories for which I have written blogs since February of 2011.

This is my 469th consecutive daily blog since then—and this is the fourth one that falls in this new category. Links to the other three are shown below this great book by Brendan Brazier. This book also appears in my online Store, along with my other favorites.

This book comes highly recommended

Thrive, The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier. My son and co-writer, Jason Hicks, and many of his friends have found this great book invaluable in helping them deal with the high calorie requirements of the seriously active lifestyle of many athletes.

One of Jason’s friends, an M.D., had this to say, “As a triathlete myself, the idea that a whole foods plant-based diet could allow an athlete to compete and do well at such a high level was very exciting. I bought the book and devoured every word. Brendan’s words were right in line with the research I had done for my thesis. The lifestyle he promotes is one in which the body utilizes nutrient-rich foods in their natural state, as opposed to the refined, processed foods of the traditional Western diet.” Click here to purchase Thrive on Amazon. To visit the website of the marathon-running M.D. who is quoted above, click here for Dr. Charlotte Moriarity’s website.

Three previous blog-posts about athletic performance

Animal Protein—Professional athletes don’t need it either. Posted on 03/23/2012 The “Protein Myth” that won’t go away. Lately, I have been hearing questions from readers and in lectures about the special “protein” needs of highly-trained athletes. Here is one of those questions—followed by a response by my son, Jason and … Continue reading →

Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, vegan prize fighter Posted on 02/28/2012. That’s right, vegan prize fighter and it’s not an oxymoron. On June 9, the undefeated (28-0) Desert Storm will fight the defending welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao, in Las Vegas. And for at least three months leading up to the fight, Timothy … Continue reading→

Questions about protein, omega-3′s and B12 — Let me hear yours. Posted on 04/21/2011. Q’s and C’s — Got two questions and two comments yesterday First the questions. The first one was from a friend who was one of my very first blog subscribers. He was also the one who inspired my Unsupportive Spouse … Continue reading →

Handy 3-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Athletic performance and plant-based nutrition…

  1. maule5662h says:

    Jim – THANKS! I just posted this comment on Facebook:
    “My friend Mel Raveling has been looking for guidance on athletic performance improvement from eating only plant foods. Here it is! Mel wants a local swimming coach and his excellent swimmers to learn about the benefits. Thanks to Jim Hicks Daily Blogs on “Healthy Eating – Healthy World.” Are you eating better, too, like my family has for 10 years now?”

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