I’ve been dragging my feet on this first post because with 30+ years of practice under my belt, I’ve got this whole procrastination thing down to a science. And I don’t believe laziness has ever been the culprit, rather a tendency to overthink things. Those of you who know me well might accuse me of not thinking enough. However, like most Americans who are inundated with information – some of which is credible, most of which is conceptual marketing – I spend way too much time thinking and not enough time doing. To be fair, this more accurately describes my former self, eighty-five-pounds heavier and so depressed I couldn’t figure out where to begin. THAT plunge into something new was radical; writing about what my wife and I are doing shouldn’t be. So as time passes and I struggle to come up with a reason for sharing our stories and philosophies, I’ve landed on the concept of simplicity, something that was so far removed from my previous lifestyle that I was on the precipice of giving up.
When I was overweight, no one said a thing to me. Well, my grandmother would congratulate my wife on a good job feeding me, but for the most part, all of the abuse was self-manufactured. People are genuinely shocked when they learn how miserable I felt. Now things are different. I’ve spent the past four years gradually eliminating the standard American toxins, alcohol, saturated fat, and animal protein from my lifestyle, I’ve achieved a level of fitness and well-being that surpasses that of my high school and collegiate athletic career, and I’m in love with everything about my life; the 4:00 AM runs with a lamp on my head and the yoga that follows, our daily family breakfasts, listening to Jackson sing as I drive him to school on a full belly at 6:15 AM, my 7:00 AM swim practices where my athletes arrive to a chilly pool having just left their dreams (they’re usually not as excited to see me), the second breakfast that follows practice, the recruits from all over the world who choose to interact with me, my athletic and academic colleagues who are always willing to share their ideas (it doesn’t hurt to have an institution’s nutrition department at my disposal), an occasional second run, lunch #1, lunch #2, practice #2, a quick dinner before driving home to my beautiful family around 6:00 PM, perhaps a recruiting call on the way, bath, book, and bedtime with my son, dessert and an hour of mindless television with my wife, a little pre-bed yoga, and an 8:30 PM bedtime are all things that excite me these days. But as if I’m lacking the energy to get all of this done on a daily basis, I’ve been on the receiving end of more (nutritional) interventions than Charlie Sheen. It’s odd, isn’t it? I get it; it’s a hallmark of today’s society. When weight is the issue, it’s never the only issue, and it’s tough to broach the subject. But there were times when I thought I was going to be held down and force-fed a bacon cheeseburger. For the most part, people have adjusted to my new appearance and lifestyle. In fact, my athletes are often eager to discuss nutrition with me these days and they do not live in fear of someone challenging their own concepts of nutrition. Here are some of the typical questions and comments a plant-based fella might hear.
- Steve, you look great! But it’s not your plant-based diet; it’s the running.
- Are you okay, Steve? Have you thought about being tested for HIV?
- You’re TOO skinny, Steve, and it’s probably because you don’t get enough protein.
- Coach, I see it’s working for you. What can I eat more or less of?
- Have you considered taking an iron supplement?
- How are you going to raise a child without giving him milk and eggs? Where will he get his calcium protein? What will he eat at parties?
Here are the rapid-fire answers, all of which I’ll get into with depth as we update our blog.