Holistic Living and Vegan Eating for an Ultra Athlete

Sep 17, 2013 No Comments by

Living holistically is not easy. Coolibar Athlete Gene Meade, in one day, decided his poor eating habits were over. He traded his quarter-pounder with cheese for a black bean veggie patty with sprouts on top, unaware at the time that his decision would lead to a whole new way of thinking about healthy living. Gene shares his experiences along the path to holistic living.

I have been vegan for three years now. It basically started for me as a good way to eat cleaner and drop some weight, but a funny thing happened along the way.

I had been a vegetarian back in my younger days, mainly as a response to my mother’s horrific cooking, which was primarily based on bacon fat and Velveeta cheese. As the years went by, I gradually fell off the vegetarian wagon and once again became a full time carnivore. Building a career, raising children and living the good life, the pounds slowly crept on as the exercise stopped and the hearty eating went on. I was not back to bacon fat and Velveeta levels, but I was getting close.

After returning to running and cycling back in 2008, I began to feel better, but I knew I could not get to where I needed to be health wise without making some major changes in diet and lifestyle as well. So, in 2010, I quit drinking and became a vegan all in the same day. Nothing like subtle change!

I basically became vegan and more focused on diet and lifestyle for selfish reasons. I wanted to take care of ME. But as I navigated my way along my new path, I discovered that I was not only becoming more in tune with my body, but also more in tune with the world and life around me. It was not any one large change but numerous small changes I was making along the way. Reading food labels, shopping at the local farmer’s market, recycling a bit more. I was also reconnecting with nature through trail running.

I was also feeling better than I had felt in a long time! I had increased energy, less colds and felt stronger. I started running ultra marathons in 2011. I enjoyed the physical and mental demands of the sport, and was racing and training all on a plant based diet, which tended to surprise a lot of people!

Becoming vegan not only made me feel better, but also made me become a better person. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to know where my food was coming from, what was done to it along the way and what impact my choices made not just on me but on everything around me. It has also allowed me to meet and work with some great people and organizations, like my friends here at Coolibar. Being Sun aware is another way I stay in touch with the environment and my impact upon it.

Small changes can make a big difference, whether it’s eating healthier or finding an activity you love to stay in shape. Stay aware my friends!

Gene Meade
Ultra Runner and Coolibar Athlete

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burger from the Ambitious Kitchen (Click photo for recipe)

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