Going Vegan With Michael Matern

Michael Matern – Life Without the Box

Being Vegan isn’t just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. But is a vegan diet sufficient for athletes? Well, just ask Ultra-Marathoner Rich Roll, Marathoner Scott Jurek and our own coach, Claire Bartholic and I’m sure you’ll get 3 emphatic replies of YES.

This week’s guest is Tampa, FL resident Michael Matern, founder of Life Without the Box. Michael explains why he chose to go beyond Veganism to what he refers to as a “whole food plant-based diet”. In addition to ethical concerns about animal treatment and environmental damage, there are more and more scientific studies that show risks associated with animal-based diets.


In this episode, Michael discusses whole foods vs. vegan, and how to get the calories and nutrients runners need to perform at a high level. He give us a plethora of resources to learn more about Veganism and how to transition away from an animal-based diet.

And if you’re not quite ready to commit to full time Veganism, you may want to check out the book,
Eat Vegan Before 6:00
, by Mark Bittman.

Questions Michael is asked:

2:25 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What kinds of outdoor activities do you regularly enjoy?

3:27 How do you define Veganism?

4:08 What brought you into Veganism?

7:50 Have you read T. Colin Campbell’s books?

8:28 Why did you choose Veganism?

13:27 What documentaries would be helpful to listeners interested in learning more?

17:25 How does one practice Veganism?

19:26 What does a typical day’s meal plan look like for you?

22:22 How much time do you spend per week on food shopping and meal preparation?

23:16 Do you and your wife work full-time?

24:16 Have you had any issues with low energy levels that affected your activity?

28:14 Could you elaborate on the ethical and environmental issues with industrial livestock?

32:52 What are your upcoming travel plans and do you anticipate any difficulties with your travel diet?

35:47 What’s the title of  your blog post?

36:42 Any other thoughts ?

40:30 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite running book(s)?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?
  4. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?

Quotes by Michael:

“Just because it’s a ‘Vegan’ diet, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a ‘healthy’ one; an Oreo is a vegan snack, a potato chip is a vegan snack, and alcohol is vegan, so just because someone says that they’re a ‘Vegan’, doesn’t mean they’re healthy.”

“You need to focus in on the whole foods, the non-processed things and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a Vegan because a lot of (restaurants) are starting to recognize the health benefits and starting to offer these different replacements.”

“When I first tried a vegan diet, I didn’t do it the right way. If all you eat is a salad every meal and you maintain an active lifestyle, you’re going to find yourself with a calories deficiency.”

“One of the main driving factors for me at first, was personal health. But then also, animal ethics was another issue that I had to really come to terms with after seeing some of the documentaries that show the realities of the industrial farming methods that we use in America.”

“I was very skeptical for the first months to a year; I really was kind of defensive to my old eating habits.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

Life Without the Box homepage

Blog post: Veganism – What, Why and How

Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Amazon author page

  1. Colin Campbell’s homepage

Book: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 by Mark Bittman

Documentary: Forks Over Knives

Documentary: What the Health

Documentary: Vegucated

Book: The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn

Beyond Meat Burger

Book: Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

Study on Low-Carb, Animal-Based Diets Associated with Early Death

Honeymoon Island

Book: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Follow Michael on:





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