The Vegan Athlete: Maximizing Your Health and Fitness While Maintaining a Compassionate Lifestyle is a short book, but it does have a lot of information packed in. Just like other books from the author Brett Stewart (Ultimate Jump Rope Workouts and 7 Weeks to Triathlon are just a couple), there is an undertone of humor in the book and nothing is presented in a snotty, overly-serious manner.
As you can see from the table of contents, it’s short!
I would assume that the book is all about nutrition and ethics behind veganism for those who are already athletes. However, the fitness section in the middle of the book is a series of bodyweight exercises to help people of all fitness levels tone up. There is nothing inherently “vegan-specific” about them. (Okay, I don’t think there are any vegan-specific exercises…) It does seem kind of weird to devote over 30 pages in such a short book to these, just because if I purchased this book at the store I would be thinking “I’m already an athlete with an exercise program, but I want to know how to work an animal-free diet into that.” So I guess this is just a way of saying that content seems superfluous to this book and is just a way for the author to pimp his other books!
Some things I liked:
- Foods to Avoid: It breaks down some foods that you may assume are vegan but may not be. For example, did you know that many beers contain an ingredient made from fish swim bladders?
- Vegan Swaps: A list of foods you can swap into recipes to make them vegan. You can use coconut oil in place of butter for pie crusts.
- Recipes: A chef helped provide a variety of recipes for different meals. There is a recipe for a recovery smoothie and one for fudge brownies that are intriguing to me!
The book does make it feel very approachable for those who want to make the switch. It even encourages you to make it a simple 3-step process. You don’t have to go cold turkey (although, if that works for you then by all means…); instead just start by removing one animal food item for a week or two. Then continue with that item gone, while eliminating another. It also has a meal plan that breaks down 2 weeks of vegan eating, so you can see what kind of meals would be part of the lifestyle… without having to rely on over-priced, potentially unhealthy, packaged meals sold in stores.