V is for Vegan

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He’s Irish…don’t get him drunk.
He’s Irish…don’t get him angry.
And for God’s sake don’t get him drunk and angry!

Well…you had to go and do it. You pushed enough of my buttons that I am now back here. You happy? Well…hopefully the readers will be.

Nobody Asked...

Nobody Asked…

It’s funny really…when I was chain-smoking Marlboros and chugging Jack Daniels during high school nobody ever asked me “how long are you going to keep this up?”

Then when I was in college chain-smoking Marlboros and chugging vodka in the shower (in the morning) nobody ever asked me “how long are you going to keep this up?”

Later, when I was bar hopping (with a friend that carried a gun since I had a tendency to start fights…did I mention I’m Irish?) while chain smoking Marlboros and chugging gin nobody ever asked me “how long are you going to keep this up?”

And now I bring you to present day where an older, wiser ultra running adult sits down for a dinner with friends and leans to the waitress and whispers “Can I get the salad without any cheese or chicken?” and all hell breaks loose!

“Oh, he’s a vegan…are you still doing that…how long are you going to keep that up?”

Um…UNTIL THE CASKET DROPS!

It is not to be ignored. There’s something upsetting for people to be around vegans. And believe you me (whatever that phrase means) I don’t say it out loud or wear a “Meat is Murder” shirt. I just get invited to restaurants with friends and eventually have to order food. You know…substance that I am putting in MY mouth that will deliver fuel to MY body…and eventually escape MY body while reading truck and gun magazines, basically an event has nothing to do with those around me…but yes, there it is…the scorn, the finger pointing…the whispers…and my favorite, the dangling of meat on a fork in front of me asking if I miss steak…really?

Here’s an idea…back off! I don’t go around dangling a Leadville 100 belt buckle in front of non-runners.

MtnTop2

Oh look, he’s one of those elitist vegans. Nope…just tired of imagining your arteries screaming for help while I eat my choice of food. I don’t come unglued when you order your meat pile so please leave me alone while I eat my plants. Yeah, I like plants…so what? Some guy named Scott Jurek seems to do OK eating plants…you might have heard of him. Right here at TAUR we have the amazing Jerry Armstrong owning the trails and races on plants.

I blazed through the holidays without a worry about calories and had a great time. I even had a full table of friends and family over for Thanksgiving (quinoa stuffed squash) and we all had a wonderful meal and a memorable evening. The real torture is listening to all the post holiday commercials on how to lose those “holiday pounds.” I’m exempt from that problem.

I like to run and take care of myself. What’s wrong with that? I don’t throw pointy elbows at people when my tiny expensive airline seat space is infiltrated by those who make poor food choices. Nope…I keep my vegan-mouth shut and endure. It’s amazing how many people in Colorado are singing “Glory Halleluja” in response to being able to smoke a plant but try and eat one and there’s trouble. I feel like a loner or oddball at times but at least I’m eating right (and not hurting or killing animals).

I really don’t get it. Do people feel bad for eating animals? If they looked into the process and learned more about factory farming they might…but I’ve never brought it up before a meal with friends or associates. When asked about my eating I am happy to try and educate on why it works for me. And yet there’s still anger or maybe it’s guilt. I don’t know, but I hope those frustrated can find peace. In the meantime, I’ll keep stacking up the running miles and yelling “Your safe with me buddy!” at all the farm animals I pass on my long runs. And please don’t be one of those people that say they are vegetarians that eat a little fish now and then…that’s like saying you are a triathlete that doesn’t swim.

So I am a vegan…a 46-year old vegan who ran 2-100’s and 7-50’s in a two-year span on plants. When I eat I feel satisfied more than ever and when I run, I run better than I ever have in my life. Don’t freak out…I get enough protein (the #1 excuse people use for eating meat). I’m not telling you to become a vegan or a vegetarian (some people just can’t fathom a life without cheese) but I hope you try it. I just ask that I get to eat what I want without the taunting of flesh from forks and the usual jabs. I’m a big boy and I can handle it. I just worry about karma…don’t you?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter. I don’t post pictures of food, I laugh about running and sometimes quote Ron Swanson from Parks & Rec. I also forgot to sign into my account last year after a “media break” and lost 500 followers…oops. Come keep me company.

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Author: T.R. Maloney

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8 Comments

  1. Great post. Not a vegan myself but a great read.

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    • Thanks for reading Emir. Making the switch was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I eat so many great meals now that are full of color and flavor. I am amazed at all the great options.
      There’s also the other side of protecting and loving animals. Forks over Knives was the start and Earthlings (free movie on YouTube http://earthlings.com/?page_id=32) was the real eye opener.
      At the end of the day my hope is that one more person at least thinks about eating plants over animals.

      Post a Reply
  2. What a great post! I get those questions all it the time as well. “Don’t you miss a big steak?” I’m not sure why people think that is so tempting, eating a cows butt, sick. The triathlete that doesn’t swim part is a fantastic line. Keep up the good work being a no-meat-athlete!

    Post a Reply
    • Miss steak? Misssteak? Mistake (see what I did there?) And the crowd goes wild!
      Speaking of mistakes, those shorts and the headband may have been a bad choice in that photo. Well…that and the Jack Daniels…

      Thanks for reading!

      Post a Reply
  3. Great post! Especially the bit about smoking & drinking, no questions asked in contrast with all the questions about being a vegan. Just ridiculous …

    I had lot of similar experiences while living in different countries – czech republic where some ppl don’t consider you a man if you eat salad for lunch. Netherlands where ppl ask me if I get enough nutritiens while sporting so much. Well guess what, I do and it tastes a whole lot better than what they eat! :)

    Happy trails,
    Jan

    Post a Reply
    • Jan – judging by the size of my running arms people still don’t consider me a man. Thanks for reading and happy running!

      Post a Reply
  4. I think we all can benefit by simply respecting what other folks choose to put in to their bodies as well ad dropping the ‘mine’s superior/everyone should eat my way’ attitude that seems to permeate so much of conversation about food.

    Post a Reply
    • I totally agree! There’s a lot of interesting information about food, food production, pollution and treatment of animals that I hope people seek out to learn more about over time. I just finished reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer (he also wrote “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”). It’s a great book that approaches eating animals from a lot of different angles.
      The above article was a fun rant about what I’ve experienced in the last couple years. When people have asked me in the past about being vegan I always frame my answer as what works for me and why, not YOU SHOULD DO THIS!
      I’ve come a long way. That is really me at 16 in the above photo with the red shorts and big belly. Back then I ate 6-egg omelets with hot dogs inside (no joke). I saved a lot of money not going on dates in high school.
      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

      Post a Reply

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