Can you succeed as a plant-strong athlete?

Hello, my name is Marni and I am a 9x Ironman finisher, 4x Ironman World Championship finisher, USAT coach and the female winner of the 2014 HITS Ocala half ironman, the overall amateur female winner of the 2012 Branson 70.3 triathlon and overall winner of the 2012 Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marathon.

This month I will celebrate 23 years of eating a meat-free.
I eat carbohydrates like grains, potatoes and even cereal.
I use sport nutrition when I train - always.
I drink milk and eat yogurt - daily.
I love fresh bread and I eat dark chocolate.
I love real food.

My name is Marni and I am fueled by plants.
And my hubby Karel eats meat but I'll still call him a a plant-strong athlete because his diet is rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy and a variety of plant strong proteins. 

When you see a meal like this (above), a meal of 5 different kinds and colors of veggies tossed in olive oil, baked tempeh, cooked lentils and quinoa, do you think unhealthy athlete who can not maximize performance? 

How about this meal? 
Baked kale tossed in olive oil dressed with rice, beans, onions, lots of garlic and topped with peanuts and a side of Greek Yogurt (no pictured). Do you think inflammation, unstable blood sugar or low nutritional value? 

Yum. Sliced bananas, fresh, local poppyseed bread and a cup of 1% organic milk with 15g whey protein powder.
Is this a performance-damaging, metabolism wrecking, "bad food" post workout snack that should be off-limit in the diet? 

Roasted potatoes with baked cauliflower, beans and mushrooms. A bowl full of deliciousness.

This is how I eat every day and my good health, great performances and wonderful quality of life give me no reason to think that I am sabotaging my health or performance as a plant strong athlete by avoiding meat.

Not too long ago, my friend Molly from Girls Gone Strong asked me to provide an article on fueling the plant strong athlete.

Vegetarianism in athletes is a topic that is just as overwhelming and confusing as weight loss in endurance athletes for we are talking about the diet and in today's society, there is information overload and much of it is not sound advice.
You can read the article here:
Part 1
Part 2

Obviously, I am passionate about fueling the plant strong athlete as a sport RD but with almost two decades of experience, I have spent plenty of time dialing in my own nutrition as an endurance athlete so it makes me happy and excited to help out others. 

I want to give a big thank you to Rachel with Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian for the interview!

I wish I knew more about how to be a healthy vegetarian athlete when I decided to choose a plant-strong diet almost 23-years ago at the age of 10.
In my mid 20's, I was told that I would never succeed as an endurance athlete because of my meat-free diet. Well, I'd like to think that I've proved many people wrong. Recognizing that it's not easy to fuel an athlete regardless of his/her diet preferences, I really enjoyed providing my thoughts on vegetarianism for teenage athletes and how to ensure that young athletes meet their nutritional needs to maximize their full athletic potential.


(and don't forget to leave a comment after reading the article for your chance to win a Clif Bar/Luna Bar giveaway prize!)