For the diet aspect of 75 Hard, I’ve gone from eating what used to be my usual diet, sans processed and fast food, to a vegetarian diet, to now being on a full-fledged vegan diet. My original beginning with 75 Hard was 65 days ago. Wow. I feel as if I have come a very long way. My diet at the start wasn’t anything to write home about. I knew that all the fast food and processed “BS” I had been eating wasn’t doing me any favors, so cutting those out was a good place to start. Then I failed after ten days. I decided to start challenging myself, hence going vegetarian. For the subsequent month, I felt phenomenal. Probably the best I had physically felt in my entire life. Then I failed again. With the help and guidance of my dear friend Liz, I decided to try veganism.
It’s been 17 days since I restarted the challenge, and again, I feel incredible. I’m not here to debate whether or not humans were meant to be carnivores, omnivores, or frugivores. I am here to say that this diet has changed how I view ‘food’ and how it makes me physically feel.
Yesterday, while completing my second workout of the day for 75H, I did an exercise that I first saw in offseason practice for the high school soccer team I coach. The activity is relatively simple. There are three cones set up in a large triangle, 25-30 yards apart. You walk from cone one to cone two, jog from cone two to three, then sprint from three back to the first cone, then jog, walk, jog, and sprint again. You repeat this pattern for 20-30 minutes. The exercise is designed to build endurance specifically for soccer. If you watch a soccer game, you’ll notice periods of walking, jogging, and sprinting.
I watched my student-athletes struggle with this a few summers ago, most of whom were definitely in better shape than me. Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever tried the exercise. I was kind of nervous about it. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to last for the entire time. However, the time flew by, and when the 30 minutes was up, I still had gas in the tank. I decided to stop after 30 minutes because there were other things I wanted to train, and I was a little pressed for time. However, next time, I will attempt this for a full 45 minutes.
I’ve also noticed since going vegetarian; my aerobic capacity has increased. Substantially. It partially is because I am training my cardiovascular system every single day. Still, I believe it is also partially due to the diet. Back when I was in high school playing soccer, I never would have been able to do that workout as well as I did yesterday. Not in a million years.
Many top-tier athletes these days are switching to a vegan diet. One that stands out to me is Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. Paul is 36 years old, a dinosaur in NBA terms. However, this man has been on a tear in the league in the past few years. He is playing as he did back when he was in his mid-twenties. Paul switched to a vegan diet in 2019 while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His stats in Houston took a bit of a dip the year prior. At age 33, he had the worst shooting season of his career and his lowest points per game average since he was 25. The following season his field goal percentage shot up 70 points to .489, and he added two extra points per game while playing 12 more games than he did the year before.
At the age of 35, he made his first NBA Finals appearance as one of the Phoenix Suns team leaders that many people thought had no business being there. They are right back in the mix this season, currently up 2-0 over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Paul has attributed his late-career resurgence to his diet.
As for me, when I play soccer or basketball with my friends, I always seem to be the first person to sprint back to the other end of the floor or field on defense after losing the ball. People have asked me where the energy is coming from a few times. I usually have kept my mouth shut because I don’t feel it’s my place to tell people what to eat. I am an advocate for people doing what is in their best interest. The vegan diet just so happens to be what is in my best interest.
Most days, I start with a breakfast of a bagel, oatmeal, and fresh fruit. Sometimes I’ll eat Special K cereal, maybe plant-based yogurt. On occasion, I’ll also eat Just Egg, a plant-based egg substitute that tastes just like the real thing. The fruits I eat are typically bananas, oranges, and blueberries. I also love pineapple and mango. You really cannot go wrong.
After breakfast, I’ll usually graze throughout the day, mixing in more fruit, nuts like pistachios, cashews, almonds, and pretzel crips with hummus.
For dinner, I vary between a few recipes I like. One of my go-to’s is potato tacos with cilantro lime rice. I eat a lot of pasta. Another favorite is Korean bibimbop bowls that feature jasmine rice, mushrooms, onions, peppers, potatoes, and/or tofu. The bowl is topped with a sweet, savory, and spicy Korean-style sauce.
There has been no compromise on flavor in my diet whatsoever. I find myself being more adventurous in trying new foods than I ever have been prior in my life. You know what they say, variety is the spice of life.
I will share my full-length recipes in a future post because I know you all will love how they taste, but more importantly, how they make you feel.
Thank you so much for the continued support! I’m thinking about selling Footy Foster merch here on the site in the future. Let me know what you think in the comments, or use the “contact me” feature on the site to give me feedback about the idea.
As always, peace and love!