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Fueled by Flora: Betsy's Plant-Based Diet Journey.

Betsy's current plant based dietary journey started after reading a National Geographic magazine she was given by her youngest brother, James, in September 2018. The issue prominently featured a discussion of the Blue Zones along with recipes and advice from author Dan Buettner. James remembered Betsy being a vegetarian in her late teens and early twenties, so he thought she would find the issue interesting.

national geographic magazine picture

Drawn to the simplicity of Blue Zone recipes and the concept of a diet more aligned with nature, Betsy was quick to transition our family over to a plant based diet. Other early road maps to guide this transition included The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt (2015), The Blue Zones Kitchen by Dan Buettner (2019), as well as the Blue Zones meal planner app. Empowered by an improved sense of well-being, she decided to take things a step further and exclude all dairy, even cheese, from her diet, which is akin to sacrilege when you are from Wisconsin :)

Betsy has remained steadfast in her dietary choices. She has found benefits in both her physical prowess and her Multiple Sclerosis management. With regards to her athletic performance, she has felt reduced inflammation, improved recovery time and more energy compared to her prior typical western diet. With regards to management of her Multiple Sclerosis that will likely be the topic of a future post.

She ensures she gets adequate nutrition, including protein, through her plant based diet. One of her favorite concepts when questioned about protein comes from Dr. Milton Mills who points out the fact that all protein is made from plants, any protein that you get from eating an animal is simply recycled plant protein. I included the short video below because I think it helps dispel some common myths about protein. Please don't take this as an attempt to moralize, but rather to succinctly address a common question that is asked of plant-based athletes.

Betsy will not be the first plant-based athlete to run across the United States. Robbie Balenger did his transcon run in 2019. He started a vegan diet eight months before his run after reading Eat & Run a best selling book by Scott Jurek (vegan ultra athlete) that highlights the importance of a plant-based diet for athletic performance. Hellah Sidibe ran across the US on a plant based diet in 2021. Atsuyuki Katsuyama "K" ran across the US on a Vegan diet in 2015.

For the plant curious or currently committed here are some references

  • Forks Over Knives: This website offers a wealth of resources, including articles, recipes, meal plans, and success stories, all focused on a whole-food, plant-based diet.

  • Dr. Michael Greger's website provides evidence-based information on nutrition, including numerous videos and articles on plant-based diets and their health benefits.

  • The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM): PCRM offers resources on plant-based nutrition, including articles, recipes, meal plans, and information on the health benefits of plant-based diets.

  • Plant-Based News: This website provides news, articles, recipes, and videos focused on plant-based living, including information on nutrition, health, and environmental sustainability.

Update on Training:

Betsy ran 46.5 miles this week with the longest run being 2 hours and 45 minutes!!

Until next week.....

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Bets introduced the blue zone to me, and I love using the meal planner! Also, thanks for sharing the website resources.

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