There is a major misconception that people on plant-based diets can’t be high-performing athletes. Even people who don’t consider themselves “athletes” know what it’s like to be bombarded with questions like “How do you get enough protein?” or the ever-dreaded “But you can’t have strong bones without dairy?!” when they tell others that they eat plant-based, but in the world of extreme sports, the skepticism and questions are only magnified.
The reality is, that there are many plant-powered athletes who prove that performing under any multitude of extreme conditions is possible without “aid” of animal products or meat. Just take a look at ultrarunner Scott Jurek.
Jurek recently smashed the Appalachian Trail record, completing the entire 2,160-mile trek through rough terrain in 46 days, 8 hours, and 10 minutes. For over a month, Jurek pushed himself through a stomach bug, tweaked knee, and a quadricep strain to accomplish the remarkable feat … and he did it all on a plant-based diet!
Jurek adds this latest accomplishment to a list of many. Not only is he known for winning the Western States Endurance Run (a 100-mile course!) seven years in a row, but he’s holds the U.S. record for running 165.7 miles in 24 hours. Basically, when it comes to being a badass athlete, Jurek’s got it covered. This amazing athlete is not shy about sharing his vegan diet with the world. In 1997, he decided to make the switch and his performance has only increased exponentially since. Heck, when it comes to being a plant-based athlete, Jurek has literally written the book, aptly titled, Eat and Run.
Speaking to his new record, Jurek states, “I am way tougher than I think I am. Just when you think you have gone to the deepest darkest place, you have something more to give and you have deeper places to go.”
Although he claims that he will retire from competition after this victory, we have a feeling that Jurek won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Looking for ways to power your own plant-based athletic performance? Check out these awesome recipes to help you get started. While we’re sure that eating amazing hemp-seed energy balls isn’t the only factor in Jurek’s success, we have a strong feeling that the last two miles of the Appalachian trail couldn’t have happened without them!