One of the myths about veganism is that it’s impossible to get all the nutrients you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Here to smash that stereotype is Logan Beaulieu, an ultra marathon runner from Edmonton, Alberta, who also happens to be a vegan athlete!
Logan talks to us today about why he loves running, what made him become a vegan, and the food that gives a vegan athlete the energy he needs.
Renia: Why did you become a vegan?
Logan: I first turned vegan for ethical reasons and the more I learned about it, the more I saw the horror of it.
Then I started to look at the health side. I came across a sticker that said, “Being Boiled Hurts” and decided to check out the company, which was PETA. I was horrified by the things I saw and read on their website!
In a way I felt like my life was ruined because I could not get the horrible images out of my head! I continued to check out as much as I could on the Internet that was related to animal mistreatment in the livestock industry.
The more you read, the more you realize how terrible today’s’ food system and factory farming industry is.
Renia: Did you go Vegan cold turkey?
Logan: No, at first I continued to eat meat, but only if it was organic and hormone free from places such as Organic Planet, Lifestyle Markets or Whole Foods.
Eventually I became vegetarian or a ‘cheating’ vegetarian, eating the odd piece of meat from time to time. But it got me thinking that what I was doing was hypocritical.
When I first became a vegan athlete, I admit I would cheat from time to time and not always look at the ingredients in food. I did continue to read and learn as much as I could though, which led me to becoming vegan 100%.
I believe that humans were not meant to eat meat; otherwise we’d have fangs and teeth just like a wolf! I do not believe that the human species was meant to eat meat, dairy or eggs.
Sometimes I would come across people who would say, “Being vegan must be boring”. But I disagree. You can get really creative with a vegan diet instead of eating just the same old meat and potatoes.
Renia: Did you notice that you started feeling better after becoming a vegan athlete?
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, I feel so much better. I don’t want to sound as if I put myself above other people at all, but because of all of the things I have read and learned, I feel like I know a lot more than I used to.
I feel much kinder and much more informed. I think that we all know these things but not everyone is ready or willing to open their eyes. We all know the ethical reasons. But most people prefer to close their eyes and plug their ears and continue to live their lives the way they were raised.
Renia: I have recommended to friends and acquaintances some of the documentaries that are out there that show how horrible the livestock industry actually is but I have had numerous responses where a person has said “I don’t want to watch it because I know I won’t be able to eat meat anymore, and I don’t want to do that”. Have you ever experienced this?
Logan: Yes, I have come across people like that as well. I don’t have a lot of respect for this way of thinking.
Renia: You mentioned to me that as an ultra marathon runner, you have noticed that your recovery time is much shorter as a vegan athlete compared to your pre-vegan days. Can you tell me about that?
Logan: Yes, my recovery time is much quicker now. The vegan diet I eat is loaded with vital anti-oxidants, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes that support and maintain a healthy body. Everything that my body needs is covered. The vegan diet seems like it takes a lot of effort but it’s really a matter of learning proper food combinations.
Renia: How long have you been a runner?
Logan: I’ve been running ever since I was a kid, around 11 or 12 years old.
I started by running shorter distances at school from a couple miles to 5 miles. I took pride in the fact that I came in 5th at the British Columbia Cross-country championships at the age of twelve. It was a 2-1/2 mile race.
As a family we would run with the Penticton Pounders Running Club started by the announcer, author, and speaker, Steve King. The Race Series was held all over the Okanagan Similkameen.
I ran my first Ultramarathon when I was 19 years of age. So I’ve basically been running my entire life. I’m now 42 years old.
Renia: So what is a normal run for you, as an ultra marathoner?
Logan: An ultra marathon is a race of any distance that is longer than your traditional marathon of 42.2kms or 26.2 miles.
Ultras can be 50km/miles or 100km/miles. Or, it can be a timed event such as 24 or 48 hours or even 72 hours! The furthest that I have run is a 150 mile race in Illinois. I’ve done that one a few times.
The first year I came in 11th place but I was not pleased with that result so the next year I really pushed myself and placed 4th.
I remember the first year I did that race, I was so sleep deprived! I don’t even know how I did it completed the race. I arrived at the hotel 4 hours before the race started with hardly a wink of sleep the night before. After about 40 miles or 67kms, I laid down to sleep for a few minutes in the bushes.
Normally tents are set up for racers to sleep if need be in at these long events, but I remember that these particular tents were so crowded and noisy so I got out of there. It was pouring rain and very muddy.
During the race, I pulled a muscle in my lower left quad. This should have been the end of my race but instead I pulled out for approximately 2 hours. Many runners would have dropped out at this point but I was determined to finish no matter what so I hobbled for the last 4 or more hours of the race.
I did what I had to in order to make it across the finish line. A couple Alberta ultras that can be just as nasty and difficult with extreme weather conditions are Lost Soul and Sinister 7. I’ve done these races several times.
Other races that I have added to my ‘to do’ list are Halliburton Forest 100 mile in Halliburton Ontario, Fat Dog 120 miler in Keremeos/Manning Park and HURT 100 mile in Hawaii.
A race that I have done a few times that is vegetarian athlete and vegan athlete friendly is the Javelina Jundred (100 mile) in Fountain Hills, AZ. They offer both vegetarian and vegan options.
Renia: What do you usually eat on a normal day?
Logan: Normally I start off my day with a Green Foods Magma Plus drink.
A little later in the morning I’ll have a fruit smoothie with various berries (some fresh, some frozen) I add True Vitality Protein by Green Foods which contains DHA (omega-3 fatty acid). I also add chia seeds, maca and ground flax seeds.
I drink milk alternatives such as Almond, Hemp, Rice, Hazelnut and Coconut milk. I always use lots of fresh ginger and cinnamon for the flavor and extra antioxidants.
At breakfast I usually have Steel Cut Oats or Organic Sprouted Spelt Kernels with nuts, flax oil or seeds, hemp, udos oil, raisins, sugar free cranberries and various types of seeds and nuts.
Around noon or so I have a Green Drink with lots of vegetables such as kale, spinach, beet, dill, cabbage, etc. For my green drink I’ll use cold water, “Green Magma, Beet Essence, Barley Essence (all of which are Green Foods products) .I like to get creative and add different things to change up the flavor and nutrient content.
Also at noon or lunch time I generally, I eat a lot of quinoa, beans and lentils and lots of salads. I’m a big fan of turmeric, since it’s a great anti-inflammatory. I am also a fan of curry, cayenne pepper, and cumin. I’ve heard that your spice rack is actually a medicine cabinet! I also include a Matcha Green Tea drink around this time of day.
I have a Vitamix blender and a nutribullet, which is a bit smaller than the Vitamix blender and works almost as well. I keep the green drink in some kind of container that I bring with me to sip at throughout the day. This ensures the best absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Besides breakfast, lunch and dinner I like to graze throughout the day. I carry a bag of nuts with me, including raisins, figs and dates and seeds. Brazil nuts naturally increase testosterone levels, which is huge for an athlete. They are also a great source of selenium. They say consuming just one Brazilian nut a day contains enough selenium but I like to eat up to 5-10 a day.
For dinner I eat lots of tempeh (fermented tofu), quinoa, rice, black beans, and hummus.
I make an effort to minimize my soy intake because it’s loaded with excess estrogen, which is not good for anybody! I eat lots of salad and vegetables of all sorts with hemp seeds, avocado, and flax oil. I love sweet potatoes too!
I also minimize my bread intake. To discover why, check out ‘Wheat Belly” by William Davis MD.’
Renia: What do you eat during a race?
Logan: Actually, during a race I prefer to eat real, whole food. You’re not going to get through a 100-mile race on sports gels and bars alone!
Complex carbohydrates are needed so mid race I will eat a sweet potato, or a banana and/or avocado.
I will eat lots of fruit such as organic cut up oranges, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe and strawberries. It’s common for ultra runners to eat chicken soup during a race, especially when the weather is cold and wet. I used to do that, but now I just eat my own veggie soup with added salt.
I eat various nuts like cashews, macadamia, pistachios, and pine nuts during a race for the oils and fat content plus they satisfy hunger.
Sometimes people will ask me how I get my amino acids. I say to them “does a gorilla or an elephant eat steak?” Amino acids can be found in a variety of foods such as chia seeds. God has covered everything – we can get all we need from a vegan diet with proper attention and food combining.
To find out more about this inspiring, vegan ultra-marathoner visit Logan’s website at: www.logansrun.ca
Logan’s father, ‘Moe the Eagle’ is a cancer survivor and a veteran ultra-marathon runner. See his website at: www.eagleruns.ca