July 14, 2012
Meet vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll.
If you've read this blog for a few months, you may recall Rich from the article I published on “How To Be Extremely Active And Eat A Plant-Based Diet Without Destroying Your Body.”
Rich just wrote a book about why he's a vegan.
More specifically, the book is about how he went from a collegiate swimmer, to the fat slob pictured above, to a ripped vegan ultra-endurance athlete.
His book is called “Finding Ultra“, and I read it a few weeks ago.
Even though I personally like to eat tasty animals, there were many inspirational morsels within the book, and one compelling topic pops up several times in Rich's book: superfoods.
So what is a superfood?
You're about to find out in this audio interview with Rich, in which we go way beyond blueberries and spinach.
Click here for the full written transcript of this audio interview.
During our discussion, I ask Rich:
-What triggered you to begin running?
-After running, you adopted a vegan diet. Why?
-What's a typical day of eating look like for you?
-What do you eat during long runs or races?
-What are some of the most challenging components of eating vegan?
-What is your response to the argument that vegan diets may not present the body with enough fatty acids or proteins, and what are your personal favorite fat and protein sources?
-Do you use supplements? What do you take and why?
-Most of us heard of acai, goji berries and chia seeds. But do you mind if I ask you about some of the more obscure super foods you use, and why?
At this point, Rich launches into describing a bunch of foods that you probably aren't too familiar with, like sprouted mung beans, elk antler velvet, green coffee beans, apricot seeds, natto, camu camu and more.
So tune in, then grab your grocery shopping cart and head to your local health food store that sells fringe items to try some of Rich's recommended superfoods.
In the meantime, grab Rich's book here, and leave any of your questions, comments or feedback below!
21 thoughts on “Some Of The Craziest Superfoods You’ve Never Heard Of.”
posted this in #233, realized should of posted here, just a note on deer antler harvesting – you were wondering if it is humane in New Zealand where a lot come from…
My sister is married to a New Zealand deer farmer that harvests their antlers. I think it was this podcast you were asking about how humane it is, I asked her and this is what she wrote back. I think things have tightened up in this area in the last few years. Thanks for the podcasts!
Local is used and all the guys on the farm have to sit an annual exam watched by vets and a national vet audits annually we do restrain in a crush and always use anaesthetic I
Have watched quite a few times and the deer seem ok
I am a new listener, and of the many episodes I have listened to, this is by far my favorite one. I knew nothing about Rich Roll until listening to this podcast. He and I share similar stories which is very encouraging. The way he seems to K. I. S. S. it (Keep It Simple & Stupid). Gives a lot of hope to vegetarian/vegan athletes and fitness & nutrition enthusiast. There are a ton of people across the web, podcast world, ect that seem to complicate the whole vegan/vegetarian diet when it comes to the athlete. Not Rich!!! Thank you sir. Cant wait to read the book.
Thanks for great information. I am long distance 1/2 marathon, marathons vegan recreational runner.
I have question for podcast. From time to time I get low neutrophil abs in my blood analysis. Can it be related to1) Overtraining 2) Veganism Can you sugest something to improve neutrophil abs? Generally I am very healthy and don't remember when I was sick. However I feel tired and exhausted quite often. I supplement fish oil, spirulina, maca and some other superfoods. Time to time also B12.
That's usually autoimmune issues (i.e. too much gluten), systemic infection, or, and this is likely the case with you, low vitamin B12. I'd highly recommend you consider supplementing REGULARLY with B12!
After listening to Rich’s book on Audible, I made the decision to try a plant based diet for 30 days. My weight loss had stagnated at 51 lbs over a 2 year period. In 30 days I lost 13 pounds, but I am training for my 2nd marathon so I have been worried about how the diet would affect me. I have had great energy, focus, and feel ready to run even after a dinner. I don’t feel hungry all of the time and the transition has been surprisingly easy. I’m sticking with the diet and trying to learn more. Thank you Rich for giving the suggestion to try this diet at the end of your book.
Although Rich has been the spark, your advice, Ben, has been helping improve my diet and exercise for over a year. I love the material you put out, and wouldn’t have been able to make this transition had I not been listening to you. Thank you!
Very good article. Looks I'm going to have to start using more variation of vegetables in my diet now.
Great interview! Especially like the exotic “superfood” primer. Might have to try the Natto and green coffee beans.
thanks for the all the great comments everyone. As I describe in the book, I was 50lbs overweight, although admittedly not "obese" by today's standards are hardly eligible for The Biggest Loser. But the more important point I was trying to make was les about weight and more about energy – I was lethargic, depressed and basically unenthusiastic about anything in life.
Vegenaise – definitely NOT a superfood, but the grapeseed oil version is a nice replacement for mayo – something I nonetheless use sparingly, although it was a good source of energy during EPIC5, where I ran a gigantic calorie deficit. My diet is predominantly plant-based whole foods. Fake meats & cheeses, etc are OK to bridge the transition but not what I would consider healthy.
Thanks for listening and thanks Ben for having me as a guest!
I just finished listening to his book (thanks audible.com) and loved it! I grew up and live in the DC area so hearing about his experience at Bethesda ES, which is down the street from me, Landon, a rival of my own high school, and swimming at Georgetown Prep, where I swim, was super cool. The doughnut shop that he went to is also still there and I myself actually have (don't anymore) patronized after super hard workouts (although less frequently now and most likely not again after reading this book.
In the book, Rich describes how he eats a lot of Veganaise and avocado sandwiches. While avocado is, I am not sure Veganaise is a superfood. What are your thoughts on it, Ben? It most likely beats Helman's but isn't mostly canola oil all be it cold pressed, which is inflammatory? Otherwise I thought his diet advice was great.
You mean http://www.audiblepodcast.com/ben ;)
Anyways, veganaise all depends. You can get olive oil versions. I would image there are probably some grapeseed oil options too, although I haven't been shopping for veganaise lately.
According to the label it is cold pressed canola oil but is a "good source of omega 3s" I thought canola was really high in inflamatory omega 6
Depends how much it's been heated and how it was extracted. There are versions that are less heated, but overall, it packs a pretty high omega 6 load. I don't personally use it.
I was wondering when Rich would get on the site. His book was definitely one of the most inspiring books I've read. Such a cool dude.
We interviewed him at Rock Star Triathlete Academy a couple years ago: http://www.rockstartriathlete.com/audios/telesemi…
And also at Endurance Planet: http://www.enduranceplanet.com/rich-roll-on-his-n…
Just took me reading his book to get him on BGF. ;)
Rich's book stirred me emotionally. Physical fitness and competition saved Rich from the perils of alcoholism. It gave him a rope to pull himself out of a deep, dark hole — a hole I have sat in myself. Fitness, competition and clean, healthy living helped save me from alcohol, too. I went from 215 to 165, and I am training for my second Olymplic triathlon. Rich's book fueled my already strong commitment to fitness and never going back to that life. CL
Awesome! Keep up the good work, Chris.
Um, fat slob? If I were to pick either photo as the person I would rather have a conversation with, it would be the one on the left. If that's his description of himself, then fair enough (and it should be in quotation marks) but I wouldn't look at that photo and think 'what a fat slob'. It's kind of disappointing. Is he a slob because he's sitting down and not standing up? Because he's got stubble rather than clean shaven? Because there's a pug in the photo? I don't get it.
Also, I don't understand how elk antler velvet is vegan.
You should read his description of himself in his book Lewis! That was my inspiration to choose that particular title. Also, regarding elk antler velvet: Rich doesn't use it, but it is a superfood he talks about!
Cool, it just seemed a bit harsh given that the person in the photo is not what I would call fat! Sorry. I'll listen to your conversation with him.
It was the picture Roll chose to represent himself at his highest weight, though he admits that he "carried it well". Great read. His ten year struggle with alcoholism was amazing.
Lewis Rich is clear that "antler velvet" is not Vegan an that he also does not use it.