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The Plant-Based Athlete: Matt Frazier, Robert Cheeke, and Josh LaJaunie on PYP 475

Matt Frazier of and Robert Cheeke of are two of the vegan athletic movement's OGs (that stands for Optimal Greens, I suspect). Robert's been promoting vegan muscle building for over 20 years, and Matt has been inspiring plant-powered runners since 2014.

And they just collaborated on the definitive guide to becoming and thriving as   a plant-based athlete, fittingly titled The Plant-Based Athlete.

Josh LaJaunie (whose story is featured in the book, along with 60 other top-notch plant-based performers) and I joined Matt and Robert to talk about the book, the movement they helped start, and the future.

We talked about why they wrote the book, and the intended audience, which isn't vegans, but regular folks who have been seeing all the plant-based athletic buzz (Tom Brady, Cam Newton, the Tennessee Titans, Venus and Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and many more) and are wondering whether a fiber-centric diet can give them a competitive edge (or just help them hurt less after a weekend of warrioring).

And for plant-based folks who aspire to athletic achievement.

We talked about the benefits of viewing nutritional science through a performance lens, as a kind of safeguard against dogmatism and cultish adherence to unhelpful protocols.

And we spoke about the athletic identity, not as a label for the gifted few, but as an aspirational touchstone for all humans.

We talked about an unfortunate dynamic in the vegan community to deny having any physical or mental problems while on a plant-based diet, as if admitting our humanity somehow invalidates the diet and gives ammunition to our critics.

Robert, in a moment of great grace and vulnerability, publicly admitting to a 15-year long anxiety disorder that he felt he needed to conceal for the sake of the movement. I hope that if you're dealing with a health challenge, whether physical, mental, or emotional, Robert's coming clean will allow you to fully embrace your reality without wondering if you're doing something wrong.

My favorite part of the conversation was when Matt and Robert talked about how much it meant to them to hear from championship athletes the impact their work has had. So many professionals and Olympic athletes have Matt and Robert's books on their shelves, have turned to them for recipes and guidance, that reaching out to connect with them turned out to be a wonderful full-circle experience.

Josh, as always, added nuance and color to the discussion by sharing his experiences and perspectives.

I hope you enjoy and benefit from the conversation, and that you rush out and purchase a copy of The Plant-Based Athlete for yourself and everyone you care about.

Extra Resource

My friend Michele Olender of Vedge Your Best has put together a resource list for people looking to transition to and thrive on a plant-based diet. You can request it here.

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New Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


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