At 40 years old, Rich Roll was, in his words, "woefully overweight, terribly unfit, and facing a certain future of heart disease – a trending topic in my genealogy."* So he went on a 100% plant-based whole food diet, "a discipline that involved removing all animal products (and most processed foods) from my diet. No chicken. No fish. No dairy. Nada."
In 2 years he had lost 30 pounds and was competing successfully in long-distance triathlons. Men's Fitness magazine named him one of the "25 Fittest Guys in the World."
"I am not overstating the case to say that everything I have accomplished as an endurance athlete over the last few years, including two Ultraman World Championships and EPIC5 – an endurance odyssey in which I completed 5 ironman distance triathlons on 5 separate Hawaiian Islands in under a week – begins and ends with my plant-based whole food diet."A glimpse of his diet, from:
"Conventional wisdom would say that an athlete cannot perform on plants alone. But I am living proof that this is false, and I have ample research to support this position. Personally, I cannot overemphasize the difference this has made in my own life, a secret weapon for enhanced athletic performance and overall long-term wellness. (In the last two years, I have not gotten sick or even suffered a cold.)"
"I don't care how busy you are. [Roll was a full-time lawyer, husband, and father of 4 small children when he started.] I don't care how old you are, how many kids you have or how little time you think you have. The power rests within yourself to enact any change in your life you desire. And I can say this because I have seen it happen in myself and countless others."
Q & A With Rich Roll: From Down-and-out At 40 To Plant-based Ultraman, MindBodyGreen, 2010
MindBodyGreen: What are the staples of your grocery list?This makes me think it's not that difficult to get adequate protein and nutrients on a vegan diet. Although, anyone who can (will?) swim 6.2 miles, bike 260 miles, and run 52.4 miles in 3 consecutive days is made of special stuff to begin with.
Rich Roll: "Kale, beets, carrots, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, avocados, asparagus, artichokes & plenty of fruits. Almonds, almond butter, gluten free breads. Quinoa, brown rice and brown rice pastas; potatoes & yams. Flax seeds, flax, olive & hemp oil. Coconut milk, water & ice cream. Almond milk, maca, chia seeds, veganaise."
Human Factor: Rich Roll's 'Experiment' In Fitness, 2010
From Miserable Man To 'Ultraman': A Fitness Journey, 2009