Vegan Athlete, Adrian Beckett, Completes Everesting Challenge

Adrian Beckett

Photo Credit: Anthony Wood Photography

Last weekend Adrian Beckett completed the Everesting Challenge in just under 18 hours (taking almost 4 hours off of the previous fastest time on the hill in question) and on a plant-based diet. The stats were 164.8 miles covered and 29,977 feet of ascent climbed over 48 reps of the same hill.  He did this for the charity Meningitis Now, because he is a survivor of viral meningitis which he experienced in 2012.  Adrian went vegan six months ago and says “The health benefits are vast, but the wider environmental and animal positives are a bonus also. I’m glad I can take on ultra endurance endeavors with a clear conscience and maximize performance at the same time.”

Here is our interview with Adrian:

How long have you been vegan and why did you go vegan?

Almost exactly 6 months now. A lot of information seemed to come my way from different places around the same time indicating the health benefits of being vegan. It made me question my existing diet a lot. The tipping point was seeing a YouTube video about Rich Roll, an American ultra endurance athlete who is vegan and excels. I was training for an ultra endurance event myself so I bought his receipt book and thought “I’ll try it for a month 100% and see what happens.” I think day two I was sold. I felt almost immediately better in myself and my training improved no end. My primary motive was health, however the intrinsic environmental and animal welfare positives of being vegan just further solidify my choice to eat this way.

What results/benefits have you seen by going vegan?

I managed to lose the excess weight I wanted to without too much trouble in a really sustainable way. I find my hunger is curbed almost all the time due to the increased fiber. The previous bloating I felt after big meals no longer happens. My energy level, focus and ability to sustain and recover from hard workouts has improved hugely. In general life my productivity has improved also. I also enjoy the simplicity of it, before I was confronted with a huge choice of food when out and about which led me to make bad decisions. Being vegan narrows my choice for the better.

Are there any foods you miss? If so, how do you deal with it?

This was a biggy for me, I am sure it is for most people who are considering switching to a more vegan diet. What I found though very quickly was it opened up a whole new world of food to explore. To my own real surprise there is little to nothing I miss. There are just so many options within the vegan world. It must be easier to eat this way now than anytime in human history.

My wife who is also leading a vegan/plant based approach these days has been quite instrumental in creating some very exciting dishes along the way. She love experimenting in the kitchen and this new world of food has opened up so much to enjoy.

Do you have any favorite vegan food brands?

As I’m training a lot I do get through a lot of bars. My favorites here are Trek, Nine, Pulsin and Naked. For protein powder it is a New Zealand brand called Nuzest who produce the highest quality pea-based powder. For general day to day I like Vivera/Linda McCartney burgers and Soulful pots if I’m not cooking from scratch.

Do you find any challenges being vegan?

It takes less organization than I previously thought, but depending on the situation it does require a bit planning sometimes if I’m traveling or at an event which may not cater for it. Not too tricky to overcome though. The main challenge is the social situation where it sometimes inevitably comes up and then has to be ‘explained’. Some people aren’t particularly welcoming of the concept or it is just alien to them. I need to remember it was to me before! My main point is that unless you have tried it, how can you have an informed opinion?

What is your typical breakfast?

Now then. Best meal of the day without a doubt. This has been pretty consistent for the past six months. I have porridge made with either hemp or coconut milk served with almond butter, agave extract, goji berries, crushed walnuts, ground flaxseed, fresh blueberries and/or strawberries. So good.

What are some favorite vegan “treats” you allow yourself?

A non-dairy Magnum ice cream, a Papa John’s vegan cheese pizza, an Alpro chocolate milk drink or some vegan chocolate.

What’s your favorite quick energy snack to tide you over if you’re hungry between meals?

Either some sort of vegan energy bar, some homemade vegan ‘energy balls’ or some Graze nuts.

Have you been inspired by any other vegans? If so, who and why?

Rich Roll as I mentioned above, for sure. He has achieved some great endurance accomplishments on a vegan diet. Also Novak Djokovic.

Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of going vegan?

I think I would suggest planning your first week to two weeks of meals/snacks in advance. It can be a big change so having a plan helps not to be caught out without many choices. I would also say you don’t need to think you are committing forever to begin with as that can be overwhelming. I tried it for a month initially, but found very quickly I felt so much better in myself that the benefits far outweighed any negatives and haven’t looked back.

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