One of my favourite things to do on my commute to work is to listen to the Rich Roll Podcast. Rich has guests on his podcast from all different walks of life with a focus on all things wellness delving into health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. His conversations are wonderfully warm and full of heart and passion.
My all time favourite guest was the incredible Joshua LaJaunie. I listened to him bare his heart and soul about his journey from tipping the scales at over 400lbs in early 2011. To becoming a plant based and plant powered athlete and losing over 200lbs. I was so inspired by his courage and determination that I thought to myself “I wonder if he would actually respond to an email from me?” Well, being the incredibly kind human that he is Joshua was more than happy for me to interview him.
Josh is now an ultra-marathon runner, healthy living advocate and all round amazing human.
Here is my interview with one of the most inspirational plant based athletes.
What made you decide to start following a whole food plant based diet?
I had been making changes in my life for about a year at the point I decided to make the switch to my current plant-powered protocol. In that year I had lost about 80-100 lbs, and began running. As I drilled down into running, I found out about Scott Jurek via a book titled Born to Run. Scott was a type of runner I’ve never heard of before: an ultra-marathoner. Scott was able to achieve his record-breaking runner status on a vegan diet. I was intrigued.
I immediately searched for more titles, and stumbled upon Finding Ultra, Rich Roll’s story on how he created an endurance athlete out of himself. Lo and behold, Rich was plant-based as well!
So, at first, my reason for becoming plant-based was to be a better runner. I didn’t realize at the time that it would make me a better human, period.
What were the main benefits that you saw from being plant based?
The first thing was that the stubborn pounds flew off. Like I said, I’d been losing weight, and eating “healthy” for a year. That had gotten me some significant weight-loss. But I seemed to stagnate there. When I made the Plantbased switch, another 100lbs just melted away.
Also, I felt alive and energetic all the time. I was using that energy to do things with my body I never thought possible. And even though I was really exerting myself physically a lot more often, I didn’t seem to be sore and tired all the time like I had been before.
How has it changed your life?
I am now a proud Plant based advocate. People contact me for advice all the time, and I’m happy to share my experiences with them. To be someone who “inspires” people is surreal, but I get told that all the time and it feels good.
I am a marathoner and ultra-marathoner myself these days, which I could have never imagined.
I have changed my body, my mind, and my spirit. I feel like I’m more a part of nature’s plan than I ever have been before. My compassion for others, and not just humans, has increased exponentially as I have learned to love myself more as time has elapsed on my journey.
My life today would be unfathomable to the Josh I left behind 3 years ago.
What was the hardest thing during the transition?
Dealing with beloved nay-sayers is the hardest part. Sure, giving up cheese and ice cream is tough, but the social pressure connected how and what we “should” eat is enormous. Food is the easy part; dealing with the folks around you is where people fail.
What advice would you give to people that want to improve their health?
Do. Don’t research it to death before you DO something. Don’t try to construct a failsafe plan before you DO. DO! Take steps. Commit to perpetual improvement and education.
Start by watching Forks Over Knives and Plantpure Nation. Let that soak in.
What is the best thing about your new life?
That merely being me seems to help others. That’s pretty cool.
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