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Donovan Will is proof you can eat vegan and run a 90km marathon

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It’s not hard to get a vegan to carb-load.

Donovan Will is out to prove that a vegan diet doesn’t have to slow you down. Health24 caught up with the marathon runner, who having successfully completed the Ironman 70.3km race in January, will take on the Comrades Marathon 90km course on Sunday May 29th.

The former bacon sympathizer and current brand manager of Fry’s Family Foods found that there was a point where all the information in favour of eating vegan piled up:

“The evidence was very clear that eating animal products promotes disease in the body, and that a well-balanced vegan diet can be significantly healthier, animal agriculture is the most environmentally damaging industry in the world, and that if we have no need to slaughter animals, then doing so simply because we like the way they taste is unethical. After this it became clear - I knew I wanted to stop eating any animal products.”

Now, he’s an advocate for the physical and mental benefits of the making the switch, and is excited to share how vegan food fuels him to have the stamina for sports like running, cycling, and snowboarding. Will told Health24 “I’ve come to the realization that our bodies are designed to burn carbohydrates for energy, so cutting the animal products in my diet (which are low in carbohydrates) and eating healthy, unrefined carbs, naturally increased my energy levels.”

And while he doesn’t claim to be the most disciplined athlete, he’s still excited to share what he eats on Instagram. He enjoys having oats, a smoothie, or a chickpea omelette for the most important meal of the day. At lunch and dinner, he name drops Fry’s recipes, adding potatoes, rice, and veggies on the side. And when it comes to training, dates are where it’s at for their high potassium levels. Multivitamins, B12, and L-Glutamine are occasionally on the menu too - something he only opts for when he’s less healthy in his eating.

Sometimes I just feel like eating the healthiest food I can find. Mushrooms, green beans, pinto beans, brown rice & garlic. Mixed salad leaves, cucumber, tomato, robot peppers, pumpkin seeds. #trainingdiet #healthy #nutritious #wholefood #plantbased #vegan #vegansa #vegilicious #vegansofig #veganfood #crueltyfree #whatveganseat

A photo posted by Donovan Will (@i_am_donovan_will) on

So while all vegans shouldn’t be considered high performance athletes instantly for taking on an animal-product free diet, it’s incredible to see that animal products are not needed for anyone hoping to tackle similar athletic feats to Will. It’s enough to encourage us to grab a handful of dates and hit the trail!

Photo from Donovan Will’s Facebook Page

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