I did an AMA over a year ago and had a great time discussing how I transformed my life through fitness and plant-based (vegan) nutrition to become a globally recognized ultra-endurance athlete. In that AMA I answered a lot of people’s questions on how they could start down this path, and I’ve taken a lot of those answers, and a lot of recipes, and put them in my new book The Plantpower Way, which came out this week.

My first book, Finding Ultra, came out in 2012 and is about my journey mentioned in the title of this AMA. The book includes stories of some of the crazier things I’ve done as an ultra-endurance athlete, such as the EPIC 5 in Kona (five ironmans in five consecutive days on five different Hawaiian islands), and the Ultraman World Championships (6.2 mi swim, 261.4 mi bike ride, and 52.4 mi run), which I’ve done three times.

You can read a little bit longer bio here.


Proof: tweet and pic

Comments: 396 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

frankhlane192 karma

Really an inspirational story.

I'd like to better understand your motivation, how did you keep from giving up, never letting down? Were there people around that kept you running and didn't desert you through your journey? What was the most difficult part of your former out-of-shape life to say goodbye to, and how bad did it hurt - did you ever cry? Honest answers appreciated, I know you'd never tell a lie and hurt me.

richroll61 karma

Hey There - great question. This is basically what my first book Finding Ultra is all about. Pain has always been the only thing that has motivated me to change my many errant ways -- and I was in quite a bit of emotional pain when I decided to get sober and wen I decided to change my lifestyle. I also did have a lot of great support. My wife Julie has been amazing - none of this would have happened without her having my back and encouraging me to keep going. That said, I have felt alone quite often. Sometimes even like a crazy person. So I have had to really find a way to believe in myself and trust in something outside of myself to guide me. Not in a religious sense but in the sense that I had to believe there was some greater purpose to what I was trying to do and the questions I was trying to answer for myself. In retrospect it all seems like it fell into place very gracefully but in truth it has been messy and all over the place. two steps backwards for every step forward. All I can tell is that something deep inside me just kept telling me to pursue this path. Plenty of crying my friend. Plenty. The hardest thing to part ways with was this mythical idea of the American Dream that I had harbored my whole life -- everything did was premised on this. Saying goodbye to that paradigm rocked the very foundation upon which I had formed my world view - so that was very scary. Trusting that there will be a net to catch you if you step outside "the system". I bounded on the pavement many times before that net eventually hauled me up off the ground.

richroll18 karma

You really did totally get me. Someone tries to Rick Roll me almost daily and still fell for this one -- nice work Frank!

richroll9 karma

mattsauer88 karma

Hey Rich!

What’s the best way to defend myself when I run by a flock of angry winged demons colloquially known as geese?

richroll115 karma

best question EVER. Depends. Are they Canadian geese? Don't mess. Duck for cover (OK that is a really bad pun).

runnerdood67 karma

How did you first start experimenting with vegan/plant-based nutrition and what kind of impact did it have on you?

richroll95 karma

Great question. At 39 (about 8 years ago), I was 50lbs overweight, lazy, lethargic and sort of just depressed in general about my life. Then one night I had a bit of a health scare when I got KO'd by a simple flight of stairs -- winded, out of breath, tightness in my chest. This made me realize that I really needed to change how I was living my life. I began exploring diet. I kicked things off with a 7-day vegetable juice cleanse which was horrible at first but by day 6-7 I felt amazing - I mean AMAZING. this led me to search for a way of eating that would allow me to feel that way all of the time. I experimented for 6 months on various ways but the thing that really did the trick was when I finally (begrudgingly) decided to try eating 100% plant-based. Within 7-10 days the shift was extraordinary. My vitality returned. My energy levels went through the roof. My mental acuity improved. Across the board it just really really agreed with me. My return to fitness simply began because I suddenly had so much extra energy I needed to go outside and burn it off.

zbutler1328 karma

Hi Rich,

Fellow Ultra runner here and huge fan of your podcast and your new book, Plant Power Way, will be arriving tomorrow and I can't wait! If you had to pick one recipe from the book as your favorite, what would it be? Also, what has been your favorite race in your career (could be running or Tri's)?

Thanks for providing great entertainment on my long runs!

richroll34 karma

Hey that's that's awesome. Thanks for checking out the new book! We worked super hard on it -- over 2 years in production - so we are very proud and beyond elated that it hits stores tomorrow. My fave recipes -- I love the "Untuna Wraps" - amazing how much this walnut based recipe tastes like actual tuna. Hits the spot. Also the lasagna is great, the chia seed pudding and of course all the smoothie recipes. Tons of stuff for athletes but also appealing for everyone -- you dont have to be vegan to really get a lot of out if and enjoy the delicious healthy food and lifestyle guidance. Let me know which recipes you like when the book arrives tomorrow!

whipfixed19 karma

Your favorite race bro. Forgot that part. That's what I was looking forward to the most from this question.

richroll28 karma

Whoops sorry. Hmm. I would have to say Ultraman World Championships 2009. Winning Stage 1 by 10 minutes and then struggling to just finish after my Day 2 bike crash was probably the coolest thing I experienced as a competitive athlete.

jasontkinco1 karma

More than swimming for Stanford? Millions swim, but few qualify to swim for a team like Stanford. Only a handfull of obsessive disorder types attempt ultraman. :)

richroll2 karma

swimming at Stanford was extraordinary. I absolutely loved being part of that team -- it was very special. However, I was a bit of a bench warmer and didn't thrive athletically, mostly by my own undoing, and left swimming knowing I had nit reached my potential as an athlete. But that team and those guys mean everything to me.

holyfilament24 karma

Hi Rich,

I know that you didn't become a vegan for ethical reasons. With contact to people like Gene Baur have you embraced a more ethical vision of veganism? And if not, why?

richroll43 karma

Definitely. I call it an evolution / revolution. I began this journey purely for health reasons -- selfishly for myself and less selfishly for my family. But that has changed. Of course health is huge for me for obvious reasons, but I am definitely much more interested in the ethical and environmental impact of our consumer choices. People like Gene and Joshua Katcher and the guys behind the Cowspiracy documentary I am involved in and many others have broadened my perspective across the board. Very important to me now.

jessalbert22 karma

Hey Mr. Roll

What's the best way to start running when you're old and overweight? I want to look like you in two years.

richroll50 karma

best way is to just begin. don't overthink it. dont set some huge agenda. just go out and WALK if that's all you can do. Be patient. Stop worrying about what kind of shoes you need, the best watch to buy or what kind of shorts you need. Just act. Then wake up the next day and do it again. Less thinking, more movement. Its actually quite simple. Stop telling youself you are old and overweight and start telling yourself you are a runner. The story you tell yourself about yourself is extremely powerful, so the more conscious and in control of that story you can be -- understanding that you can redefine it at will -- is a great place to begin. Most of all this is mental and emotional.

locatefate22 karma

Rich, good morning! Thank you for doing this AMA - truly appropriated. Your book is amazing and has inspired me. Similar to you, I had serious issues with drugs and alcohol in the past and got into legal trouble. I was basically a juvenile delinquent. I eventually turned it all around and became a lawyer. A few years ago I decided I didn't want to practice - I wanted to help others and be of service. In fact, you've inspired me to get a few MBG articles published and to go vegan. My question to is how to share my story to the masses to help others?

richroll23 karma

Wow that is inspiring. Amazing how similar your story is to mine. Very cool. It sounds like you are already sharing your story, which is great. My best advice when it comes to telling your story is to be as honest as you can. It's the transparency and conveying what makes you uniquely you that can allow people to emotionally connect on a very human level. Specificity is key -- and from that you and readers can extract principles applicable to all of us. Keep going!

tribefan4020 karma

Rich, thanks for taking the time to do this. Because of your book I've seriously transitioned by lifestyle into a much more plant based/fitness focused lifestyle. I've recently implemented TM practice and am trying to modify the 3rd phase...work life balance. In your book and on other articles/podcasts you started your journey as a lawyer, then transitioned to your own practice and I'm assuming practicing law less and less. Can you walk us through the transition from 100% "big law" to whatever your current % of law to wellness work and what would you say that percentage is now? I know you're a Tim Ferris fan, so do you implement many of his "life hacks" to manage your time?

richroll14 karma

That's fantastic - congrats and great to hear. Love the TM approach. And I totally get the work-life balance challenge. It's not easy. If you google me, it would appear that I made all these changes overnight but that's not at all how it happened. For the first several years and through all 3 of my Ultraman races I was practicing law. It was a very gradual process of doing less and less law and more and more of the things I loved and felt called to do. To your question specifically, I left big corporate law firm life a few years prior to my journey into wellness. I started a small law firm with some friends and became my own boss, which allowed me more flexibility with my time. So when I began my transformation and started training, etc. I could make my own schedule which helped a ton. But I continued to practice until May 2012 when my first book Finding Ultra came out. After that it was like I was in the void, suddenly trying to figure out how I was going to make a living in the amorphous world of "wellness" and support four kids doing it. It has been a long hard road -- we risked everything and very nearly lost everything, but finally things are starting to congeal and move in the right direction. It's quite gratifying because I wasnt sure things were going to work out. But the fact that I now get to spend my time helping people and creating content for others to enjoy is truly a gift and I am extremely grateful.

tribefan403 karma

have you 100% transitioned out of law at this point?

richroll2 karma

yes - I hung up the law the day Finding Ultra came out in may 2012. Actually let my bar membership totally lapse so legally I cant practice law even if I wanted to:)

DavinPaul20 karma

Pain: What helps you push through pain to reach a goal once it enters the equation? How do you fight off the urge of your brain telling you to stop; and not listening to all the rational excuses it gives you?

richroll38 karma

Great question. Once I set a huge goal, the fear inevitably creeps in, followed by that little voice that keeps telling you its impossible. the way I approach this is to backtrack from the big goal and set micro stepping stone goals along the way, each of which in context is totally doable. Then I simply focus on what has to be TODAY. Or in the next HOUR. And forget about the big goal. If I only have one workout to concenr myself with then I can say "hey I can do this workout" and then just get that done without worrying about what tomorrow's workout entails. Same approach to work, diet, etc.

richroll17 karma

Hey everyone LOVING all the questions! Doing my best to stay on top of all this but they are coming in fast and furious so please be patient -- trying to respond as best and as thoroughly as I possibly can. Plus right now I have to go to the bathroom so I'll be back in a minute:)

dylanbjohnson14 karma

I am a drummer, and my goal is to tour, teach, and record for a living. What's your advice for someone looking to go down a non-traditional career path in the face of fear and society's expectations that you do otherwise? Huge fan of the podcast! Can't wait to dig into this new Casey Neistat episode. And to get my copy of the plantpower way tomorrow.

richroll14 karma

Hey Dylan - yes I would definitely check out my convo with Casey which I just posted late last night, as well as my first podcast with him a little over a year ago - we explore this very subject. Its very cavalier to just say go for it and throw caution to the wind irresponsbily. Life is trickier than that of course. Sometimes the right thing is to just up and quit the day job and throw yourself into the unknown on faith and drive. But not always. Only you can know the answer to that in your heart of hearts. But what I can say is that you can always start building more of your passion into your daily life without being overly dramatic about it. The more you do this, the more the right path will reveal itself to you. I will also say that the bold move takes tremendous courage and strength and faith -- it is not for the weak of heart and can be extremely difficult. We definitely bled hard to be where we are and risked everything. I wasn't sure at all it would work out and had many dark nights of the soul. You have to know its what you need, want and have to do with total conviction and have the willingness to endure what it will take to step into a new life. But as Casey said in our first podcast -- his ultimate recipe for success -- all you have to do is commit yourself to something with everything you have. you will either succeed or die trying, which in and of itself is success.

jasontkinco2 karma

Follow the path of Keith Moon?

richroll3 karma

That's one way of looking at it I suppose. Another way would be to see that everyone who has done something great and amazing usually left the flock and went in a different direction..

jasontkinco4 karma

Is there generally too much emphasis on great and amazing and not enough emphasis on balance, wisdom and sustainability?

richroll3 karma

good point Jason. I think if someone is stuck in a life that leaves them unfulfilled (to the point of the questioner), a balanced approach to that life might not be the answer. The trajectory out doesn't have to be on being "great" or "amazing" but should be focused inward to help identify and more fulfilling path and begin the process of accessing that - at least that is what I was trying to get at.

BrettBr0wn13 karma

Hi Rich! As a busy college student who loves to run and has been eating plant-based for the past year, I am having a hard time being able to maintain/increase my weight. Do you have any recommendations for quick, high calorie, plant-based foods? Thanks for your podcast and books! I'm looking forward to listening to you on Joe Rogan's podcast later this week!

richroll18 karma

I would suggest increasing caloric intake -- avocados, nuts and some oil (coconut) on salads and in cooking perhaps. Complex carbs as well - brown rice, brown rice / bean-based pastas. Plus strength / power training in the gym -- especially if you are running alot, which really pares you down.

richroll11 karma

Hey everyone I just wanted to thank all of you who dropped in today to do this with me. It has been super fun. So many amazing questions and really appreciate the level of engagement! I did my best to answer as many of the questions as I could to the best of my abilities and hope you got something out of it. Of course I couldn't get to everyone so apologies if your inquiry didn't get answered. We do a Q&A segment on the podcast so if you have any burning ones, shoot them to [email protected] and maybe we will answer it on the show. I would keep answering but I gotta go now so this is just a huge thank you.

This is a big week for me with our book coming out tomorrow and just so grateful for all the support and interest! If you are new to me, maybe check out my podcast and of course it goes without saying that I am super proud of our new book and think you will all enjoy it so maybe give that a look too if it feels right to you. We have no national media coverage (TODAY Show never called) so all the help we can get from the community helping us get the word out is massively appreciated!

Thanks again and look forward to meeting some of you along the path! Peace + Plants, Rich

THE PLANTPOWER WAY http://j.mp/eatplantsnow

RICH ROLL PODCAST http://www.richroll.com/category/podcast/

l_s_79 karma

Hi Rich, Thanks for taking some time to do this.

Are you currently training for any endurance events? If so, how do you balance all your podcast/book work with your training?

richroll10 karma

Right now I train almost every day but am not preparing for any races this year. It was a tough decision to make -- not racing -- but there are so many other interesting opportunities happening right now that I really want to be able to show up for 100%. At the same time, my motivation has shifted. It used to be very important to me how many watts I could push on my bike. Now what gets me out of bed excited is helping people and trying to put the best content I can through my books, podcast, and appearances to really truly help people transform their lives. That said, I still want to race and have things I would like to express in that arena. I know I have more in me. The question is now -- "how can I best serve the message?" Right now its the content I am creating. But quite possibly when I turn 50 it will be doing an epic race or adventure. Thanks for the question!

l_s_72 karma

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the content and messages of positivity you bring. They have been inspiring to me as I continue making changes to my own lifestyle. I'm in better health at 42 than I was at 22 but I know that it's an ongoing journey.

While I am not even close to being in the same category as you athletically, the balance of training for a race/event versus day-to-day life is something I grapple with myself so I appreciate your perspective.

Any plans to try tackling Badwater or Furnace Creek events?

richroll3 karma

Thank you! That is great to hear. Love both of those events and would love to do them at some point.

jasontkinco1 karma

Will you do an olympic distance tri? That way we will have your times on record so we can judge you. If you are slow will you lose credibility? haha

richroll10 karma

you can judge me now (you probably are already) -- hahaha. I will say this - I would get creamed by the elite in an Olympic distance tri. I'm a good athlete but I am extremely slow twitch -- the longer the better for me. I'm just not that fast. I would do fine and well in my age group but I dont think I would distinguish myself all that much.

plant-powered7 karma

Hi Rich, I know the China Study people are against any kind of moderation like adding a bit of fish back into the diet... What is your take on former president Clinton (presumably access to the world's best medical advice) doing that? How often do you hear from long time vegans who did that and to which extend are you looking into that? Thanks

richroll21 karma

Hey great question. I don't have judgment on other people and their experience and decisions. I don't know Bill Clinton and thus cannot have an informed opinion on why he made the decision he did. I try to stick to my own experiences. I've been doing this coming up on 9 years now and it still agrees with me. All my blood work is fine and I still feel great. I never place demands on others or tell them they need to do things the way I did. All I can do is share what I have learned, try to provide people with helpful tools and empower them and encourage them to go out and have their own journey. Their version. If all you do is change one thing like starting your day with a green smoothie - great. That might lead that person to a new place and I'm great with that.

Gourmay3 karma

From what I know Clinton stopped eating fish and went full vegan ages ago.

richroll8 karma

Gourmay - I believe he is off the full vegan path and eating some animal products these days

NorbitGorbit7 karma

which are the best vegan restaurants you've eaten at?

richroll7 karma

Candle 79 (NYC), Candle Cafe (NYC), Cafe Gratitude (LA), Gracias Madre (LA), Mesa Verde (Santa Barbara), Crossroads (LA), Angelica Kitchen (NYC), Pure Food & Wine (NYC), Real Food Daily (LA), Joi Cafe (LA -- disclosure I am a partner!), Cafe Blossom (NYC)

alockhart7 karma

Hi Rich! So excited you're doing a Q&A. You are the reason I switched from living the typical American diet to a more conscious, whole-plant food lifestyle. I can honestly say I have never felt more healthy and powerful. Thanks for your endless inspiration! My question for you is, what are some ways I can increase my running endurance? (I am trying to work my way up to running a half-marathon, but I seem to have plateaued) Also, what are your top plant-based snacks you typically run to after a hard workout? Thanks again! Peace + Plants

richroll4 karma

Hard to know why you plateaued without knowing more about your training but I would venture to imagine that you might be spending too much training time in the dreaded grey zone as I describe in FInding Ultra. Have the discipline to slow down and really invest in creating that aerobic base, which takes time and isnt sexy. Pick one or maybe two days a week to hard / tempo / track work but most days should be focused on Z2 with building your base and volume very slowly over time. Invest in a lactate test to establish your zones -- money well spent which will focus your training nd ultimately help you escape your plateau.

fluffyyummy6 karma

Hey Rich, Can you help a girl out and post a pic of you doing a handstand shirtless? You know, for science....

richroll8 karma

It's science!

enzomilito6 karma

Hey Rich!

What are some tasty and cheap vegan protein options for a body builder?

richroll4 karma

I think Plant Fusion is pretty cheap as I recall. I would checkout the vegan bodybuilding website and forum -- lots of good info there -- as well as Robert Cheeke's recent book - http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/

Dropping_Beets6 karma

Hey Rich,

You mentioned you were 50 pounds overweight, but managed to turn it around.

I'm 30, about 330 and sit in an office from 8am to 5pm. What would you suggest I do to start off slowly?

richroll7 karma

My best advice? take an hour and listen to the podcast interview I did with Josh LaJaunie -- who lost 200 pounds. Then explore my other podcast interviews with the doctors and nutrition experts. Time very well invested (totally free by the way): http://www.richroll.com/podcast/rrp-63-free-josh-lajaunie-lost-200-lbs-plantpower-diet/

zewski6 karma

Hey Rich, I'm a newbie vegan (~8 months), and there is A LOT of noise when trying to find the best nutrition advice. From raw vegan, high carb, high fat, starch-based, high-calorie, low-calorie, etc. etc. blah blah. The strangest part is, there are at least a few people apparently thriving on each of these diets and claiming their way is best (that is if they're all telling the truth).

My question is, did you have to go through a lot of trial and error to find what worked best for you? Also, is there any general advice you can give someone who is trying to make veganism work for them?

TL;DR- Help me vegan

richroll6 karma

Great question. It is confusing, and the internet doesn't always come to the rescue. Often it further confuses. For me it was trial and error. I suggest exploring what works for you, with the focus on making sure you are getting tons of vegetables and other plants in your diet close to their natural state. Every single healthy diet protocol on the planet agrees on this.

thegirlsgotmoxie5 karma

Hi Rich!

Last year I stumbled across Finding Ultra somehow. I was truly considering going vegan. I had always been a meat eater (grew up in the south/midwest) but live out here in Seattle now. Eventually, I started to question my eating habits. Your book gave me a.. I don't even know what to say, man. It changed my perspective on a lot of things and has been nothing but a positive force in my life. I listen to your podcast and love what you and Julie bring to the table _^

You've both helped me immensely on my journey toward healing. I've lost weight and inches I didn't think was possible in 6 weeks (at least, not possible for me but I was wrong!) and I have more energy than ever AND I'm HAPPY.. a lot.

This weekend, I'm signing up for my first half-marathon. I've only ever run 7 miles (as of last week) but it's the farthest I've ever gone . I was so happy it felt "easy"? I don't know a better word for it. It was fun :) But I'm nervous about the half. I've never ever run a race or done anything competitive in sports. I was the least likely to be an athlete out of everyone in my family. I'm just about as nervous as I used to get before going on stage. I know I could read books and articles.. but you're sort of a long distance mentor and it would be cool to get some insight or feedback from you. _^ Plus, I'm doing it to celebrate my 31st birthday next Monday (which is when I should get the Plant Power Way).

What should I remember/think about when I step up to the start of the race? :)

richroll3 karma

Hey that's a really awesome story - thank you for sharing that! I would say to approach the half with a perspective on having fun and taking in the experience. Be conservative -- if you have never run further than 7 miles you are not showing up to blast off -- start off super comfortable and if you feel great, resist the urge to speed up -- finishing and feeling good at the end would be a great goal! I woudl want you to walk away from the experience excited about returning to do better rather than have you limp off thinking that was so painful that you lose enthusiasm. Eyes on the long term prize I suppose. Good luck!

kmisto5 karma

Hey Rich!

Curious question, do you still drink coffee? I know you're big on tea, but I was always curious of that.

Long time listener. Triathlete. You helped change my life. You gotta come to the Detroit area soon man. Thanks!

richroll19 karma

Coffee.......i'm on it, i'm off it, i'm on it, i'm off it. Done it both ways. I dont think coffee is really that bad and it is definitely a performance enhancing drug with legitimate benefits. My problem is I have a very addictive personality so it causes issues with me -- hard for me to be moderate and then it impacts my sleep, etc. The main thing to understand is that it is a powerful stimulant. It will indeed give you energy, but you will have to repay that debt. So its a matter of how much you want to engage in that barter.

mike_ok5 karma

Rich, what's going to be your next athletic pursuit?

richroll5 karma

Hey Mike -- see my response to the above question from l_s_7 - thanks!

MirandaTate5 karma

Who is the better dancer, you or John Joseph? Love the podcasts and book. Thank You

richroll4 karma

I definitely can't dance. But I dont think JJ can either:)

rodeler5 karma

Rich! Thank you for all that you do. You inspired me to live by Plant Power, and I completed my first IronMan (Lake Placid) at the age of 46.
Question: what are some characteristics of the people that you interview on your podcast that you believe give them the drive to live authentic lives, and to achieve what they have? Please include what drives you to be so awesome!

richroll7 karma

Great question. There are definitely themes and throughlines. I would say that most of the inspiring people I have had on the podcast: have conviction about who they are. they understand not only what they are doing and where they are going but also WHY they are doing what they are doing and are very conscious about HOW they do what they do. Passion fuels the mission, followed up with a strong wrk ethic. A sense of purpose. A comfort in their innate humanness. A sense that there is something beyond the self -- in other words a commitment to service of others beyond the ego. Plus a perspective that allows them to see a problem and live in contrast to that problem. In other words -- straying from the heard to blaze a unique, individualized path.

goldsteinteach5 karma

Love your podcast.

But I am worried you're too nice. Are you too nice, too accommodating?

I became vegan after finding Durianrider on Youtube. I was eating very healthy, but consuming meat and fish occasionally because my running coach said I needed it! I knew it was bad for the environment, bad for my heart, but I didn't want to lose out on anything I might need to perform well. Then I found Durianrider and he said it like it is: here are my blood tests, here's what I eat, I'm fitter and leaner than all of these "fitness gurus", and I'll prove it.

Because you are so nice, so accommodating, so deferential, I wonder if you're actually convincing people to go vegan. If I was someone that just stumbled on your podcast with Ben Greenfield, I might come away thinking Greenfield knows what he's talking about, that his ketogenic diet and hacks are worth trying.

richroll6 karma

I am who I am. I am definitely not Durianrider. His approach really connects with lots of people and that's great. I just have a different approach. All voices are important. I like that Durianrider does what he does, but I could never be him and don't want to be him. My approach is a little more gentle. I feel that i can be the most effective voice for this movement but providing a inviting welcome mat for people -- showing then that it can be cool, fun and modern and doable and awesome. Attraction rather than promotion I suppose. I know this has helped me connect with many people and -- for me -- drawing hard lines in the sand and placing demands on people, etc. just doesn't suit me personally.

richroll5 karma

I thought it's worth mentioning (for those here that are new to me, my story, my podcast, etc.) that our new book The Plantpower Way hits stores everywhere tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. To celebrate, we are giving away TONS of free gifts and giveaways (0ver $300K worth!) to everyone who buys the book between now and MAY 1 - 9 bonus recipes, incredible product discounts, meditation programs and more. For all the info on how you can get in on it buy buying the book now, visit this link: http://www.richroll.com/the-plantpower-way/

Timosolo4 karma

Talking food, what's the best way to capture the umami flavour of meat to convince my family that vegan can be "comfort food" and not just salads? :p

richroll6 karma

I echo what bakerjake said -- also try nama shoyu . Often comfort food has a lot to do with great sauces -- we have a big section in the new book on this -- the whole focus is hearty foods for the non-vegan that they will enjoy irrespective of whether or not they are or even want to be vegan.

nonieponie4 karma

Hi! First off, thanks for doing this AMA. My husband and I have both been vegan for many years and our 16 mo old has been vegan since day 1. :) We can't wait to get you & your wife's new book. Preordered on Amazon! Anyways, my husband is an avid runner. I'm not, but want to be. In the last six months I've been trying to run, but I'm already naturally thin and am having trouble gaining weight while getting in shape. Slightly worried that I'm getting too thin. Plus my husband has a different body type than me, so what's working for him isn't necessarily working for me. Any recommendations/recipes I should try?

Edit: my husband's at work but wants to know --- what's your favorite food to eat before, during and after a long run?

richroll3 karma

Hey thanks for ordering the book! I would say maybe do some strength training in the gym to balance out the miles and also to increase your food volume or calorie density a bit by eating heartier foods like potatos (sweet potatoes), lots of lentils, rice and beans and maybe increase your fat intake a bit (avos, nuts, maybe a little coconut oil). hard o say as I don't know how you currently eat!

My fave foods BEFORE: green smoothie (kale, pineapple, berries, beet, beet greens, spirulina, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cordyceps) - DURING: dates, bananas, sweet potato, coconut water. AFTER: more green smoothie with maybe some plant-based protein powder; coconut water; lentils & beans

YourShoesUntied4 karma

Rich, as a fellow ultra runner, I can't help but to notice that there are a lot of similarities between ultra running addiction and substance addiction such as drugs/alcohol. A lot of us have been there. Should the day ever come that those of us who run insane distances ever be classified with a mental sickness, would you be willing to accept that?

richroll6 karma

How someone else decides to classify me or judge me or categorize me is none of my business.

redrabbit334 karma

Hey Rich! Hugh fan, listen to every episode of the podcast and many of them have literally helped change my life. On that topic, out of all your guests, which one do you think you could do a full podcast with every single week? Anyone you could just talk and talk and talk with? Previous guests or dream/future guests

richroll5 karma

Hard to choose amongst my babies because I love them all. That said, I think some of the best conversations in terms of just being totally in synch with someone would be Mishka Shubaly, John Joseph, Robin Arzon and Josh LaJaunie -- and of course my wife Julie.

djgump354 karma

What was the one thought that got you off the couch the first time, and what kept you going thereafter?

richroll11 karma

FEAR AND PAIN. Honestly, I just didnt want to continue to live the way I was living. That was it. It was very much a line in te sand moment for me. What kept me going -- seeing results, feeling great and the joy that came with simple things like just reconnecting with my body in a healthy way again after so many years abusing it

hbmagicman3 karma

Hi, Rich. Love your message, and your podcast is amazing. I'm a big supporter of the whole foods plant based lifestyle, and I know you are too, but I've noticed through some videos etc. that you use tons of oils. Whether its canola or coconut or flax or Veganaise, in my opinion, oil (and protein powder and sugar) and so heavily refined and definitely not whole plant food. Do you have a certain reason as to why you use so much, to an extend that doesn't seem like little amounts as condiments? Only when you're training hard?

richroll7 karma

hey there thanks for the question. I do not characterize myself or my family as "No oil". But I also think it is a mischaracterization to say that we use "tons of oils". In our new book The Plantpower Way there are some recipes with oil (coconut and some olive) but never canola. And every recipe has a no oil alternative approach to preparation. Also - some of those videos are old and our approach has evolved since then to be cleaner. And I would add that when some of those videos were made I was training 25-30 hours a week (basically a full time job) and my caloric demands were gigantic. I'm not a strict Esselstyn approach person and do enjoy a bit of olive or coconut oil on some recipes but do agree wholeheartedly that someone who is in poor health, has some form of heart disease or is looking to lose weight should embrace a no oil or very low oil approach

Polar_Chap3 karma

Rich, You're generally a pretty chill guy who doesn't like to impose your way on others but rather leads by example. If you could decree one (or two) universal laws that all humans would have to follow, what would it be?

richroll8 karma

  1. eat lots of plants (mostly if not entirely)
  2. tread lightly on the earth
  3. live in service
  4. be grateful

sumkindofelectrichat3 karma

Hi Rich. How do you feel about some added oils/fats in cooking (plant based of course)? I find it notoriously difficult to saute or grill without a little EVOO or unrefined coconut oil to start things off. I have used non stick and sauteed with things like wine or vegetable broth but let's face it, the flavor is just not there. Do you use them sparingly or not at all?

Edit: He answered a similar question here for anyone interested http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/341zbr/im_rich_roll_in_just_2_years_i_went_from_a_50_lbs/cqqiswu

richroll4 karma

Hey I answered similar question from someone else so please refer above. That said, we do cook sparingly with some oil for certain things - I am not a completely no oil person.

jtg19883 karma

Rich, I just picked up finding Ultra this weekend and am loving it. What training philosophy do you typically prescribe to Friel/MAF etc. Also any pointers to someone training for their first Ironman?

richroll6 karma

I am a firm believer in the Maffetone method. It requires a significant investment of time, but I truly think it is the best long term approach to endurance sports that will help you create an amazing foundation upon which to flourish athletically. It requires some discipline in the form of holding back, attention to HR / power zones, etc. and making sure every workout has a specific purpose. Its not a sexy method. It's not a shortcut or the most time efficient method, but it works very very well for me. Pointers: train where you are, not where you want to be. show up every day and just put the work in, and do it again. Work out your fueling and nutrition early and often so you know exactly what suits you. Be patient. And trust in your program. Best of luck!

DirtWindRain3 karma

Hey Rich! Have you ever considered interviewing Noah Levine? He's a great inspiration for me and I'd love to hear your thoughts on him and see a conversation between you two! Thanks!

richroll4 karma

cool - I will look into him -- any good links you can share?

caitmeow23 karma

Hello Rich, I'm a big fan of your podcast and already preordered your book. Thank you for being so vulnerable and open about your life story and inviting us into your journey. The podcast inspires me every day to make better life decisions.

Kind of personal, but I'm interested in knowing more about you and Julie. You both seem like a harmonious couple now, but how did you first connect while you were in your unhealthy stage of life? It seems that you were such opposites back then, but now obviously are a good fit. How did she see thru the alcoholism and other unhealthy ways of the old Rich Roll? Has Julie been a plant powered, meditating yogi all along? Thank you, namaste!

richroll2 karma

Interesting story that I go into in detail in Finding Ultra. I met Julie in a yoga class about 1 year into sobriety. At the time I was eating horribly but I was becoming open to spiritual ideas I was introduced to while in rehab, hence my interest then in first checking out yoga. So I think its a bit of a mischaracterization that Julie and I were miles apart when we met. Very different sure, but always sympatico. Julie talks at length on the podcast about how she navigated my challenges in the earlier days and wrote this piece which I think sort of goes to the heart of what you are asking: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5721/6-Ways-to-Experience-Deeper-Love-and-Intimacy-in-Your-Marriage-or-Relationship.html



richroll2 karma

loved that

allibevan3 karma

I'm so curious about how your kids feel about being vegan, if they are?

richroll3 karma

they love it now - but it has been a journey to get here -- answered this at length in an earlier inquiry so its here on the AMA somewhere.

DirtWindRain3 karma

Hey Rich! Would you ever consider doing a retreat (related to cooking, yoga, meditation, or fitness or really anything) out here in LA?

richroll3 karma

Yes definitely - working on some ideas on how to do something cool - will keep you posted on my podcast - thanks for the interest!

TomaszJakubowski3 karma

Hi Rich, What was the key in the significant fat loss you achieved and how long did it take? Having hard time leaning out and getting to the desired weight after initial loss of about 15 lbs a couple of years ago. I am staying very active (50Ks, water sports,daily activity) and mostly clean vegan eating, lower fat with overall about 20% from fat (avocados my weakness)

richroll4 karma

It took me quite some time (8 or 9 months as I recall) but that period of time involved progressively more and more fitness. When I am idle, I will put weight on and I stay lean only through diet PLUS very active training that rotates disciplines -- swimming, running, cycling, yoga, core, gym / strength. No one key thing -- it is the comprehensive lifestyle. Everyone wants the "one thing" that will make the difference but I dont think its that simple. Also - when you say "mostly clean vegan eating" I dont know exactly what that is -- often we think or convince ourselves that we are eating better than we are -- doing a food journal helps with objectivity.

MoonDigidy2 karma

Hey Rich. I am a moderate runner who began to exercise regularly for the first time in years a few months ago. I'm in ok shape, about 15lbs above my ideal weight. I want to race a triathlon and also run a marathon. How long should I train before tackling one of these?

richroll2 karma

Hard to say without knowing more but I would suggest signing up for a local 5K or sprint triathlon just to give it a try. It doesn't have to be super competitive but will introduce you to the world in a very friendly way. Start with small stuff and work your way up to a marathon. DO some reading on training as well - Joe Friel's book The Triathlon Training Bible is a good starting place -- great info on how to train properly and not get injured. Be patient too. Its the long journey ahead so create sustainable lifestyle habits around the lifestyle and the goals and races will come in time.

aboutthree2 karma

Do you think that for us average folks, becoming one of the "250,000,000 Fittest Men in the World" is a more reasonable goal?

Also, do you ever get to stop eating?

richroll2 karma

I think that is more than reasonable:) I'll stop eating when I transcend the mortal coil:)

sothisisfit2 karma

Hi Rich!

  1. Do you suggest any particular ingredients and/or recipes for maximizing muscle retention while cutting fat?

  2. What are your 3 favorite songs to exercise to that keep you focused/motivated when you feel like giving up?

richroll1 karma

I think that is a bit of reductionist approach but in response I would say increase protein intake and reduce fat and simple sugars -- so lots of lentils, green smoothies -- and maybe exercise some portion control. Also depends on your training protocol. Maybe increase strength training or tempo work. Everyone's metabolism is different so explore and experiment.

swimbikeruneatsleep2 karma

Hi Rich. Can't wait for the book to be delivered. Is pulled jackfruit BBQ sandwich in the book ? Cause that thing is OF THE HOOKS !

Another question - how often to you test your iron and B12 levels ? It's been over 1 year for me, thinking it may be time to visit vampires.


richroll2 karma

THANKS YOU! Unfortunately the jack fruit recipe didn't make the grade for this book but yes it is amazing. But I assure you TONS of amazing in the new book and thanks for ordering it. I get my B12 / iron tested rarely but did it recently -- all fine. I would suggest having it checked annually but don't get freaked out. A simple daily supp does the trick and for iron -- lots of greens and you wont have an issue.

richroll2 karma

Hey how do you guys like my cool reddit t-shirt in the verification photo I submitted for this AMA? I made a cool Snapchat story about how that came to be and uploaded it to Dropbox (also on my FB page) here -- it's kind of fun thought you might checking it out:


j4ckalop32 karma


Who was your favorite interview? I would like to suggest you and Neil Degrasse Tyson interview each other at the same time for each others podcasts.

richroll9 karma

I would love to interview Neil - don't know him - anyone have a connection? Surprisingly hard to get in touch with a guy like that and convince him to do my little show:) Fave interview? Can't make me choose amongst my babies:)

silent_commenter2 karma


I am a devoted listener of your podcast and I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing and doing this AMA. I've also read your book and it was so inspiring.

You've spoken several times about setting huge goals and how people will rally behind it. You said not to worry about the details, but to just make the decision. So now, I am thinking about doing exactly that!

I am thinking about adopting a vegan lifestyle, raising a bunch of money and attempting the Alpine Run in 2016/17. It's absolutely crazy to think this might even remotely possible for me to complete 261km over 8 days, including huge altitude changes! If it weren't for your book and podcast, I wouldn't even remotely consider it.

My question is: How would you train for something like this? Is 18 months a reasonable time to prepare? Is there any literature on this and/or could you recommend maybe an online coaching program I could join to get started?

A little about me: 42yo male, 230lbs now and losing, reasonably fit, no injuries. Been focusing more on weightlifting, but recently picked up cycling and completed my first 70 mile bike race . Also ran a 10k without major preparation and did it in 58min.

richroll2 karma

Hi awesome goal! Hard for me to say what is reasonable for you as I dont know you. That said, I think committing to a huge goal with a responsible amount of prep time like 18 months is a great way to put focus and passion into your life. From what you say about where you are I would presume you have some significant work to do but if you focus for 18 months I think you can get there. I would definitely suggest getting a coach -- it can be online but should be someone you can interact with and who is monitoring your training as opposed to a simple online training program. It really is worth the money and was the best decision I made about my race prep. I dont have anyone specifically for you but I would ask round your community and go online and do some research. Take the plunge!

wer1 karma

Hi Rich! You have a very inspiring story! I have been mostly vegan except for the occasional whey protein smoothie.

What is your view on protein requirement for athletes? I am a competitive swimmer and enjoy crossfit and I wanted to know what you think about protein intake and macro partitioning (carbs, fat, protein and micronutrients). Do you measure what you eat and what are your own macros like?

Another question I had was for advice regarding a vegan diet on a college student budget. How would you go about economizing but still getting high quality nutrients.

Finally, what is your skin care regimen? You are glowing in all your photographs and it has to be more than just great lighting. :)

richroll5 karma

First question - I wrote a piece on this subject here: http://www.richroll.com/blog/slaying-the-protein-myth/

Second question - go to your local grocery store and ask the about all the produce that they are going to throw out (they take stuff off the floor once it isnt perfectly fresh or stuff that doesnt look pretty but is still great) and cut a deal. They are going to throw it out and will usually sell it to you for pennies on the dollar. Also buy base items in bulk like rice and beans. Honestly, I could live on rice and beans and salsa every day -- costs like 3 cents a meal.

abgabgabgabg1 karma

How do you get lots of 'shit' done throughout your day? aka your tips on being super productive/motivated and focused??

much love.

richroll6 karma

I make lots of lists. I prioritize what is most important. I don't ever go out to lunch. I understand that not everything will get done and focus on top priorities. I work really really hard (in my office til 3am last night) and have little idle / social time. But I love what I do - it is who I am -- and so I don't think of anything I do as work -- very different from how I felt when I was a lawyer and couldnt wait to leave the office. TIPS - set times for email and dont let it spill into everything else. Segment your day so you always know what you are doing -- i.e., being proactive rather than reactive. Have a set routine in the morning that prioritizes some kind of mindfulness / meditation practice. learn how to create healthy boundaries and when to say no.

ProneToWander1 karma

Hi Rich! Really excited for the new book to come out.

I've been trying to create structure through routine of exercise, but having some trouble getting motivated. How would you recommend making a lasting change?

richroll2 karma

MOOD FOLLOWS ACTION. If you sit around waiting until you have the proper motivation, you will never do anything. Tale the action first -- the mood and motivation will follow. Do that enough times and you will create a momentum that has its own self-propelling velocity. Also - create community and accountability -- get friends or colleagues involved for a little positive (and negative) pressure.

Michento1 karma

Hi Rich. Loved Finding Ultra and love your podcast! Looking forward to getting The Plantpower Way (got an email last night saying it shipped!).

My question - What made you decide to do a podcast? And when you started, what was your first vision of what the podcast would be? How has that evolved to the awesome podcast it is today?

Thanks for all the content you put out!

richroll2 karma

I fell in love with podcasts when training for my first Ultraman - they kept me company during many long hours alone. Then when Finding Ultra came out, I had the pleasure of being a guest on many shows and saw how powerful the medium could be up close. That inspired me. It took some time, but I finally got around to trying to figure out how I could set one up for myself and just began. I had no big agenda and no preconceived idea of what I could, would or should offer. It has just grown organically from there. But if you listen back on episode 1, it is remarkably similar to what I do today (just with slightly better mics and audio). I absolutely love everything about doing the show -- it has enriched me tremendously and am excited about where it is heading, growing like crazy right now.

YourDADSarunner1 karma

Friggin' Rich Roll! So awesome! Fellow Ultramarathon runner here. First off thanks for Finding Ultra, hell of a book. My question, as someone who has put in their fair share of 150+ mile weeks worth of running, I'd like to get your idea of what your sweet spot mileage would be to train with no planned race ahead. I guess, for an ultra runner, do you recommend keeping a certain base mileage for times between races?

richroll2 karma

Hey dude awesome. That's a lot of miles! Way more than me right now. My life is nutty right now so my training is at a low boil -- when life is hectic as it has been for me for some time, I try to keep it al between 10-15 hours per week which works for just maintaining base level -- that would be long ride / run on Sat / Sun and shorter runs / swims / rides during weekdays. Average run for me during the week would be around 8-13 miles with maybe a 15 miler or so on Sundays...

wowGUdquestion1 karma

Hey Rich! Loved Finding Ultra and as I'm sure many have said, I can relate to you in a lot of ways because I too run ultras. So my question:

If you could go back and change one aspect about your training prior to your first Ultraman, what would it be?

richroll2 karma

Not sure there is anything I could have done differently - I trained as hard as I possibly could. I was balancing A LOT at the time. Money was very tight and I was practicing law, a ton of stress. If I could have found a way to alleviate some of that stress and worry and self-doubt about what and why I was doing what I was doing, maybe that would have been good.

nicolevegan1 karma

Hi Rich! Thank you for all you do, and thank you for letting us pick your brain. I've read many times that "abs are made in the kitchen". Can you tell us, as vegans, exactly how we can eat for maximum fat loss?

richroll6 karma

Volumetrics is a great approach. I would suggest checking out Chef AJ online - she speaks quite eloquently on this subject. But the basic idea is to try to eat the most amount of food that has the highest amount of fiber and micronutrients for the least amount of calories. In other words, a teaspoon of oil has 400 calories. It will hardly make you full and has no real nutrients in it. But a belly full of vegetables (raw or lightly cooked) will indeed make you full -- same amount of calories but packed with fiber, micronutrients and phytonutrients and minerals and vitamins -- feeding your body. In the most general terms -- ditch oil, processed foods and (in my case) animal products. This will make you lose weight! You cannot out run a poor diet, but if you want the abs, you're going to have to also venture out of the kitchen into exercise.

jbell03851 karma

Can we talk about family and relationships? How did you and Julie healthily work through you being a step-father to her two boys?

richroll1 karma

Cool question. I met Julie when she was recently divorced and the boys were 3 and 4. I dated Julie for about 6 months before I ever met the boys because it was important that we be stable before introducing them to someone else. It was a very responsible way to handle it I think. After that I became involved in their lives but very slowly at first and also very mindful of the fact that I was not trying to replace their dad, who was very much in the picture and very involved in their lives. We had joint custody and I would say the boys lived mostly with us but I was never trying to be their dad. However, the boys' dad passed away a few years ago so that required getting much more involved. Now they are amazing young adults -- extremely poised and mature and I am very very proud of them

Orphan_Babies1 karma

How do I make exercising not boring? I understand to find something I enjoy. However what I enjoy is Golfing. Hardly a sport that would yield results and I don't have the money to go golfing all the time.

Do you suggest any exercises? Or routines?

richroll1 karma

I suggest finding something else a little more active that you also enjoy. Something that requires some exertion. But its not for me to say what that would be for you. That said, I know lots of people who always hated running but then started doing it for whatever reason and when you get past the initial part trying to get to a certain level of base fitness they suddenly find that they really really enjoy it.

Sandrine131 karma

Hi Rich, I am Sandrine, 43 years old, living in France. I discovered your story on french tv about "healthy eating" and it was very interesting! My question today is: after german translation, will your book be translated in french? If yes, when? Thanks a lot for your answer.

richroll2 karma

Thank you -- That French TV was really cool, although I understand there was a nutritionist on after me advising people that I am an outlier and to "not try this yourself" - oh well. In any event, no deal right now on French translation that I am aware of but this could change -- its up to the French publishers -- if they want it, my US publisher has the rights and can make it happen but I have no control over this.

jdwyer20091 karma

About to run my second marathon this Sunday in Orange County. Any advice? Will probably be listening to the RRP with Dean as I run.

richroll1 karma

Awesome! have a great race! I would say stick to your plan. You will get excited and might want to speed up - don't. When you feel great, stick to the plan. When you feel lousy, know that its a long race and can pass. Best of luck!