Art Of Vegan Cooking For Plant-Based Athletes

To enjoy being a plant-based athlete, develop your vegan cooking skills.

When eating out, negotiate tactfully for vegan options.

FitOldDog's meal in an Italian Restaurant. Best vegan cooking I could get.

In the average American Italian restaurant it’s almost impossible to have vegan cooking. Everything is covered with cheese, or contains eggs. French fries and grilled veg maybe the best you can hope for. Remember to ask them to hold the parmesan on the grilled veg or salad. This meal was tasty and nourishing, but you can do better at home.

Eating Out:

Vegan Italian Kitchen Cookbook of vegan cooking

Wonderful book, for those who like to follow recipes. I tend to work it out for myself, while Deb loves this book.

I’m enjoying learning to be a plant-based athlete, living on vegan cooking. It is helping me to save animals, one at a time, while enjoying my food enormously.

Eating out with friends can be a challenge. I’m slowly learning to draw less and less unwanted attention. If you’re vegan, try to avoid Italian restaurants, unless the chef is enlightened. Almost every option contains eggs and/or cheese. Even the salads or grilled vegetables will come with a layer of parmesan cheese. Delicious, but not for me. To each his own, I say!

I don’t like ‘vegan drama.’ If all else fails, I’ll say I’m not too hungry, and order a plate of French fries, if my favorite isn’t available – baked potato, with olive oil and salt.

Some chefs are helpful, some hostile, some confused, some ‘no-where to be seen.’ I really prefer to prepare my own food, especially when my vegetable garden is in full production.

Tyler's Tap Carrboro NC provided vegan cooking advice

Great customer service from the chef, concerning vegan cooking.

I was pleasantly surprised at Tyler’s Tap the other day.

I ordered a veggie burger, asking if it was vegan. The server said she would ask the chef. He came to my table, and we had a fascinating conversation. He had no problem with my request, informing me that the best bread to order, for vegans, is sourdough. “It’s almost always egg and dairy-free.” I’ve checked since then, and he was right. Excellent customer service.

Eating At Home:

There are hundreds, if not thousands of vegan cooking choices.

My favorites include grilled vegetables, wraps with rice and salsa, fresh fruit with coconut milk, sandwiches of all stripes, and baked potatoes, with olive oil and salt. There are many, many more meat-free vegan cooking options.

You don’t need meat (except for the vitamin B12, or so they say) for protein, or milk for calcium, by the way – those are popular myths, liberally promoted by the meat and dairy industries.

FitOldDog's vegan cooking.

I make vegetable stock from trimmings, concentrate, and pour over grilled veg, before serving.

Guys, it’s easy, and all you really need is basic cooking gear. I do recommend a toaster oven for vegan cooking. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and energy efficient. Furthermore, you can see how the cooking is going.

I’m an experimental cook. I like to make it up as I go along. This doesn’t work for Ironman training planning, by the way.  You really need a good coach, or at least a well-designed workout plan.

I go to my local market, or my vegetable garden. Choose fruit and vegetables that look healthy and ready to eat. Then I grill, fry, sautée, or eat them raw, in a range of combinations.

Herbs and spices are the key to tasty vegan cooking!


My favorite herbs are very English, thyme and sage. I also like turmeric (good for health), oregano (makes the house smell wonderful), basil (lovely aroma), and the subtle flavor of the spice, cardamom. You have to try it for yourself. We all have different taste perceptions and memories.

Vegan cooking: FitOldDog mops up his gravy with sourdough bread.

Don’t forget to dip bread (sourdough is generally vegan), to mop up that tasty gravy. I usually cover the bread, liberally, with butter substitute and Marmite. Yum!

Make gravy or stock from, vegetable ‘waste.’ You can generate the most delightful gravies, with food that would end up in the trash or the compost.

Save vegetable trimmings (somethings don’t work – experiment), and simmer in water for 10 to 30 minutes. You can add a little salt, herbs or spices, if you so desire.

Sometimes, I just simmer to a thick stock, and pour this ‘vegetable juice’ over my roasted vegetables, just before serving.

I like to mop up the gravy with sourdough bread, liberally coated with butter substitute and Marmite. It’s my post-war English roots, I guess!

Experiment and enjoy.

Bon appétit.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.