By Melanie Mitchell

More and more athletes are educating themselves and adopting a whole food plant based diet approach to nutrition and fueling for training. Contrary to constant reminders, plant-based nutrition is not deficient in protein if you eat the right mix of nutrients.

At Poppy Sports we are plant-lovers. This writer might not be 100% plant-based, but most of my diet is.  Why? In a nutshell, my energy levels are so much higher and that translates to a better work/life/sport balance.

I thrive not only on plants, but on learning (especially podcast-based on long runs).And so, with learning in mind, here is a collection of the resources, books, cookbooks and podcasts that can help you decide if a whole food plant-based approach is right for your endurance athlete lifestyle.

We’ll continue to update these resources, so keep checking back.


VB6: Vegan Before Six by Mark Bitten

This cookbook is a great introduction to a plant-based diet if you are contemplating the switch.  The book focuses on eating whole food plant based before dinner, and healthier versions of your more traditional meals for the evening meal. A great starter book.

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bitten

A companion to the VB6 book with over 350 recipes for healthy vegan meals during the day and what the author named ‘flexitarian’ dinners at night.

A great resource for those beginning to introduce a more vegan approach to your nutrition.

The Plantpower Way: Whole food and plant-based recipes and guidance for the whole family by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

We have more people to feed other than just ourselves! The PlantPower Way offers practical advice (and recipes) to bring your family on the plant-based journey too.  

It might not always be perfect, ‘Mom, it do NOT like this!’ but this book does offer practical advice to help all your family have a more open approach to a more veggie-filled plate. This books has simplicity is at its core, and we appreciate that!

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Over 150 plant-based recipes again, based on the documentary film PlantPure Nation that highlighted how plant-based nutrition impacted a small town in the rural south.  

Every recipe comes with a photograph, which we love as cooks and for quick browsing to find what you need.  The book includes good advice on how to build a plant-based pantry and breaks recipes into meal types and snacks. It also includes spices, toppings, marinades and dressings; an important step of adding flavors to any plant-based meal.  

My fave:  Black bean and rice burgers.  Easy, delish, quick and baked, so no messy frying pan – that has my vote.

The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes

This comprehensive cookbook has over 120 whole food plant-based recipes and has sold over 850,000 copies. The China Study was the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted. It concluded following a plant-based diet leads to optimal health with the power to halt or reverse many diseases.

Learn more about The China Study featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives available on Netflix. Author Leanne Campbell is the daughter of the author of The China Study T. Collin Campbell.

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Best part of Veganomicon? The authors include menus for every occasion. Consequently, this makes thinking outside of the traditional entertaining box much easier to digest (pun intended!) 

Add to this, the collection of super-quick meals to get onto the table and ‘into your belly’ in under 45 minutes.  What it lacks in pretty food photography, it makes up for ease of use and offers very practical ways to eat plant-based. 


Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

An inspiring book from author (and podcaster – see below) Rich Roll. He went from overweight lawyer to living a plant-based lifestyle and a ultra endurance athlete.  You will walk away from reading his story believing everyone has the power to transform their lives on many levels.

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

Scott Jurke is probably one of the most well-known plant-based athletes. For nearing two decades Scott Jurek has been one of the world’s most impressive ultra marathon runners who also happens to be vegan. With recipes at the end of each chapter (the vegan chili with bulgar wheat as the ‘meat’ substitute is amazing), Jurek challenges us all to expand our food horizons.


The Rich Roll Podcast

Vegan athlete Rich Roll touches on many different subjects in his long-form podcasts. Many episodes touch on nutrition and living a plant-based lifestyle and what that means for a person.  If you tune in regularly, you may find yourself expanding your horizons in other areas of your life. I particularly enjoy tuning in on long runs; some of them ‘run’ up to two hours.  Highly recommended.


The Game Changers

Forks Over Knives

This ultimate documentary covers the health reasons for adopting a plant-based diet. This documentary showcases scientific studies that have proven the benefits but met with negative feedback from the food ‘establishment’ who appear to put profit before public health. 

As the documentarian covers the science and research, he puts himself on a plant-based diet. During the show, he witnesses the impact on his health over a period of several months. A must-see for anyone considering the science behind being vegan.


A pratical documentary made by the Forks Over Knives team. This documentary follows Rip Essentyn, former pro-triathlete and firefighter at the Engine 2 station in Austin. He advises families on the basics of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet while offering practical advise on how to eat #plantstrong.


Vegucated is a guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers. They agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it’s all about. It’s amazing to see some transformations and the struggles they all face at points throughout the journey. Spoiler here; the results are varied!


An unflattering look at the US’s corporate controlled food industry.  Enough said.


Facebook: Plant Based Endurance Athletes:  A group for Plant Based Athletes to share thoughts, ideas and assist others in transitioning into this lifestyle.

These books, documentaries and podcasts and resources just scratch the surface of materials available to athletes interested a plant-based approach to nutrition.  We’ll keep adding to this list, so check back.