Mentoring a High School Cross Country Runner in Plant-Based Nutrition: Part 2

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senior capstone project. part 2

A couple of months ago,  I received a phone call from, Sean,  a local high school track and cross country runner asking me to be a mentor for his senior capstone project.

He said he had recently become very interested in nutrition–specifically plant-based nutrition–and wanted to learn as much as he could.

His plans included not only doing the research but also providing a plant-based meal to fellow athletes, students, and staff at his school to help them see for themselves the benefits of eating a healthy diet and that it could taste delicious too.

Part 1 of the series explains the phone call I received and Sean’s back story.

Over the summer, Sean and I have had a hard time syncing our schedules for mentoring, but we have finally gotten it rolling.

Recently, we did an in-home cooking session at his home, preparing African Peanut Sweet Potato Stew and Simple Black Bean Salad

African sweet potato Stew in brown bowl with rice in background
overhead of white bowl full of bean salad on dark wood table

After reading the copy of Rich Roll’s book, Finding Ultra, that I loaned him, Sean went on to order the cookbook by Rich as well.

He and his family have been trying out some of the recipes in that book and said they love the Cucumber Lasagna. Rich Roll was named one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazine and is a #1 best-selling author.

Sean is such an eager student and wants to learn all he can about nutrition. He says that his athletic performance has improved since switching his diet, and he has proof.

Not that long ago, he had many first. According to his mother, “A lot of firsts today for Sean. First race of the season and his first win in cross country, first time he has fallen on course, and the first time he has upchucked after a race. Way to go Sean!”

Even after taking a spill during the race, when he tripped over a root on the trail, he was able to jump up (mud and dirt-covered) and go on to win the race! I call that a serious WIN!

senior capstone project. part 2

While we were cooking together this week, he told me that he feels he is in the best shape ever and can’t wait to see how this track season goes with his new nutritional lifestyle. I am certain he has the attention of teammates and coaches as well.

In less than two weeks, Sean and I will present a Food for Life cooking and nutrition class at a local physical therapy medical facility.

What an awesome opportunity to share this way of health and life. I am excited to have Sean representing the youth and athletes in our community.

senior capstone project. part 2
senior capstone project. part 2

I told Sean that I had messaged Rich Roll about getting permission to use his picture in another blog I was writing and mentioned to Roll about Sean and his interest in his book, Finding Ultra.

Sean was thrilled when I told him Roll had read Part 1 of his story and loved it. It feels like we are all mentoring our youth and future generations together.

You are welcome to leave encouraging comments for Sean on his journey. Please mention your state, so Sean can see where all the inspiring comments are coming from. It takes a village, even in the plant-based nutrition world!

All articles in this series on Sean

FINAL UPDATE: Sean signs with the Appalachian State track team. Polk Sports article.

senior capstone project. part 2

About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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11 Comments

  1. Keep it up Sean. You are a good example to our youth that you can do things that other people may think it impossible to achieve. Plant based is the way to go.

  2. How about someone taking on one of the female runners? There are high school female issues such as PMS that benefit so greatly from both running and our good diet!

  3. Way to go Sean! You are an inspiration to me and I shared this on my FB Timeline for others to see how this WOE brings success in athletic performance as well as health for life! It isn’t easy being the plant eater in the crowd, I applaud you and encourage you to do what you know is right and do not let the naysayers influence your choices. Its your body and your life anyway!

  4. Hi Sean, I applaud you! You have made some wonderful choices thus far in your life. I didn’t become a runner and plant-based until I was 66. Now over 70, I’m going strong. I hope we will have updates from you on this blog, but in the meantime, I wish you great success! Ruthanne (California)

  5. What a great role model, keep up the amazing work! It is so exciting seeing more and more people following and sharing this lifestyle!

  6. Yay, Sean!! I’m from Eugene, Oregon, (Track Town USA; the famous Hayward Field where Steve Prefontaine ran and where we have the Olympic Trials; USAF Track and Field Championships among many others and also where Nike got started!). We are also a very plant-based, whole foods commumnity. Good luck on your journey and your cross country and track pursuits! Way to go! 😀

  7. Impressive on many levels: winning your race (after a fall, no less!) and being willing to buck the status quo of your peers to make this change. I hope you embrace it because it’s a wonderful way to live!
    (Spokane, WA)

  8. What an amazing story! My son tried to adopt this lifestyle as a teenager and had a very difficult time. He took a lot of flak from his friends who did not understand, and he also had a hard time finding food In social situations. So congratulations for not only adopting this lifestyle for yourself but also trying to influence others! Keep up the good work! (Omaha, NE)

  9. Sean is one of the easiest athletes to coach I have had in my thirty plus years of coaching. He is already in the top seven fastest I have coached in cross country and the third fastest in track. Keep up the good work. I want some of that good food too!!
    Coach Peoples

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