Sep
01

Vegan Endurance Athlete, Josh Garrett, Conquers the Pacific Crest Trail

Josh Garrett

Josh Garrett

Josh Garrett, the vegan athlete who recently set a speed record for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, was on a mission when he decided to take on this rugged, 2,650-mile trail that runs from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada.  Finishing the hike in a self-reported 59 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes, Garrett, aged 30, set out to raise awareness and funds for an organization called Mercy for Animals, a group that monitors conditions on farms and in factories used to raise animals for food.  Not only did he conquer this difficult challenge as a personal accomplishment while attaining an altruistic goal, he demonstrated the feasibility of doing it on a vegan diet!

Seattle Times/ Mark Nowlin

Seattle Times/ Mark Nowlin

An endurance athlete, who coaches track and teaches exercise physiology at Santa Monica College, Garrett credits his vegan diet for providing the nourishment for strength, endurance and recovery during his journey. He told the LA Times in an interview  that he gets his “protein the same way a gorilla does, or a wild mustang or an elephant. A plants-based diet gives us everything we need…we don’t need to meat to be strong and healthy.”  He said that he burned about 8,000 calories per day and lost about 15 pounds but subsisted on mostly Pro Bar vegan energy bars (a sponsor), peanut butter and vegan jerky.

When asked why he became vegan, he told Forks Over Knives, that he met Karen Dawn, an animal rights activist and author, in November of 2011. She rescues turkeys during Thanksgiving and he got to know 2 turkeys that “were so sweet and smart and affectionate…[he] just loved them.” After seeing a video which depicted the cruel treatment turkeys received in a slaughterhouse, his “consciousness shifted” and he knew that he couldn’t eat them anymore. Even though he had become uncomfortable eating animals, he “still had this idea that as an athlete, [he] might need to “until he watched the film, Forks Over Knives. He realized that he “couldn’t justify continuing to eat them while calling himself an animal lover.”

Seattle Times/Chuck Trout

Seattle Times/Chuck Trout

According to the Seattle Times, there came a low point in the trek only 3 days after it began when Garrett suffered heat stroke and collapsed in 100 degree weather. Resting for 24 hours to build up his strength allowed him to physically continue the hike but he claims that it was thinking of the animals that propelled him onward through difficult weather and loneliness. He said that he thought, “What I’m going through is nothing compared to what animals are going through on factory farms or slaughterhouses.” 

Interestingly, this record-breaking hike is not Garrett’s first on the Pacific Crest Trail. He had completed this herculean feat in 2009 in 88 days, “without making any speed attempt.” Hikers typically finish this hike in 5 to 6 months. The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, with whom Garrett had previously hiked the Continental Divide, “got the idea that [he] should go for a record and said he’s offer what support he could if [he] did.” John Mackey is quoted as saying that “Josh is not only a very nice person, but is also the strongest hiker I have ever had the privilege to hike with.”

Mercy for Animals

Mercy for Animals

Only vegan for about 18 months, Garrett’s commitment is evidently strong but he told the LA Times, that for people who aren’t going to change, “maybe they could not center every meal around meat, maybe go meat-free once a day…consider other options for protein…seitan, tofu, hemp proteins, pea proteins, rice and beans.”  As a resident of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, Garrett frequents his favorite local eateries: ” Veggie Grill, Native Foods Cafe, Cafe Gratitude and Thai Vegan in Santa Monica.”

Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times

Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times

Since the goal of this tremendous endeavor was to raise awareness for the ethical treatment of animals and to show how a vegan diet can support an endurance athlete, this is an important story to read and contemplate. Josh Garrett is that sort of rare, extraordinary activist and role model that goes to great lengths of personal sacrifice to spotlight his cause and Vegan American Princess is truly in awe of his commitment and dedication.

 

 

 

 

 

To read more about Josh Garrett, click on these links….

Forks Over Knives

Los Angeles Times

Seattle Times

To read about and donate to, click on this link…

Mercy for Animals

Congratulations!

Ellen

Ellen

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