Mick Walker (Vegan Cyclist)

For most of my working life, I have been a teacher of Biology.

For over 30 years I have been ‘vegetarian’. Initially, I continued to eat fish – but then cut this out of my diet some years ago. I suppose I had been what some people now describe as ‘Pescatarian’.

I continued to consume milk, dairy products and eggs.

Three years ago I decided to remove a lot of milk from my diet – no longer using it in tea, coffee or on cereal. However, I found it quite difficult to stop eating cheese, cake and other baked products which often contained milk and eggs.

At Christmas 2013, when I decided to try and cycle the Fred Whitton Challenge, I thought it might be a good idea to remove cheese from my diet. At this point I was very close to having an entirely plant based diet.

Soon after this, I read Scott Jurek’s ‘Eat and Run’, followed by ‘The China Study’ by T Colin Campbell.

Immediately I decided to cut all animal products out of my diet.

In addition, I read a lot about vegan diets and began to add many plant foods which I had rarely, if ever, eaten before. Amongst other ingredients this has included tofu, tempeh, seitan, nutritional yeast, miso, tahini, hemp, flax, chia, spirulina.

I am in no doubt whatsoever that this change in my diet contributed significantly in helping me to lose weight and increase my strength and fitness which allowed me to complete the Fred Whitton Challenge and other endurance events more recently.

As I come towards the end of my teaching career and realise the my stamina and fitness for cycling is as good as ever I want to increase the amount of cycling I do with a view to entering more long distance events. By doing this, I hope to become the oldest person to achieve completion of some of these events and therefore help to promote the benefits of a plant based diet in maintaining health and fitness in later life.