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NBSV 161


Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 161

111-time Ironman Todd Crandell of Racing For Recovery on addiction recovery and veganism

Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No-Bullshit Vegan Podcast, episode 161. Todd Crandell, Ironman triathlete, and founder of Racing for Recovery speaks with me about his organization, his own recovery, parallels between approaches to veganism and addiction recovery, and much more.

Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to no BS vegan fitness and nutrition coach. In case you haven't seen on Instagram, my team and I are having ourselves a very weird and wonderful November, courtesy of my good friends Holly and Bob. They called me up recently to confess their deepest desire for the fall, better butts. "I want to be able to jump squat over the Empire State Building," said, Bob. "I want to be able to crush a car using my ass cheeks alone, said Holly.

"Help us, Karina," they both cried in unison, and help them I did. Buttvember 2023, courtesy of the KI team and Holly and Bob. So, this November I'm sharing a new glute move in my Instagram stories every day to help you, Holly, and Bob achieve your personal pinnacles of glutiness. Now, we're about halfway through Buttvember. I've already done a book giveaway and we have some more awesome prizes coming up, so it's not too late to join and it's free. Go to to sign up. I've collected all the Buttvember Instagram stories into a highlight on my profile, so you can go back and view all the previous exercises.

Introducing today's guest, Todd Crandell, the original sober triathlete, licensed professional clinical counselor, and licensed independent chemical dependency counselor. He's dedicated his personal and professional life to helping substance abusers rechannel their destructive behaviors into positive, life-affirming action. By sharing personal stories about the perils of substance abuse, best practices in prevention, and how to lead a holistic lifestyle, Todd offers a positive alternative to those struggling to overcome a life of addiction. Todd is a 111-time Ironman event finisher, four-time author, vegan since 2016, documentary subject, dad, and founder of Racing for Recovery, which has been featured on CNN, ESPN, the New York Times, and Runner's World Magazine. Todd's favorite meal is avocado toast and a protein smoothie. Here's our discussion. Hi, Todd. Welcome to the show. Thanks for speaking with me today.

Todd Crandell: Oh, this is awesome. I'm looking forward to it.

Karina Inkster: Me too. I'm looking forward to hearing about your story and your new book and your veganism. Basically just everything. So, why don't we jump right in. Can you tell me and our listeners a little backstory? What's the deal with Todd Crandell? Why is he an athlete and why is he vegan?

Todd Crandell: Well, I think you have to go back to the beginning of all this, but if we're going to specifically talk about vegan, I'll start with this. I'm a father of four amazing kids, and my younger daughter, Madison, for the longest time, kept asking me to get her a mini pot-bellied pig, and I kept saying, "No, Madison, we have enough pets. We don't need a pig in the house," and she kept hounding me and hounding me. So like any good dad, I said, "Okay, if you find a pig, sure, we'll bring him in the house." And in my mind I'm thinking, "There's no way this kid's going to find a pig."

Well, of course, she found a pig within about a week. So, we brought Baby Milo into our house years ago, and I had already decided to go vegan based on watching some videos on February 1st, 2016. So, I had already decided to go vegan based on what I saw, but when we brought Milo into our home, he was a living example of why I had already chosen to go vegan and it enhanced every good quality I already had at that time with compassion, empathy, respect, all of that stuff. So, that's how I became vegan, and it's basically the reason why I've remained vegan for all these years.

Karina Inkster: I got you, so that's Todd's vegan story, which also ties into what you're doing now with your nonprofit and your athleticism and all those things, but why don't we take it back a little bit. So you mentioned we're going to have to go way back to get the backstory about the athlete part. So, let's rewind the clock a little bit, and where were you, let's say... Well, I don't actually know what the timeframe is, but 20 to 15 years ago, is that kind of the right timeframe that we're rewinding to?

Todd Crandell: Well, let's go back even farther than that, and I tell this practically with every interview I do. My real mom committed suicide when I was three-and-a-half years old because of her drug addiction. My uncle also killed himself because of his drug addiction, and I had an aunt who developed diabetes from her food choices and then she eventually killed herself as well. So, there's a long history of self-destruction with drugs and alcohol or food and sadly suicide that runs in my mom's side of the family. So, that's really where all of this started. My athleticism came from the fact that I used sports as a kid, as an emotional coping mechanism to deal with the trauma of my mom choosing to end her life. So, sports have been an active part of my life my entire life, and then surviving my 13-year drug addiction is where I picked my athleticism back up and eventually found Ironman in 1999.

Karina Inkster: So, we are going further back then. So, Ironman enters the picture in '99 as a coping mechanism? As what? As a positive influence, as a way to channel energies that were self-destructive before. What's the deal there?

Todd Crandell: I love your question and actually I would say all of the above and sometimes that Ironman stuff has been out of balance. I won't call it an addiction, but it was out of balance because I had found Ironman was a great way for me to market my nonprofit, Racing for Recovery, and for a person who struggled with finding my identity, when I found my identity because of athleticism, that formed Racing for Recovery, I jumped in with both feet and I learned very quickly that I needed more balance in my life, in my athleticism. 

So, there's a lot of factors in Ironman that have been very helpful to me as an individual, an individual in recovery, a businessman, and now being a vegan athlete, there's a myriad of factors with my athleticism as we're talking about.

Karina Inkster: Well, I'm interested in what some of those might be. So, you mentioned they're involved in being a vegan athlete, they're involved in your recovery. What are some of those factors or things about Ironman that are a positive influence?

Todd Crandell: Well, Ironman on a personal level just was for me, the ultimate challenge in sport. I remember watching the Ironman when I was using drugs and alcohol and seeing it on television, and I thought, "I want to do that someday," because of just the physical standpoint, so that's one factor of it. When I did find my life's purpose, Ironman became a great marketing tool for me to promote my life's purpose, which is Racing for Recovery. And now at 56 years of age, when I get the question, "Oh my God, you look so good," or, "How can you do these Ironmans at your age?" It gives me an opportunity to talk about the benefits of being vegan with respect to nutrition because the nutrition aspect is by far the most important factor in my success as an Ironman athlete.

Karina Inkster: Right, totally makes sense. I am not an Ironman athlete, although I am an open-water swimmer, so I could do the swim part no problem. Well, maybe not, no problem. It'd still be challenging, but the whole Ironman thing is like, You know what? It's more than 10 reps, so it's too long, that's kind of my approach. I like real intense, short things like jump rope and sprints. So the whole concept of Ironman, even though I've got a ton of folks in the swim club that I run who are Ironman athletes, it's just a whole other level of athleticism and mental challenge and physical challenge, and I can kind of see how it factors into something like recovery where it's probably just as much mental as it is physical.

Todd Crandell: Well, great question, and I wish I had your speed and quickness in the Ironman, but with respect to what we're talking about today with sustaining sobriety, overcoming emotional or psychological issues, with respect to remaining vegan for the rest of my life, that's where that long-distance Ironman mindset is 100% applicable. I didn't become vegan to do it for a quick period of time. I got into it to do it for a long period of time, same with sustaining my sobriety, same with pursuing athletic or business goals. So, that term Ironman is very applicable to the longevity of life in a variety of ways.

Karina Inkster: That's a great point, and we always hear the cliche, but true saying, it's a marathon, it's not a sprint, when we apply to things like fitness or nutrition or going vegan, we hear that saying all the time. So, this is it embodied in real life, which is pretty cool.

Todd Crandell: It sure is. I think of our slogan at Racing for Recovery is with sobriety, anything is possible, but it doesn't say in there, within your first 30 days of sobriety, you're going to have the best life you've ever thought of.

Karina Inkster: Good point.

Todd Crandell: So, it does take time, and that Ironman mindset of longevity is so applicable into everything that I do in my life, but certainly with being vegan. It's unfortunate that sometimes I'll hear somebody that'll say, "Well, I was vegan." And I'm like, "Well, what does that mean you were vegan?" What could happen to make somebody go back to that whole former life? It's almost like if when somebody says to me, "Oh, I was sober for a number of years and then I chose to go back to drinking." It's almost like, "Well, why would you do that knowing how catastrophic that is, both with using drugs and alcohol, and with respect to going back and eating unhealthy foods?"

Karina Inkster: That's a really good point. Well, tell me about Racing for Recovery. So, this is a nonprofit that you founded that helps folks to prevent and overcome addiction. I like the prevention piece, by the way. I was kind of surprised that it's prevent and overcome and not just overcome. So, I'm up for learning more about what you do with Racing for Recovery.

Todd Crandell: Well, I formed Racing for Recovery back in 2001 after being in our local newspaper about being sober and doing the extraordinary event called the Ironman, as we've been discussing. I just thought, "Okay, I'm in the newspaper. It's kind of cool," but the response from that article was so overwhelming that I literally got a gift from the universe or whatever spiritual thing you want to say in there. I got a gift, then I basically was like, "Well, I can do something in service to help other people," and the name Racing for Recovery just came to me and I thought, "well, what do I want to do with this?"

And I was looking at my life at that moment and I thought, "Well, we need to prevent this stuff in kids before it even starts," and it goes back to if I could have gotten some clinical help to deal with the emotional issues I was dealing with as a result of my mom's suicide, I may not even have chosen drugs as a coping skill in the first place, which would've saved a lot of heartache. So, I believe prevention is paramount. Unfortunately, if we can't prevent it and somebody chooses to get involved in drugs and alcohol, there definitely is a way out of it, and that was the concept of forming Racing for Recovery.

Karina Inkster: Interesting, so is Racing for Recovery a physical kind of training? Is it psychological? I know you also have various counseling designations. I'm sure it's all of those things.

Todd Crandell: Racing for Recovery is a plethora of ways to help people be their best, physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, all of it. It's like looking at a giant vegan pizza. Nobody's going to have one piece. We want the whole pizza, and that's really what being sober is about. It's not just simply not drinking anymore. It's, am I happy that I'm not drinking anymore? Do I understand why I was drinking in the first place? Am I improving myself physically? Am I healing from trauma? What am I eating? Where's my spirituality? Am I getting educated? Am I working in the community? So, that to me is what sobriety is. It's not again just, I'm not drinking, but I hate my life. It's, I've chosen to stop drinking and now I'm living my best life physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. That's what Racing for Recovery does.

Karina Inkster: Love that. It's kind of like the approach to veganism that some folks have when they first go vegan, it's very avoidance-based. They just cut out all the animal products and they're not left with a ton. It's very like, "Oh, I can't eat that anymore." It's kind of a deprivation mindset, versus what are all the amazing plant-based foods that I may not have heard of yet that I can pile onto my plate? What are some amazing new recipes I can try? That's the abundance and the positive mindset. So, I think this is kind of what you're doing with the organization is it's not just subtracting things, it's also adding things.

Todd Crandell: 100%, I love what you just said right there. My life is not about what I can't do, it's what I can do and what I'm going to do and have done, and you said it so perfectly with food. It's not about I can't do and I can't eat that. It's, oh my God, I get to learn all this new stuff about what really being vegan does for animals, for our environment, and for our bodies and all the good food... Not only the good food that comes, the mental alertness that we have, the energy that we have, stamina that we have. It's just a whole new world, and that's what being vegan really does. It opens our mind to so many good emotions, so much positive information, and again, a lot of good food for sure.

Karina Inkster: 100%. So, is veganism somehow adjacently or more obviously involved in Racing for Recovery?

Todd Crandell: Yes, veganism has become a part of Racing for Recovery. I can't always say that it hasn't been met with some resistance, if you will. It's not like I'm trying to change people into being vegan or change people into being sober. I'm simply showing sobriety and being vegan, how it really will enhance someone's life, and there's a difference there. I'm not telling people what to do. I'm giving them an option of what can be done that will improve people's lives drastically. If I started Racing for Recovery in 2001, I didn't become vegan until 2016 and we didn't implement our vegan chef here until a couple of years ago. So, it's been a process of getting better, just like we should be doing in life as well.

Karina Inkster: Right, that makes absolute sense. Now, you've written multiple books, your most recent one being about veganism, so Do No Harm: Discovering the truth and the power behind a compassionate lifestyle. I assume this is also related to your own journey. Tell me about the book.

Todd Crandell: The book is 550 pages of 100% facts. I don't really talk about a lot of my journey of being vegan in there. Some of it, yes, but 99% of it is really facts. With all due respect, I could care less about somebody's opinion, I could care less about it. You want to talk facts, I'll listen to facts, but I'm not here to listen to your traditions and your opinion on stuff, that is irrelevant to me. We got to start looking at what we're doing to innocent beings, what we're doing to our environment and what we're doing to our bodies. And again, I'm talking about facts, not opinions, facts. And when people pick up Do No Harm, they're going to get educated on facts. And if they read this book and they actually apply the information that's in this book, it's going to do a lot of good for themselves, the animals, and our world for sure.

Karina Inkster: Interesting, so is this mostly aimed at folks who are not vegan yet and possibly veg curious?

Todd Crandell: Just like sobriety with Racing for Recovery, I think everybody can benefit from this book, whether you're already vegan, and if you are, good on you, this can enhance your veganism. If you're teetering on it, like a lot of vegetarians are, read this book and you'll come on over to the other side with the rest of us. And if you're not vegan at all or you have no desire and you don't care and all that, I encourage you to please take the time to read this. And once you do, I know it'll change your mindset. If you don't change your ways, you at least know what's right and wrong. Notice I'm being very politically correct in how I'm presenting this.

Karina Inkster: That's right, like one of our other podcast guest.

Todd Crandell: Right?

Karina Inkster: You're being yes, very PC. One of our other guests, JH Burnett said that right side of history. He's not bullshitting. He's just like, "Yep, we're on the right side of history being vegan."

Todd Crandell: Well, you know what? Let's talk about this then because this is something not too long ago, we had slavery, and we thought that was normal or back not too long ago, women couldn't vote and that was considered normal. So you're right, we are on the right side of history because someday, hopefully in the near future we're going to look back on this and just be ashamed at what we've done as human beings, absolutely ashamed of it. And I want to be on the right side of that. I have been, I'm honored to be, and one of my purposes is just to simply educate people in a non-combating way, but in a factual way.

Karina Inkster: I like that. I like the non-combating way because all I see on the internet is very combative, useless so-called "debates", I'm using air quotes, that really is not going to change anyone's mind, it's not going to move the needle. So, I think having an approach that's approachable is probably a good way to actually get the message out to the masses. I do think that we need lots of different types of activism and education and resources, different ways of presenting information to folks, but I think honestly, more people are going to connect with education, facts like the ones in your books and a generally positive approach to these things, versus getting bashed over the head and shame and guilt and all those kinds of things. It's probably the same in the recovery world.

Todd Crandell: It is.

Karina Inkster: But it's a good approach, I would say, to veganism in general.

Todd Crandell: I 100% agree with you. At Racing for Recovery, as a licensed clinician, when somebody comes in and they're debating on if they should quit drinking or not, I'm not going to sit there and say, "Well, what's wrong with you? You're drinking, you dummy," or whatever, "You need to quit." I will say things like, "If you're questioning should you quit drinking? If it's not a problem, why are you even questioning about it?" Or if somebody is trying to justify why they're drinking and they just got their third or fourth drunk driving charge and their family's about to walk out on them, it's kind of like, "Is drinking really worth it?"

On the other side of it, with being vegan, as I said, I'm not interested in arguing over this, but if you're dying from cardiovascular issues, diabetes, you can't deny the fact that your nutritional intake is causing that. So, if you can accept that and just start with you don't like where you're currently at and would like to make some changes, we can build upon that. So again, in a non-combative way, I think we can show compassion and deliver a factual message that can really help people change their lives.

Karina Inkster: Well said, I like that, especially the piece about compassion. That's in the subtitle of your book, so do you find a lot of folks connect with that, like from the veganism standpoint, they know what the compassionate answer is, but they need help making the change or I don't know, does the compassion piece come up a lot?

Todd Crandell: We're all born compassionate beings and somewhere along our journey that compassion has unfortunately gone by the wayside, but I think for most people, they're good people, compassionate, empathetic. What's unfortunate is why that is applicable to some things and not all things.

Karina Inkster: Interesting.

Todd Crandell: If we're going to say we love animals, we can't say, "I love animals," and pet one and eat another. That's not compassion, that's compassion sometimes, and I think compassion should be applied at all times, even if it may be difficult for some, we still should do that. It's the right thing to do.

Karina Inkster: Well, here's a question for you because you mentioned vegetarian earlier as a separate group from vegans. I think, we're obviously preaching to the choir here, but if you're vegetarian for ethical reasons, you really should be vegan. But how do you approach that? Do you use education? Do you use questioning? Motivational interviewing is pretty big in the fitness world where you're kind of getting at someone's own reasoning and you're not trying to plant ideas in someone else's brain. What kind of approach do you or would you take when you come across folks who are vegetarian but not vegan?

Todd Crandell: I'll go back to the Ironman for a minute. I see this at every Ironman event that I do. People that are vegetarian, so if you're a vegetarian Ironman person, and there's a lot of them, we have to start looking at the inflammation that the body goes through with an Ironman event. So sarcastically, I may say, "You just spent 12 hours inflaming your body and you think having a cheese pizza afterwards is the right decision to deal with the muscle soreness." And then it's kind of funny, but it's factual and it's direct in a caring, compassionate way and just gets people to look at what they're doing and why because I know for me, once I finish an Ironman, I want to recover quickly enough from that Ironman so I can go do another one, and being a vegetarian is not the most effective way to do that. Being vegan is the most effective way to do that.

Karina Inkster: That's an excellent point. What about the ethical piece? That's usually where I go with folks, but I guess it depends why someone is vegetarian in the first place.

Todd Crandell: Right, and this is opening up a whole other... We could go in a myriad of ways with this, like why they're vegetarian, and sometimes I'll hear someone say, "Well, I don't like what we're doing to animals," but they're not equating that we're really suffocating fish then when we catch them in the sea. So, I don't think sometimes people really understand some of the facts of some animals and not other ones specifically with fish. They certainly don't understand that we're going to have fishless oceans by the time 2048 rolls around.

So, a lot of times it's a lack of education on this that once people are educated in, again, a compassionate way, they can change. So, it's hard to determine some of these things because for us, there's no logical reason why someone would be vegetarian when you can be vegan, but for them, there is a reason and we have to find out what that reason is and then kindly teach them about why they should go the whole way, if you will. It's kind of like if someone says to me, "Well, I just want to do a sprint triathlon." I'm like, "Well, that's good, but why would you want to do just a sprint when you can do the whole Ironman?"

Karina Inkster: Oh, you're going to have to convince me about that one. I've done sprint triathlons. They were fun, but it didn't make me want to do an Ironman.

Todd Crandell: That's my subtle way of starting to get you to come over to the other side because I heard you earlier talking about that.

Karina Inkster: Hilarious, that's a good point though. I like that you inserted the word kindly. So we're educating folks, we're giving them resources, but all with kindness and compassion, just how we would want other folks to be dealing with us presumably. I had a conversation the other day with someone on Instagram who legitimately thought that there were such thing as milking cows, like cows that just lactate 24/7 because that's what they do, not realizing all the horrendous practices involved and impregnating them and industrial scale operations. There's still misinformation out there about how animals are actually treated. 

So, I think the education piece is huge. People are still kind of in the dark, which is mind-blowing to me in the era of YouTube and social media. When I went vegan in 2003, Facebook and Instagram were not things back then. You can't just go and search for, what happens to animals in a slaughterhouse? It was a lot harder to find back then, but nowadays you really have no excuse. So, I feel like our role as potential educators becomes more important.

Todd Crandell: I agree, and I will go back to alcohol and drug addiction and veganism. I will give somebody who is unaware, I'll give you that. You're unaware, but now you are aware. That's where it's like, "Come on, man, you're educated now. You got to do the right thing in that." I will say this, there's been a great job on marketing that whole industry of like, "Oh, look at the happy little cow out in the green field. Everything's okay."

Karina Inkster: Right.

Todd Crandell: They've done a good job at hiding the truth, and that's kind of what Do No Harm was about is I wanted to expose the reality of this stuff and dismiss a lot of those, "Oh, they're raised on green fields and they're sleeping in these little things and it's all good." It's like, "Well, no, that's not true, and we're still murdering them in the end anyways," so there's no humane way of killing something that doesn't want to be murdered. And that's the verbiage that I use that sometimes will freak people out, but I'm like, "What else do you guys want to call it?" We're murdering millions and billions of souls that don't want to be murdered. That's a fact.

Karina Inkster: 100%. Well, I'm glad that resources like your book are available. It sounds like a one-stop shop. 550 pages, you said, good Lord, what else would you need after that? That's pretty much the definitive text at that point.

Todd Crandell: You're going to need a nap after that, that's what you're going to need. It's like an Ironman.

Karina Inkster: Exactly.

Todd Crandell: I will say this, and I appreciate you really talking about Do No Harm a lot. As I said, I did not want to write a book on my opinion. My necessary journey to this wasn't the main thing that I was writing about. I wanted to write about the facts of it, and there's plenty of them, and to have a 550-page book that is just mind-blowing, factual information that is lifesaving, I'm proud of it. I'm proud of all the books that I've written, but this one really, I'm proud of it. I just want to say that and I encourage people to read it, please.

Karina Inkster: 100%, and of course, as usual, we're going to have show notes with a link directly to your book and also to connect with you, but if folks are interested, they can head to the show notes. So, I want to talk about a couple of things. One is more destruction related and in the negative sphere, and then the other one is more about support and what we were talking about with the positive view of veganism and things you're adding to your life, that kind of view of recovery. So, you mentioned trauma a couple of times. It's a word that you've used in your experience and just generally. So, maybe we could talk about that a little bit, the impact of trauma on self-destructive behaviors, on addiction, on foods. Where do you want to start with that piece?

Todd Crandell: Let's talk about how much I appreciate you even bringing this up because if I look back in my life as a young kid and certainly going through addiction and a lot early on in my sobriety as a man, and now I'm getting into stereotypes, as a man to say that you've been traumatized shows weakness, unfortunately, and it's not. When we can discuss our feelings based on trauma... And trauma is not for someone else to say what your trauma is and the severity of it. It's for the individual to just proudly and courageously say, "I was a victim of trauma." That really is where we need to start looking at the impact of trauma because it's the foundation of all things wellness that are built upon.

So for me, I will say the impact of my mom's suicide left me feeling worthless and not good enough, and those are things that I'm still battling. I'm getting better at, but at 56 years of age, I can see the impact of what that did to me at three years old. It's not like I woke up and said, "Oh, poor me. My mom died. I'm going to be a drug user." It wasn't my mindset at all, but I can see the impact that that had on me, the impact that had on relationships, the low self-esteem that prevented me from choosing some type of spirituality, I didn't think I was good enough, prevented me from getting my education done sooner because I didn't think I was good enough, jobs that I pursued were definitely a correlation to a lack of self-esteem due to trauma. So, the impact of trauma is catastrophic and coming into recovery, it is imperative that we focus on that, so we can fully live sober, productive lifestyles.

Karina Inkster: Well said, and I assume this affects all aspects of life, including food. Is that something that was a factor for you?

Todd Crandell: Elaborate on that question for a moment. I've never had somebody actually ask me that. So, can you state it again and help me understand what you're asking me?

Karina Inkster: Just curious because it manifests in a lot of different ways, and a lot of folks that we work with have trauma responses or relationships with food that stem from trauma, and then the veganism piece sometimes can add onto that. Sometimes it's a positive force, sometimes it's a negative force in some cases, but just curious if the food piece was in some way affected by your experiences or your trauma in the past.

Todd Crandell: Now, I understand it. So in my second book, There's More Than One Way to Get to Cleveland, I use this version called or this analogy called whack-a-mole. So, a lot of times if you're addicted to drugs and alcohol, you'll put those down, but then you'll pick up another one such as food, and people will now start eating unhealthy foods or abundance of food in general as a new coping mechanism to deal with the same trauma that they were trying to deal with with drugs and alcohol.

Some will do it with gambling, cutting, shopping, and I've kind of covered them all, except for gambling. I just got back from Vegas yesterday and thank God I wasn't addicted to gambling because it's not a good place to go to if you are, but food, I will say this, I have battled body dysmorphic issues, again, from the self-esteem, again, from the trauma. So yes, I have overcome some of that myself, and I definitely see it in other people, and it's because we're shifting how we're coping and not dealing with the traumatic injury, if you will, from the get go. 

So yes, people will either eat too much or they won't eat enough, or they're not eating the right foods, and again, we're back to the same stuff. When you're vegan and eating proper vegan foods, you get an opportunity to enhance your mind, body, and spirit, and that really to me is what living is all about. Whether you're addicted to drugs or not, whether you're an Ironman athlete or not, everybody wants to live well and live well in peace, and by being vegan, you give yourself a better opportunity to do that.

Karina Inkster: Love that. Well, on that note, you're now touching on this positive effect and living well, healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit, all the things that you work on in your nonprofit. So, I assume that these things are also all applicable directly to bodies in recovery, so the veganism piece, eating good foods, the compassionate side of veganism from a psychological standpoint. 

These are all positive things that people can add into recovery, versus things to avoid, things to subtract, all that other kind of negativity that we've talked about before. So, how in your nonprofit do you work with folks on some of these things, like fostering a healthy mind, fostering a healthy body? You're like the poster child of Ironman athlete, but I assume not everyone who's working with you there immediately wants to become an Ironman athlete. So, what are some ways that you're working with people on some of these things?

Todd Crandell: Even when I started Racing for Recovery, I wasn't saying to people, "Hey, if you want to be sober, you have to quit drinking and do 100 Ironmans." I've never said that.

Karina Inkster: Right.

Todd Crandell: What I have said is, if you see what I'm doing, and a lot of people... I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but a lot of people are inspired or in awe of what I've done, and I appreciate that, but it goes back to the question of, well, how am I able to do that? And a lot of it now is based on what I'm eating, but I want people to take that term Ironman and what I've done physically, and they can either do one physically or they can take that mindset and improve themselves nutritionally, spiritually, educationally, they can be better fathers, better husbands, better wives, better friends, whatever. It's just about being a better human being, and that's the transformation and the benefits of being someone who's receiving services at Racing for Recovery. It gets you to be your best person where you never thought you would remarkably or even remotely be doing anything that you're doing in these days. I've seen people come into Racing for Recovery with nothing but a trash bag.

Our chef is one of those people. Now, he's a homeowner. He's employed by Racing for Recovery. His recipes are included in Do No Harm. He's married, he's a father. I can give countless examples where people come into Racing for Recovery and they learn what was preventing them from living their best life, and then they're willing to implement ways that will help them live their best life that they actually enjoy. It's beautiful for me to sit back and watch the transformation of people. I absolutely love it. I love it more than finishing an Ironman, that's for sure.

Karina Inkster: Well, that says something. What an honor to be able to witness that. That's pretty amazing.

Todd Crandell: I just finished my... I don't even know what it was, my 111th Ironman on the 53rd anniversary of my mom killing herself. And to be able to take 53 years, that's over five decades of a lot of pain, a lot of adversity, a lot of hardships, a lot of trauma, and turn that all into an asset that has not only been great for myself, my kids, my community, but to watch other people do that same transformation, I can't think of anything greater in life to do other than what I am fortunate enough to be doing. This is not about money, it's not about prestige. It's about taking what has been graciously offered to me via my own hardships and successes and turning it into a worldwide juggernaut of helping other people. It's remarkable, and I'm proud of the people I work with, and I'm proud of the people who have come to us and are now living their best lives. It's fantastic.

Karina Inkster: That's amazing, plus spreading the word on channels like podcasts and all the speaking internationally that you do, it's a massive platform, not just for folks who are currently battling addictions or who are currently in recovery, but also the general vegan world and folks who want the compassionate lifestyle and just generally want to get into something that will serve them positively long-term. So, I think that's pretty excellent what you're doing. Is there anything that we haven't covered in terms of Racing for Recovery, or your book, or your backstory? Anything that's kind of missing from our conversation?

Todd Crandell: This conversation has been amazing. I do want to say this. If people have an open mind to self-betterment and they apply what is kindly given to them, the journey that they're about to embark on will be something that they never thought of. I had a desire to stop killing myself with drugs and alcohol. I had a willingness to learn why I was choosing to do that. I had a burning to desire to do anything in my recovery that I enjoyed, and as I've said numerous times, I've been able to turn that all into service. People in general want to be happy, they want to be healthy, they want to have good relationships, they want to do something that they enjoy to make a living, to take care of their families, and everybody can do that. Unfortunately, not everybody does, but I want to let everybody know you do have the ability to live your best life. If you're involved with Racing for Recovery or you read any of my books or we have a chance to talk, I will help you do that.

Karina Inkster: That's amazing, Todd. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you. Thanks for coming on the show, sharing your story, sharing what you do. It's been fantastic.

Todd Crandell: I'm so honored to be on this, and I hope you send me a copy of it, so I can share it on social media, that's for sure.

Karina Inkster: Of course, will do. Thanks so much.

Todd Crandell: Thank you.

Karina Inkster: Todd, thank you again for speaking with me and sharing your experience with our listeners. Make sure you check out our show notes at to connect with Todd. Thanks so much for tuning in.

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