2 weeks into my month-long experiment of going vegan. Just living my best life, which is now mainly fueled by pea protein powder.
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be trying veganism, I would have thought you were joking. In 2012 I was eating eight ounces of protein at three meals a day (!), touting the superiority of the Paleo diet (slowly getting fat as I did so).
Reasons for this experiment
I want us (Adaptive Nutrition) to be able to address veganism from first-hand experience. Whether we end up endorsing it or not, I want to be able to explain why.
To possibly develop an Adaptive Nutrition meal plan for vegans.
Adaptive Nutrition was born out of our experimentation with various approaches to eating. Though we’ve created a meal plan that works extremely well for those that try it, I don’t want to become set in our ways and stop learning. There is more than one “right” way to eat.
I just finished Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, which addressed some questions I’ve had on my mind lately, namely, How is the meat I’m eating produced? and Is the way we’re teaching people to eat environmentally sustainable? The answers pointed to no, so here I am…getting crunchier and crunchier.
Asking the hard questions
Eating Animals forced me out of my blissful ignorance about the way meat is produced, and demanded that I now align my values with my actions: Now that you know how this all works, what are you going to do? Pretend to not know and continue as you were?
I love eating meat and I believe it is natural for humans to eat meat. I believe animals are a necessary part of the land and soil life cycle.
I believe that the way we are raising animals is NOT contributing to the natural life cycle of the land, and that it is in fact doing much more harm than good.
I do not believe in enabling the horrific acts that meat producers practice.
If I knew the meat was ethically sourced, I’d gladly eat it. Unfortunately the book made it seem that that is near in possible when it comes to chicken, turkey, and seafood, and hard when it comes to beef.
The way I’m approaching this is by continuing to eat my macronutrient ratios, but instead eating only plant-based foods for protein.
Although it’s difficult to hit my protein numbers without also ingesting a bunch of carbs (common protein sources for vegans/vegetarians, such as beans, usually have over double the amount of carbs as protein), it’s been possible.
It’s been useful to Google “vegan bodybuilding”, because bodybuilders take a more calculated approach to their food, understanding macronutrient intake and nutrient deficiencies and more of the science of nutrition. I imagine many vegetarians and vegans don’t pay much attention to these things, so any warnings about this way of eating are taken with a grain of salt.
Besides a variety of veggies, foods I’m eating include:
Trader Joe’s Organic Pea Protein Powder (Vanilla) (with pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon to make it not taste like cardboard)
Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Protein Granola (I use the above protein shake as “cereal milk” with this granola for breakfast and it keeps me full for hours)
Vivo Life Raw Plant Protein & BCAA in Salted Maca Caramel (I make a smoothie out of this with a big handful of fresh spinach, a banana, cinnamon, chia seeds, and water)
White kidney beans
Red kidney beans
I’m attempting to educate myself on potential nutrient deficiencies and be aware of amino acid profiles to ensure I’m getting all of the essential amino acids. More to come on this in a later post.
Observations so far
I feel more full between meals, probably due to higher fiber content of the foods I’m eating.
My weight has remained the same, though I feel like I experience less fluid retention.
Surprisingly not gassy as expected from reintroducing beans, likely because the beans I am eating have been soaked in water beforehand which removes some of the indigestible sugars that cause gas.
I’m strangely and noticeably less interested in coffee…! My energy at the gym in the evenings has improved.
Skin not quite as good as before - slightly more acne.
Gym performance (strength, conditioning, flexibility) hasn’t seemed to suffer. I even PR’d my push press 1 rep max at 155 pounds.
I feel more open-minded about other diets. I realize there are many reasons for being vegetarian/vegan, and they’re not all against eating meat for the same reasons. If someone were to ask me why I’m vegan right now, I feel I’d have to explain that I’m certainly not against eating meat, just the way most is produced, so they don’t get the wrong idea.
More updates to come!