To Be (vegan) Or Not To Be (vegan), That Is The Question

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October 9, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness

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For the past 3 weeks, Mrs. Meany and I have been roomies in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  Her husband had to go away to Army Ranger School in Georgia, and it made me sad to think of my partner in crime living all by her lonesome in the middle of nowhere.  So I went out and spent some time with her.  Now I love Daniel (her husband), but he is a man of M-E-A-T.  When it is his day to cook, it is any number of meats out on the smoker.  If we are making food together, there is meat.  I’d nickname him Mr. Meaty, not Mr. Meany.  And he should be.  Dude cannot get enough food, he is physical all the time, and really needs to keep as many calories in his system as he can.  It makes sense to me.  But with Daniel away, it did give Elisabeth and I time to play . . . and play we did.  During the week, we were strict vegans.  We did 2 raw meals a day.  No booze, no grains, no refined sugars.  And then on the weekends, we went back to normal.  Rinse and repeat.  Speaking for the both of us, I’d say that it was great from a getting on track perspective, and great for getting mean and lean and green.  Two thumbs up.

Let me start off by saying that for me, veganism is a choice.  I am not one of those people against meat (though I am against non-organic meat), I’m not a member of PETA (not that there is anything wrong with that, people are free to believe in whatever they want).  I am not a super fan of red meat, I probably wouldn’t kill the animals if I had to do so to eat meat.  But I do appreciate fish, seafood, eggs, and even a bit of poultry from time to time.  By and large, however, I try to stay.  Let’s call it flexible veganism.

I gave up dairy years ago.  No milk out of the carton, no cheese (and therefore no cheese pizza, no cheeseburgers, no cheesy Mexican food), no butter, no sour cream . . . you get the picture.  The choice to give up dairy for me went to not wanting to get cancer.  The hormones in milk are not good for humans (i.e. the ones that are put into cows by people), and they easily bond with human hormones.  Now some of you are wondering about organic dairy.  Well, to that I would say that unless you know for certain that the organic guys are not milking their cows past 3 months in the gestational cycle, you shouldn’t drink organic either (milking after 3 months means that natural hormones are running thru the milk and getting passed along to you).  All of these hormones have been shown to drive up the risk of cancer, especially for those of us that are predisposed (like me).

As for meat, well for a time, let’s say 10 years, I was totally vegetarian.  Not vegan, but vegetarian (back when I was a vegetarian I still consumed dairy).  I was grossed out by meat after an unfortunate experience when I was living abroad that involved a chicken.  Eventually I came back to eating meat (largely due to foreign travel – it gets hard to go into people’s homes and not eat meat in other cultures without it being considered rude).

After a while back on the sauce, I realized that my body just wasn’t performing the way that I wanted it to.  I did a lot of reading and a lot of talking to people, and I figured out that it could very well be that meat was the culprit.  So about 3 years ago I did a raw vegan cleanse.  No lies, it sucked.  I was tired all the time, it was hard to get my brain working, and it was impossible to workout.  But after doing the cleanse for 5 days, I went to normal veganism.  My cravings for grains and sugars went away.  Cravings in general went away.  I was sleeping so much better at night.  My workouts were amazing.  I was losing weight without really trying at all.  My skin cleared up.  All in all, my body was performing better living a vegan lifestyle.

Now that is for me.  We are all so different, our bodies are wired differently.  What works for me might not work for you.  My body responds to veganism.  It likes it.  Yours might not.  But I would say that you should at least give it a chance.  Just for a week or two.  Here are a couple of guidelines for going vegan:

1)      Don’t pack on the carbs – Carbs are not the substitute for the missing meat.  This is a huge mistake people make.  They wonder why they are not feeling better when they start packing on the carbs.

2)      Micro-nutrient load – you really need to eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits to get everything you need for the day to make up for no meat and no dairy.

3)      Consume healthy fats – but not too many healthy fats.  I would say you should get a serving of nut butters, and then a serving of a healthy fat (like olive oil or coconut oil).  Fats give you much needed calories and they also help with brain function.

4)      Be prepared to spend time in the kitchen – being vegan requires planning and cooking, almost on a daily or every other day basis.  You will get tired of salads, I promise.

And then see how you feel.  Are you sleeping better?  Are you feeling better?  Are you getting lean?  If not, then maybe try adding back in one non-vegan meal a day.  Maybe that is what you need to function.  Or maybe you need to be vegan during the week, and then non-vegan on the weekend.  Play with it.  Your body can be a giant place for experiments to see what works for you when it comes to feeling awesome and becoming the best version of yourself.

Good resources for veganism (or part time veganism):

Thrive by Brendan Brazier

VB6: Vegan Before 6 by Mark Bittman

I like being vegan.  It is a good way for me to feel good and to eat healthy during the week.  And when the opportunity arises for me to eat something awesome that is not vegan, say a BBQ pork sandwich at a famous restaurant in Nashville, well then, I eat the pork.  And it tastes good.  REALLY GOOD!  And I appreciate that awesome piece of meat all the more because it isn’t always in my diet.

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