Monday, August 30, 2010

No protein, no way...

I am reading a book by Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier entitled Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness. Though the book seems geared toward the more serious athlete, there are a number of diet and exercise tips that might be helpful to those who are just looking to get fit.

He has diagrams and instructions for structured gym workouts, though many of the exercises look like you could do them at home with a bench, dumbbells and an exercise ball like this one. He has some good tips about exercising while traveling and suggests not slacking off during this time as one can really see results fade.

The book makes mention that Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100% plant-based. After reading the diet section, I can see why. It looks like a lot of trouble and not enough protein, but perhaps it has more than I realize just by eyeballing the diet. Brazier owns some kind of nutritional line called VEGA that is plant-based and the food he suggests is based on that. It consists of a lot of smoothies, fruit and cereal during the day and a big salad of mixed greens, grated carrots and dressing for dinner and raw pumpkin seeds and almonds for snacks. Sorry, but if I exercise, this diet is not going to cut it for me.

There is no way I could live without more protein in the form of chicken, meat or fish. I tried when younger to eat a plant-based vegetarian diet and ended up at 24 (12 years later) trolling the supermarket in the middle of the night in search of tuna fish. Tonight, I'm about to bake a bunch of barbecued chicken for dinner. Perhaps if I were more serious, I would try harder, but I don't have it in me.

If you have had a good experience with a plant-based diet or not, let me know. Maybe I'm missing something....or not.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Cham said...

I know a vegan body builder who does quite well for himself and looks pretty good.

I'm no professional nutritionist so correct me if I a wrong, I understand that plant based proteins individually don't contain all the complete proteins your body needs but if you eat a variety of plant based proteins you can have a healthy diet. Having said that, I have reduced the amount of animal based protein containing foods that I eat down to 4 oz/day, and only in the form of chicken, turkey or salmon. I have eliminated tuna from my diet because of the mercury content. Once a month I eat a hamburger to make sure I get enough iron. Maybe one day I will cut out the animal based proteins entirely, I haven't really thought about it that hard.

The bulk of my food intake consists of vegetables. I eat different types of beans and about 1/2 pound of tofu per day. I also eat oatmeal, barley and quinoa. Daily, I take in 6 oz. of yogurt that I make myself. I have one serving of fruit daily. I don't eat any corn, sugar, flour or rice. I like the occasional egg white omelet.

Okay, that is probably more than you need to know about me. I'm a bit particular when it comes to food though I try to keep it to myself. I have no qualms about the way I look and feel, and am very satisfied with the results of my food intake decisions.

4:54 PM, August 30, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Regarding an all plant based diet, I'm reminded of the immortal words of Red Foreman from "That 70s Show".

"That's not food. That's what food EATS!"

4:58 PM, August 30, 2010  
Blogger As my whimsy leads me.. said...

A vegan diet is not a natural diet. Our bodies need Vitamin B-12, and the only reliable sources are animal food (including eggs, cheese, and milk). B-12 can be stored for a long time, but eventually, if not supplemented, a person will become deficient. That can include anemia and neurological damage.

Iron is another nutrient that is likely to be low, but there is some iron in green vegetables. Probably not enough to keep up with a woman with heavy periods, or a regular blood donor.

Toy

8:17 PM, August 30, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Any diet that preaches total abstinence from a certain class of natural (i.e. not refined) food is constitutionally suspect in my mind. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

Besides - if we're not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

12:01 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

We've been known to eat meat for a million years or so. I see no need to change now.

1:21 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger redrajesh said...

The Indian vegetarian diet consists of a large amount of milk and legumes. So I think that gives a pretty decent amount of protein. Plus with so many diet supplements available these days, it is easy for even people who involve in moderate athletic activity to get the required protein espescially lean protein which is not found in meat(just take a couple of muscle milks in a day)

6:40 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

On the other hand, I've added two strips of low sodium bacon to my breakfast, and I'm feeling much better in the mornings. A single bowl of cheese grits and a glass of juice wasn't quite enough.

9:39 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger John Althouse Cohen said...

Our bodies need Vitamin B-12, and the only reliable sources are animal food (including eggs, cheese, and milk).

I'm not a vegan (I'm a vegetarian), and I would be worried about getting enough B12 if I were a vegan, but I don't believe this is accurate. Nutritional yeast is a delicious and very useful product that's often fortified with B12. Some soy products and cereals have B12. More info.

10:10 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger John Althouse Cohen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:11 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

A veternarian? I thought you were working on movies?!?!? Can I ask you a question about my cat? 8)

Trey

10:18 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Eleanor said...

Plus with so many diet supplements available these days

It's better to get that stuff from your food.

10:45 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Why is it when the topic of vegetarianism and veganism comes up, one side is content to speak in bumper stickers or sitcom zingers?

11:29 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Watching "Walking with Cavemen" on the Discovery Channel and reading articles on the evolutions of humans, including one in the current National Geographic, protein and fats from animal sources played a large role in the development of the human brain.

Many times I've heard vegans argue that vegetarianism is the natural diet of the caveman, but it's not true.

As for soy, there is some evidence that soy protein lowers testosterone and raises estrogen which isn't good for males. Whey protein, an animal product, is the preference in bodybuilding/strenght training circles nowadays.

I tried being a vegetarian for 2 years but couldn't resist fried chicken any longer than that.

11:56 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Josh said...

Correct me if I a wrong. I understand that plant based proteins individually don't contain all the complete proteins your body needs but if you eat a variety of plant based proteins you can have a healthy diet.

The ratio of amino acids in plant proteins is not the same as the ratio in our bodies, so we may not be able to use them as efficiently as animal protein. That means you have to either eat a variety of plant proteins or eat more of them.

In practice, though, non-athletes don't need nearly as much protein as they typically consume. Vegan athletes simply take protein supplements.

I worked out pretty hard on a diet that was mostly plant-based for a couple of months recently. I was fine as long as I had my protein smoothie and some high-GI carbs after working out. and enough calories. If I dipped down too low, I'd feel it. There are plenty of vegan body builders and athletes.

I've heard vegans need to supplement B12, but recently I read this:

http://www.naturalnews.com/029531_vitamin_B12_vegan.html

no idea if that's true or not.

The main thing a mostly vegan diet did for me, though, is leave more room for fruit and vegetables. Whatever governmental organization is responsible for coming up with your recommended daily intake of vegetables is actually lying to you. Your body continues to benefit from far more servings of vegetables than they recommend, but they omit that information because they believe it would depress people and cause them to stop trying. Seriously, I read it in The Inflammation Cure.

11:57 AM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

"I tried being a vegetarian for 2 years but couldn't resist fried chicken any longer than that."

I suppose if you give up meat for dietary reasons you're more likely to have cravings for it than if you give it up for ethical reasons.

12:15 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Thanks, Josh, for the clarification.

12:34 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Dadvocate: The idea that soy lowers testosterone may be more urban myth than hard medical fact. Scroll to the bottom of the article to find the information about soy and testosterone levels.

12:40 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Cham - True. That's why i said "some evidence". This is one of those issues where the evidence is slim. But, walking into GNC and looking at bodybuilding/strength training supplements online, it's obvious that soy has fallen out of favor.

1:33 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Get back to me when Vegan-boy is 80.

6:58 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Sandeep said...

Why is it when the topic of vegetarianism and veganism comes up, one side is content to speak in bumper stickers or sitcom zingers?

Awesomely put! Conservatives can do better than to make the vegan/vegetarian adherents and sympathizers of their movement feel like outcasts. Discussion-stifling one-liners are usually a liberal-forte, and this issue need not be an exception.

8:25 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Vegan stickers are no better or no worse then slapping 15 yellow magnetic ribbon stickers across the trunk of your car explaining how much you love the troops.

9:03 PM, August 31, 2010  
Blogger JB said...

What?? 22 comments in, and nobody has spoken up for moderation yet? I wonder why so many positions have to be so extreme. Why absolutely NO meat, or NO tuna, or NO whatever. Or when one goes "off the vegan wagon", they end up eating fried chicken or some such food that is considered extremely unhealthy.

Why not just eat a moderate amount of a wide variety of food; tend toward cooking/preparation methods that retain more of the nutritional content; cut back on (notice I did not say "eliminate") the stuff everyone knows is bad for you -- such as soda-pop; and relax and enjoy your meals?

8:32 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger mollo said...

My brother-in-law wanted to go vegan to improve his health a couple of years ago. The two weeks he was on the new diet were horrible for him and his cholesterol went sky high. His doctor was not happy. Sure, this is a bit anecdotal since we don't know why at all but it did happen.

On the flip side, my hubby tried the Atkins diet and wound up shoving his face full of oreos.

9:26 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

bmmg39 said...
Why is it when the topic of vegetarianism and veganism comes up, one side is content to speak in bumper stickers or sitcom zingers?


Because of a quaint little thing called freedom of speech, if I find something I think funny, I'll pass it along. If you're so thin-skinned about your dietary choices, that's your problem, not mine. For the record, I couldn't care less what you or anyone else chooses to eat or not eat. That's your business, just as what the rest of us choose to eat is our business.

9:36 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Hodge said...

Agree with JB. All things in moderation. But...having just watched Food Inc. at my daughter's suggestion, I could become very immoderate in my avoidance of lots of stuff. Yeah, it was a lefty screed, but that doesn't mean that the entire message can be completely dismissed. IMHO, if you eat a little bit of most everything and avoid the stuff you know is really bad for you, you'll be OK.

Now about that moderation stuff. After I've had a couple of drinks, the siren song of the fritos and cheetos gets reeeallly loud. Portion control can be a b*tch.

10:16 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

...fried chicken or some such food that is considered extremely unhealthy.

"Considered" may be the operative word here. Often we are wrong in what we consider to be right. I eat a fair amount of fried chicken and eggs. My cholesteral generally stays below 150. It's ranged from 126 to 158.

11:04 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

JB, you must have missed my comment aup top:

"Any diet that preaches total abstinence from a certain class of natural (i.e. not refined) food is constitutionally suspect in my mind. It just doesn't pass the smell test."

12:05 PM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

bmmg39 said...
"Why is it when the topic of vegetarianism and veganism comes up, one side is content to speak in bumper stickers or sitcom zingers?"

Larry: "Because of a quaint little thing called freedom of speech..."

[YAWN]

Sure, Larry, profess your freedom of speech, by all means. I didn't know I was taking that away by pointing out that we've all heard that one. We've all seen "People Eating Tasty Animals," too, just in case that was the next one in the queue.

2:30 PM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Eat what you want. I couldn't possibly care less. Just don't try to dictate to others that they make the same choices as you and everything will be fine. Is that simple enough for you? People like Michelle Obama who try to force their dietary choices on others can kiss my ass.

4:28 PM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Eat what you want. I couldn't possibly care less. Just don't try to dictate to others that they make the same choices as you and everything will be fine. Is that simple enough for you? People like Michelle Obama who try to force their dietary choices on others can kiss my ass.

4:29 PM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Please point out when exactly I "dictated" that others make the same choices as I?

Or are you just making stuff up...

12:54 AM, September 02, 2010  
Blogger Kim said...

"B-12 can be stored for a long time, but eventually, if not supplemented, a person will become deficient. That can include anemia and neurological damage."

And the best part is that the neurological damage is... hereditary. Once the damage is done, it's a. irreversible and b. is passed on to future generations.

Keep breeding, vegans. The world needs more stupid people.

1:36 AM, September 02, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

BTW, I've posted that above comment 3 times. The first 2 times it didn't post for me, so I did it again. If you can see it 3 times or 2 times I apologize.

7:47 AM, September 02, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I can't see it now, should I try for #4?

7:48 AM, September 02, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I took the link out, maybe that will help;

It depends on what the elusive definition of "moderation" is. I think there are a lot of people out there that think they eat ice cream in moderation, fried chicken in moderation, Mountain Dew in moderation and french fries in moderation, yet when they step on the scale there is nothing moderate about the outcome.

There is a lot of new information about cholesterol out there. For a real eye opener look at this link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35058896/

It turns out there are four different kinds of cholesterol and the smaller the globules of cholesterol in your bloodstream the more dangerous they become. Even worse, there is no test yet to figure out what percentage of LDL is those evil small globules.

Another problem is that when it comes to being fat, pleasantly plump or morbidly obese, many people don't recognize the condition when they look in the mirror and they recognize even less when they look at their plumpkin children. There is a 3 year old up the street from me that has to weigh at least 50 pounds. He can barely walk and looks and acts like a Weeble.

As far as fish is concerned, go ahead and eat piece of swordfish or sea bass. The next morning wake up and go straight to the lab and get tested for mercury. You will be very surprised at the results as they will most likely be sky high. Moderation isn't the key here, all out avoidance is best.

People like to think they are eating in moderation, they eat a small piece of cake, a small piece of pie, a small burger, a small taco then a small bag of Doritos. They scoff at the healthy people with the bumper stickers and ability to adhere to a nutrition plan. Yep, all this moderation and they wonder why they are so unhealthy.

7:50 AM, September 02, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i stay away from soy just in case the massive amount of data regarding the effects it has on men`s testosterone is right.

and everyone i see putting soy milk in their coffee is either a girl,or wearing a pink shirt.

and if i remember correctly, the vegans were the little grey people with dirty hair that used to come into the health-food store where my first wife worked and creep everyone out with their gaunt expressions and thousand-yard stares.

ideological food choices seem silly to me.

meat is murder?

wow.

trying to criminalise a food choice...dipshits.

1:56 PM, September 15, 2010  

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