7-day vegan challenge (high-carb, low-fat, low-protein) - my experience.

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Harry Westgate

Level 6 Valued Member
@ali Fair enough, it definitely takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what foods work for you and give the best results, while also playing to personal tastes in order to make it sustainable. Experience, and especially this episode of veganism has taught me that I get the best results from, and thoroughly enjoy, a high fat, moderate to high protein, low(ish) carb approach (I say 'low(ish) carb' purely because I still eat a fair bit of fruit and a lot of veggies; technically still carb foods, despite the fact that many, including myself, consider veggies to be 'free calories'. Also nuts have more carbs than many give them credit for).

I generally don't count calories. Don't like the idea of it really, I just try to avoid combining high fat and high carb foods (inspired by Hofmekler, and it works for me); opting for one fuel source at a time. No 'calorie circuses'; as I call foods/dishes with a high amount of every macronutrient.

Examples of 'calorie circuses':
  • Pizza (obviously depends on toppings, but you get the idea; cheese+meat+dough= high saturated fat, high protein and high carbs)
  • Chilli con carne and similar rice + (fatty) meat dishes
  • Basically all Italian pasta dishes that taste good
  • Probably everything on the menu at McDonald's
Unless you're tracking macros (I'd personally rather take one (maybe even two) solid kick(s) to the groin than go down that rabbit hole) and calorie counting, I think the above examples are probably going to be a nightmare for most people to fit into their diet on any kind of regular basis without gaining fat.

The trouble is for the general population who are trying to 'get in shape' (the ones who don't stick to anything and don't really know what they're doing), is that many of these foods taste good and look healthy. Every time I hear someone say 'oh I'm eating healthy, I'm having pasta for dinner!' (or similar statements) I literally want to smash my head against a wall, because they see one 'healthy' ingredient and assume it's 'good for them', without having any idea what else is going into their body.*



Apologies, I've gone on rambling a bit here; I actually find this nutrition stuff more interesting and fun than I realised! Haha, *rant over!
 

Harry Westgate

Level 6 Valued Member
@MattM Hahahaha. Oh dear! In fairness one might say that my life is something of a calorie circus due to the fact that I've been known on several occasions to put away massive amounts of all kinds of food (my post-fight binges are highly noteworthy among my close friends...). I once ate 3x20 chicken McNuggets in about half an hour... That was possibly one of my proudest and simultaneously most shameful hours (only God can judge me, YOLO, etc.). One day I'll conquer 5x20 in one sitting (I can't believe I just admitted that to be a genuine goal of mine on this forum, and on a thread that I started on which I've been rambling on about 'healthy eating'... :p).
 

ali

Level 7 Valued Member
I'm with you there Harry. I find the science and politics of food with all its issues endlessly fascinating and interesting.
Back in the 80s when the mediterranean diet took over the world and the sports world looked to Seria A Italian footballers for nutritional inspiration, pasta for energy was born.....and on it continues. Pizza and pasta are Italian, Italy is on the mediterranean therefore pizza and pasta is part of the mediterranean diet. Your calorie circuses is a fine example of the dietary turmoil caused by the body's inability to deal with such a bolus of differing energy substrates, carbs and fats and how they compete in oxidation...the Randle Cycle. Very interesting sub topic to geek out on.....

The slowly progressing pathological process could be the consequence of a continuous overabundant diet enriched in both carbohydrate and lipid, unmatched by physical activity. In the mitochondria, the redox pressure from both substrates would provoke a continuous production of ROS, resulting first in minimal damage but deteriorating with time into more extensive and irreversible lesions.

source: Hue, L., & Taegtmeyer, H. (2009). The Randle cycle revisited: a new head for an old hat. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 297(3), E578-E591.

High fat and high carb in a sedentary population.....not good. As we know. The above quote refers to 'physical activity'. So those who are fat adapted and indulge in post training carb fuel ups for glycogen/liver replenishment, are in good health and are sensitive to insulin? Not so much? Again with huge variation, clearly....ymmv is applicable here.
 

Tarzan

Level 4 Valued Member
@MattM Hahahaha. Oh dear! In fairness one might say that my life is something of a calorie circus due to the fact that I've been known on several occasions to put away massive amounts of all kinds of food (my post-fight binges are highly noteworthy among my close friends...). I once ate 3x20 chicken McNuggets in about half an hour... That was possibly one of my proudest and simultaneously most shameful hours (only God can judge me, YOLO, etc.). One day I'll conquer 5x20 in one sitting (I can't believe I just admitted that to be a genuine goal of mine on this forum, and on a thread that I started on which I've been rambling on about 'healthy eating'... :p).
There's nothing like a stint of veganism to get someone fantasizing of a new PB in scoffing deep fried lumps of machine rendered meat.

I had some shameful Mc records myself when I was younger. I used to put a cheeseburger on a big mac and scoff them together. One time I did that combo 4 times in about 25 mins.
 

Andy Alexander

Level 1 Valued Member
Not to be offensive about people's choices, especially maybe some based on ethical reasons. But based on science in terms of what we should eat?
Take a look at the numerous articles here. There are also others I could post that are even more scientific, one of them is a very long and detailed scientific explanation taking the issue apart very well. I'll see if I can find that one if anyone is interested. But here's a start:

A Review/Compilation of Articles on RawFoods.com about the China Study

It's not in favor of the china study at all and is a series of articles debunking it.
 

Andy Alexander

Level 1 Valued Member
The really long and technical article:
The Protein Debate: Dr. Loren Cordain & T. Colin Campbell

Doing even a quick search you will find ample evidence of the follies of being a vegetarian. Now, I realize you can find all kinds of articles supporting both and that is a problem with with the internet. However, after reading many, many of them over the years, and several books, in my opinion the science is completely behind the notion that humans are omnivores and really need to eat meat.

The above article is somewhat of a back and forth debate between the china study author and Loren Cordain. The debate is pretty one-sided, I think, as Cordain points to a lot of scientific evidence, noting that human teeth, digestive system and many other processes in our body are devoted to and even require quite a bit of protein, fat and cholesterol. Whereas the china study uses mostly anecdotal and observational evidence. And what's really bad about that is that the authors ignore all the observations that don't support their preconceived notions. Their main points being that, obviously, fat and cholesterol is bad for you.
I'm simplifying the debate, of course, as it's very long.

But mounds of evidence continue to support the idea that fat, and even cholesterol, is not bad for us. And it's even necessary for many processes in the body. And yet there are some outrageous claims by even doctors who support vegetarianism that are just not supported by the facts. And those facts are becoming more "proven" as time goes on.

While it's true that people are different and react differently to various things when it comes to diet, the only thing that has been made clear when it comes to vegetarianism is that some people can get "get away with it", while others suffer badly from attempting it. What you won't see mentioned in the annals of vegetarianism is that it is the most failed diet in the world. Now, they'll claim that people fail it because it's too hard for them to do. But in fact, there are stories after stories of people who have suffered terrible health problems because they were convinced by others that it's the better way to eat. The only cure from the problems caused by this diet, was going back to eating meat.

I know people can point to so-and-so person who's a vegetarian and has muscles, etc... what I'm saying is that that is not the norm. Most people cannot do that. And I'm sure they'll disagree with me, but...

I could go on, but then I'd be as long as reading all those other articles. :)

Andy
 
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Andy Alexander

Level 1 Valued Member
A little side note on the cholesterol debate (even though I'm sure everyone here knows by now that eating cholesterol is not a problem :) ). We have chickens on our little farm and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I eat probably 2 dozen eggs per week. I have had my cholesterol checked... perfect numbers.

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MattM

SFG1
Certified Instructor
A little side note on the cholesterol debate (even though I'm sure everyone here knows by now that eating cholesterol is not a problem :) ). We have chickens on our little farm and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I eat probably 2 dozen eggs per week. I have had my cholesterol checked... perfect numbers.

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I eat that amount of eggs and some weeks even more. I buy them from local farmers. Night and day compared to store bought eggs from factory chickens.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Great topic!
personally if I'm trying Vegan (and I have for brief forays) I'm not going 80% carbs, I'm actively trying to pack as many non-animal protein sources into the diet as possible. A high Carb and low fat/protein diet sounds like something one would do under duress as other food and /or water supplies dry up.

When attempting to put on weight I've used a bunch of different high-protein concoctions. My best formula was about 75% non-animal proteins and it worked fine for weight gain - about 30 lbs in a year and a half and no pot-belly. On approx 3800-4000 calorie diet, the bulk was from non-animal sources, so I could have certainly dropped the animal component and gotten by fine for normal activity levels.

I honestly don't have much opinion on the science anymore, I believe it is completely possible to make a high protein, high octane diet 100% veg if one is determined to do so - adding meat really just makes it a lot easier (and tastier). I eat plenty of animal products myself, couldn't live happily without butter or eggs or bacon or whole milk etc! That said, I came across video of male chics being tossed into a macerator and have a little more reverence for what goes into my poached eggs.
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
I think something that is sadly under-appreciated by western vegetarians is that Diets are complex. I think this problem goes hand in hand with the reductionist "Macro" picture. If you take a diet that is based on meat and attempt to replicate it's taste and mouth feel with plant parts and science, you are unlikely to arrive at anything resembling a plausible long term diet. Why not simply choose from one of the worlds centuries-old-Vegetarian diets that have evolved over time complete with folk wisdom and all? I would choose Indian food myself.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I think something that is sadly under-appreciated by western vegetarians is that Diets are complex. I think this problem goes hand in hand with the reductionist "Macro" picture. If you take a diet that is based on meat and attempt to replicate it's taste and mouth feel with plant parts and science, you are unlikely to arrive at anything resembling a plausible long term diet. Why not simply choose from one of the worlds centuries-old-Vegetarian diets that have evolved over time complete with folk wisdom and all? I would choose Indian food myself.


Amen brother, there is no shortage of Vegan/largely vegetarian traditions across the global South. Either way one needs to keep a nice balance of protein/carbs/fats for one's lifestyle and goals - human gut flora is pretty adaptable.
 

Deadlifter_

Level 1 Valued Member
Very interesting thread. I have been vegetarian for more than 10 years and i follow this diet simply for ethical reasons. I dont think killing animals is wrong, in fact a hunter gatherer lifestyle would be the best way, breeding and domesticating animals and using them as products is definitely wrong. Id rather fish and hunt than eat meat from factories.
I never bought the idea that meat is bad for our health, we evolved because of hunting.
High fat low carb (veggies fruits ) moderate protein seems like the best way to go. Not talking about keto though
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
@Deadlifter_
I agree with this, your assessment of the possible "ideal" diet composition. I think most vegetarians and certainly vegans underestimate the amount of fats they'll need.

I am not veg though likely will find my way there at some point, I've gone off and on several times for a few weeks to a month at a whack. I don't believe for one second animal proteins and fats are essential for good health, though they make getting good nutrition far easier to manage.

In perspective, I recall reading about a one year study done back in the early 20th century where it was proven one could eat nothing but animal and have a balanced diet - however one had to consume many parts of the animal that are not normally considered "food".

We really are very adaptable, just takes some extra know-how to pull off the veg diet and thrive on it, just as it would take extra know how to thrive on an "all animal" diet.
 
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