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Old Forum Vegetarians and kbs.

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I would be more "impressed" with a vegetarian lifter/strength if the person was a vegetarian from birth.  It's easy (easier) to switch later in life, and maintain a decent level of strength.  Steve can attest to that, for example.


As long as vegetarians are getting a decent amount of protein and filling in nutritional gaps with a good quality supplement they should be fine. It's just easier to get protein from animal sources. They will benefit greatly from the increased amount of micronutrients in the plant foods, and that may be one reason why people report feeling so good switching to vegetarian. It's not that meat is inherently bad (it's the dose that matters), it's that they radically change their eating style to include a lot more fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin/mineral cofactors and yadda yadda that they weren't getting before.
@Matt The 2012 London Olympics wrestling silver medallist (66kg category) was the Indian Sushil Kumar who, it seems, is from a traditionally vegetarian family. He himself is a vegetarian. This may be true of many of the very strong and heavier wrestlers from the traditional schools ("akhadas"). See the article in which the reporter says: "And the majority of them are vegetarians with diets that consist mostly of fruit, nuts, yogurts and lots of milk."
I'm curious about the claim that "There is also the fact that vegans have a shorter life expectancy than omnivores and are much more likely to have psychiatric disorders."

The claim that vegans have a shorter life expectancy contradicts the studies I'm familiar with, for instance the June 2013 JAMA study showing decreased death rates in all forms (lacto, ovo, pesco, vegan) vegatarians when compared with omnivores.

With regard to mental illness, I  wonder in particular if this claim is based on the fairly recent 2012 German study "Vegetarian diet and mental disorders:...".   It is interesting that the study authors note, "For depressive and anxiety disorders, as well as somatoform disorders and syndromes, the results of the t-tests indicate that on average the start of a vegetarian diet follows the onset of mental disorder." (Emphasis added)   In other words, most people became vegetarian after they developed their mental illness.  So certainly a vegetarian diet is not causative, since in the majority of patients it was not practiced when the mental illness manifested.  Another question with regard to the study's method would be:  Why tally the mental illness with the vegetarian diet at all, when a nonvegetarian diet was practiced at the time of disease onset.  The association should in fact tally the mental illness with the nonvegetarian diet, with subsequent adoption of a vegetarian diet.  (Could our depressed and anxious patients be looking to the idea that "food is medicine" due to the poor track record conventional medicine has in helping them?)

If there is other data out there more convincing of these claims, please pass it along as I would love to learn more on the topic.

Full disclosure: I practice a not quite but close (see Geoffrey Levens 5-10% comment) to vegan diet; am returning to strength training after a foray into triathlon, and have seen no adverse effects on my recovery or gains.

A good example for a very strong vegan athlete is Patrik Baboumian:
Hi guys, re supplements - as a vegan I only need b12, even my vitamin d results are very good due to sun exposure. If I were a vegetarian I wouldn't take any. Those vegan strongmen and athletes are a great source of inspiration to me, have a look at Alexey Voevoda.

BTW I've just started my journey into kettlebells, doing S&S and I think all of you here are amazing! I won't post any more comments as I'm practically a new born baby next to you but am and will be reading and learning from these posts and articles. I'm grateful for this website, thank you all, especially Pavel, you're changing my life.
Many omnivores are B-12 deficient. May not have acute symptoms but long term increases risk for dementia and cardio problems. So I think everyone should take that regardless of diet. Vitamin D requires blood test to know your level. Sun exposure is not a guarantee. Small study done in Hawaii  showed 1/2 of the people had low D level despite average of about 29 hours/week sun exposure.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2130-5. Epub 2007 Apr 10.
Low vitamin D status despite abundant sun exposure.
When I lived in California and was surfing several times/week I still needed 4000 iu/day to stay in range. Some need none, some need more. Too much and too little both are risk factors for various diseases so test...

Those guys on   I don't think they are a good example as they use protein powders for sure and other stuff .... that strongmen , powerlifters, bodybuilders cyclists use.

Lots recommend beans as a good source of protein but how could our ancestors eaten these as you have to cook them,can't eat them raw as they are hard and don't taste good. Hunter gatherers wouldn't have had clay pots to boil and cook these. Also they contain lots of anti-nutrients and toxins.


True, hunter gathers would not have eaten beans. But "we" have not been hunter gatherers for many thousands of years and genetic changes can have in a generation or two so that is not an issue. Beans do taste quite good, I love them in fact. The "anti-nutrient/toxin" issue is just not true. Sure if you grind them up and try to eat them raw, but they are broken down to totally harmless with cooking. And some legumes can be eaten/raw sprouted which I do very frequently.

Oddly enough, there is research showing that the more beans you eat the longer you live, at least compared to those not eating them.

Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities

"Beans, they're not just for breakfast anymore!"
Hi Goeffrey - this is according to my blood test actually. I suppose people in Hawaii and California sit behind their desks most of the day. I will look into it though, many people agree with you on that one. Thank you.
I love how in every discussion like this everyone throws around "research" to prove a point that this causes disease and this doesn't and stuff like that.

For every study out there stating something there's another one "proving" the exact opposite. All those studies on nutritition (or exercise) are flawed to a certain point, because they either use animals (some close to human biological reaction, but still not humans) or people with vastly different backgrounds. For example those studies where a group of people doesn't eat X for Y weeks and the other does. Those studys don't factor in everything else going on in the lives of those people... and every study is sort of set up like that.

It is true that all studies are flawed. And most people do treat their diets and react to discussions as if it were religion. It is also true though, that if you read, really read, a whole lot of research, don't cherry pick and look at what they actually did and measured, not at what they claim to have done in summaries and abstracts, you will find that the preponderance of it points in the same direction--eat mostly minimally processed foods from plants, very small amounts of animal sourced foods or none, and minimal to zero highly processed, chemical enriched, crap.

Annette, if your blood test is in mid normal range, no need to look further than that. You are good to go. But many think that just because they get sun exposure they are fine and that is not necessarily true. Only testing can reveal what is happening w/ Vitamin D level
@Geoffrey - Take what you said and you got the Primal Diet, atleast the way i interpret it. I read 3 different books about primal dieting and everyone of them suggested a very high amount of animal protein and fat. I really like meat and wouldn't live without it, but i doubt that, even though our ancestors were eating meat, they did it every day and that it was the big part of their diet.
I don't understand the debate - world championships have been achieved by means of every dietary plan imaginable.  It must be possible to make any of them work.

Eat Strong!

Don't read the "pop" authors and their diet books. I have been studying this stuff for years and there is so much crap out there it is staggering. One person comes up with some simplistic wackdoodle idea that "sounds good on paper" and then a whole army of people write more books repeating the same thing with little to nothing backing it. Gee must be right because I have seen it is a whole bunch of different books by different authors.

Nothing wrong with eating some meat and and fat. But read the actual nutritional research and see what's there.  Some things are good for you or at least harmless in small amounts, not so much in bigger amounts. That is really true about everything. Too much water will kill you. Too much oxygen will kill you. Eat too many leafy greens and you won't have room for needed calories and you will starve. Primal shimal, just "eat [real] food, mostly plants, not too much." And thank you Michael Pollen
I think this conversation is more about health and longevity than "world championship" performance.  As much as we all like to think of ourselves as -- to paraphrase Pavel from one of the early blog posts here -- "the top 1% or willing do what it takes to claw our way into the top 1%," health is actually more relevant than elite levels of performance for many of us.  At least when it comes to nutrition.
Indeed, one man's meat is another man's poison........for me it is gluten. My health has improved immeasurably since ditching the stuff, despite frequent doctors and medical experts claiming that the  gluten thing is just another fad. My intake of veg is double what it used to be and I can accept that that may play a role in my youthful vigour but then so has  S&S.  My DNA structure is such that my bacon receptor gene is permanently on. And it is staying on along with the gene for 'if you eat meat, eat it with a plate of veg. As long as you eat vegetables as a vegetarian then what is the problem? I know and have known vegetarians who don't like vegetables, as odd as it sounds, choosing bread, pasta, cereal, chocolate and diet coke as their staples.  If you are a veg athlete and optimum nutrition is your aim when considering moral or ethical choices you make, then that isn't going to be you I'm sure. as others have said, food choices trump all else - minimal processing sans guff. A tin of beans here in the UK, you know,haricot beans in a sugar bomb tomato sauce, is labelled as "one of your 5 a day" - that's from a government  guideline target of getting punters to eat a minimal of 5 portions of fresh fruit and veg a day. A tin is a vegetable? How can that be? It is a contentious issue in my house as my daughter won't go into a room with a vegetable in it, let alone have one on her plate. A super intelligent kid, just left school with the highest grades possible in maths, English, physics, biology and chemistry and is going to university to study bio-medical engineering, yet will happily have a tin of beans on the basis that it is one of her portions of fresh vegetables! It says so on the tin.........drives me nuts.
Alistair, your daughter sounds like me growing up! I used to physically gag at the taste and would slip my mandatory tiny serving under the table to our faithful dog. In college peer pressure got me to eat veg a little but only w/ tons of cheese sauce slathered on. Finally death by diabetes threat got me to push on it and now I crave vegetables.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned about food over the years is how incredibly malleable our sense of taste is and how it is shaped by two influences. One is of course what we perceive "everyone" is doing but the other and biggest is repetition and habit. Even if a person hates some food or food group, if they eat a little bit daily, after awhile, the hate subsides, then becomes "well, that's not SO bad", and eventually may even transform into "like it a lot." But that path takes dedication and desire.

Years ago, training to be a health coach, I read some study (can't find it right now) that of people told by their doctor straight up, "change this or that about your diet" or "quit smoking" or else you will die, fully 90% will not do it! No matter what they say, they just won't and let the pharmacy roll on...
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