My Vegan Experiment
I consider myself a pretty fit guy. I’m athletic, my weight is under control and I feel healthy most of the time. However, I do have a sweet tooth and far too often I’m tempted by quick and easy food options that aren’t good for me. In the off-season when my triathlon training slows, I inevitably put on weight. It’s obvious that I’m controlling my weight with exercise and not with my diet. I know it’s not healthy, and so to get a better sense of how my diet is affecting me, I have decided to experiment with eating vegan. I’ll be using blood tests and other measures to try and quantify the results for you as best as possible.
Check out this video of me explaining the reasons for the experiment. You’ll also get to meet my son, Caelan. (If you’re reading this via an email or RSS subscription feed, you may need to visit Stop & Breathe to view the video.)
I should note that I have been a pretty big meat eater for most of my life and have followed what I believed to be a healthy paleo approach to eating at times. However, in the past six months I have gradually been loosing my taste for meat. Don’t worry, I’m not going to barrage you carnivores out there with a feel good rant about why I don’t think we should be eating animals. I actually think there is an argument for eating responsible meat sources. The primary reason I’ve lost my taste for meat is because I’ve been listening to my body and practicing mindful eating. I’m simply not enjoying meat as much and I have found that I feel healthier and more energetic after a good plant based meal vs. a steak or chicken.
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My naturopathic doctor, Kandis Lock, has arranged my first round of blood tests and I am waiting for the results. I have also taken note of other factors such as sleep, energy levels, strength, endurance, etc. I’ll eat vegan for a minimum of 30 days (perhaps longer) and at the end of that period will have tests done again so I can compare the results.
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The diet itself is pretty straight forward. I’m eating all plant based foods, which consists mostly of fruits and veggies. I’ll also eat some grains, but I’ll try to avoid gluten all together and will limit the amount of processed grains I consume. I have a big sweet tooth so I know I’ll still be consuming sugar, but I’m going to have much less and I’ll try to get sweeteners from less processed sources such as maple syrup. In the past I have taken one-a-day vitamins, fish oil and other supplements, however I won’t use those supplements throughout the experiment.
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The only supplement I will take is a vegan protein from Genuine Health. That said, I won’t take it in large quantities. I’ll simply use it in fruit smoothies from time to time. My goal is to get protein from whole vegan sources as much as possible, such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. I won’t eat “fake meat” such as soy burgers or soy ground beef. I want to experiment with how easily a vegan diet can be followed using sources as close to the way nature intended them, not simply find alternatives that trick me into thinking I’m eating meat.
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I’m already six days into the experiment and have noticed some interesting results, but I’ll wait to share them with you at the end of the experiment. In the meantime, I thought I’d include some pictures throughout this post of the meals and snacks I’ve been eating so far. There’s a list at the bottom of this post describing each photo. I have to say that preparing healthy vegan meals really isn’t difficult or time consuming (quite the opposite) and with the mix of spices and herbs I’m using, the food is amazingly tasty.
If you have any questions about the experiment or would like recipes for the meals I’m posting, ask in the comments. I’ll also be posting updates in the comments throughout the experiment, so be sure to subscribe for updates or check back if you’re interested.
Header photo – almond, dried cranberry and toasted coconut trail mix.
1. Veggie sandwich on toasted gluten free bread. Made with humus, onion, tomato, cucumber, sundried tomato, spinach, pickle
2. Fresh veggie/fruit juice – beet, carrot, apple, ginger
3. Baked sweet potato wedges tossed in olive oil, rosemary and sea salt.
4. Vegan mint chocolate cupcake from Auntie Loo’s Treats
5. Salad with spinach, tomato, red pepper, onion, toasted almonds, broccoli and carrot slaw, avocado, cilantro and Thai peanut dressing.
6. Slow cook oats with almonds, raisins, toasted coconut and maple syrup.
7. Vegan and gluten free chocolate peanut square.
8. Refried black beans, lime and cilantro sautéed veggies and avocado/tomato/cilantro/onion/lime salad.
9. Home made guacamole and salsa with organic blue corn chips.
10. Curried veggies with lentils and steamed rice.
11. Apple wedges with almond butter.
12. Tomato slices with raw zucchini and home made garlic/basil/pine nut pesto. Cucumber slices with humus.