Thursday, July 16, 2015

Going Vegan - an Exploration of Eat Less; Mostly Plants - to avoid death

Concerned about Death? want to avoid it in a robust way of youth/health preserving? Oh ya. So how about "mostly plants" for eating and less death? Does that help? Magic 8 ball and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says, looks promising. 

inadvertently, increasingly raw: home grown kamut wheat grass - so easy
with spinach, banana, brown rice protein powder fresh ground cinnamon
Hence, over the past 5-6 weeks, i've been exploring going vegan. That is eating less; mostly plants. It's not about weight loss - though i have been curious about that effect. It's been about budget - is it cheaper - and most especially - sustainability - and not really of the planet - but that's there - i mean about my health. And longevity. 

Death - and really the ill effects of aging - are things i'd like to avoid right now. IF you're over 24, that's where you're heading. We peak around 24-27, eh? So how optimise telomere length for this post peak period - which is usually longer than the pre-peak? Well, deliberate exercise, eating slightly less (the occasional fast) and a more plant-based diet seem to be worth exploring, based on research. 

A bit of context: long time on and off vegetarian but not vegan. getting real.

on the road, travel with nuts and seeds; soak overnight
have during morning with coffee. yum
About five years ago i started eating meat again quite happily based on what i saw in blood work - my veg eating was not optimised for performance, so thought screw this, i’m checking out meat again. and that’s been fine. Perhaps not the best way to ditch a dietary practice, but i was hanging with a Paleo / Perfect Health Diet crowd so i had support. I also dropped 4 pounds of fat, so bacon is my friend. 

But to get back to thinking about longevity (and sustainability from a good for person; good for planet synergy as a nice co-incidence)

So about five weeks ago, right before going on a road trip - super timing, right? i started a vegan experiment. And i’m still on it. The decision was to explore what going the full yard - going vegan - was like. 

Ryan Andrews (b2d interview) in his Drop the Fat Act and Live Lean (b2d review) points to Victoria Moran as inspiration. She has a lovely book, Main Street Vegan (US Amazon Link || UK amazon Link ), on exploring veganism as a moment to moment choice (my paraphrase - all inaccuracies mine) My approach is very much informed by Victoria Moran's one day/one meal at a time approach to doing the vegan thing. so not a vegan, but committed to exploring "mostly plants" as Michael Pollan's eat less, mostly plants, phrase goes.  

Mostly Plants: Here’s what i’ve found so far:

  • IT's EASY i find it so much easier to do clear vegan than dealing with dairy / eggs.  it’s also cheaper and one might argue healthier.
Lentils, soaked over night, cooked in pressure cooker,
with fresh sautéed onions tomatoes and mm mm spices.
Cheap, super nutritious - serve with greens - lasts a week.
  • VEGETARIAN COP OUT?  intellectually - knowing how meat is processed whether free range or organic or grass fed is for dairy - i’ve been to the farms so labelled. i don’t see how animal (ab)use with chickens and cows for egg/dairy is much different than eating the slaughtered or asphyxiated end product. If you can use a cow for milk, you know what happens to the beast at the end of its life cycle? You know what happens to male chicks? so WTF. I feel like an idiot for doing that so long.
    Dark chocolate: vegan - beyond vegetarian
    - no dairy (and often no sugar or just a touch)
  • Feels like yoda: either eat or don't eat animal products; their is no try.
    In other words, and this is just me - for me - i’ve kinda given up on vegetarianism -  intellectually - as a cop out.  The arguments about animals at that point just get too nice. And there’s no energy/sustainability argument that can save it either. it just doesn’t work. Either you’re in or you’re out - i say to myself - if you're going to claim to be something. And right now, i claim to be an opportunistic vegan - i opt for that right now as a default.
  • ASK! Restaurants Will Go Theere - for your Green Backs. When i’m out, i also find it empowering to ask a restaurant if they can just put together something green and beany/lentilly - lots of dark stuff - i’m amazed how willing to accommodate these places are. Sometimes completely surprised. Like testing for wifi where you KNOW they won't have it and oh wow there it is. Yesterday this gastropub bent over backwards to figure out a way to do something that met the vegan way - made sure i knew something i'd suggested "red pesto" had dairy "well let's try something else..." This is cool as a way to help folks i work with say "see, you can ask; it's ok if it's not on the menu" 
Restaurant (@theGoatUK) truly iterated to pull every usable item from its full
menu - v. non-vegan - to create a vegan lunch. No
idea what the orange stuff was, but kinda tasty.
  • It's a Choice When push comes to shove - it did out a a business dinner the other night and rather than to -and fro’ing with the waiter about me and my dietary needs, i was fine to eat a piece of fish - opportunistic vegan - creating opportunities as frequently as i know how so far.
  • BUDGET Oh ya, and my food budget? that's part of the experiment i'll be looking at again in another week, but it's looking like a SIGNIFICANT difference in my grocery spend. Esp. when you're the must be free range, grass fed, not grain finished, home schooled type of meat eater. 
stuff sprouts - just add water - soak, drain
and literally rinse, wait, repeat - good things happen like increase protein quality
  • New Way to Explore Food for Fuel not Fat In terms of clients working with me around fat burning, and healthier relationships with food and their bodies, and we look at dairy - that becomes one of the easiest performance ways both to save calories (assuming there are sufficient nutrients in the mix already, so this may not be a starting point at all)  i’m stunned at how much extra *stuff* comes into meals from processed dairy and eggs. If you say goal: reduce/eliminate dairy/eggs, that also gets rid of processed food pretty much in a heartbeat. it’s stunning. Not saying these things are evil, and not saying it's good to do UNLESS there's a great practice for how to replace the protein/healthy fats that are there, but it becomes part of the conversation now.

Optimising for Mostly Plants - one meal at a time. 

SO right now, i’m personally optimising at the moment for mostly plants - the raw and the cooked  - and getting into sprouting grains and legumes to make them more tasty, live and consequently bio-available. I LOVE sprouting chickpeas. Those things sprout crazy fast. As does Quinoa. IN a fry pan with some veggie umami Tast no. 5 paste. um umm good. 
sprouted chick peas, sprouted rice, sprouted oats and
greens and beats and seasonings and WOW. taste bomb
I can make Dal on sunday and it’s tasty and lasts all week long. awesome.  And CHEAP. and fresh. 

Main Street Vegan
US Amazon Link || UK amazon Link )
As Victoria Moran suggests, I take it a day, even a meal at a time, and just ask before i eat, can this be a plant based meal?  Implicit in this question is "a healthy, nutrient dense, satisfying" plant based meal.

Im not religious - last night i had chai tea and that is milk based and i loved it - but now i'm thinking, hmm, what would the social alternative be there without dairy? is there one? if yes what? 

I love this one meal at a time, no judgements; each meal is a choice. I know why i'm making this choice: sustainability of me for as long an happily as possible - and the nice side benefits for the planet aren't bad either. 

This is an experiment - mind you - i haven't committed to this as a way of life - but i'm intrigued, and enjoying on many levels. No massive changes in weight clarity of mind or other such things, but them i'm a pretty clean eating omnivore - so not really expecting much there. And 5-6 weeks is early days yet. But, cool. worth continuing. Today. Right now. After coffee. Black. Fresh roasted

If you're an athlete, lifter, or someone looking for hypertrophy/strength and think how can this be done on a vegan plan? you may find this plant-based experiment by John Berardi interesting (and here's part II)

How about You?

Are you exploring mostly plants? how's it going?
What encourages you to explore - even a couple days a week? or a meal a day?

What keeps you from exploring?
What would you need to know to make it safe and fun?
How goes?

i'm on twitter @mcphoo but please feel free to leave comments here - they go to moderation after a couple days to deal with spam alas. but floor's wide open.
Look forward to your thoughts.

Meanwhile, eat less; mostly plants - lots to recommend it.

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