My 30 Days Vegetarian Experiment

Food choices are personal and proving that one diet is better than others may be very controversial, however, after my 30 days following a vegetarian diet, I feel it might be helpful sharing my results and insights, so that you can decide by yourself:

My abs keep strong and visible. My performance in the gym keeps getting better. I got new personal records in most of the exercises. My mood keeps great. I am sleeping like a baby and hitting each day as a warrior, there is no lethargy, and definitely, there is no muscle loss.

A quick research is enough to find the several advantages of following a BALANCED plant based, vegetarian or vegan diet in order to help the environment, the animals and improve our Health. However, by living under constant pressure and stress, many of us end up forgetting the importance of food for nourishment and not only for pleasure.

"Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food" - Hypocrates

But what are those diets all about?

Plant Based Diet: It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes. It excludes or minimizes the consumption of meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar and oil.

Vegetarian Diet: It does not include meat, chicken and fish, but it might include dairy and eggs. (I actually included eggs for the experiment)

Vegan Diet: It contains only plants, such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits. Vegans don't eat food that comes from animals, including dairy products and eggs.

So here are three questions that I made to myself before starting the 30 Days Vegetarian Experiment:

1) By doing it, will I help the planet?

Yes. Livestock generate more gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined (UN 2006 Report). It is also responsible for deforestation and the waste of water, fuel and food supplies (40% of the world’s grain production is fed to livestock). By adopting a vegetarian diet, we help to reduce global warming and fight for a more sustainable planet.

2) By doing it, will I be helping the animals?

Yes. You save an average of a hundred animals per year just by not including them in your diet. By following it, you also inspire others to do the same (thanks Ashley), being able to help much more than a hundred animals.

3) By doing it, will I still be able to sustain Optimal Health and seek improved Performance & Aesthetics?

Yes. You can be healthy, feel like your favorite superhero in the workouts (Spider-man) and still look good naked on a plant based, vegetarian or vegan diet.

After finding reasons enough to do it, here is what I have learned from the experiment:

As in any other diet, a vegetarian, vegan or plant based diet, may be a total failure if you don't know what you are doing. Even though eating is a natural habit, the help of a nutritionist, or personal trainer specialized in fitness nutrition on the first steps may give you much faster and safe balanced results (this is valid for ANY diet, a vegetarian diet is not any dangerous than a non-vegetarian one). Also, I suggest using a food tracker app, so that, you can make sure you are getting the right amount of energy (Calories), macronutrients (protein, carbohidrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals).

What About Protein? It is possible to get enough protein from vegetable sources (lentils, chickpeas, beans, nuts, seeds...) and by keeping your diet varied you should not be concerned about complete proteins, after all, science has already proved that amino acids from different foods may complete each other (eg. brown rice and beans).

What about Vitamins and Minerals? There is enough there in the plants, except for B12 and Iodine. Vegans, by not including dairy and eggs in their diets should consider using a B12 supplement, and adding a good quality salt to their diets (Himalaian, Celtic), which will provide not only Iodine, but a bunch of other minerals as well.

What About Calcium? Please, read the previous post about Milk.

What About Omega-3 and the Other Good Fats? By including nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut oil to your diet, you are able to consume saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, while also achieving a healthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. Flaxseeds have one of the highest concentration of Omega-3.

And now that I finished the experiment, what am I going to do?

It was so easy following an ovo-vegetarian diet, that now I want to move into a full vegan diet. If I come to get out of track in some point in the future, I am very confident that I will come back even stronger, because for the first time I can see that by changing my food habits, I play a great part in the fight for a more sustainable planet and the ethical treatment of animals.

Keep strong. And eat your vegetables.