My 30 Days Vegan Experiment

Sunday, the sun heats the streets of Jakarta, the gym is like a freezer and still, my body is melting as if I were in a Bikram Yoga room adjusted to simulate Jupiter atmosphere while the Summoned Valhalla Rising Super Sayan Level 4 Instructor kills me with an advanced workout.

I have just pressed stop on my G-Shock, confirming I've broken a PR for Diane, a tasty workout composed of deadlifts and handstand push ups. I feel great, energized, invigorated, kind of feelings that would be awesome to sell any fitness concept.

Interesting is that it's been one month since I had any source of animal derived food for the last time. In case you have not read about it (previous post), the three questions I made myself before trying vegetarianism, and then veganism were: Is it good for the Animals? Is it good for the Environment? Is it good for my Health? So here is what I learned and what I would like to recommend to my friends and fitness enthusiasts.

What I Learned About Veganism Being Good for the Environment and the Animals:

Among several reasons, by being vegan, you stop contributing for animals slaughtering, torture and abuse while decreasing pollution, waste of natural resources and reducing global warming.

On the other hand, even though it was noticeable to me the change we can make for the animals by not eating meat (mainly if you eat almost a whole cow a year), the idea of helping the environment by doing it may still be controversial.

By getting more and more popular, veganism is also a profitable business for the Industry. Grains and legumes also come from industrial monocultures; vegans may consume fake meat, fake milk, fake fish, fake butter, several different supplements and offered vegan friendly clothes (rubber, plastic, instead of leather) to promote the lifestyle in such way that it keeps growing as a trendy choice, but in fact still destroying and changing the environment in different ways. Sorry, but rubber and packaging is not growing on trees.

So, saying that this is a nice choice for the Environment is only true if you are not buying items derived from factory farming, processed and industrialized foods and products, as well as being aware of the effects of the products and cosmetics you choose.

What I Learned About Veganism Being Good for My Health:

Veganism is possible and may be a healthy choice for most of the people. However, for athletes, bodybuilders, crossfitters and active individuals like me, aiming to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight, without including protein supplements, may be challenging and uncomfortable to the body and mind.

In my case, it was only a partially healthy experiment. I did manage getting all the nutrients that I needed and I actually broke many exercise personal records while experimenting as a vegan, thanks to the high carbohydrate nutrient dense style. Still, as supplementing was not an option for the month of the experiment (low budget, lack of local brands and ridiculous conditions for shipping to Jakarta), I was in a constant fight to get protein enough, eating huge amounts of lentils and soy in order to achieve my daily goals and ending up bloated, feeling constipated because of eating more fibers than needed, farting and burping constantly and sleeping poorly most of the time.

Moreover, being healthy is not only about a physical condition, but also about being in peace with ourselves mentally. By restricting some foods and eating more from others I put myself out of balance and ended up experiencing frequent episodes of healthy food binging, like eating a dozen bananas, cups of oats, hands of guavas, avocados, almonds, all in one seat, sometimes topped with one pound of nut butter.

And Finally the Take Home Message:

Nobody is obliged to stop eating animals, but we should all follow a more varied mindful diet and give more attention to the reasons behind veganism. There are lots going on and food is just the tip of the iceberg. Read books, get informed, watch documentaries, talk to people, kill to know how it feels, meet your meat.

Independent of which pathway we choose, a plant-based diet seems to be the foundation for success. Experience today the several benefits of eating more of the plant protein options including tempeh, lentils, beans, rice, oats and chickpeas. Vegan recipes are actually very tasty.

Vegans, vegetarians, omnivorous or not, we should all avoid overindulging. We already make a huge difference to the Animals, Environment and Health by going back to the basics of food for nourishment, not for the sake of mindless eating, comfort and pleasure.

Support local farms and small business, choose and create the habit of going organic whenever possible. If you choose an omnivorous lifestyle, go for free range chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef, organic fresh non-pasteurized milk. We must all adopt a more ethical behavior towards food, animals, people and environment.

"I am not Vegan, I am not Paleo, I am not Carnivore, I am not Raw, I am not Fruitarian, I am kind of Science & Facts Based, but I am not Researched and Approved by FDA, I am indeed Myself and I Keep Strong."