Considering going vegan. need help.

Alex.the.curious

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Hi,

I'm Alex. I'm 18 years old and deeply convicted by the way that our modern society is treating our planet. I want to do my part to take care of the Earth and have already adopted a Zero Waste mentality along with striving toward a self sufficient life in the future(small scale farming).
I have recently become very interested in a vegan lifestyle because I have heard that it is the most sustainable way of living/eating. In addition to that I am horrified by the treatment of animals in factory farms. I don't so much have a problem with the death of animals for food but certainly am concerned with the level of absolute torture involved in the conventional meat industry.

With all that said it should be a pretty easy decision to become vegan but heres my problem:
I've been living a paleo lifestyle since I was 12 years old. Not insanely heavy on the meat but at least one meaty meal a day. I have determined over the past 6 years that grains of almost all varieties cause me gastrointestinal problems. This would complicate me going vegan because I would not be able to use grains to supplement my diet.
A second problem is that I am an athlete and need to be sure that I get the proper macronutrients to increase muscle mass and maintain my active life. Well defined and large muscles are something I really enjoy having and I would really like to be able to maintain them.

I want to educate myself on these topics and I don't know where to start. I want to hear from both sides so I can take the information and decide for myself what will be most beneficial to my mental and physical health and also for the environment.

I'd really appreciate some guidance on where to begin my research. I want to hear from both sides of the spectrum. Arguing for and against veganism. I want to be as informed as possible before making this decision.

Thanks,

Alex
 

callador

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I'm new to this myself, but so far my strength levels haven't plummeted. I compete in powerlifting, so being able to increase strength while doing this diet is key.

After looking around at things, and even trying a lower protein version of the diet my first week, I opted to go back to higher protein. I didn't feel as well lifting when I was getting 160g - 170g of protein a day. Now I am shooting for 250g and I feel much better. I would try and 1g per pound of lean body mass (so subtract your fat weight from your body weight). I would also shoot for .3g per pound of lean body mass for fat too. Everything else is carbs. :) This would put you at macros that most athletes would use for strength training.

As for grains, can you eat rice? I am trying to combine protein sources to get a better amino acid profile (like beans and rice). If not, you would have to try to find a way to combine other plant protein sources. Soy is pretty complete, so that is an option too. I also take one plant based protein shake that has 50g of protein in it per day (2 scoops plus soy milk). I get 200g from my actual foods I eat.

It is too early for me to tell yet, but I am also willing to supplement amino acids, etc. to get the job done. Right now I use Leucine and Creatine, but if I needed Lysine or whatever, I would throw that in my shake as well. Not everyone is willing to do that though, which would make the diet more difficult.

What are you lifting right now for the compounds (squat, bench, DL, and overhead press)?
 
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shaun

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Hello, Alex.
Good luck mate.
Tbh, going vegan was easy for me, I've not fell off the wagon at all.
Obviously, everyone is different but, is never go back.
All the best, Alex.
 
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Alex.the.curious

Alex.the.curious

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I'm new to this myself, but so far my strength levels haven't plummeted. I compete in powerlifting, so being able to increase strength while doing this diet is key.

After looking around at things, and even trying a lower protein version of the diet my first week, I opted to go back to higher protein. I didn't feel as well lifting when I was getting 160g - 170g of protein a day. Now I am shooting for 250g and I feel much better. I would try and 1g per pound of lean body mass (so subtract your fat weight from your body weight). I would also shoot for .3g per pound of lean body mass for fat too. Everything else is carbs. :) This would put you at macros that most athletes would use for strength training.

As for grains, can you eat rice? I am trying to combine protein sources to get a better amino acid profile (like beans and rice). If not, you would have to try to find a way to combine other plant protein sources. Soy is pretty complete, so that is an option too. I also take one plant based protein shake that has 50g of protein in it per day (2 scoops plus soy milk). I get 200g from my actual foods I eat.

It is too early for me to tell yet, but I am also willing to supplement amino acids, etc. to get the job done. Right now I use Leucine and Creatine, but if I needed Lysine or whatever, I would throw that in my shake as well. Not everyone is willing to do that though, which would make the diet more difficult.

What are you lifting right now for the compounds (squat, bench, DL, and overhead press)?
Thank you so much for your response. Unfortunately I actually can't eat rice. It's quite annoying because rice is such a versatile grain.
In other news I have decided to begin the transition to a vegan diet. I still have research and work to do before I can get it done but I've decided thats what I want to do. Thanks again!
 
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Alex.the.curious

Alex.the.curious

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Hi Alex... I am by no means a weight lifter... But I am a physician who advocates a plant-based diet (vegan without the junk food) for optimal health. There are some power lifters and professional athletes who are vegan and maintain muscle mass. I would reach out to them... most of them have blogs and ways to reach them because they want to help others recognizing they are in the minority. What I can tell you from a health perspective (jeeping in mins I care about your health and quality of life 20-50 years from now). that eating all of that animal protein will eventually catch up to you and in not so great ways.

I also usually don't take this much of my time to reply to these things...but your post was refreshingly smart. You are right to get all the evidence and weigh it for yourself. Experts are a dime a dozen including myself ... not saying we don't add value but you should be the one in charge o f your health... not blindly listening to what one person or a few people have to say.

To that end, aside from health education, I am actively involved in many clinical studies. Thus, I am evidenced based. I make decisions based on evidence. If somebody tells me something I want them to be able to back it up. Prove it to me. :)

It sounds like you may be that way too. Here's what I suggest. You need a baseline of of your health right now before you make any changes. Go to your doctor and get a blood test. I can tell you what panels to request should you decide you want to. Then you will need help transitioning because of the grains issue... again do your research because you are right too think that complicate things a bit. There are plenty of vegan health coaches out there.Then change your diet and eep a journal of how you feel-- and its effect on weight lifting. Give it at least 4-6 weeks. You can do anything for 4-6 weeks and even if you lose some muscle mass ( I don't believe you will...but, I'm also not an oracle :) you knowhow to gain it back. Then repeat the blood tests. You will have many markers of your overall health to compare your old diet vs a vegan one. You will have evidence and best yet ...it is evidence from your own body.

If after doing your research you want to try it... I can enroll you in one of our upcoming studies ( I have 2 left this year) and you can get all the support you need free. If you decide its not for you. That's good too.

Good luck to you.

Jenna
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. It really helped and encouraged me. I have decided to begin transitioning to a more vegan lifestyle. I still have research and planning to do before I can get there but I'm on my way. I currently am doing vegan Tuesdays and Sundays. I've found that I feel more alive on my two fully vegan days of the week and look forward to seeing if that continues as I become more fully plant-based. Thanks again for your response!
 

Jamie in Chile

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I agree with your reasons for changing to a more ethical diet.

Try a small amount of grains rather than a large amount and experiement with different types. Try and experiment with larger portions, and more vegetables, fruits and legumes/nuts.

It sounds like a steady approach will work best for you. I hope you can continue in this direction.

I have'nt noticed a huge difference in how I feel but I can run a little faster and that's about it. Certainly nothing worse.
 

Jamie in Chile

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It might help if you explain what grains you can't eat, or do you literally mean all grains. What about bread.

Legumes are technically grains, can you eat those? I was assuming in my previous post you can eat legumes and aren't including them as grains.

I think that you could experiment with things like brown instead of white, organic instead of inorganic, different types of grain you haven't tried yet (quinoa?) but only in small quantities.