This is my first ever blog post, and what better way to kick off IsItVeganUK, than by telling you about a month long experiment I embarked on yesterday.
“What diet is best for your body? Vegan vs. Meat” – http://www.trainingtemple.co.uk/vegan-vs-meat/
Myself (vegan), Saffee Dineen (pescetarian) and Cobi Campbell (carnivore) are exploring the effect that diet has on strength gain (full details on the above link).
I took up my new vegan lifestyle roughly 6 months ago. Despite a few initial stomach complaints, I feel more energetic and more alert than ever. Gone are the afternoons I fall asleep at my desk, and I now sleep soundly throughout the night. My skin is clearer, my hair shinier and my nails grow at an alarming rate. However, despite all these amazing and unforeseen benefits, I have dropped about 1 stone in weight. I can probably attribute this to a huge reduction in my saturated fat intake, but I wonder if it is purely body fat alone, or if I have indeed lost muscle mass too.
So when Saffee (Training Temple Yoga studio owner) approached me with her idea for an experiment, I jumped at the chance. For 4 weeks we will conduct a trial to see which diet enables the most strength gains; carnivore, pescetarian or vegan? I think most people will automatically go straight to the obvious; that a diet high in meat protein will see the most muscle gains. I hope we may see a different and unexpected outcome.
I stopped weight training about 1 year ago, when I started concentrating on my yoga practice, and since becoming vegan I have barely given my protein intake a second thought. Researching the protein content of all my vegan favourites shocked me somewhat. Yes my diet is already rich in nuts, seeds, beans and leafy green veg, but the quantity of these that I would have to consume, in order to hit my 70g of protein per day, would be colossal. I had to widen my search and think outside the box. I have tried to stay away from meat substitutes, and I especially don’t want to start consuming the hydrogenated fats in vegan “cheese”, so it has been to tofu that I have turned.
My first main meal was a braised tofu steak, purchased from Holland & Barrett, in a homemade peanut satay sauce. Why have I not eaten this before?! Pairing with beans, peas or broccoli, and with 3 steaks in a tin this has seen me through 2 lunches at work and one after workout dinner at home. I’ve purchased another tin and think that this will become a staple of the next 4 weeks.
Monday 6th October – Day 1 food diary
Breakfast – Banana (mashed) with mixed nuts and seeds
= 10g of vegan protein
Lunch – Braised tofu steak in peanut satay sauce, with mixed pea salad
= 18g of vegan protein
Dinner – Braised tofu steak in peanut satay sauce, with broccoli, pea and broad bean medley
= 20g of vegan protein
Workout – Weight and bodyweight plan devised by Saffee, followed by a soy based protein shake
= 22g of vegan protein
TOTAL = 70g of vegan protein goodness!
Far too many men hogging the mirror in the free weights area of my gym
Daunting at first (I was the ONLY girl in the free weights area), but I fronted it out. I will however try to get to the gym before work for the rest of the month. I’ll be able to use the equipment I want with no waiting, and will have the mirror all to myself
Initial weights a bit high, so I am going to build up to them
Felt good during the training, didn’t tire, but was starving by the time I got home, despite my post-workout protein shake
Keep up to date with our workout and diet progress here, on my Instagram (@isitveganuk) and on the Training Temple Instagram (@trainingtemple) and blog (http://www.trainingtemple.co.uk/vegan-vs-meat/)