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Old 05-11-2011, 08:20 AM   #1
Sheldon Kreger
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7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

This discussion has come up in a lot of places, so I thought I'd start a dedicated thread.

First, a bit of background / philosophy

I'm male, 21, and I've been vegetarian for about 7 years. I'm 5'10 and weigh 144 lbs.

I chose this lifestyle because I think factory farming and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are unethical. I understand that humans are entirely capable and can be healthy eating meat. I do my best not to be an ideological zealot, judging other people's choices, etc. That also means that I have avoided dairy, eggs, etc. My body doesn't tolerate milk, ice cream, etc. anymore.

That being said, I have eaten wild game a handful of times over the years, and I eat wild caught fish about once a month. So, not entirely vegetarian, but very close. Another note about the eggs and dairy - being young, it was essentially impossible for me to avoid this stuff all the time. I'm sure grandma's brownies had butter and eggs.

From the ages of 14 to 20, I had very little physical activity. I was a competitive debater, student, and drummer. Lots of thinking - very little moving. I can't even think of a time when I ran a mile during those years. Bad news, I know.

Second, my successes and failures as a vegetarian.

Up until 2 years ago, my vegetarian diet was terrible - anything my parents would cook minus meat. Very, very, very, very bad idea. Very bad idea. On top of this, I would eat very little. Nobody realizes that without meat, you can eat tremendous amounts of vegetables and fruit - usually more than was being cooked for the entire family. It's been a problem since I was a toddler. Back then, my doctor told my parents to feed me literally anything I would eat - including eating fast food regularly, if need be.

Last year, I was at a university which served only organic vegetarian meals. Yes, it's the only school in the country to do so, and I was there. My diet was very good - we're talking about upwards of 15 servings of vegetables a day (much of it raw), lots of healthy oils, lots of fruit, lentils, sweet potatoes, dahl, beans, spices, etc.

In retrospect, this diet was still lacking essential fats, B12, and low in protein. Still, I was eating pretty well, and I was eating a lot because the food was available.

I've been at a different for the last year, and the food is not available. It is very hard for me to find food, and also make time to prepare it.

On a typical day, here is what I eat:

4 cups quinoa with 6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil - or two bean burritos with cheese.
6 servings of vegetables - either steamed or fresh.
4 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter.
2 pieces of fruit.
15 grams hemp protein.
2 cups almond, soy, or rice milk.
1/4 cup hemp seeds.
A bagel with egg, cheese, butter, or two hardboiled eggs.
8 ounces of coffee.
80 oz. water.
7 grams psylium husk.
10 grams chlorella.
1 gram dried reishi mushroom.
2 grams saw palmetto.
A powerade or some fruit snacks.
A B vitamin supplement.
A glucosomine supplement.
A DHEA supplement.
I eat 2 servings of tuna, pollock, or shrimp twice a week.
A beer or two on the weekends.
A donut or piece of cake 4 or 5 times a week.
Also note that I am completely drug free, including tobacco (this is very important).

Problems with current diet

1. Too small of quantity. On a good day, this *might* add up to 1700 calories.
2. Need more fruit, and probably more water. This one is easy to solve.
3. Lack of variety. It doesn't matter how good this stuff is if I'm eating it every day.

Results with current diet

I feel awesome. I can think clearly and focus as long as I'd like. Unless I eat too much, I always feel ready for physical or mental activity. This is something I value greatly.

I gained 9 lbs in my first two months of CF. I was surprised - I knew I wasn't getting enough calories.

I rarely feel hungry usually twice a day. Other than that, I have to put effort into eating more.

Motivations for eating meat

1. Add more calories without adding volume.
2. Add more fat / protein.
3. Variety. This is the main motivation.
4. I like to try new things.
5. I want to be able to say that I have tried several diets and be able to justify my preferences.

Questions for meat advocates

1. How do you respond to the argument that meat and dairy is bad for your digestive system?

Watch this before you get all excited:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMy8Aq12Ogs

2. What kind of meat should I be eating at first? What kinds of meat won't make me sick?

3. When do you eat meat?

4. Any other good reasons I should eat meat?

Questions for vegans

To be honest, I would prefer to live on a vegan diet. Here are the problems I'm having, and why I'm trying this meat-eating experiment.

1. I can eat a lot of vegan food and be hungry an hour later. It's very hard for me to find vegan food, and I can't carry enough around with me.

2. I have very limited access to organic, raw, and unprocessed food. Big problem.

3. When I do have access to organic, raw, and unprocessed food, I can't afford it. Also a big problem. It's going to be another year or two before I can.

4. Variety. Variety. Variety.

My goals with this experiment

1. Learn more about different kinds of diets.
2. See how I feel on different kinds of food.
3. Continue to gain weight.

I'm going to try this for three months.

I appreciate all your help and hope that other people will find this information useful. I will post up my experiences as time passes.

-sheldon
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:36 AM   #2
Chris Caruso
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

Quote:
A beer or two on the weekends.

Also note that I am completely drug free, including tobacco (this is very important).
Wait, what?
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:40 AM   #3
Sheldon Kreger
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

Ok, correction . . . ALMOST completely drug free. I drink beer. Leave me alone hahahaha!

-sheldon
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:42 AM   #4
Meghan Reid
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

It was just interesting that you specifically noted that it was VERY IMPORTANT that you were drug free.....except for beer on the weekend.

No problem with that, it was just a funny discrepancy.

Working on the rest of this post, it'll take me awhile to respond.

Resource 1 for you to look at while I write, it's a good jumping-off point:

http://whole9life.com/2011/02/eating...at-challenged/
WFS

The thing that jumps out to me the most is your deep desire to eat as unprocessed as possible (which is totally admirable, we're all going for that). Except, you eat bagels and cake/dessert 4-5 times per week? That's a lot, in the grand scheme of things.

Oh, and I know you posted your goals in eating differently, but can you expand on your overall physical/performance goals? Why do you want to gain weight? What physical accomplishments are you hoping to achieve? Be specific (not "run faster" but "reduce my mile time by a minute"; not "get stronger" but "get a 2x bodyweight deadlift"). That will be very helpful as we answer your questions.
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Last edited by Meghan Reid : 05-11-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #5
Rebecca Roth
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

I've never been vegan/vegetarian and while I can certainly understand the ethical reason to do so, my personal belief is that our bodies are meant to eat meat (your B12 deficiency tends to corroborate this) so if someone wants to perform optimally, they should probably eat meat. Because of my stance I don't think I can likely address a lot of your questions from a like perspective, so I think you could probably have a read of these, at least the first has been posted here before and is someone in a very very similar situation to your own:
http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/34842...an-erim-bilgin
http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/respons...-diet-advocate
http://hunter-gatherer.com/blog/vega...an-safran-foer

(all wfs)
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Last edited by Rebecca Roth : 05-11-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
Dave Traeger
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

A couple of random thoughts:
  • I eat some form of meat with every meal, and believe everyone should.
  • Why claim drug free when alcohol is a drug?
  • You strive for raw and unprocessed yet eat donuts and stuff.
  • If you like tuna, shrimp, etc. Theres no reason why you can't include more / other types of seafood on a daily basis. If a cow gets rained upon, that's seafood
  • You say you're hungry an hour after eating. Are you sure this is hunger and not carb craving?
  • You can't possibly get the prescribed gram/lb protein per day as vegetarian without supplementing, which then defeats the purpose of being raw/organic.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:19 AM   #7
James Chu
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

To preface, I'm not a vegetarian, nor have I ever tried vegetarianism/veganism. It took me a while to come around, but, I now admire people who can willingly give up foodstuffs based on principles and beliefs. I'm too much of a carnivore to try a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

1. How do you respond to the argument that meat and dairy is bad for your digestive system?

Unfortunately, I can't watch the Youtube link at the moment, but, I think that my personal answer to this question is as follows: The human race has flourished to where we are now, in part, by being omnivores. Our digestive systems can handle pretty much anything. I'm pretty sure we weren't hunting mammoths thousands of years ago because they ate our vegetables. However, there are some groups of humans who have lost the ability to digest certain forms of dairy, and for those, I would agree that Dairy is bad for their digestive systems.

2. What kind of meat should I be eating at first? What kinds of meat won't make me sick?

If you haven't eaten much meat in a while, I'd probably start with small portions of lean meats and eventually increase portion size and fat content. You'd have to experiment to see which types of meat would give you discomfort

3. When do you eat meat?

Whenever I can. Meatless meals cause me to get hungry quickly, so I eventually spend more time and energy (and possibly $) finding/preparing/etc meals.

4. Any other good reasons I should eat meat?

My reasons are purely based on goals and preferences. I have strength goals and muscle growth/maintenance is part of that goal. Not getting enough protein isn't an option. Further, I don't want to spend time thinking about what I'm missing in my diet and how to make up for the deficiency. Meat solves the all of the goals/preferences in one little package.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:46 AM   #8
Rebecca Roth
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

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Originally Posted by James Chu View Post
However, there are some groups of humans who have lost the ability to digest certain forms of dairy, and for those, I would agree that Dairy is bad for their digestive systems.
This is kind of misleading, humans haven't "lost" the ability to digest dairy, in fact we are getting less and less lactose intolerant. By design humans cease producing the enzyme lactase in the quantities needed to tolerate lactose at some point between age 2-5, because our bodies shouldn't NEED milk past that point. Over time and excessive consumption, humans now actually have significantly less lactase deficiency, to the point that the majority of people don't recognize any symptoms of lactose intolerance even in adulthood even with significant and continual exposures to lactose.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:53 AM   #9
James Chu
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

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Originally Posted by Rebecca Roth View Post
This is kind of misleading, humans haven't "lost" the ability to digest dairy, in fact we are getting less and less lactose intolerant. By design humans cease producing the enzyme lactase in the quantities needed to tolerate lactose at some point between age 2-5, because our bodies shouldn't NEED milk past that point. Over time and excessive consumption, humans now actually have significantly less lactase deficiency, to the point that the majority of people don't recognize any symptoms of lactose intolerance even in adulthood even with significant and continual exposures to lactose.
I guess it depends on how you interpret the wording/categorize people. I used to be able to drink milk. Now I can't. I'm part of that group of humans who have lost the ability to process dairy.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #10
Rebecca Roth
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Re: 7 Year Vegetarian - Meat Eating Experiment

Well, again, thats because you were already lactase deficient simply due to the fact that you are no longer an infant, so it's quite normal that through repeated/frequent exposure to lactose your body eventually has had enough of it and can no longer triage the inflammation it creates. What is abnormal, but becoming more and more common, is the instance that even with repeated and frequent exposure people now often don't become noticably effected by the resulting inflammation.
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