In today’s show I’m weighing in on something close to my heart.
When I was an ultra-moody-The-Cure-obsessed young chick I met a girl who explained the whole pasture to plate food process in more horrific depth than I’d ever imagined.
For years I’d happily munched through meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Suddenly it was tough to ignore the terrified sheep crammed into huge trucks on route to slaughter houses that we sailed past when driving to our skiing weekends away.
The images stuck with me. In fact I fixated on them. Until a certain smoked-trout-and-fish-row-soup breaking point – you may have heard me recall it in an earlier show – where I decided, no more…
I’m going Vego.
Before we get rolling I want to say this podcast is a judgement free zone. I’m simply sharing why I believe being vego is NOT the easiest way to stay fit and lean even though it’s currently my approach.
Probably will be my approach for the rest of my life however I’ll never say never… I used to say I’ll never be a vego… I just loved meat too much.
Ethics aside, in today’s show I’m weighing in on: Being Vegetarian And Getting Lean… the pro’s and con’s from a purely body composition point of view.
Let’s take a look at the PRO’s:
1. Being Vego, like being Paleo brings an awareness and a volition to your eating.
Before you accept on auto-pilot that greasy canapé on offer you ask, “What’s in that spring roll please?” Whether its vego or not you’ve already put a hold on the old hand to mouth process for long enough to decide, “Is this something I want to be feeding my body?”
2. Being Vego, is a convenient Excuse.
Yes, I know we covered excuses as result-ruining-rubbish to avoid in the Monday show however, when you’re still building your ability to politely yet firmly decline food that does not support your goals… it can be pretty handy to pull the “I’m vego” card. This saved me from many a fried and dripping with fat meatball, sausage roll, party pie or dodgy-stodgy pizza in my first couple of years as a vego.
3. Limiting your food options can force you to give up on overly fussy and embrace some of those awesomely nutrious vegetables your mum always told you you should eat.
Who know’s if I’d be so keen on cauliflower, fond of fennel or partial to peppers if I still got to indulge in my previous loves of T-bone steak, roast chook and rack of lamb??
So they are some pretty ok pro’s however let’s check out the CON’s:
1. Lack of Lean Protein.
One of the easiest ways to get lean is to cut the processed carbie crap out of your diet and amp up the lean protein. Even if you’re a vego that eats a lot of eggs… even if you regularly consume a dozen egg whites and 2 whole eggs a day like me – yes true, coming soon is my show 101 ways with eggs – as eggx-a-lent as that is you’re still leaving a whole lot of quality lean protein on the table.
And when eating out you’ll likely find your friends, family and local restaurants are not going to be quite so creative with eggs at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Which leads me to con #2…
2. You’ll be faced with a whole lot of Carb options.
From pasta to pizza to rissoto… Even chickpeas, kidney beans and quinoa are more carb than protein.
This is actually what clinched my decision to include FISH in my diet after 20 years as a vego.
That is, once I realized that tofu was not the solution – it stuffs with your estrogen levels and can lead to extra fat storage round your hips and thighs – and I got over either being the weird one that doesn’t order or the disappointed and hangry low-carb-eatting-vego stuck with a boring, UNsatisfying salad.
Unless your friends and family are down with eating at the rare place that cooks hearty-low-carb-vego, then it really can be struggle-street.
3. It’s super tough to do hearty-low-carb-high-protein-one-ingredient-vego.
Like it’s even tough to say right? 🙂
After I gave up thigh-fat-inducing-tofu I got super reliant on protein powder.
However the thing is, it’s still a really processed food. And I claimed ONE ingredient was the way.
I felt like a fraud.
There’s only so much you can NOT eat right?
It’s the balancing act that you’ll get to negotiate time and time again in relation to your body gain goal.
The Effort v. Results v. Fun with a dash of Integrity ratio.
Whatever eating approach you choose needs to account for:
=> the effort that is sustainable for you.
Do you want to have to make 21 meals a week? I pretty much lived like that pre-fish.
=> the results and the fun that are acceptable for you.
Just how high is the ideal you’re working towards with your body gain goal AND how much fun do you get out of eating? My personal ideal is fairly high… and I also get A WHOLE LOT of joy out of eating and drinking!
=> the integrity that feels congruent for you.
Only you can be the judge of what feels right so far as your eating choices… personally no factory-farm-bacon is ever going to taste good enough to override some of the images I’ve seen online.
AND, organic grass-fed is probably a whole other podcast.
In the interests of sharing some of the better, natural vego protein choices here are 7 that are becoming increasingly available:
1. Hemp Seeds 5.3 grams of protein per tablespoon… gram for gram that’s MORE THAN BEEF!
2. Pumpkin Seeds 4.5 grams of protein per tablespoon… gram for gram on par with beef.
3. Quinoa up to 11 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup… and also pushing 40 grams of carbs a cup.
4. Lentils 18 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup… and also pushing 20 grams of carbs a cup.
5. Chickpeas sounds good raw at nearly 40 grams of protein per 1 cup… however that comes with a massive 120 grams of carbs too. For canned slash the protein to around 13 grams and the carbs to around 30 grams.
6. Chia Seeds 2 grams of protein per tablespoon.
7. Spirulina 1 gram of protein per tablespoon… though a little goes a long way so your serving size will be more like 1/2 a teaspoon.
How to use them?
Quinoa, Lentils and Chickpeas all work well in salads, burgers (your burger has two Portabello mushroom caps not buns though right?) or in the place of rice or pasta. However, as we’ve covered they still have significant carbs to be considered if you’re looking to stick to a low carb routine.
The team at youngandraw.com have a pretty awesome protein packed salad booster mix to sprinkle over your salads. It combines hemp hearts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina and pink Himalayan salt. Here’s a link to the recipe and the great post it’s part of:
The one thing I would 100% without a doubt say don’t do the vego thing as a strategy to get leaner.
It’s the tougher option.
Do it because you hate the pasture to plate process. Or even to see if you function better meat-free… I’ve heard some people do, though personally – from distant memory – that’s not the case.
Time to make today actionable: As I said it’s not my aim to do any converting today… however, one of the many lessons that being vego has taught me is it’s good to try new things.
Or even RE-try the old things that you may not have loved as a kid… who’s really going to love peas when you spent countless nights stuck at the table till you’d finished those pesky lil critters – especially when the fork was only to be held upright for pea stabbing and smooshing not level like a spoon for much more efficient scooping…
Anyway, back to your action. I’d love you to take one new vego protein source for a spin. See if you like it and let me know how you used it.
That’s it for me today, big thanks to you for spending this time with me and I hope you can join me tomorrow for the Thursday Training show and, 4 Cardio Myths.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Confused About What To Eat To Lose Weight?
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