OK so I am just going to cut to the chase – peeps wanna know why I decided to go plant-based (I will explain why I use plant-based and not Vegan in a bit). You are a bodybuilder! – what about the gains? – where you gonna get your protein? Honestly – it was an accident! Pretty typical for me to be fair. I decided that I wanted to follow a diet that was predominantly plant-based, explanation to follow, and if I fancied throwing down and going carnivore, I would! That didn’t quite work out. Long story short I ate some Monkfish that didn’t like me – I thought it may just be some dodgy fish and brushed it off. A couple of days later I fancied my favourite, scrambled eggs on sour dough rye and low and behold the same thing. I am now scared to eat animal products – I mean what if I am out in public going all Palaeolithic man and I spew my guts – not a good look! So, I am now powered by plants – mostly!
So why the decision to eat more plant-based in the first place. Ok so like many female competitors in off-season I feel like a lumpy lump of a woman. Going from stage lean to offseason murves takes some getting used to – in fact I refuse to accept it, sooooo I started to track my macros again. Increasing my protein consumption didn’t quite have the effect I was hoping for – instead of turning into Mrs Hulk I started to experience palpitations, palpitations make you feel like your heart is beating too hard or too fast, skipping a beat, or fluttering and it was scary. I thought it might be the coffee – I was only having a cup a day, if that, but I cut it out anyway – that didn’t work.
I work in Public Health by day (I am a freak by night hahaha – I am joking) and am a stickler for evidence based research so I started my investigations. Those investigations led me to a documentary titled, What the Health? As I question EVERYTHING, I went off and bought a library of books, How Not to Die (yes that is a real book title and in my defence, I was having palpitations!), Whole and Proteinaholic – the latter being my favourite of the three.
These books explain how, the messages we receive regarding optimal human nutrition were born, the reality of many of the nutrition based ‘scientific’ trials and how in the long term, we, the lay-people can determine fact from fiction. Sitting back and reflecting on this ‘new’ information, most of it is common sense, the problem however is that we often doubt what we instinctively believe to be true in favour of what the so-called experts tell us is true! Just because it is the way things have always been done, at least in the developed world, it doesn’t necessarily make it right. If this new information was to be believed it was the animal protein I was consuming causing the palpitations!!! *gasp*
One of the major shockers for me was clarification on the amount of protein we require as human beings. In Proteinaholic, Dr Garth Davis explains that protein requirements should be based on total lean mass in kilos. What this means is that we should be calculating our protein consumption as a gram of protein per KILO of lean mass and NOT a gram of protein per pound of lean mass as commonly calculated. I am not gonna lie this does make me itch with discomfort. If this is to be believed it decreases my protein consumption by MORE than 50% and is SO far from what has been previously and consistently communicated to me it would be easy to write this man off as delirious – if not for his overwhelming scientific support and common-sense approach, this book would be in the bin. Of course, there is some uplift when looking at sporting needs, surprisingly he suggests bodybuilders only need a 5% uplift on the baseline protein requirement! *mind blown*
Instead of boring you with science I have decided to make myself a real-life science experiment and give it a go for the next six months – take some measurements, half-naked pics and all that good stuff.
So, I hear you say, what have you experienced/learned in the three short weeks since beginning your plant-based journey. In no particular order
- Honey is from the bums of bees and is therefore not a vegan food!
- When you combine lentils and mushrooms in a sauce you get a surprisingly meaty texture
- When eating plant based you go number twos a lot (three or four times daily) and it smells like a freshly mowed lawn hahaha
- My skin now looks photoshopped (not my words)
- I have mental clarity, I think faster and no longer have the memory of a gold fish
- My palpitations are gone!
- I am two-pound lighter (not the intention)
- I sleep better
- The orange peel has mysteriously disappeared from the backs of my legs and bum
- I lift significantly heavier. I have curled 12kg dumbbells for longer than I can remember with no significant improvement in strength, I now curl 17.5kg (each MF’ing arm!). A 45% increase!
- I have saved LOADS of money!
- I still fart loads but they no longer claim lives
- I have finally started to make GAINS!!!!
- My kitchen and I have reunited as to eat a truly plant-based diet you must be organised
Ok so finally I use the term plant-based rather than vegan as I do not want to feel trapped in a hypothetical [vegan] box. I don’t want to hide in a corner for fear of being discovered for having a teaspoon of honey in my tea or because I ate a Peshwari naan last weekend – it just isn’t that serious.
Have further questions? Comment below, email me at the firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter @bakingbodybuild or Instagram @thebakingbodybuilder
Have a great day all xxx