This is a Q & A. With myself. Yup. It’s my blog, I’m feeling silly and frankly it’s probably more entertaining that a bunch of words written only by my boring self (my alternative self is way funnier, prettier and more fun to be around).
So what’s this all about then?
I thought it would be nice to have a chat.
I decided to become a vegan for a week after Christmas.
I decided to become a vegan for a week after Christmas.
Why would you even do that?!
A variety of reasons, the most pressing of which was that eating the porcine population of a small (admittedly relatively un-farmed) country and the cheese production from the teats of several herds of lactating bovines had resulted in the unfortunate situation that, by the 28th December, I couldn’t actually remember the last time I vacated the contents of my bowels into the nearest porcelain receptacle.
I was constipated to fuck. It was also a good excuse to go on a “detox” – lots or organic fruit, veg, pulses and nuts – and to start the new year with a bit of a healthy kick after quite an unhealthy December.
That still doesn’t explain why you went vegan – you could’ve just taken laxatives, avoided sugar and not drank wine like the rest of the country.
Yeah. And how healthy that would be! I chose vegan because following a diet is much (MUCH) easier when there are parameters in place. The simpler the parameters, the narrower your options and therefore the easier it is to actually make a choice which falls within those healthy lines. Maybe I’ll write about that at some point. Anyhow, the choices that veganism offers – vegetables, fruit, pulses and nuts – are straightforward, and the two of my own (no soya, no wheat) made it crystal clear what I could and couldn’t eat.
The environmental benefits of veganism were also a pull, but I’d be lying if I said I did it for any moral reason. I do believe in animal welfare and treating all creatures with care, but I also believe that humans were meant to eat meat, and am not going to make up some shit about saving the ickle lambs when it’s really just bollocks.
But what about the bacon?
Yeah, yeah, shut up about the bacon already. It’s not all about pig.
Following a high fat, medium protein, relatively low-carb diet had left me somewhat fearful of carbs. Maybe fearful’s a bit strong, but I’m definitely not their biggest fan. I love the low carb life. It fuels my training, I don’t feel hungry, I get to eat a LOT of tasty food, and I don’t miss sugar and bread and all that kind of stuff (and if I’m honest I eat it when I want to anyhow so don’t exactly feel deprived). But I don’t eat that much fruit and tend to limit starchy carbs like rice and potatoes. I was curious about the effect a predominately carbohydrate based diet would have on things like recovery after training, body composition and how I’d feel in general. I figured it would be an interesting experiment.
So what did you really eat? Mung beans and lentils?
Yeah, pretty much. Actually no mung beans, but I did get some fava beans from the local health food store which were pretty damn tasty.
*scratches head, fails to come up with Chianti joke*
And it was fun cooking with new and seldom-used ingredients like quinoa and hemp seed, plus a good excuse to drop the cash I’d saved on hunks of animal on cool things like raw cacao powder and coconut milk to go in my coffee.
But you’ve finished now, right?
Yup. Today. I originally planned to do it for a week, but that didn’t seem like a fair time. I did 11 days, but felt like eating meat again so decided to go back to my carnivorous ways. Except it’s not going to be quite like it was before – there will definitely be more pulses and fruit and less fat, especially in the form of dairy products – I really noticed the lack of nose-blocking mucous.
Ick. So you noticed some other good things then, yeah?
Yeah. I pooed every single day except one. Amazing.
I know, right?!
And I feel great – my stomach’s felt awesome, I’ve had more than enough energy for training and general life and not felt hungry at all.
But there must’ve been some bad things too? The gas?
I wouldn’t say bad, but some not great. I’ve definitely noticed the farts. They’ve not been ideal, although I’ve found the tactic of farting next to dodgy looking people whilst out and about has diffused (hah!) the worst of the problems.
It’s a pretty damn inconvenient lifestyle – if you’re out and about there’s not exactly a big choice of things to eat. Crisps, peanuts and cereal bars are about it. Definitely made me have a bit more appreciation for the effort (and money) that full-time (aka. proper) vegans put into their lifestyle.
Also, I love my coffee, and as anyone who follows my Facebook will know, finding a decent substitute for cream has basically been impossible. Actually, I’ll write up a little review of my foray into non-dairy milk and cream substitutes so the rest of the world can benefit and not waste money on weird tasting things.
And you didn’t waste away?
No. Not at all. I actually thought I’d lose weight, but I didn’t (not that I was trying – just assumed that with less fat and animal products that I would). I haven’t lost any muscle mass either, and have definitely got stronger in the past few weeks (although I would’ve expected that even if I subsisted on a diet of toast and cups of tea). The only real thing is that, to me at least, I feel a bit softer. There’s something about a low carb diet that makes even your flabby bits feel tight. Hard to explain. Maybe it’s to do with the amount of water you hold in your cells (sugars pull water in, so when you eat low carb you don’t have that weight).
So no dramatic change then?
Nope. If I’m honest I was expecting a more substantial change in some way, but the fact that there hasn’t been makes me more inclined to sub some of my fat calories for things like lentils and oats.
Hmm, so why did you bother?
To be more mindful and take the time to appreciate the richness that a plant-based diet can offer, to give my body a break from digesting mad amounts of protein, to give it a chance to eliminate the toxins from a diet rich in non-organic mass-produced meat, and to make me a bit less of a carbo-phobe.
OK. Fair enough.
So what’s for dinner?
This entry may (or may not) herald a return to something approaching regular blogging again. Been trying to focus on work (ok, and training) and now that I’m actually earning above minimum wage I feel it’s time to give Bar-barella some lovin’ again. Watch this space (but not for too long lest your eyes dry up and you go blind).