T Nation

Meat-Eaters vs Vegan?

I’m a meat eater and my friend is very pro vegan.

Question 1:
What can I tell him to make him shutup about how good eating only salad and nuts is for your body. Something scientific, ofcourse.

Question 2 is for you guys:

If you are a vegan, why ? Scientific reason?
If you are an ex-vegan (back in meatbusiness) what changed your mind?

You can show him this.

[quote]NikH wrote:
Question 1:
What can I tell him to make him shutup about how good eating only salad and nuts is for your body. Something scientific, ofcourse. [/quote]
If your friend wants to eat a vegetarian diet, each to their own. If he constantly preaches the virtue of it get a new friend. Nothing is worse then hanging out with someone that has all the answers and is a dick to people that don’t agree.

Most vegans I know do not do it for health reasons but rather because they do not believe in killing or “enslaving” animals. They also know that veganism is not necessarily associated with “healthy” eating.

There may be benefits to eating less meat but I cannot see one for eating no meat.

One could make the argument that on a primitive diet veganism would have been extremely difficult to subsist off of for many of our ancestors due to geographic location. There weren’t any salad-bars in the dead of winter above 35 deg N longitude back in those days.

One could also make the argument from comparative physiology. Humans do not have the most efficient gut or liver which would be required to derive one’s nutrition from an all plant based diet.

[quote]NikH wrote:
Question 1:
What can I tell him to make him shutup about how good eating only salad and nuts is for your body. Something scientific, ofcourse. [/quote]
I don’t really like chiming in to “help” your side of a debate when I’m not really clear on what’s being debated. If he’s speaking from a health perspective, it’s debatable. There are malnourished vegans just like there are malnourished omnivores. For every vegan Russell Brand, there’s an omnivorous Honey Boo Boo. If anything, vegans tend to overestimate the nutrition they’re actually getting (they think they’re eating more than they really are, calorie and macro-wise).

If he’s speaking from an athletic or bodybuilding perspective, sorry to burst your bubble, but there have been successful vegan athletes and bodybuilders just like there have been successful omnivorous athletes and bodybuilders. Yes, they’re fewer in number, but it’s because they’re a subgroup of a subgroup of a subgroup, a smaller total population in the first case.

A vegan diet that provides the fat, carbs, protein, and calories that a person needs to sustain their level of activity will be comparably “effective” to an omnivorous diet that provides the fat, carbs, protein, and calories that a person needs.

[quote]If you are a vegan, why ? Scientific reason?
If you are an ex-vegan (back in meatbusiness) what changed your mind?[/quote]
A few years ago, I experimented and was vegetarian for a month (lacto-ovo [dairy and eggs] two weeks, then lacto [dairy only] two weeks) and then strict vegan for a full month.
http://chriscolucci.blogspot.com/2009/04/life-without-my-meat-part-1.html
I gained strength just like I’d been previously, lost some bodyfat and about 12 pounds of bodyweight, and felt fine overall.

I ended the experiment and returned to an omnivorous diet without having what alcoholics refer to as “a moment of clarity.” I essentially reverted because it was a rigorous and time-consuming diet, like any all-encompassing, lifestyle-altering nutrition plan is (kosher, vegan, pre-contest bodybuilder, etc.)

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I essentially reverted because it was a rigorous and time-consuming diet, like any all-encompassing, lifestyle-altering nutrition plan…[/quote]

I am beginning to believe the time-consuming diets are the only ones worth eating.

Good food should be a lifestyle.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I essentially reverted because it was a rigorous and time-consuming diet, like any all-encompassing, lifestyle-altering nutrition plan…[/quote]

I am beginning to believe the time-consuming diets are the only ones worth eating.

Good food should be a lifestyle.[/quote]
I certainly agree, but that’s getting into a larger picture problem.

Compared to the rest of modern day America, healthful living/eating is not the norm. It’s impractical for some and it’s expensive for many. Not saying those are valid excuses, but they’re enough of a speedbump to keep the majority of people from eating well.

I’m not trying to steer this thread political, but I really like a lot of Michael Pollan’s views on healthful eating:

Read “The Vegetarian Myth” cover to cover.

You will have PLENTY of ammo in any argument pertaining to veganism.

Thanks for that link, that was excellent man.

Hey guys thanks for the replies.

JLone: yeah he’s trying to convert me, not being an asshole though. Nice picture btw.

LIFTICVSMAXIMVS, Iron Dwarf: Yeah I’ve been wondering about this. There’s no way we evolved around ‘raw vegetables’. I was reading your book just now, it has some valid points. If we compare the digestive system of a sheep or a cow to a human it’s quite different. Even our teeth are more a mix of a meat/veggie eater than pure vegetarian.

Chris Colucci: I read your blog. Interesting read. I agree with you that it’s quite possible to ‘get big’ with a vegetarian diet when you are allowed to eat dairy products (and sometimes fish?) and take protein shakes. Btw. I laughed out loud when you wrote about Albert Beckles:

“I get asked this from time to time,” he told me. "I don’t know where the rumor got started, but I’m not a vegetarian.“Curse you, Internet, that’s twice you’ve mislead me.”

However, I have cognitive pain with vegans and bodybuilding. All the pro ‘vegan’ athletes I have seen are either ex-meateaters or small in size. Also, they must be taking supplements, too. For instance creatine and B12 vitamin are as far as I know only achievable to get from meat.

Quick google: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3145223.stm <-- creatine deficiency on vegetarians and supplementation resulted in increased brain power (back to the level of meat eaters). Also, most likely, increased muscular strength.

[quote]NikH wrote:
I agree with you that it’s quite possible to ‘get big’ with a vegetarian diet when you are allowed to eat dairy products (and sometimes fish?)[/quote]
A vegetarian that eats fish is like a virgin that does anal. Call it what’cha want, doesn’t make it true. Funny how often this comes up though. As I wrote, I had several people ask me about eating fish when I told them I was going vegetarian. Weird. Like fish don’t count as real animals or something.

Sometimes, sure. I don’t know if it’s fair to knock someone just for being “small” if they’re ripped and if that’s their goal, but either way, there are also a bunch of examples of bigger guys out there. I could probably photobomb this thread if you really wanted, but I’m not trying to come across as some kind of super-veggie-advocate.

One point of debate you bring up, though, is how long does someone have to stick with a meatless diet before they’re considered a legit successful example; a year, 3 years, 15 years without meat before they can be touted as a “genuine” vegan athlete? Tricky situation. If a competitor is still going through offseason and pre-season/pre-contest work and seeing results, wouldn’t that be “good enough”?

Bodybuilder Derek Tresize is 5’11" and a lean 190, vegan for “only” five years. Patrik Baboumian is a German strongman, 5’7", 255 pounds, vegetarian for seven years and vegan for one year.

Most omnivores take supplements, especially lifters, and there are vegan-approved creatine and B-12 supplements, so I’d consider it almost a non-issue.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

Most omnivores take supplements, especially lifters, and there are vegan-approved creatine and B-12 supplements, so I’d consider it almost a non-issue.
[/quote]

But it’s generally more of a ‘just in case’ vs vegans who have need based deficiencies

[quote]Airtruth wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Most omnivores take supplements, especially lifters, and there are vegan-approved creatine and B-12 supplements, so I’d consider it almost a non-issue.
[/quote]
But it’s generally more of a ‘just in case’ vs vegans who have need based deficiencies[/quote]
And?

Seems like taking strategic supplements to address diet-based deficiencies is a good idea whether you’re a B-12 deficient vegan or a vitamin D-deficient omnivore.

I’m certainly not saying a vegan diet is perfect and delivers everything the human body needs. Hell, most omnivores have diets that don’t give them everything they need. How many times do we see kids on a bulk saying things like “Frickin’ vegetables take up too much room in my stomach. I gotta get my calories in.” They’re more than likely nutrient deficient as a result of their eating plan.

I’m vegetarian (eat eggs/dairy) and I don’t see a huge disadvantage from it. If I was vegan it would be much tougher to get in enough protein without farting all day.

[quote]browndisaster wrote:
I’m vegetarian (eat eggs/dairy) and I don’t see a huge disadvantage from it. If I was vegan it would be much tougher to get in enough protein without farting all day.[/quote]

Where does your protein primarily come from? I’m at a loss at how to get enough protein and not eat meat considering the 10 lbs of chicken, 3 lbs ground beef and some fish I eat every week.

[quote]Ripsaw3689 wrote:

[quote]browndisaster wrote:
I’m vegetarian (eat eggs/dairy) and I don’t see a huge disadvantage from it. If I was vegan it would be much tougher to get in enough protein without farting all day.[/quote]

Where does your protein primarily come from? I’m at a loss at how to get enough protein and not eat meat considering the 10 lbs of chicken, 3 lbs ground beef and some fish I eat every week. [/quote]
It’s not too hard, I’m getting 200 grams a day mainly through whole eggs, homeade greek yogurt, cheese, beans/lentils/PB (can only have so much of this a day before looking like my avi), and a lot of milk.

The milk is obviously not optimal, so if I was looking to lean out I’d cut out milk in favor of protein powder/cottage cheese.

Do you focus on making sure you get all essential amino acids? Correct me if I’m wrong, but beans and lentils do not contain all essential amino acids even though they have quite a bit of protein. I do not know if/what the effects of lacking essential amino acids have on building muscle. Perhaps someone can chime in.

I think the bigger issue would be digestability. If you’re looking to get 200 or more grams of protein, there’s now way that could come from mostly beans and lentils. That amount of fiber would be too much to handle.

I always hear that if you combine it with other sources it’s complete, but to be honest I don’t worry about it at all. I get over 200 grams a day, most of it from dairy sources, so I think I’m covered. I think vegans would have to worry about this more. I’ve heard good things about pea protein, which is high in leucine, but I’ve never tried it personally.

[quote]Ripsaw3689 wrote:
Do you focus on making sure you get all essential amino acids? Correct me if I’m wrong, but beans and lentils do not contain all essential amino acids even though they have quite a bit of protein. I do not know if/what the effects of lacking essential amino acids have on building muscle. Perhaps someone can chime in. [/quote]

This is irrelevant as long as a person is eating a variety of different types of foods.

now if your aim is to get 300g of pure complete protein every single day, this would be impossible to figure, but if you were to add all your food into a log like fit day and you were eating a variety of vegetables, grains, nuts, beans etc. and the total outcome was 300g I would not worry about whether you got the perfect amount of each amino acid.
plus there are supplements you can take because I’m sure to reach 200+g of protein a day you’d have to be consuming atleast 500g of carbs without the use of supplements.

[quote]browndisaster wrote:
I think the bigger issue would be digestability. If you’re looking to get 200 or more grams of protein, there’s now way that could come from mostly beans and lentils. That amount of fiber would be too much to handle.

I always hear that if you combine it with other sources it’s complete, but to be honest I don’t worry about it at all. I get over 200 grams a day, most of it from dairy sources, so I think I’m covered. I think vegans would have to worry about this more. I’ve heard good things about pea protein, which is high in leucine, but I’ve never tried it personally.[/quote]

Have you ever tried hemp protein? It’s complete protein.