T Nation

Veggie man

Question for all the genius t-men. I have a buddy that is a vegetarian, he has had this affliction for 4 years now and at one time looked pretty awful! Well, he has seen the transformation that has occurred in my life and has questioned some of his beliefs. I eat red meat a lot, I eat often, and my protein intake is very high. He was convinced that I was killing myself from the inside out and blames the FDAs recommendation for about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight as the meat industry sabotaging our bodies for a buck. He is also convinced that the milk industry is feeding us a line and is lining the pockets of the FDA also.
Like I mentioned earlier though he has seen me change my body and has adopted several things I do like frequent eating, he has bumped his protein intake up with soy (still vegetarian and still less than 50 to 60 grams a day, he weighs 200 lbs) and works out 3-4 times a week. I want to show him why he needs more protein, I explained amino acids and he says he gets them from complex carbs. What are some things I can tell him to push him over the edge and get him to stop killing himself with veggies and carbs all the time. Please people argue your best points for protein intake and such.

Rex, what do you mean he looked awful: fat, emaciated, sickly? You cannot do anything to convince him. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Tell him your opinion if he asks, point him to some good articles, and let him be. I would ask him to visit and read the paleolithic nutrition website on the net. The rumors about the meat and dairy industries may be correct, but it’s not necessarily meat itself, but DOMESTICATED (farm bred, grain fed) animals that is the problem. Their fatty acid profiles are screwed up, giving Americans too much omega-6, not near enough omega-3’s.

Actually, you can’t really argue that what he is doing is killing himself. It won’t promote muscle gain, but lack of muscle isn’t unhealthy. You can argue that he could make himself become stronger and look better by not adversely affecting his health. With what’s on the market today, there is no disadvantage in being a vegetarian. Hell, Im practically a vegetarian right now. I get most of my 200-220 grams of protein in the form of whey and casein. I may eat meat once a week if I go out to eat. So tell your friend to add in whey, casein, or some other quality protein to his diet. These sources should be acceptable for vegetarians. The one problem you will have is with soy. Soy is good for your health but is bad for bodybuilding. Just try to win the small battles first (get him to add in quality non-meat sources like whey), then go in for the kill by getting him to get rid of soy.

I can assure you that the FDA doesn’t promote a 1 gram of protein per lb of bw diet.Like Maclar wrote, get your friend to look at man’s historical diet.

That’s pretty easy. Look at anthropological evidence of the evolution of man. There is ample evidence that for at least a million years our primary food source was meat, at times as high as 85% of the diet.

You don’t feed your horse a steak because he’s built to live off of grass. You’ll note that animals with eyes on the sides of their head (to look for attacking predators) are food sources for those with eyes on the front of their head (allows for depth perception so they can pounce or throw their spear accurately).

Eating a vegan diet probably won't kill you right away but put the wrong fuel in any machine and it won't be working at optimum efficiency either. Feed a lion some corn for a while and see how he does.

I am a vegan and still contrary to popular opinion have been able to get pretty strong and big. I am 6’0, weight 195, about 8% bodyfat can bench press 315 6 times doing weighted dips with 180lbs attached to me, deadlift 500lbs etc all on a vegan diet. However, I eat like a meat eater in the sense that I take in a lot of protein daily 180-200 grams from soy protein, rice protein, vegetable protein, almonds, pistachios, etc. Anyone that tells you that you cannot get strong and bigger on a vegetarian or even vegan diet is a fucking idiot! It is very much possible when one’s diet is planned properly.

Ok, let me be more clear. He is seriously lacking in the protein department. I agree that a vegan who eats many sources of protein and enough of it can and will get big with the benifits of being a vegan too. The info I am looking for is how do I get him to even eat more protein when he pretty much wants to stay on raw foods only. Raw foods before noon some cooked foods after. He seems to think all the amino acids he needs are found in veggies and fruits alone. He is your typical skinny fat guy and has just started lifting. He wants to get big and strong but thinks less than 50 grams of protein is enough per day because his sources say protein is horrible for your body. See my post on why we need protein (the devil FDA takes money from beef etc etc…) Can you guys help here? Info on amino acids, protein, eating smaller meals. I have a ton of info already just looking to buffet it. Thanks.

Yeah, Mike, but think how much bigger, stronger, and healthier you’d be if you would embrace reality and stop that vegan nonsense.

Rex, your friend is irrational and when that’s the case truth goes by the wayside.You say you have alot of info already, in which case what would more info do to help.When he doesn’t succeed with his current diet maybe he’ll come around.

Tek, Healthier? Give me a break. Eating shit and piss (Which is what meat is full of) is not my idea of being healthy. I doubt I would be any stronger and even if so, who gives a fuck. There is more to life than lifting and getting stronger and bigger. My spiritual philosphy and moral and ethical code is much more important. I meet meat eater all the time who do not believe that you can get strong and big on a vegan diet. Once they see my results they are always impressed and change their mind about what is possible. MEat comes from animals that eat vegetables so what difference does it make. I am just cutting out the “middle man” so to speak.

Rex, I agree with you regarding the raw food diet. I have tried it before and although I was able to get stronger, I found the carbs and fat to be too much for me. My bodyfat is much easier to control on a high protein, moderate carb, and moderate fat diet. Your friend has the information and has to make up his own mind. If he is not serious about getting stronger, bigger etc then it is not going to happen.

Vegetables are fertilized by dead animals, shit and piss, so your method of argument is flawed. You are entitled to your beliefs but for the average person, lifter in this case, consuming meat is an easier path to the goal. The guy I used to work out with drinks plenty of beer, eats McD’s and BK every lunch, downs a gallon of ice cream a weekend, and benches 410 while weighing 203 at about %8 BF, but that doesn’t make his diet the best for the average person to reach goals of a better physique and greater strength.

As for the original question, tell the guy to continue his eating habits while working out 3-4 times a week for a month. Have him log the results (amount lifted, weight, bodyfat). Then have him keep the same routine, up his protein to even 1 gram per lb, and log the results. If he can see raw numbers maybe he’ll change his thinking.

Or just tell him to continue his eating habits and be a skinny fat man.

Rex - I would think that for the majority of vegetarians the food choices are not simply just phases that come and go but instead is a way of life and all the convincing in the world may not be effective in this type of situation.
In any regard, if your interested, there’s a bodybuilder who has been vegetarian for over 20 years who I think looks pretty awesome! Do an engine search on the web. I goes by the name Steve Holt. On his site he lists sample menus, etc. Good luck.

Its funny how “healthier” gets thrown around. Vegan is very healthy if disease prevention is the goal but worthless is exercise performance and muscle hypertrophy is the goal. It all depends on perspective. Is having a lot of muscle healthier or is having low insulin, BP and plasma lipids healthier? The goals of people are different and a diet to cure heart disease is not the same as one to gain mass. Until people understand this, they will never realize why these different diets are promoted. Your friend should at least go lacto-ovo or it will be an uphill battle (hopefully you can convince him of this). Simply increasing total kcal intake will improve nitrogen balance but it won’t be optimal. He is misinformed about the FDA comment.

If he is not a strict vegan and will take dairy prdoducts,he can incease his protein intake with Whey protein. Has he tried Creatine? I would think that would give him Quite a boost since he’s probably low in that department being a non meat eater.

Tell him that i ate a pound of beef last night before i went to bed. Oh yea there were two fat pieces of cheese on it too. Long live the George Foreman Grill.

The RDA is developed for sedentary people, the standard RDA for protein is NOT 1g/lb, it is approximately 0.4g/lb. I come from NZ which uses 0.8g/kg. The standard recommendation for strength athletes/bodybuilders is 0.8g per lb, as reported by Lemon in the international journal of sports nutrition in june 1995. Your friend needs to learn how to read, or does he expect that peer reviewed research is all paid for by the beef and milk industry

Funny thing about that. My buddy lost 40 pounds on the Adkins Diet. The most anti vegan diet in existance. Guess what? His BP dropped, his blood lipids profile and overall cholesterol improved markedly.

The day I see vegans or any other weird diet group outliving the rest of us I'll rethink my position on diet. The facts are they don't, at least not in our population.

For about 4 years my wife and I were exceedingly lucky during hunting and fishing season. During that time we ate deer, elk, or mountain goat at least 4 days a week. The others were usually salmon we caught or chicken we raised. My wife went in for a physical, the doc looked at the blood labs and asked her if she was a vegan. She laughed.

Eating shitloads of veggies and pasta is not the only healthy way to eat. I'd just as soon let an animal that is better designed to convert starches and sugars from plants into good usable flesh be my protein source. Most people just plain eat too much and most of it's shit, they also don't move around much and so they turn into a big lump of shit on the couch. Diet is important but exercise is key too.

Tell that to the Japanese who traditionally ate primarily a vegetarian diet and ate the longest living people in the world. In contrast, Americans who eat meat with every meal are the most overweight people in the world. I agree that pasta and other non-meat junk foods are not healthy. However, eating today’s meat which is full of all kinds of chemicals is clearly Not healthy. Want proof? How about Mad Cow’s Disease and Fott and mouth disease.

The only vegetarians i know look like shit. Ill eat my hamburger and steaks. they can eat all of my share of tofu. thats my gift to them.

Mike Mahler, I’m not sure where you got the info that the Japanese ate a primarily a vegetarian diet, unless fish are considered vegetables. Japanese diet has always included lots of animal protein from shellfish, fish and whale. If you have a meal in Japan you will be shocked by how they deliberately cut meat to include fat. Chicken is always sliced to include the skin. The chicken breasts are among the least expensive cuts in a grocery store because people don’t like them. One of the most popular lunch items is a batter fried pork cutlet that is sliced, then pan fried with some eggs. Perhaps the Japanese diet today is influenced by the west, but their longevity is still very good compared to the US. People who live even longer than the Japanese are the Okinawans. Their diet is rich in vegetables AND lots and lots of seafood. I have a sneaking suspicion that meat is not problem. It is how the meat is produced that causes the lipids profile to become so skewed in an unhealthy direction. Chickens allowed to forage and eat green plants were found to lay eggs rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Same thing was found with free range cattle, that their meat was leaner and had a healthier ratio of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. In my opinion, a vegan diet sounds romantic, but it really is flawed as a healthy diet for humans.